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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Democratizing Research : Opportunity under STI policy 2013 ( part 1)

India announced Science , Technology and Innovation Policy (2013) during the Science congress. A look at past policies before commenting on opportunities for democratizing research under the new policy.

India is the first among developing countries to come up with a science policy. The scientific policy recognized the utility of science for development and articulated the aims clearly. The scientific policy resolution of 1958 stated that:

` the dominating feature of the contemporary world is the intense cultivation of science on a large scale, and its application to meet a country’s requirements. It is this, which, for the first time in man’s history, has given to the common man in countries advanced in science, a standard of living and social and cultural amenities, which were once confined to a very small privileged minority of the population. Science has led to the growth and diffusion of culture to an extent never possible before. It has not only radically altered man’s material environment, but, what is of still deeper significance, it has provided now tools of thought and extended man’s mental horizon. It has thus influenced even the basic value of life and given to civilization a new vitality and a new dynamism’.

Accordingly the government decided the aims of scientific policy as under.

i)          To foster, promote and sustain, by all appropriate means, the cultivation of science, and scientific research in all aspects- pure, applied and educational;
ii)         To ensure an adequate supply, within the country , of research scientists of 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 disssemination 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.

Excellent centers of learning were established like Indian Institute of Technology at Bombay, Chennai, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Delhi and over hundred Research laboratories and agriculture extension centers were set up.

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