Science, technology, research and innovation

It can well be imagined if this country after getting independence would have not opted for adopting a policy of promoting and encouraging science and building of academic institutions, universities, hospitals, laboratories, knowing about latest in medicine, space and related issues and not preferring to treading the path leading to advancement, we could have remained economically much backward and probably depending on other countries for most of our even daily needs. With that mindset and political will, India gradually took steps, even if smaller ones but in planned way, that resulted in this country moving forward in the fields of science and technology. It also has got to be admitted that our neighbour China took big leaps in this direction that resulted in it becoming an economic power, for which of course much depends also upon the type of political system prevailing there and the system of running Governments. We are, however, fast reaching the levels of competing with that country with a determination in outpacing it in many fields leading to developmental process including manufacturing and claiming more share in international markets.
The fact, however, remains unchallenged that departure from inertial system, bringing in reforms, promoting innovations, preferring fast changes, adopting of latest technologies, research and broader knowledge about intricacies of science alone can lead to progress and prosperity besides addressing numerous emerging problems. Reforms and bringing in changes as also shifting or switching over to latest technologies often are initially met with some type of resistance, reluctance and even negations but that being a part of the process or the system is bound to wane and get over in due course. The emphasis also has to be on optimum utilization of the existing infrastructure while at the same time, provisions for establishing more of those institutions which promote advancement in any of the fields of science must be the priorities both in urban and in rural areas. Stress on performance and innovations, therefore, are surekeys of success and that is why India’s ranking in Global Innovation Index has considerably improved over the last few years.
Should we not, therefore, assess as to where do we actually stand in the fields of science and technology and how many of our policies both at the centre and in States/ UTs whole heartedly take to promoting innovations, research and adopting the available latest. The assessment can reveal that we can both be proud of our achievements as well as feel that much could be done in a short time to reserve a niche in the global portal as a centre of research and innovation. Needless to add, even in small enterprises and that also in rural areas, we come across how enterprising persons with an innovative bent of mind and doing something different from the average, they make headlines in papers and even are mentioned by the Prime Minister in his monthly “Mann Ki Baat’.
In other words, even at minute micro levels, innovation and some measure of research result in generating inspiration for others hence innovative mindset starts ruling the roost. That denotes that research in science and latest technologies can be taken even up to core local levels too no matter in what magnitude. Potential is there in abundance, identifying and harnessing are required. The most encouraging part is that there exists an increasing inclination and a zest for science and innovations in the present generation of this country.
Why should, therefore, this country be not proud of its scientists in every field and celebrate their achievements instead of at times making them and their works suffer due to political and bureaucratic highhandedness? If western countries have always been many steps ahead in science and technology, it is largely because of preferring heavy investments in these vital fields especially in research. We have, however, been seeing a significant change for the last few years in Government policies in this regard to promote and expand the fields of science and technology for the benefit of not only the common citizens but to showcase our progress internationally. Advancement in these two vital sectors chiefly contribute towards attaining appreciable levels of self reliance. No wonder, our products even of indigenously made latest fighter jets like Tejas evoke lot of interest in countries like the US, Australia, Philippines and others. Once importers of products from those countries, now as a result of advancement in the twin fields, India is on the threshold of exporting most of them thanks to the policies of promoting science and technology in the country.