Development of science and technology in India after independence
Independent India has also witnessed tremendous growth in the sphere of science and technology. After 1947, Nehru became aware of the significant role of scientific research and technology in the progress of India.
India’s first national laboratory, the National Physical Laboratory was established in 1947. It was followed by seventeen such national laboratories specializing in different areas of research.
Nehru himself assumed the chairmanship of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. In 1952, the first Indian Institute of Technology, on the model of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was set up at Kharagpur.
Subsequently, IITs were set up at Madras, Bombay, Kanpur, and Delhi. The expenditure on scientific research and science-based activities has increased year by year.
There are about 200 research laboratories in India carrying out research in different areas. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) which was set up in 1971 has been assigned the responsibility of formulating science policy.
India was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the importance of nuclear energy.
The Atomic Energy Commission was set up in August 1948 under the chairmanship of Homi J. Baba to formulate a policy for all atomic energy activities in the country.
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was set up in 1954 as the executive agency for implementing the atomic energy programmes.
In 1956, India’s first nuclear reactor in Trombay near Bombay (first in Asia also) began to function.
Research and development work in the field of atomic energy and allied fields are carried out at three research centres, namely the Bhabha Atomic Research Center at Trombay, the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, and the Center for Advanced Technology, Chennai.
India has also evinced interest in space research. The Indian National Committee for Space Research was set up in 1962. Side by side, a Rocket Launching Facility at Thumba came up.
The first generation Indian National Satellite System (INSAT-1) represents India’s first step towards implementing national requirements.
The INSAT – 1A and INSAT – 1B served the country’s needs in the field of telecommunications and meteorological earth observations. The ISRO [Indian Space Research Organization] looks after the activities in space science, technology, and applications.
The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Trivandrum, the largest of the ISRO centres, is primarily responsible for indigenous launch vehicle technology. The ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore is the satellite technology base of the Indian space programme.
The SHAR Centre, encompassing the Sriharikota Island in Andhra Pradesh on the east coast of India is the main operational base of ISRO which is the satellite launching range.