After independence, conscious efforts were made to enhance and modernize the scientific infrastructure in the country by setting up a chain of national laboratories, institutes of the higher technical education, universities etc.
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was deeply committed to building scientific laboratories which he named as “modern temples”. On the 50th year of independence, India was spending about 1% of the GNP on scientific and technological development.
The parliament of India passed a science policy Resolution on march 4, 1958, which emphasized the Government’s responsibility to “foster, Promote and sustain by all appropriate means, the cultivation of science and scientific research in all its aspects – pure, applied, and educational.”
The policy also envisaged the well- planned effort for promoting and encouraging the growth of science and technology personnel on a scale adequate to fulfill the country’s needs in areas of agriculture, education, industry and defence. The policy also aimed at securing for the people all the benefits that could accrue from’ the acquisition of knowledge of science and its application in day-to-day life.
Recognizing the role that technology can play in the development of society, a Technology policy statement was issued in 1983 with the need for developing indigenous technology and ensuring efficient absorption and adaptation of imported technology appropriate to national priorities, and availability of resources.
Scientific and technological activities in India can be classified into, the following categories:
(1) Central Government: (2) State Government; (3) Higher Educational sector; (4) Public and private sector industry; (5) Non-profit institutes and associations; (6) India council of scientific and Industrial Research; (7) India council of Agricultural Research; (8) Indian council of medical Research; (9) Department of Atomic Energy; (10) Department of space; (11) Department of Electronics; (12) Department of ocean Development; (13) Defence Research and Development organization; (14) Department of Forests and Environment (15) Ministry of science and Technology; (16) ministry of non- conventional Energy sources; (17) Agricultural universities with their Research stations under the state Governments; (18) 1,200 in-house and research and development units in industrial undertakings supporting research in their respective industries.
One of the important activities of the Department of science and Technology has been to identify and promote front line and priority areas of Research and Development in various disciplines of science and technology.
This is done through carefully evolved mechanism of science and Engineering Research council, an advisory body consisting of eminent scientists and technologists drawn from universities, national laboratories and industry.
Technology police implementation committee recommended the establishment of an autonomous body: Technology information Forecasting and Technology Assessment Council with the objective of Technology Forecasting and Technology Assessment, and Techno Market Survey. TIFAC has taken the initiative in numerous technology surveys and new topics like surface engineering.
The Department of science and Technology has guided socio-economic industries in the setting up of science and Technology Advisory committee for the formulation of long-term and short-term development programmes.
The department also provides support for the National Super-conductivity Programme (NSP), a naturally conducted programme of three government departments/agencies, namely Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Science and Technology, and council of Scientific and Industrial Research under the aegis of the Natural Superconductivity Science and Technology Board.
A significance activity being pursued by TIFAC is promotion of specific Home Crown Technologies which will strengthen the linkages between research institutions and industry by commercialization of technologies developed indigenously. Already 12 projects are under implementation.
These are in areas of CPC substitutes, co-based chemicals, Vitamin A, 64- bit parallel computer, flashover, High energy rare earth magnets, Cobalt recovery etc. TIFAC also focused attention on technical education.
All India Council of Technical of Technical Education has taken up a programme for changing the curriculum based on the forecasts and assessment available on various technologies. About 12 institutions are involved in this exercise.
The on-line technology information system, TIFACLINE has made steady progress with concerted efforts being made towards proliferation of TIFACLINE services in various parts of the country. TIFAC regularly interacts with industry associations such as AS3QCHAM, FICCI on various issues.