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Science And Technology in India

September, 2014


India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research and has positioned itself as among the top five nations in the field of space exploration. It has been regularly undertaking space missions to the moon and the famed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has recently made its 26th successful flight.

There has also been a lot of focus on encouraging the scientific temperament in India’s youth with the setting up of numerous technical universities and institutes, both in the private and the government sector.  India presently has 16 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), 30 National Institutes of Technology (NITs), 162 universities awarding about 4,000 doctorates and 35,000 post-graduate degrees, and about 40 research laboratories run by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) all over the country.

Market size

India is among the top 10 nations in the world in the number of scientific publications. Position-wise, it is ranked 17th in the number of citations received and 34th in the number of citations per paper across the science and technology field (among nations publishing 50,000 or more papers). It is also ranked ninth globally in the number of scientific publications and 12th in the number of patents filed.

Backed by the government, there has been a lot of investments and developments in different sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, space research and nuclear power through scientific research. For instance, India is gradually becoming self-reliant in nuclear technology through the commercial success of the indigenous reactors like the Dhruva reactor at BARC, which achieved criticality on August 8, 1985.


  • The Technopark-Technology Business Incubator plans to set up ‘OpeniSpace’, an open innovation space on its campus, for innovators and young student entrepreneurs. The ‘OpeniSpace’ start-up space will provide plug-and-play facilities with four to 12 seats along with Wi-Fi internet connectivity for young entrepreneurs.
  • Clot-specific Streptokinase (CSSK), a drug that breaks down blood clots, developed by an arm of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has been cleared by the office of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for phase two human clinical trials. It would offer an affordable alternative to expensive thrombolytic drugs used to treat patients of heart attacks, and other severe heart conditions like deep vein thrombosis.
  • Researchers have developed a technology to enhance the shelf-life of mangoes and contain post-harvest loss in mango orchards, at a dissemination workshop organised by the Department of Nano Science and Technology, TNAU at Theni. The prime focus of this project was on minimising post-harvest losses while enhancing availability of fruits and ensuring nutritional security.
  • US-based university Virginia Tech, in association with Marg Group, has set up a research centre for sustainable technologies near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The institute will work on sustainable technologies in energy, water, renewable materials, and nano-scale science and engineering.
  • The Charotar University of Science and Technology (CHARUSAT) launched a formula racing car developed by its students. The students have developed the formula racing car to take part in the forthcoming SUPRA SAE India 2014 competition, which challenges teams of university graduate and under graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate and compete with their own formula style, autocross racing cars.
  • The CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) had developed DNA barcoding technology. This technology has revalorised the arena of Wildlife Forensics. It is currently being used routinely in LaCONES of CSIR-CCMB to provide the wildlife forensics services to the nation in the cases pertaining to wildlife crime.

Government Initiatives

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) should strive to increase the nuclear capacity threefold from the present level of 5,780 megawatt (MW) by 2023-24 within the projected cost, according to Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

In the recently released Union Budget 2014-15, the following initiatives in the field of science and technology were taken:

  • Set aside an amount of Rs 100 crore (US$ 16.26 million) for ‘Agri-tech Infrastructure Fund’
  • Identified the technology driven second Green Revolution with focus on higher productivity including ‘Protein revolution’ as a major area of focus
  • Allocated Rs 100 crore (US$ 16.26 million) for a new scheme ‘Ultra-Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology

Some of the other government initiatives taken in the recent past are as follows:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV)-C23 was launched successfully from the first launch pad of Sriharikota space station on June 30, 2014. It carried five satellites, one each from France, Germany and Singapore, and two from Canada.
  • India has developed the world’s second largest gamma ray telescope that will help scientists gain new knowledge on the origin of the universe and origin of cosmic rays that bombard the space, thereby opening a new window to the universe in two years. This telescope has been built indigenously by the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd with designs supplied by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
  • Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) has received a US patent for ready-to-use rubber mixes for the industry. The patent, relating to development of industry standard and application focused rubber, uses techniques that are environment friendly and energy efficient.
  • The Government of India launched a new scheme on ‘National Initiative to establish 20 Design Innovation Centres, one Open Design School and National Design Innovation Network’ in 2013-14. Under this scheme, the states have to prepare a Research and Innovation Plan which will include facilities such as laboratories, incubation hubs and centres.

Road Ahead

India is taking rapid strides towards industrialisation and technological development. There will likely be significant developments in the nuclear energy sector as India looks to increase its nuclear capacity. There is also an indication that nanotechnology will change the face of the Indian pharmaceutical industry. The agriculture sector will also see a major revamp with the government investing heavily for the technology driven Green Revolution. The Government of India, through the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013, among other things, also aspires to position India among the top five scientific powers in the world.

Exchange rate used INR 1= 0.0162 as on September 26, 2014

References: Ministry of Finance, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Media Reports and Press Releases, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Department of Science and Technology