India’s Science Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 is under preparation. Wide consultations are taking place with all the stakeholders. There is an urgent need to develop 5G, nano sciences, internet of things, fourth industrial revolution technologies, life sciences and gene editing and so on to be a world leader.
Economic Survey 2018 has a chapter on How India can become a global science & technology leader. It talks about the need to gradually move from being a net consumer of knowledge to becoming a net producer.
Union Budget 2020-21 set up a national mission on “Quantum Supremacy” with an Rs 8,000-crore budget.
In this context, it is relevant to have a bird’s eye view of India’s commitment to science and technology post-Independence through its earlier policies.
Four major policies have been implemented since independence namely, Scientific Policy Resolution 1958 , Technology Policy Statement 1983 , Science and Technology Policy , and Science Technology Innovation Policy 2013.The next one - Science Technology Innovation Policy 2020- is under preparation.
India adopted a policy on science through the Scientific Policy Resolution (SPR) in 1958, 11 years after winning its independence in 1947. The policy document was the brainchild of the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. SPR proposed to train enough science and technical manpower to fulfill the country's needs in science, education, agriculture, industry and defense.
Based on SPR-1958, India built a strong foundation in science including atomic energy and space sciences. During the 1980s, strategic and front-running technologies became increasingly difficult to import. By now India had constructed a strong industrial and agricultural base and developed a qualified pool of scientific manpower for technological self-reliance, improvement in the conditions of weaker sections and the speedy development of backward regions.
India already promulgated and implemented scientific policy and technology policy. But by the beginning of the new millennium, it was felt to combine both- science and technology in a single holistic policy.
Its Highlight was the importance given to ‘Public Awareness of Science and Technology’ .
India declared 2010-2020 the decade for Innovation. It became imperative to weave science, technology and innovation together.The new paradigm of the Indian STI 2013 is ‘Science, technology and innovation for the people’.
With the help of these policies, since our independence in 1947, India has been successful in building an impressive ecosystem of science, technology and innovation (STI). An STI ecosystem includes universities, public and private research bodies, and human resources. We have over 800 universities, 40,000 colleges, 2,000 research and development institutes, and over 5,00,000 science professionals. Some of the top scientists, technologists and CEOs of the world have been beneficiaries of our science and policy ecosystem.