26 January 2012 by Kavitha Srinivasa
As the country celebrates its 62nd Republic Day on January 26, we can look back on some of the developments in science and technology (S&T) with a certain degree of satisfaction, though there has been a fair share of disappointments.
One of the significant developments that began in the Fifties was the establishment of Indian Institute of Technology, subsequently the Indian Institute of Management and higher education institutes in various parts of the country. From time to time, these institutions have put India on the global map of S&T by incubating homegrown tech entrepreneurs and encouraging scientific research through R&D. One remembers the contribution of visionary scientists like CV Raman, Homi Bhabha Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, among others. Even before these developments, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata visualized the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) as a Research Institute or University of Research over 100 years ago. The industrialist's vision proved right, as IISc's departments in fields ranging from Biochemistry to Aerospace Engineering have nucleated research and development in public and private sectors like National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), several decades later.
While research continued, in the Sixties the Green Revolution set the ball rolling. With improved irrigation and fertilizer seeds, green revolution crops began to be cultivated. Along with these crops, another important development was the White Revolution, kickstarted by Amul, a dairy co-operative in Anand located in Gujarat in western India. Through research and various developmental activities, Amul has emerged as the world's Largest Pouched Milk Brand. And India, became the world's largest milk producer, as the National Diary Development Board (NDDB) and National Milk Grid were established in other parts of the country.
Come Seventies and many public sector research laboratories were initiated by the Government of India. Multi-disciplinary world-class R&D facilities enabled research in applied science. The scientific education institutes increased during the decade.
In the Eighties when Bangalore's salubrious climate and comparatively friendly government policies urged IT companies like Infosys and Wipro to set up base here. Later others followed, giving the city the sobriquet of being India's Silicon Valley. IT companies contributed to the city's compelling skyline. In the new millennium, IT firms expanded footprint in tier cities. TCS, INFOSYS and WIPRO are globally recognized brands, which have skilled Indian IT professionals under their fold. With hi-tech globalised industries came a demand for better connectivity. Road, rail, airports and mass-transit rail systems were indigenously developed through scientific collaborations.
When entrepreneur and policy maker Sam Pitroda became technology Advisor to the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi in the Eighties, he heralded the Telecom Revolution in India. That's when he advocated for technology to be used for the benefit and betterment of society through several missions on telecommunications, literacy, dairy, water, immunization and oilseeds. Post 2000, many global telecom invested to set up their operations in India.
The country spread its wings literally, as civil aviation began here 100 years ago. It has emerged as one of the fastest growing sectors in India as lost cost carriers and bilateral public-private partnerships have opened up the skies.
Apart from R&D, the country's brand value skyrocketed as it began to produce its own tanks and aircrafts. Let's not forget that India's first satellite Aryabhata remained in the orbit and sent data for nearly 17 years. From then on, the country has launched space flights and today the space portfolio includes fields like tele-education and tele-medicine, while space entrepreneurship is waiting to be tapped.
While it may not be possible to outline all the S&T developments in a single Blog, the Indian Odyssey continues, leaving behind footprints in the global S&T landscape. At a glance, the India GDP is 1.7 trillion. Nano technology is hailed as the next frontier in science, as it promises to tap the vast natural resources of India. Today we focus on biotechnology, tele-medicine, nuclear submarines and nuclear energy options. India is also developing alternate energy like solar and wind.
Hundred million denizens use the Internet in India, which has resulted in e-commerce. We are progressing towards m-commerce, as India is home to 800 million mobile subscribers. While 2011 was the year of the Social Media, Smartphones, M-commerce and Cloud Services have strengthened the tech landscape.
On 26 January 1950, India became a Republic and a new Constitution came into effect under which India was established as a Secular and a Democratic state.
Posted By: Kavitha Srinivasa @ 26 January 2012 03:43 AM General
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