We are walking archives of ancestral wisdom with Science being a part of this legacy'. The legendary Darwin had aptly prophesized this latent bequest of Science influencing the generations to come. Essentially, the fruits of curiosity-Science and technology, both are like the strands of double helical structure, intertwined with each other and infusing life to a country's economy. Any talk of development in today's world starts with the process of building up scientific capabilities.
Indian economy has been growing at a high rate for quite some time now. With 17 % of global population residing in India and converting these people into a scientifically and technically capable community would enrich us with the world's largest pool of human resource. Predictably, Science and Technology requires investment, infrastructure and an enabling environment but its most important resource is people. Therefore the real challenge today is to bring the larger masses under the umbrella of S&T. But exactly what does it imply? According to Darwin's "Bull dog", the renowned biologist T.H. Huxley, the practice of science is nothing but organized common sense. Therefore inculcating this counter-intuitive nature among common people is the chief goal.
It is heartening to note that India has been displaying some earnestness in developing Science & Technology. During 1996-2009 global R&D grew at an annual average of 6%. India increased R&D spending at 12.4% per annum during the same period. The publication output during the period 2007-09 reached to nearly 1.5 lakhs. All indications are that over the next few decades, India can become a major economic power with the third largest global economy. To ensure that this potential is translated into reality, and that economic power is complemented by intellectual capital, it is essential that India becomes a leader in science & technology. This will facilitate sustainable growth, and may actually accelerate the pace of economic growth. Our vision of development must consider more than mere macro-level indicators, and must address issues of equity, citizen services and quality of life as well as high quality education and health care.
The Uttarakhand state is currently at a nascent stage of drafting its own S&T policy. The biodiverse rich state has undergone various vicissitudes in nearly every socioeconomic aspect as well as even in containing its natural resources since its creation. Contrary to the fact that state houses numerous S&T based R&D institutes, the students enrolling in Science based programmes is quite dismissal. This is evident from year 2010-11 enrolment data where just 13.7 % students pursued higher education in science stream. It is in this context that one needs to see the place of science and its role in making the state a knowledge hub, a leader in science and technology. For such a scenario to become possible, it is essential that science be at the heart of the strategies for state development.
The evolving national milieu undergoing rapid changes currently rests on three main dimensions namely :
the knowledge society,
technology-driven industrial innovation,
inclusiveness of growth.
Consequently, Uttarakhand State Council of Science and Technology is redrawing its S&T strategy, realigning it with the national one and restructuring its capability set and, reshaping its engagement with the society and economy.
I hope UCOST will be able to build a political consensus for the broad objective of S&T strategy in the state and forging inter-alia relationships with various organizations for moving ahead on the path of development and success.