Science & Technology in India: Before and After Independence

2008 Vol 6

Science & Technology in India: Before and After Independence

Bijay Kumar Sharma

Electronics & Communication Department
National Institute of Technology
Patna- 800005, India


Before Independence we had four Nobel Laureates for
their work in India. After Independence we have five
Nobel Laureates of Indian Origin but no Nobel Laureate
who had been awarded for his work in Indian
Universities or Research Lab. This enigma can be
solved if we look at developments in PRE and POST
Independent India. In Colonial India, Britishers had
established three Presidency Universities, eight
Research Establishments from utilitarian point of view,
seven Research Institutions and one University had been
established due to persistence of Visionary Patriots J. N.
Tata and their like. All these Establishments and
Institutions were World Class with no compromise on
Professional/Academic Excellence. After Independence
we have 400 National R&D lab, 231 Universities and
1300 in-house R&D. Still our quality of Research has
fallen over the last six decades because of serious
compromises made on Professional/Academic
Accountability. In 1981-94 period our share of Global
Research Papers was 2.4%, our share of Global Citation
was 0.7%, Relative Citation Impact was 0.27 and
percentage of GDP spent on R&D was 0.7%. We also
occupied NINTH position in 10 most Active Countries
in Scientific Publication. By the year 2006 the same has
stasgnated below 3%, percentage of GDP spent on R&D
remains at 0.7% and we have lost our position of
eminence among the ten most active countries to China.
China today is in FIFTH position and is vying for the
SECOND position among the 10 most Active Countries
in Scientific Publication. Among the best 500
Universities today we have only 3 Universities whereas
China has 8 Universities. We have the capacity to
produce 15000 M.Techs but we are producing only 5000
M.Techs. A large number of Engineering Graduates are
going into Software Industries and Information
Technology Industries. So we are having a serious dirth
of Ph.D. students leading to acute shortage of teachers in
Engineering College and Science Colleges. Our Private
Sector Capital Base is $300 billion out of which $200
billion is concentrated in 36 families still only 0.1% of
total turnover is being spent into In-house R & D which
is 15% of the total R & D funding in India. State share
in R &D is only 0.1% of total outlay. If all these
developments are taken into account then we can
account the enigma as to why we lack a Nobel Laureate
working in Indian Research Environment. Under the
circumstances a concerted effort needs to be made by
State as well as the Center for revamping the University
Systems, incentives have to be given to the Private
Sector for increased In-house R &D and Research
Institutes have to realize that Real life National
Industries are the source of Research Papers. But most
of all a system of Professional/Academic
Accountability has to be made operative and respect for
Professional/Academic Excellence and Integrity has be
restored which was present in British Times but is
totally lacking today. This also raises the question that
China has succeeded where India has failed though both
started with the same initial conditions. Brirish had a
Bourgeoisie Mindset. They obeyed the laws and made
their subordinate in their Colonies to obey the same.
There was no exception. Even Lord Clive was tried by
law and punished for his financial irregularities. But
independent India is a Bourgeoisie Democracy in name.
In essence it still remains Semi-Feudal and Semi-Colony
of SuperPowers. Castesism, Nepotiosm and Sycophancy
rules the roost. Such is not the case with China. It has a
set of Rules and Laws and it makes sure that all live and
play by the same Rules and Laws. Rule of Law is not an
exception in China nor was it in British India. But in
Independent India it is the Rule of Connections. If you
are properly connected you can break the law with

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