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Self-Reliance & Political Freedom, the Two Sides of National Development A D Damodaran Ph. D (Leeds) Former Director, National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR), Thiruvananthapuram. Email ID alathurdamodaran@yahoo. co. in (Presented at National Conference on “Science, Technology and the Nation” February 24 -26, 2011, University of Hyderabad)
On Technological Nationalism. History of our independence movement has revolved around three profound fountains of thought and action: political nationalism expressed for the first time by BG Tilak through his dictum “Freedom is my birthright…”, economic nationalism arising out of the well-known Drain Theory by the veteran Dada Bhai Naoroji again for the first time exposing the impoverishing effects of the alien Raj and technological nationalism propounded by the veteran industrialist JN Tata who professed that modern India should walk on three legs, namely, electricity, steel, and industrial science.
• Though among those veritable streams of thought the weakest and least orchestrated one was of course the last, it assumed wider acceptance and priority as a policy instrument with none other than Jawaharlal Nehru himself took up the cause and indefatigably started championing it after the attainment of independence. One person who concretely elaborated its true content was Homi Bhabha who through his Growing Science” model said, “Imported technology would give a quick and assisted take-off……but it shall develop the ability for independent flight only if it is propelled by engines of our own based on indigenous science and technology”. Thanks to such a lucid formulation of the doctrine of self-reliance and matching techno-political policy support at the highest levels of governance, India could achieve high levels of self-reliance in strategic areas like atomic energy, space and missiles technologies on the one hand also the crucial agriculture sector through the celebrated Green Revolution on the other, not to ignore the other crucial one, the drugs sector.
• There are, however, reasons to believe that under the post-ninety neo-liberal policy regime, vast changes are taking place to undo the past gains; these process coming into even sharper focus after the WTO/TRIPS conditionalities have come into force in the industry/technology sector. The questions raised through the conference are undoubtedly valid and the attempts will be made to analyze them through a first level SWOT analysis of our own experiences in the field.
Screw Driver to Plugging-in Technology? • Many have dismissed the earlier stage as only a Screw Driver Technology era; surprisingly enough, they remain silent when the new policy regime of globalization and liberalization has truly and even for worse now given rise to a more damaging Plug-in Technology Era. One person who spoke eloquently against the true content of the new policies was late A S Rao whose name is treated synonymously with ECIL, not to ignore his pioneering role in the field of indigenous electronics itself. To quote him,
“In the long run import of technology proves to be ‘time wasting’ in the sense that our absorption of imported technology is often superficial and we don’t develop the insights required for improving and updating such imported technology on our own without again going for further import. If in 1994 we are importing technology for electronic telephones and exchange systems after 40 years of experience in manufacture of these items, what has been the time saved or cost saved? If we were to ponder over this single instance of India’s telephone system, we will see how indispensable a strategy based on indigenous technology development is for our country. Self reliance in technology development is a necessity for this country, not merely an alternative choice as some people seem to view. I rate as the best contribution of ECIL to the nation, not any of its products, excellent they may be, but this demonstration that India is capable of generating its own technology. The excitement of problem-solving of working to see visible results, is a special feature of organization like ECIL. All of you will be rendering a great service to the nation if you strive to keep this kind of creative working environment alive. I this connection I want to read what the great man Dr Homi Bhabha said once. I quote, ‘Indian science and technology will only come of age when we have learnt to design and build steel mills, engineering works, chemical plants, power equipments, etc. ourselves, without having to depend upon foreign consultancy. There is an almost universal tendency today, whether in the private or public sector, to think immediately of finding a foreign consultant when even some new plant or industry has to be established. I think this is due entirely to a habit of mind, to a lack of national self-confidence’.
Dedication to late A S Rao • With great humility and pride, I dedicate my lecture to the everlasting memory of late A S Rao who lived and worked for decades like a mild, mild-spoken, persuasive and yet a technological colossus in this very city of Hyderabad which hosts this seminar.
