A compartmentalisation in understanding and practice has meant that technology exists separately from science in India, and that has created a need to evolve a platform to integrate the two. This would be crucial for the increased use of science and technology in furthering growth, according to speakers at a two-day national symposium that began in the city on Monday.
The symposium is being organised by the Indian Science Congress Association, and comes as a sort of precursor to the 100th Indian Science Congress that will be held in Kolkata in the first week of January. The primary focus of the symposium is outlined in its title — ‘Science for Shaping the Future of India’.
Speakers at the inaugural function of the symposium recalled the accent placed by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on science and technology, and made the usual customary note of projects like the Green Revolution, which used scientific advances to solve national crises.
The speakers, however, specifically emphasised the need to re-orient our scientific policy, its implementation and education to a phase where those involved are able to take concepts from their conception in laboratories to real world implementation in the rural India that needs them. This could be achieved with active participation of the State Governments in implementing the policies formulated at the Centre, they said.
Among the biggest shortfalls on this front has been the fact that a vast number of graduates join the IT industry for careers, despite the fact that their education has nothing to do with the field. “We are seeing chemical and mechanical engineers and pure sciences graduates joining the IT industry. What they have learnt does not come of any use for them in the job market,” noted G J Samathanam, Advisor & Head of Technology Development and Transfer at the Department of Science & Technology of the Central government.
“This is a great sorrow, a great mismanagement of human resources,” he said, adding that an integration of the efforts through cooperation between institutions and industry bodies can lead to an effective utilisation of core strengths.
Former vice-chancellors S P Thyagarajan and R Ramamurthi were among those who participated in the inaugural function, along with office-bearers and members of the Indian Science Congress Association.