Indian S&T - Major Players
The Indian S&T system constitutes a synchronized structure which plays a role of a counsellor placed under the administrative and executive control of the Office of the Prime Minister. The major players responsible for policy formulation and coordination are - Planning Commission (by the Member, In-Charge of Science & Technology), Ministry of Science & Technology; and various Ministries like Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO), Department of Space (DOS) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). The Prime Minister’s Office, however, directly controls the DOS and DAE. Besides this the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government (cabinet) and the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister are two bodies in place to guide the Policy level initiatives.
The Ministry of Science & Technology is the Central Government’s main player in Science and Technology. It governs three departments, i.e. the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) which form the second level players. The three departments are involved in funding basic research and industrial research, both domestic and international, of over 45 laboratories nationwide DSIR has a mandate to carry out activities relating to indigenous technology promotion, development, utilization and transfer. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) falls under the authority of the DSIR. CSIR has made significant contributions in various areas of science and technology. CSIR is the national R&D organisation providing scientific and industrial research for India’s economic growth and human welfare. It has a countrywide network of 37 research institutes and 2 centres covering fundamental and applied R&D in all areas of science and technology barring atomic research, space and defence. The third level may include Ministries such as Agriculture including Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Various state government research and development agencies are also engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation and public health. Chemicals and fertilizers, civil aviation and tourism, coal, defence, environment, food, civil supplies, forests and wildlife, health and family welfare, home affairs, human resource development, non-conventional energy sources, petrochemicals, and petroleum and natural gas, as well as other governmental entities, ministries and departments are also included in this segment since they have significant science and technology components and are accountable to the Prime Minister’s Office through respective ministers.
The fourth level includes University Grants Commission (UGC) comprising more than 360 universities which is responsible for the coordination, determination and maintenance of high education standards, as well as for the release of grants and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which is in charge of planning, co-ordinated development, and qualitative improvement of the technical education system throughout India.
Until recently, the economic development of India had not been at a stage where the private sector could play a leading role in R&D. However, the private research organizations, public-sector research and development establishments, and research and development centres within private industries are playing an important role in the development of technology. This forms the last level and includes the Translational National Corporations (about 150 of the Fortune 500 companies) which have set-up R&D centres and units in India.
India is presently playing host to an increasing number of private companies in all industries in an effort to encourage the establishment of their own R&D shops and centres to conduct their own research as well increase their collaborative efforts both at the domestic and international level.