Lessons from world economic histories • In his provocative and yet exciting book entitled “How Rich Countries Got Rich…. and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor”, the prestigious Myrdal Prize (2008) winner and renowned economics historian Erik S. Reinert says: “Wealthy nations have a tendency to force upon poor nations theories they themselves never followed and probably never will. Looking behind ‘high theory’ in order to observe what actually happens therefore becomes an important exercise.
‘Don’t do as the Americans tell you to do, do as the Americans did’. • Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury, had read Adam Smith, and wisely based the industrial and commercial policy of the United States on Smith’s experience-based claim that only manufacturing nations win wars, rather than on his theoretical claim about free trade…Following England’s practice rather than her theory, the United States protected their manufacturing industry for 150 years…Once a country had been solidly industrialized, the very same factors that required initial protection- achieving increasing returns and acquiring new technologies - now required bigger and more international markets in order to develop and prosper. Successful industrial production thus carries the seeds of its own destruction; when successful, the protection that was initially required becomes counterproductive…. The same tool box was employed by virtually all continental European countries in the nineteenth century…same was used in Japan from the Meiji Restoration in the 1860 s and in Korea – a country poorer than Tanzania in 1950 – from the 1960 s onwards. Poorer countries are those who have not employed this ‘toolbox’, or have employed it too short a period and/or in a static way that has prevented competitive dynamics from taking root”. The American maxim of the 1820 s, ‘Don’t do as the English tell you to do, do as the English do’, may today be safely updated to ‘Don’t do as the Americans tell you to do, do as the Americans did’.
Emulation & catching up • There was another common strategy in the tool box of those successful nations. To quote Reinert again, “The basic strategy that made Europe so evenly rich was what Enlightenment economics called emulation and the extensive tool box that was developed for the purpose of emulation – meaning according to Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the endeavor to equal or surpass others in any achievement or quality and also the desire or ambition to equal or to excel’, to be contrasted with envy or jealousy…. After the 1957 Sputnik shock that made it evident that the Soviet Union was ahead of the United States in the race to space…President Eisenhower chose emulation…. . the establishment of NASA in 1958 as a policy measure in the best spirit of the Enlightenment…. The spread of wealth in Europe, and later in the other developed parts of the world, was a result of conscious policies of emulation…Colonialism was at its core a system where these effects were not intended to take place, and our failure to understand the connections between colonialism and poverty is a significant barrier to understanding poverty……. With its stated confidence in comparative advantage as a solution to the problems of the poor, the Washington consensus has flatly prohibited the tool box of emulation…”.
Future Effects of Alien Rule • Undoubtedly such ideas were creating intellectual reverberations among the newly educated Indians as well who were essentially centered around some of the celebrated metropolitan cities of the country. The successive rise of political, economic and technological nationalisms in India were obviously the result of some of its such leaders, BG Tilak, Dadabhai Naoraji and JN Tata among them, who, having been exposed to what were happening in developed countries, became the first among many others in adopting the cause of emulation within; in turn they became also the pioneers in their own rights in championing freedom from the yokes of the enslaved rule and for the development of a new modern nation. And as said earlier, history of our independence movement has revolved around three such profound fountains of thought and action: political nationalism expressed for the first time by BG Tilak through his dictum “Freedom is my birthright…”, economic nationalism arising out of the well-known Drain Theory by the veteran Dada Bhai Naoroji again for the first time exposing the impoverishing effects of the alien raj and technological nationalism propounded by the veteran industrialist JN Tata who professed that modern India should walk on three legs, namely, electricity, steel, and industrial science. Even though all the three elements of nationalism are intertwined in the development history of any nation, we shall restrict this article only to the last, namely, technological nationalism. After all none can deny that while science is international, technology is absolutely national in content, designed, developed and implemented to meet a specific social need within also a specific time frame of development, in turn embodying the basic elements of achieving modern development resting on self reliance. And this is also the reason why I have chosen the title “Self-Reliance & Political Freedom, the Two Sides of National Development.
