The two landmarks in S&T policies are: Scientific Policy Resolution of 1958 and Technology Policy Statement of 1983.
The government first initiated its policy in the form of a Scientific Policy Resolution announced in 1958. This policy recognized the cardinal importance of cultivating science on a large-scale and its application to meet the country’s requirements. The aims set out in this policy were:
i) to foster, promote, and sustain by all appropriate means, the cultivation of science, and scientific research in all its aspects-pure, applied and educational;
ii) to ensure an adequate supply, within the country, of research scientists of the highest quality, and to recognize their work as an important component of the strength of the nation;
iii) to encourage, and initiate, with all possible speed, programmes for the training of scientific and technical personnel, on a scale adequate to fulfil the country’s needs in science and education, agriculture and industry and defence;
iv) to ensure that the creative talent of men and women is encouraged and finds full scope in scientific activity;
v) to encourage individual initiative for the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge, and for the discovery of new knowledge, in an atmosphere of academic freedom;
vi) and in general, to secure for the people of the country all the benefits that can accrue from the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge.
The policy mentions that to pursue and accomplish the above aims the government had decided to offer good conditions of service to scientists and accord them an honoured position by associating them with formulation of policies and taking such measures as may be necessary from time to time.
TECHNOLOGY POLICY STATEMENT 1983
Since the enunciation of the Scientific Policy Resolution in 1958 and the planning process of nearly three decades, the country achieved a strong agricultural and industrial base and scientific manpower impressive in quality, numbers and range of skills. The experience indicated that given the necessary support, the Indian science and technology has capacity to solve many national problems. The changing scenario witnessed extension of frontiers of knowledge at incredible speed, opening up entirely new areas and introducing new concepts. The technological advances were influencing life-styles as well as societal expectations. A need, therefore, was felt for a technology policy to give thrust and future direction, to Indian science and technology. The government therefore enunciated Technology Policy Statement in 1983.
This Policy dealt with various aspects such as self reliance, strengthening of the technology base, environment, development of indigenous technology, in-house research and development, consultancy, technology acquisition and transfer and other related issues. The main highlights of this statement were as under:
a) attain technological competence and self-reliance to reduce vulnerability, particularly in strategic and critical areas, making the maximum use of indigenous resources;
b) provide the maximum gainful and satisfying employment to all strata of society, with emphasis on the employment of women and weaker sections of society;
c) use traditional skills and capabilities, making them commercially competitive;
d) ensure the correct mix between mass production technologies and production by the masses;
e) ensure maximum development with minimum capital outlay;
f) identify obsolescence of technology in use and arrange for modernization of both equipment and technology;
g) develop technologies which are internationally competitive, particularly those with export potential;
h) improve production speedily through greater efficiency and fuller utilization of existing capabilities and enhance the quality and reliability of performance and output; .
i) reduce demands on energy, particularly energy from non-renewable sources;
j) ensure harmony with the environment, preserve the ecological balance and improve the quality of the habitat; and
k) recycle waste material and make full utilization of by-products.
II) Strengthening the Technology Base
Research and development together with science and technology education and training of a high order were to be accorded place of pride.
Due regard was to be given to the preservation and enhancement of the environment in the choice of technologies. Measures to improve environmental hygiene were to be evolved.
IV) Some Specific Areas
In technology development special emphasis was to be focused on food, health, housing, energy and industry. In particular, stress was laid on:
- agriculture, including dry land farming;
- optimum use of water resources, increased production of pulses and oilseeds;
- provision of drinking water in rural areas, improvement of nutrition,
- rapid reduction in the incidence of blindness, eradication of the major communicable diseases (such as leprosy and tuberculosis), and population stabilization;
- low cost housing;
- development and use of renewable non-conventional sources of energy; and
- industrial development.
V) Importance of Technology Development
Fullest support was to be given to the development of indigenous technology to achieve technological self-reliance and reduce the dependence on foreign inputs, particularly in critical and vulnerable areas and in high value-added items in which the domestic base is strong. Strengthening and diversifying the domestic technology were felt necessary to reduce imports and to expand exports for which international competitiveness must be ensured.
VI) In-house R&D
Appropriate incentives were to be given to the setting up of R&D units in industry and for industry, including those on a cooperative basis. Enterprises were to be encouraged to set up R&D units of a size to permit the accomplishment of major technological tasks.
VII) Technology Acquisition
Mix of Indigenous and Imported Technology is envisaged.
A policy directed towards technological self-reliance does not imply technological self-sufficiency. The criterion must be national interest. Government policy was to be directed towards reducing technological dependence in key areas.
It was stated that advantage should be taken of technological developments elsewhere. This can also be achieved through well-defined collaborative arrangements in research and development.
At any given point of time, there will be a mix of indigenous and imported technology. However, technology acquisition from outside was not to be at the expense of national interest. Indigenous initiative must receive due recognition and support.
In the acquisition of technology, consideration was to be given to the choice and sources of technology, alternative means of acquiring it, its role in meeting a major felt need, selection and relevance of the products, costs, and related conditions. A National Register of Foreign Collaborations was developed to provide analytical inputs at various stages of technological acquisition.
The basic principles governing the acquisition of technology were:
a) Import of technology, and foreign investment in this regard, were to be continued to he permitted on a selective basis where: need had been established technology did not exist within the country; the time taken to generate the technology indigenously was likely to delay the achievement of development targets.
b) Government from time to time, would identify and notify such areas of high national priority, in respect of which procedures would be simplified further to ensure timely acquisition of the required technology.
c) There was to be a firm commitment for absorption, adaptation and subsequent development of imported know-how through adequate investment in Research and Development to which importers of technology would be expected to contribute.
With a view to implement the above policy, the Government had set up a Technology Policy Implementation Committee (TPIC). Many of the recommendations have since been implemented.