It gives us great pleasance for all of us here from the TALKING GREEN squad to send on this particular editorial issue as portion of our new enterprise this twelvemonth to concentrate on specific topic of importance on scientific discipline and the universe and come up with a monthly column issue. We unfeignedly thank you for your response to our first editorial issue and with that this clip besides it will supply you some nutrient for idea and portion your positions and observations to turn and travel on better roads ……………… . . When we talk and portion dreams of a developed state we fail to touch the basic world and the land issues of Indian scientific discipline. Either we want to be on the comfort zone as for ever or we do non desire to be the bad cat to speak about it and PAGE 3 scientific attitude has developed during these old ages in our national scenario. Enjoy reading
Bane of Indian scientific discipline -Need to free scientists from babudom
In his reference to the 97th Indian Science Congress. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has admitted that bureaucratism was the curse of Indian scientific discipline. Later Dr Madhavan Nair said that except in sections under the Prime Minister’s control. every other scientific discipline subdivision suffered from ruddy tape. Clearly. there are many stating cases of how the bureaucratism had smothered the asking head and invention in India’s scientific discipline labs.
Ironically. most of world’s greatest scientists like Dr Sivaramakrishna Chandrashekhar and Dr Subramaniam Chandrashekhar won awards and acknowledgment abroad and non in India.
A typical illustration of bureaucratic intervention in India is sing the engineering of turning extremist pure Si crystals to do solar and other Si cells that convert visible radiation into electricity. Two Indian Institute of Science scientists had developed the engineering. In the early 80s. Mettur Chemicals ( MetChem ) in Mettur near Salem tried to put in a pilot works to do pure crystalline Si as a commercial venture utilizing this autochthonal engineering. The cells were to be manufactured by organic structures like the Bharat Heavy Electricals in Bangalore. The spirit of question is still suppressed in most scientific constitutions and in our universities by the heavy weight of senior status and sod conflicts
However. MetChem was made to repent the twenty-four hours they applied for an industrial license for Si industry utilizing this engineering. The ground: the authorities had already entered into a coaction with an American MNC to import this Si and do these cells in a Mohali-based populace sector concern. A powerful Joint Secretary in the Department of Electronics. who had direct entree to the so Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had said “no” to the MetChem program.
Similarly. the authorities aborted another undertaking on liquid crystal devices of the Bharat Electronics with the technological support from Bangalore’s Raman Research Institute. Dr Sivramakrishna Chandrasekhar was to go to the World Congress on Liquid Crystals. but the baboo in the Science and Technology and Electronics sections did non approve his foreign trip. raising questions after questions.
The ground why he was being harassed was his support for the BEL’s effort to fabricate devices from liquid crystals. The Joint Secretary referred to earlier had already negotiated with a Nipponese company to do LCD devices. In those yearss of socialist mantra in planning. there was no topographic point for competition though BEL with HMT coaction on the front terminal and RRI coaction at the back terminal was be aftering to do LCD-based tickers for every bit low as Rs 200 a piece.
The series of newspaper articles exposing this bureaucratic hurdle to autochthonal engineering led to inquiries in Parliament and in the Prime Minister’s advisory commission on scientific discipline and engineering and electronics. This shook the constitution and rescued Dr Chandrasekhar every bit good as the two autochthonal engineerings. Still the authorities decided to organize the Centre for Liquid Crystal Research merely in 1991. By so. the world-wide authorization on liquid crystals had stepped into the sundown old ages. And his basic find of discotic liquid crystals had become a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide – non in India.
There are several other cases of administrative officials making hurdlings in the 70s and 80s. India missed the coach wholly in electronics in the seventies. The black and white Television set was a wonder in the 70s and in the early 80s. a commission of secretaries decreed that a color Television set would be over Rs 13. 500 and therefore will non hold a demand in India. Even if these sets were made. how dearly-won it would be to put up tellurian coloring material Television transmittal studios. the baboo argued so.
P. K. Sandell. a technocrat. somehow succeeded in demoing Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in her abode that utilizing the Indian satellites color Television could be transmitted across the state and all that was needed was to hold low cost receiving Stationss to retransmit the signals that could make up to 20 to 25 kilometers radius. The attractive force of Asiatic Games being shown across the state in color eventually settled the issue with the Prime Minister overturning all expostulations.
In mid-90s. the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. with its 42 establishments. was set on a way of prosecuting find in a commercial manner and tied up with local Indian industry. Till so. its immense composite was merely puttering with scientific discipline and engineering. its scientific staff caught in a game of oneupmanship. forcing their senior status instead than their creativeness to make the upper rounds of the ladder. In this environment. virtue was the casualty. The environment changed after Dr R. A. Mashelkar took over as its director-general. He forced the labs to gain their staff of life. travel to the industrial units around and introduced term of office system for managers of the labs.
Many senior scientists were themselves guilty of perpetuating the iceberg of seniority-based appraisal of scientific work. The one-year ISC Sessionss saw the same scientists on the podium twelvemonth after twelvemonth and the awards traveling round them like musical chairs. That the scientific discipline Congress Sessionss should associate to a combustion job was an thought that Dr M. S. Swaminathan introduced when he chaired the ISC in 1983. No uncertainty. awards for immature scientists were introduced to run into the unfavorable judgment that seniors were monopolising the ISC. Liberalization came in the 90s with the economic reforms in the authorities in the 90s.
Dr Madhavan Nair has late said that the sections like Atomic Energy. Space. Ocean Development and Electronics under the Prime Minister’s control were free from bureaucratic control. The first two were more or less independent as they were mostly independent committees where the scientists had the concluding say. It besides helped that India was under a engineering denial government. So the first two had to happen their ain engineerings. However. they did it with enormous energy and imaginativeness. By the 90s. in both countries. India was at the top despite holds in undertaking completion.
After 20 old ages of liberalization. the spirit of question is still suppressed in most scientific constitutions and in our universities by the heavy weight of senior status and sod conflicts. If one scientific discipline section has an expensive equipment for research. other sections in the same establishment can non easy acquire to it unless they go through an luxuriant process and feet-touching of the other senior scientists. Faculties are non known for openness ; what is right or incorrect is decided by who is stating it and non by empirical grounds. The oppugning pupil is certain to be denied an entryway to the Ph. D research enclave.
If many Indian scientists have won awards making research in the US. it is merely because as one Indian scientist at Houston’s NASA Centre told this author at that place in the 80s: “Here if you have an thought and you find the manager of the institute passing by. you can lobby him and state him about this. Most likely he would name you for a treatment and allow you acquire all that you need if he finds your thought has even a modicum of logic. That is non the instance in India. “
Even in late 90s. the environment for scientific discipline in India had non changed. This writer’s friend. who was making doctor’s degree in biotechnology in JNU and subsequently shifted to Purdue University in the US. told me that if she wanted any equipment and if it was available with any other section in the university. she could easy obtain it without any fuss unlike in India.
Sam Pitroda with 51 patents behind him in the US took up the challenge in 1984 of developing India’s ain digital telephone exchange in three old ages. No one believed him. We had extended research in electronic telecommunications in Indian Telephone Industries ( ITI ) and in BEL. But no 1 had made any great progress in electronic exchanges.
Dr Pitke and Dr Mimamsi. who developed the first electronic parallel exchange. got into problem with the Telecom section. They joined Sam Pitroda’s C-DoT where there was no bureaucratism and intra-institutional communicating was free and critical. C-DoT did convey out India’s ain digital switch in six old ages.