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India: Infrastructure and Government Role
Country Study > Chapter 6 > Character and Structure of the Economy > Science and Technology > Infrastructure and Government Role

INFRASTRUCTURE AND GOVERNMENT ROLE


Science and technology policy and research have largely been the domains of government since 1947 and are largely patterned after the structure left behind by the British. Within the central government, there are a top-down apparatus and a plethora of ministries, departments, lower-level agencies, and institutions involved in the science and technology infrastructure.

Government-administered science and technology emanate from the Office of the Prime Minister, to which a chief science adviser and the Science Advisory Council, when they are appointed, have direct input. The prime minister de jure controls the science and technology sector through the National Council on Science and Technology, the minister of state for science and technology (who has control over day-to-day operations of the science and technology infrastructure), and ministers responsible for ocean development, atomic energy, electronics, and space. Other ministries and departments also have significant science and technology components and answer to the prime minister through their respective ministers. Among them are agriculture, 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, nonconventional energy sources, petrochemicals, and petroleum and natural gas, as well as other governmental entities.

The Ministry of Science and Technology was established in 1971 to formulate science and technology policies and implement, identify, and promote "frontline" research throughout the science and technology infrastructure. The ministry, through its subordinate Department of Science and Technology, also coordinates intragovernmental and international cooperation and provides funding for domestic institutions and research programs. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, a technology transfer organization, and the Department of Biotechnology, which runs a number of developmental laboratories, are the ministry's other administrative elements. Indicative of the level of importance placed on science and technology is the fact that Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao held the portfolio for this ministry in the early and mid-1990s. Some argued, however, that Rao could truly strengthen the sector by appointing, as his predecessors did, a chief science adviser and a committee of leading scientists to provide high-level advice and delegate the running of these ministries to others.

The National Council on Science and Technology is at the apex of the science and technology infrastructure and is chaired by the prime minister. The integration of science and technology planning with national socioeconomic planning is carried out by the Planning Commission, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. The second component, organizations that support research and development, includes the departments or ministries of biotechnology, nonconventional energy sources, ocean development, and science and technology. The third-echelon component includes state government research and development agencies, which are usually involved with agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation, public health, and the like and that also are part of the national infrastructure. The four other major components are the university system, private research organizations, public-sector research and development establishments, and research and development centers within private industries. Almost all internationally recognized university-level research is carried out in government-controlled or government-supported institutions. The results of government-sponsored research are transferred to public- and private-sector industries through the National Research and Development Corporation. This corporation is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology and has as its purpose the commercialization of scientific and technical know-how, the promotion of research through grants and loans, promotion of government and industry joint projects, and the export of Indian technology.




Last Updated: September 1995


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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