India on the path of Emulation • Having said that it was JN Tata who had for the first time espoused the cause of industrial science in national development, it was perhaps PC Ray who had not only realized that advancement of India and its people could happen only by economic advancement through development of new industries on scientific lines but perhaps even more significantly who also had put it into practice. A fine example perhaps of a pioneer scientist-entrepreneur, that too under a colonial rule! A celebrated research chemist that he was, he showed the way by investing his own money into forming Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works in 1893 to become a pioneer of chemical industry in India, so also of the first pharmaceutical unit. Reportedly eminent medicinal doctors with nationalistic feeling like R G Kar, N R Sarkar, S P Sarbadhikari, Amulya Charan Bose, etc. had also come forward and patronized the products. Ray had in fact taken, to start with, a rented house at 91 Upper Circular Road and started business with a meager capital of Rs 700. Since its inception, he was very much quality conscious and produced various products of the British Pharmacopoeia standard. Soon BCPW became the first Indian Company of its kind to manufacture quality Chemicals, Drugs, Pharmaceuticals and Home Products, employing indigenous technology, skill and raw materials to cater for the needs of millions of common people, to foster growth of Indian industries, to compete with imported goods and to become self-sufficient. His nationalistic outlook and sense of patriotism brought into it also many national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, C R Das, Subas Chandra Bose, and Jawaharlal Nehru and so on as its patrons. BCPL should truly be described as a Heritage Company not only in the area of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, but of Indian Industries themselves.
Visweswarayya & Indian Planning • Even though there were such ‘sporadic’ efforts here and there in industrializing the nation, it was the celebrated Sir M Visweswarayya Plan which set the process on a firm footing in terms of a meaningful development strategy. Thus when Nehru took over as Chairman of the National Planning Committee (NPC) of the Congress in 1938 with well-known industrialists, financiers, economists, professors, scientists as well as representatives of trade unions as members, he already had in front of him a blueprint for a development plan in the form of Sir M. Visweswarayya’s celebrated ‘Planned Economy for India’ published in 1934. An elder statesman, distinguished administrator and a highly rated engineer by profession, Visweswarayya had based his plan on the First Five Year Plan drawn up by the Soviet Union, which he called “the first plan” in the world “developed openly and put into execution on a nation-wide basis” and “embracing every phase of national life – political, economic, social and cultural”. While stating that the Indian plan “should avoid communistic tendencies”, it basic policy should be to encourage collective effort “more or less on the lines followed in the United States and in Turkey”. He put it explicitly thus, “It is safe for this country to proceed along the lines practiced in such capitalist countries as France and the United States…We have yet to build up some measure of moderate industrial prosperity, and for the present, capitalism is best suited for that purpose. Only the monopolies incidental to capitalism should be minimized; and wherever they are inevitable, a watch should be maintained and special modifications made by legal enactments and otherwise, in the direction of service to the public”.
Industrialize or Perish • Visweswarayya favored all heavy industries and other industrial, agricultural or other projects to be in private sector, with the state’s role more or less confined to coordination as well as giving of subsidies. He approvingly quoted Stalin for giving primacy to heavy industry and as its core machine industry “because only heavy industry was capable of reconstructing industry as a whole, and transport and agriculture, and of putting them on their feet…Unless we have industry, unless we restore it, we cannot build up any industry, and without it we shall perish as an independent country’. His “picture of a reconstructed India” was one “which will have been industrialized in the sense that the USA, Canada, Japan and Soviet Russia are today’.
