Event ReportsPublished on Jul 05, 2005
Recongnising the pivotal role of technology in ensuring India?s emergence as a global player, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi, has launched a ?Technology Initiative?. As the first event, a one-day workshop on ?Science & Technology Challenges for India? is being hosted on May 7, 2005. The workshop brings together renowned professionals to evolve collective, cohesive thinking on issues of significance to India?s S&T performance and aspirations.
Science & Technology Challenges for India
In the past few decades India has taken major strides in science and technology since its independence and is today recognized for its achievements in many fields ranging from agriculture, textiles, health-care, and pharmaceuticals to info-tech, space technology, defence technologies and nuclear technology. However, when one compares India's techno-economic performance with some of the advanced countries or even other fast progressing developing countries, one finds that there is much to be desired. 

Science and technology (S&T) is so intrinsic to life that it is usually taken for granted and missed only by its absence. S&T policies however have complex connections with economic competitiveness, societal development, national security and even foreign policy. The government policies comprise of steps to encourage scientific-technical research to best exploit the S&T gains for the desired social, economic, political & military goals. However, forces of globalisation and technology diffusion demand that governments gradually become facilitators than controllers of technology in the future. This has brought in a paradigm shift in the ways of technology development and exchanges, thus calling for a serious review of S&T policies and practices and perhaps a role for non-government agencies.

In the 21st century, India not only has to quickly rise to the status of 'Developed Nation' but also has to compete with the best in the world to be counted among the techno-economic leaders. Modern technology and management methods are going to be the main instruments to achieve this. There are serious challenges that we have to meet through innovative approaches and forward-looking policies. We not only have to achieve the right mix of traditional and modern S&T knowledge for the rural India, but we also have to fine-tune the technology policies and implementation methods to optimize our existing technology strengths as well as create new core strengths in critical and enabling technologies. This will involve a major scale-up to S&T focus on innovation and skill development and this will also call for a fresh approach to creating the necessary technical human resource and a policy of retaining them for maximum benefit to Indian R&D and Indian technology needs. Otherwise we run the risk of converting our valuable asset of young population into a loss or a liability. 

In recognition of the pivotal role that technology will play in India's emergence as a global player, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) has launched a "Technology Initiative" to undertake studies in science and technology. Such studies of technology information, practices and trend analysis will be vital to providing timely inputs to policy and planning process for developing essential S&T capabilities for enhancing the quality of life, fueling economic progress & serving national security interests. It is envisaged that the "Technology Initiative" of ORF will contribute to this important process, by sharpening public perceptions on technology issues and pragmatically influencing the S&T policy and practices.

As the first event under this new initiative, a one-day workshop on "S&T Challenges for India" is being organised at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in Delhi on 7th May 2005. The objective will be to bring together a group of professionals for collective and cohesive thinking on issues of importance to India's S&T performance and aspirations. Based on the inputs generated in this workshop of S&T experts, academia and the industry representatives, ORF intends to initiate in-depth studies in national and international technology trends and practices for evolving priority policy directions for the country to become more self-reliant and competitive in techno-economic matters
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