Technology Science and technology has been in the forefront of transforming the Indian economic structure helping India evolve as a globally competitive economic powerhouse. With the available scientific manpower–which is third largest in the world– the Indian science and technology has been growing well above world average. While the Indian output of science, as measured by the quality and quantity of Science Citation Index (SCI) papers, has been growing at a CAGR of 8 per cent in the past three years, the world average was only 4 per cent.
Also, the number of technical workforce is also increasing at a rapid clip and is set to cross the 2 million mark, with the march from one million to two million happening in just about three years. A number of world-class institutions have instrumental in this: 162 universities award 4,000 doctorates and 35,000 postgraduate degrees and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research runs 40 research laboratories that have made some significant achievements.
Space Technology India is one of the few countries with expertise to conceptualize, design and manufacture satellites and the capability to launch them into space. In fact, it has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world. Also, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the world’s third non-US supplier of 1-metre imageries and holds nearly 25 per cent of the US$ 120-million global free-play imageries market.
The year 2007 saw several major accomplishments being made in the Indian space programme: successful orbiting and recovery of a space capsule (which is a prelude to the development of space recovery capsule), launch of Cartosat-2 (a remote sensing satellite with a resolution capacity below 1 metre) and successfully testing indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage among others.
India has also lined up some interesting projects for the future: a lunar mission, a project for manned space outing around 2015, development of space recovery capsule (which would lay the foundation for future returning missions) and establishing indigenous regional GPS by 2012 among others. Renewable Energy India has been tapping energy from renewable sources to meet its growing energy demands. This also helps in diversifying its sources of energy. Some notable achievements in this field are: * India has the largest number of biomass gasifier systems in the world. India is the third largest producer of solar photovoltaic cells in the world * India is the world’s fourth largest wind power user. * India has the ninth largest solar thermal power generation in terms of million units per square meter. * Even after these achievements there is considerable scope for growth as there is a huge gap between potential and achievement in various sectors. Estimated potential and achievement of various renewable sources at the end of September 2007| Renewable Source| Estimated Potential| Achievement| Wind Power| 45195 MW| 7660. 2 MW|
Bio Power (agri residues and plantations)| 16881 MW| 560. 3 MW| Small Hydro Power| 15,000 MW| 2014. 66 MW| Bagasse Cogeneration| 5,000 MW| 692. 33 MW| Solar Water Heating (collector area)| 140 million sq. m| 2 million sq. m| Source: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India. | * Oceanography * India was the first country to be accorded the status of a Pioneer Investor and was allocated an exclusive area in the central Indian Ocean by the UN for exploration and utilisation of resources. India has already sent 13 scientific research expeditions to Antarctica and has two permanent stations in Antarctica.
In May 2007, India got approval from the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Committee (ATCM) to construct its third station at Larsemann Hills in Antartica. * India has also set up the Tsunami Early Warning Centre to predict the likelihood of tsunami within 30 minutes after a quake in Indian Ocean system. Further, it plans to become the first country in the world to acquire capabilities in predicting the likelihood of a tsunami in seven minutes after any major earthquake in Indian Ocean. * Nanotechnology * India plans to become the global hub for nano science and nanotechnology.
To this end, the government has started a five-year nano science and technology mission (NSTM) spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) with the aim to create nano clusters in the country. The government has planned an investment of US$ 254 million. * This has resulted in the initiation of over 100 R&D projects, establishment of 12 centres of excellence in nano science and 7 centres in nano technology and 4 centres of excellence in public private partnership. * In this endeavor India is favorably placed as it would have the youngest scientific talent pool in the world by 2020.
Already, many countries have entered in to bilateral cooperation with India in this field which includes countries like USA, UK, Canada, European Union, Germany and Italy among others. * Biotechnology * Biotechnology seems to be the next big thing in India after information technology. With a year on year growth of 35 per cent, the biotechnology industry has touched the US$ 2-billion mark in revenues in 2006-07 from US$ 1 billion in 2004-05. The industry is on the track to meet its target of US$ 5 billion by 2010. Already the biggest two of the top ten global biotech companies have already set up wholly owned subsidiaries in India. The rest of them have made their presence through marketing partnerships and have exploring larger business opportunities in the country. The Indian biotechnology sector offers a wide variety of products and services including affordable vaccines, non-vaccine therapeutics, innovative product development and contract services. In its latest global biotech survey, Ernst & Young ranked India number three after Japan and Korea in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Government has also approved the National Biotechnology Development Strategy to fully utilize the current opportunities and lay a strong foundation for discovery and innovation. Intellectual Property The number of patent applications has increased from about 13,000 in 2003-04 to around 29,000 in 2006-07. Significantly, the number of patents granted rose by almost four-fold from 1911 in 2004-05 to 7539 in 2006-07. Also, over the same period, the industry’s expenditure on R;amp;D has gone up from US$ 989. 36 million to US$ 1. 8 billion, with 50 per cent of the in-house R;amp;D units registered with the Department for Scientific ;amp; Industrial Research (DSIR) having an R;amp;D intensity of over 1 per cent. Simultaneously, the number of trademarks registered rose to a record level of about 326,000 during 2004-07 from around 167,000 during all the previous years, showing a marked acceleration of activity in this segment. The prominence of India in the Intellectual Property Regime can also be seen in the Indian Patent Office being granted the prestigious status of “International Searching Authority” (ISA) by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
This puts India in to the 14 member exclusive group of countries who are recognized as world leaders in the field of IPRs. Also, there has been increase in the number of patents filed by Indian centres of multinationals. A government report of US has pointed out that patent applications from top five emerging markets (which includes India) rose by 759 per cent, much higher than the 116 per cent growth rate of US. In fact there has been increasing reliance on Indian R;amp;D centres and over 300 multinationals have already established their R;amp;D centres in India. Government Initiatives:
With a view to attract and motivate students to take up science education and research, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has taken many initiatives: * Scholarships for 10,000 standard XII students across the country interested in pursuing a five-year integrated Masters in Science (M. Sc) programme. * Organising an interactive meet with Noble Laureates and Icons of Indian Science. * Instituting a new scheme to attract brilliant Scientists and Technologists of Indian Origin (STIO) abroad to work on collaborative R;amp;D projects.
India has also entered into many bilateral and multilateral framework agreements at the international level in the field of science and technology. In fact, in recognition of India’s capability in science and technology, it has been invited to participate in many mega science projects at the global level, which includes Facility for Anti-proton & Ion Research (FAIR), International Rice Genome Sequencing Consortium, International Consortium on Lepidopteron genomics and International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project among others.