Post independent Scenario • How to accept the essentials of the Visweswarayya Plan, reframe it within his politics and finalize it as the plan of Indian National Congress was the obvious challenge that which Nehru faced. The basic approach to be followed by the NPC was exquisitely summarized by Nehru himself in his Discovery of India (pp. 435 -444): “the problems of poverty and unemployment, of national defense and economic regeneration in general cannot be solved without industrialization”, with self-sufficiency being the main plank. While realizing that the NPC’s composition was conducive to planning for socialism as such, “yet it became clear that our plan was inevitably leading us to establishing some of the fundamentals of the socialist structure”. The NPC’s work could not be continued effectively, following the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 and with the Congress itself drawn into an extended phase of political campaigns. In the process, the plan drafting process was taken over (rather hijacked) by a group of Bombay industrialists led by J. R. D. Tata and G. D. Birla in 1944. This ‘Tata-Birla Plan’ or the ‘Bombay Plan’ watered down whatever socialist essence as was originally envisioned by Nehru. Nevertheless, it became the first such collective effort of Indian planning, incorporating all earlier efforts for guidance of a “national government vested with full freedom in economic matters”.
Striving for Indigenous R&D • If industrialization was a matter of great priority for the newly independent nation, it was no surprise that the new government took a close look at the patent law regime very soon! I believe that perhaps CSIR under SS Bhatnagar would have played an important role in this policy review. We shall see later how CSIR contributed very significantly to the growth of a strong and vibrant drugs and pharmaceuticals industry in the country. If India was the first country outside the West to have a patent law as early as 1857 obviously thrust on it by its erstwhile colonial rule to IPR protect the imported technology from ‘copying and reverse engineering’, India has the distinction perhaps also of being the first to review and revise it within a couple of years after achieving political independence to convert patent law as formulated originally in the West itself as an instrument of modern development. The 216 pages long Report of the Patent Enquiry Committee (1948 -50) and the 397 pages long Report on the Revision of the Patents Law by Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee (September 1959) speak eloquently of the ‘patent literacy’ of experts available for guidance and advice to the newly independent nation. The well-acclaimed Indian Patents Act 1970 was the product of such eminent minds working behind and getting it passed through the parliament by a matching ruling leadership, in spite of the as-expected protests and threats against the legislation from far and wide. If over the next few decades India became at least an “advanced developing country”, the true credit must be shared among those doyen techno-political visionary-stalwarts working in tandem for a modern nation built through large scale application of S&T through indigenous “R&D of possible industrial use” permissible within the relevant national law.
Homi Bhabha Plan for Nuclear Technology through “Growing Science” Model • • In a way, it was into such an exciting though indeed challenging techno-political era that the distinguished nuclear scientist Homi Bhabha entered the scene in late 1940 s – early 1950 s period to champion the need to develop the nuclear technology base in our country. To quote from himself from his celebrated 1966 lecture on “Science and Problems of Development” before the International Council of Scientific Unions, “The talk on Science and the Problems of Development will be based mainly on our experience in India during the last twenty years, but much of what we have to face here may be common to many underdeveloped countries, and some of them, I hope, will be able to profit from our experiences, both successful and unsuccessful. It is interesting to note that practically all the ancient civilizations of the world - Persia, Egypt, India and China - were in countries which are today underdeveloped. This is not surprising, since most of the countries of the world are still in this category. Western Europe is in fact a small area of the globe which outstripped the rest, essentially from the time of the Industrial Revolution, because of its development of modern science and the enhanced ability this gave it to utilize the forces of nature and to thus achieve a much higher material standard of life for its people. She was followed, and indeed to some extent overtaken, in industrial development by the United States, and more recently the category of the industrially developed countries has been joined by the Soviet Union, Japan and a few others. A major part of the world however still remains underdeveloped by these standards.
• What the developed countries have and the underdeveloped lack is modern science and an economy based on modern technology. The problem of developing the underdeveloped countries is therefore the problem of establishing modern science in them and transforming their economy to one based on modern science and technology. An important question which we must consider is whether it is possible to transform the economy of a country to one based on modern technology developed elsewhere without at the same time establishing modern science in the country as a live and vital force. If the answer to this important question is in the negative, and I believe our experience will show that it is so, then the problem of establishing science as a live and vital force in society is an inseparable part of the problem of transforming an industrially underdeveloped to a developed country……. (emphasis – ADD)
• “I think it only appropriate that I should recall at this stage the immense debt that Indian science and scientists owe to Jawaharlal Nehru. Science was an essential, indeed basic, component of the India which he sought and worked so hard to build. "It is now patent". He said that “Without science and technology we cannot progress". So great was his zeal for science and for the scientific approach to life that he missed no opportunity of imparting his views to others. To quote: "You know that whenever the chance offers itself I say something about the importance of science and its off-shoot, technology. I think we should realize how modern life is an offspring of science and technology". And he fully realized that modern science and technology were as necessary for a highly developed agriculture as for industry. "After all", he said, "how has agriculture grown in many other countries greatly? It is because of the application of science and technology. If modern life depends so much on science and technology, then we must seize hold of them, understand them, and apply them". He saw the essential role of science in its historical perspective, not only in transforming the material environment, but in transforming man.
