Modern India has had a strong focus on science and technology, realising the fact that it is a key element of economic growth. Significantly, 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). ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C26, successfully launched IRNSS-1C, the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), on October 16, 2014, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. This is the twenty seventh consecutively successful mission of PSLV.
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.
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.
According to the latest available statistics by the Government of India, the Indian investment in science and technology in terms of Gross expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) during 2011-12 has been US$ 36.2 billion Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
India invested 0.88% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) towards Research and Development (R&D) whereas USA and South Korea spent 2.76% and 4.04% respectively during 2011-12.
The Narendra Modi government will soon institute a nation-wide consultation process with a view to developing the first, publicly accessible Science and Technology policy. It will be called “Vision S&T 2020” and articulate the road ahead towards self-reliance and technological independence in the 21st Century.
In the Union Budget 2014-15, the following initiatives in the field of science and technology were taken:
Some of the other government initiatives taken in the recent past are as follows:
India is aggressively working towards establishing itself as a leader in 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= 0.0157 as on December 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