The vital role of science in modern life is not overstated in view of today's world. Science and technology have profoundly influenced the course of human civilization. Science has provided us remarkable insights into the world we live in. The scientific revolutions of the 20th century have led to many technologies, which promise to herald wholly new eras in many fields, As we stand today at the beginning of a new century, we have to ensure fullest use of these developments for the well being of our people. Science and technology have been an integral part of Indian civilisation and culture over the past several millennia. Few are aware that India was the fountainhead of important foundational scientific developments and approaches. These cover many great scientific discoveries and technological achievements in Mathematics, Astronomy, Architecture, Chemistry, Metallurgy, Medicine, Natural Philosophy and other areas. A great deal of this traveled outwards from India. Equally, India also assimilated scientific ideas and techniques from elsewhere, with open-mindedness and a rational attitude, characteristic of a scientific ethos. India's traditions have been founded on the principles of universal harmony, respect for all creations and an integrated holistic approach. This background is likely to provide valuable insights for future scientific advances. During the century prior to independence, there was an awakening of modem science in India through the efforts of a number of outstanding scientists. They were responsible for great scientific advances of the highest international caliber.
Apart from the vast changes it has brought about, the development of a scientific temper in the people is considered important. In the planned economy of a country, science must necessarily play an especially important role. Improvements in techniques evolved as a result of scientific research brings about great increases in production in the different sectors of the economy. National resources are augmented by the substitution of cheap and abundant materials for those in scarce supplies and by finding uses for materials, which have remained un-utilized, prior to independence, very little attention was given to the problem of scientific and industrial research in India. A number of universities and institutes carried out research, mostly on fundamental aspects of science. Certain industries also had their own research organizations. However, industry depended, by and large, on foreign techniques and did not develop research programmes of its own.
A large number of products that had been imported into the country had to be manufactured to meet both civilian and military needs. Indian substitutes had to be found for imported materials and processes had to be developed which would use these materials in place of imported ones. In these circumstances, the Government of India constituted die Board of Scientific and Industrial Research in 1940. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was formed in 1942. Since independence there has been a greater emphasis on the provision of additional facilities for the promotion of scientific and industrial research. The most significant development in this sphere has been the establishment of a chain of national laboratories and research institutes in different parts of the country. The establishment of national laboratories and research institutes has a special importance in a country like India where medium and small-scale producers contribute a considerable proportion of industrial production. These industries cannot afford to have research facilities of their own, as the larger producers can. Besides these laboratories and research institutes, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has made contributions towards the promotion of fundamental and applied research at a number of institutions and universities.
In the half century since independence, India has been committed to the...
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