• To give only one more quotation: "Science has developed at an ever-increasing pace since the beginning of the century, so that the gap between the advanced and backward countries has widened more and more. It is only by adopting the most vigorous measures and by putting forward our utmost effort into the development of science that we can bridge the gap. It is an inherent obligation of a great country like India, with its traditions of scholarships and original thinking and its great cultural heritage, to participate fully in the march of science, which is probably mankind's greatest enterprise today (emphasis – ADD). . .
• “I turn now to Atomic Energy for a case study of a scientific organization which has been built up by an entirely different method, a method which might be described as ''Growing Science". An Atomic Energy Commission was established in 1948 …. the Commission decided to use the existing institutions to do the preliminary scientific work and to develop the scientific personnel that would be needed. Foremost among the institutions which was so used was the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and the history of atomic energy in India during its initial stages is so bound up with this institute that it merits special consideration. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was founded in 1945 as a joint endeavor on the part of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and then Government of Bombay, on the initiative which I took in 1943, when I was a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore. At that time there was no scientific institution in the country which had facilities for original works in subjects at the frontiers of knowledge in physics, in particular, nuclear physics, cosmic rays and high energy physics.
• I accordingly pointed out to Mr. J. R. D. Tata the "the lack of proper conditions and intelligent financial support hampers the development of science in India at the pace which the talent in the country would warrant" and suggested that the Tata Trust might take the initiative in setting up an institute for fundamental research. I also pointed out in a letter dated March 12, 1944, that "when nuclear energy has been successfully applied for power production in say a couple of decades from now, India will not have to look abroad for its experts but will find them ready at hand". The Trustees of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust decided to accept the proposal and financial responsibility for starting the institute in April 1944, more than a year before the explosion of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima and before nuclear physics had become what might be called the 'bandwagon' of science. This was also before it had been made public that atomic piles had been successfully operated and long before there was any talk of atomic power stations……
• “May I now turn to the Atomic Energy Establishment at Trombay which is today by far the largest scientific centre in the country, with a total staff of some 8, 000 persons, of whom nearly 1, 800 are professional scientists and engineers and another 3, 000 technical staff, many of whom, such as Scientific and Technical Assistants, are science graduates? This Establishment has again grown like the Institute, depending on the ability of the various groups to expand fruitfully…. . The emphasis has been throughout on developing know-how indigenously and on growing people able to tackle the tasks which lie ahead. The generation of self-confidence and the ability to engineer and execute industrial projects without foreign technical assistance have been major objectives.
• It was decided to build a reactor of the swimming pool type early in 1955. The basic design was frozen in July of that year and the entire reactor, including the building for it, was designed and built entirely by our own scientists and engineers in just over a year, only the fuel elements which contain enriched uranium being supplied by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. The reactor became critical for the first time on the 4 th of August 1956 and was the first reactor in Asia outside any that the USSR may have had in its Asian territories. This reactor was designed and built by us at a time when most European countries, except of course the United Kingdom and France, were buying their first reactors from the United States. The successful completion of this reactor gave a great deal of confidence to our staff and was an invaluable facility around which the research and development of the project was built during the following few years The control system for this reactor was built by the Electronics Division (headed by none other than late AS Rao) in some old wartime hutments on the site of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and gave trouble free operation for four years till the reactor was shut down in 1960 for overhaul, maintenance and repairs.
