India’s Progress in Science and Technology
India has made considerable progress in the field of science and technology. For this we are greatly indebted to Nehru, the architect of modern India. He realized that the progress in science and technology would lead India on the path of prosperity and fulfil the needs of her teeming millions. Unlike Gandhiji, he believed that cottage and Khadi industries would not be of any great help to India. As Chairman of the National Planning Committee, which the Congress had sponsored as far back as 1938, Nehru said, “If technology demands big machine, as it does today in a large measure, then the’ big machine with all its implications and consequences must be accepted.”
India’s achievement in the field of agriculture is commendable. We have achieved self-sufficiency in food grains. The work done by the-Indian Council of Agricultural Research and other agricultural colleges and universities has helped greatly in stepping up production. The contribution made by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, F.R.S in this field deserves special mention. Our agricultural scientists are also indebted to Dr. Norman Borlaug, famous agricultural scientist (Nobel Prize Winner for Peace, 1970), who developed new strains of wheat, rice etc. We have now new varieties of seeds, scientific tools, pesticides, and fertilisers etc. White Revolution has also taken place. Dr. Verghesekurian brought in this revolution, as a result of which India is among the largest producers of milk in the world today. India has become the second largest producer of vegetables in the world. This is mainly due to a number of high yielding and disease resistant varieties developed by Indian scientists.
India has taken rapid strides in the field of industry. Our scientific and industrial man-power is the third largest in the world. The plants at Bhilai and Bokaro produce large quantity of steel. The machine tool factories at Kalamassery and Bangalore and the Heavy Electricals at Bhopal have played a big part in industrializing the country.
Facilities for health have increased. Many medicines required for our hospitals are now made in our country. Artificial valves required for the heart are also made. To promote research the Indian Council of Medical Research renders help. Our doctors now operate on the heart and the brain as a matter of routine. A few of them have succeeded in producing test-tube babies. Indian doctors are highly respected all over the world.
India is now the world’s fourth largest military power, with the largest and most sophisticated arms-manufacturing base in the Third World. India now manufactures fighters, tanks and infantry combat vehicles. Our scientists have succeeded in making missiles named Prithvi and Agni. The navy has good frigates.
The Department of Atomic Energy renders a very good service’ to the nation. Research work on atomic energy is now carried out at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). It houses four research reactors. BARC produces more than 350 radioactive products. Some of ji them are exported. The nuclear power stations under the Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd. produce electricity. The Department of Atomic Energy has set up a fast breeder test reactor at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu. The fuel for this is made of mixed uranium-plutonium carbide, developed by BARC.
We have achieved remarkable progress in space research. We launched the first satellite Atyabhatta in May 1975, followed by a second satellite Bhaskara-I in 1979. We have since sent a number of satellites. The launching of most of them was successful. All have various uses. Rakesh Sharma is the first Indian cosmonaut. He stayed in space for a week (April 1984). For this achievement we are greatly indebted to the former Soviet Union.
Our scientists are capable of doing remarkable things for the development of our country. But they do not get proper encouragement. A few of them have made away with themselves for want of good incentives. A number of them have also gone abroad for better prospects.