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Interview with Dr Ramesh Anand Mashelkar and Dr Jitendra Pal Singh Uberoi Telecast on Friday, 29th of August, 1997

After 50 years of Independence, have science and technology engines of growth? Find out on India Talks.

Namaskar, welcome to the special "State of the Nation" series on India Talks. I am Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in New Delhi and we continue with our series of programs featuring eminent Indians to mark the occasion of 50 years of Indian Independence.

From Jagadish Chandra Bose to A K Ramachandran from C V Raman to Homi Bhabha, the list of Indians who have achieved excellence in the field of science and technology is long and impressive. Politically Independent India has been unable to catch up with the developed world. It is said that the alumni of any class of students graduating from any of the Indian Institutes of Technology or All India Institutes of Medical Science have a greater representation in the United States than in this country. Nobel Laureate Hargobind Khurana, who excelled in Bioengineering, and S Chandrashekhar, in Astrophysics, are among the scientists who have made their mark abroad in recent years. The world over, Indians are said to possess an algebraic mind. Topping the list of Indian scientific or mathematical brain journals which have found international reputation, is Sankhya, brought out by the Indian Statistical Institutes. Other publications include the "Indian Journal of Organic Chemistry", and "Inorganic and Physical Chemistry", brought out by the Center for Science and Industrial Research of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ramana, a journal in physics, is also brought out by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Despite these isolated areas of excellence the link between Indian laboratories and industry is said to be considerably weak. This was a finding of a group of experts drawn from the industry and science and technology which met in late November 1993 to assess the achievements of Research and Development since 1947 and to forecast the kind of technology that India would need in the next 25 years. The outcome of their deliberation is a document called "India’s Technology: Vision 2020" which identified 17 key areas of technology for planned action. How much longer will India continue to be called a developing nation? Have science and technology truly been the twin engines of economic development as has been envisaged by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.

ram_Jpsu_452_2908.jpg (17755 bytes)To discuss these and related issues let me welcome our guests. In the studio today I have Dr Ramesh Anand Mashelkar. Dr R A Mashelkar is Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). A chemical engineer by profession, he heads this organization comprising 40 scientific laboratories employing some 25,000 persons said to be the largest chain of laboratories of its kind in the world, and Dr Mashelkar would like to be known as CEO of CSIR Incorporated and still sees occasionally to the National Chemical Laboratory, to use his words, "to retain his sanity". Well, thank you Dr Mashelkar for coming here. The other guest on the panel is Dr Jitendra Pal Singh Uberoi. Dr Uberoi teaches socialogy at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, he has started in the institution, a course on sociology and science and had earlier taught the sociology of religion and the sociology of politics. Dr Uberoi has a number of publications to his credit. Thank you very much Dr Uberoi for coming here.