• Having decided to build a reactor of the swimming pool type to begin with, we were looking around for a suitable design of reactor to carry out engineering experiments on the design of future power reactors, when we received an offer from the Canadian Government to build a reactor of the NRX type at Trombay. As this reactor suited our needs, the generous offer of the Canadian government was accepted after some questions had been settled. The CIR reactor at Trombay is an almost identical copy of the NRX at Chalk River, but differs from it in one important particular; the primary cooling water circuit is a closed loop from which heat is removed by a secondary sea water circuit. The CIR being a Canadian gift under the Colombo Plan, all parts of it came from Canada, and the erection, though a Canadian responsibility was carried out jointly with our staff. Although the total number of engineers and skilled artisans engaged on the construction of CIR rose at one stage to as many as 1, 200, the maximum number of Canadian personnel at any given time at Trombay never exceeded 30 -. Indian welders had to be trained in the special welding techniques required, and all welds were radio graphed. Similarly, Indian engineers participated in the erection of the reactor under overall Canadian supervision. • I must say here in appreciation of the Canadian concept of this cooperation, that when the project was decided upon, they asked us to send some 40 scientists and engineers immediately to Chalk River to be trained in the operation and maintenance of the reactor, and it was most of these, as well as others, who were able to participate on return in the construction of CIR.
• • • CIR has fuel elements made of natural uranium clad in aluminum alloy and it was decided to tackle the problem of making fuel elements in India from the very beginning. Accordingly, it was decided to set up a plant for making atomically pure uranium metal from uranium concentrate obtained from Indian monazite and other sources, and another plant for fabricating this uranium metal into finished fuel elements for CIR. In case any trouble arose during the initial operation of CIR, it was decided that half the first charge would be supplied by Canada and the other half made at Trombay, so as to be able to isolate trouble arising from the fuel elements from trouble arising from other sources. It was as well that this procedure was followed, because quite a number of difficulties were met in working up CIR to full power and it could be established that this difficulty did not arise from the Indian fuel elements, which from the beginning performed as well as the Canadian supplied ones. The decision to build a uranium metal plant was taken in May 1956, its construction was started in December 1957, and the first ingot of atomically pure uranium was produced in January 1959 the plant having been designed entirely by Indian scientists and engineers and built in about a year. Similarly, the fuel fabrication facility was also designed and built entirely by out own staff and produced the first fuel element in June 1959. The production of fuel elements is generally considered a rather difficult and tricky operation and the successful production of nuclear grade uranium metal and metallic fuel elements from it at a time when there were only above half a dozen countries in the world producing their own fuel elements added further to the self-confidence of our staff to undertake difficult tasks.
• The economics of the operation are also noteworthy…. our fuel elements would cost Rs. 2. 6 lakhs ($52, 000) per tone, or a single charge of 10 tones Rs. 26 lakhs ($520, 000). This fuel charge, if imported, would cost $750, 000. Thus, apart from the fact that we obtain our fuel elements at two-thirds of the price at which we could buy them, the foreign exchange saving in one fuel charge alone, which in full operation in enough to keep CIR going for less than a year, more than compensates; the total foreign exchange expenditure on setting up this plat. What is even more important, we now have first hand technical knowledge for the erection of such plants on a much bigger scale. Construction will be started this year on plants to make zircalloy from zircon, atomically pure uranium oxide from uranium concentrate and fuel elements for our two atomic power stations of 400 MW each which are being built in Rajasthan and Madras
• It was originally envisaged at the beginning of the Third plan that we would have to start building an industrial scale plutonium plant to be completed by the end of the Fourth Plan for treating the used fuel from the nuclear power stations that would be in operation by then. In order to gain first hand experience of the technology of building a plutonium plant, which, as is well known, involves many special techniques, including the handing of very large amounts of radioactivity by complete remote control at the initial stages, and multiple precautions to avoid accidental criticality at the later stages, it was decided to build a pilot plant at Trombay to treat some 20 to 30 tonnes of used fuel per annum costing about Rs. 3. 5 crores. the chemical data for the process was collected in our own laboratories in addition to what has already been published, and the plant was designed, engineered and built by our own staff and successfully underwent trial runs in 1964. It has been in operation since last year. As it happens, the capacity of this plant (for the same cost) is many times larger than that originally planned, so that it has become possible to postpone the construction of the large plutonium plant.
