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[Answered] How far the developments in science and technology in the post-Independence period put India on the path of modernity?

Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss developments in science and technology in the post-Independence period making India modern. Various challenges to it. Conclusion. Way forward.

India has succeeded in creating a sizable science and technology infrastructure within five decades of independence. Modern India has had a strong focus on science and technology, realising that it is a key element of economic growth. India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research, positioned as one of the top five nations in the field of space exploration.

Developments in science and technology in the post-Independence period making India modern:

  1. Agricultural modernity: Since the independence government has achieved self-sufficiency in agriculture. The Green revolution has enabled India to increase productivity through high yield varieties. Further, Indian agriculture benefited from the developments made in the field of biotechnology, for which a separate department was created in 1986 under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
  2. Industrialisation: Technological advances such as industrialization, railroads, gas lighting, factory systems, indoor plumbing, appliances, and scientific advances were rapidly made and these changes dramatically affected the way people lived and thought about themselves.  One consequence was that people in industrialized areas thought of themselves as progressive and modern.
  3. Space exploration: The Indian space program has made a lot of progress. Indian Space Research Organisation achieved a lot launching remote sensing satellites since developing India’s first satellite—Aryabhata. India has achieved a lot in the field of communication by launching communication satellites. Mars mission, Chandrayaan mission has proved India a leader in space activities.
  4. Secular nation: Modernity is characterized by increasing secularism and diminished religious authority. India adopted scientific temper and secularism as a foundation of new India, and of dams as the temples of modern India. This Idea of India has rejectedthe opposite idea of what led to Islamic Pakistan. Tolerance and spirituality characterize the country’s rich culture.

Challenges to India’s progress as modern nation:

  1. Corruption: Corruption is a big roadblock to India’s progress. For example, agricultural reforms like PDS are marred by leakages and corrupt practices. Public resources are used inefficiently and subsidies do not reach the poorest.
  2. Social divide: India’s social divide is often linked to its centuries-old caste system. The caste system still exist and lower castes still face discrimination from upper caste. This has hindered India’s emergence as a modern nation.
  3. Inequality: India has turned into a $3 trillion economy. But this growth is less inclusive with a high level of growing economic inequality. Inequality led to many remaining under poverty and did not grow with the nation. A modern nation is one where poverty is minimal, and poor having access to minimum basic like food, health, education which is absent in India.
  4. Health and Education: As India marches forward, it faces new challenges in health and education. Poor education and healthcare in India remains a hurdle to India’s progress. Cities grappling with alarming rates of congestion and pollution, together with an unhealthy population, significantly dampen the benefits of India’s demographic dividend and urban growth.

Way forward:

  1. Infrastructure development: A high priority should be infrastructure development, both physical and digital, to enable rural dwellers to access the products and services matching their incomes, needs and aspirations. The government already has flagship programmes such as Digital India, which envisions transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  2. Collaborative effort: Working together, business, government and civil society will have to connect Indians with their sustainable development. Policy efforts will be needed at the highest levels to harmonize India’s growing need for housing, roads, transport services and packaged goods with the resulting impact on the environment.
  3. Education and health spending: Improving service delivery of health and education services for better efficiency and access by the poor requires increasing public expenditures, reallocating expenditures away from tertiary levels and toward primary ones, making institutional changes, and sharpening targeting and incentives.
  4. Focus on access: As India aspires to be a global leader in science and technology, it is important for Indian policy to give attention to science and technology policy. Science and technology policy should focus on access, inclusion and equity, to link societal development with science and technology policy. It also reflects the current thinking on sustainable and inclusive growth.

India is aggressively working towards establishing itself as a leader in industrialisation and technological development. Significant developments in the nuclear energy sector are likely as India looks to expand its nuclear capacity. Moreover, nanotechnology is expected to transform the Indian pharmaceutical industry. The agriculture sector is also likely to undergo a major revamp, with the government investing heavily for the technology-driven Green Revolution. The Government of India, through the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013, among other things, aspires to position India among the world’s top five scientific powers.

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