• This shows the importance of undertaking research and development oneself, and that research and development, if properly carried out, effect more economics than they cost. I have already mentioned the work of the Electronics Division. It is now proposed to set up and electronics plant at Hyderabad for the manufacture not only of the nuclear electronic instrumentation, including that which is required for routine production and use of isotopes in hospitals and industrial establishments and laboratories, as also the control systems of reactors, but a variety of electronic components and equipment, which the Trombay Establishment has been able to develop and which are required by the electronics industry generally, but are not yet produced in the country…. . (This gave rise eventually to ECIL at Hyderabad – ADD).
• “Additions to our scientific and engineering staff have been at the rate of between 150 - 250 per annum. To meet this requirement, the Atomic Energy Establishment in cooperation with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, has run a Training School in which about 150 persons have been admitted per annum on the basis of inviting applications from young men passing out of the universities every year and selecting the best of them. They are then given a year's lecture course and training in certain general as well as specialized scientific subjects. At the end of the year most of them are absorbed into the Establishment, the grading being on the basis of tests throughout the period of their study and an examination at the end of the year. To give and idea of the figures, last year about 3, 400 applied with first and second class degrees from the universities, 251 were selected on the basis of an interview, 130 actually joined the school, and 125 completed the course and were appointed at the end of the year. ON admission these young men become part of small scientific groups working on specific problems, and at the end of two or three years they become very useful scientists. The best among them are likely to become the future leaders. We have found this method of recruitment very satisfactory….
• “To summarize, of the two ways of establishing science as a national activity in an underdeveloped country, the standard method on the one hand, and the alternative method of, what I have called, ''growing science'' on the other, the second seems to lead to better results in the end with greater potential for continuous growth. While it may seem much slower and harder at the beginning, it has the capacity for continuous growth and to develop the people it needs, and its faster growth rate in later years more than compensates the slow beginning. Moreover, it may lead to concrete results sooner than the other method in developing countries, in which where is not a large pool of mature scientists to draw from…. .
Indian Industries, “Miles to go” • “I now turn to the problems of industrial development and the question as to whether a selfgenerating industry can be established without at the same time establishing powerful scientific base. Indian industrial development has so far proceeded almost exclusively on the basis of setting up plants and industries with foreign collaboration. Our own experience makes it quite plain, however, that this method can never lead to a self-generating industry without at the same time establishing a powerful scientific research and development effort to support it.
• “A few examples will make this plain. The steel industry has existed in India since the First World War, and one of the two steel plants was among the largest in the British Commonwealth in the early twenties. Yet, when these steel plants had to be expanded, it was necessary to draw upon foreign consultants and engineering firms to plan and carry out the expansion. When the Government decided to establish a steel plant in the public sector at Rourkela, a German consortium had to be asked to undertake the job. For the next steel plant at Bhilai the same course was followed, this time with Russian technical collaboration. The third public sector steel plant at Durgapur had similarly to be set up with the help of a British consortium, and essentially the same method is being followed with regard to the fourth public sector steel plant at Bokaro. Thus, the construction and operation of the number of steel plants has not automatically generated the ability to design and build new steel plants. Unless powerful scientific and engineering group are established during the construction and operation of existing steel plants as a matter of deliberate policy, the dependence on foreign technical assistance will continue and the steel industry will not reach a stage of technical self-reliance. • A similar situation exists in almost every other industry. On the other hand, where a strong scientific and technological base has already been laid, foreign collaboration can certainly lead to a quicker take-off.
• The relative roles of indigenous science and technology and foreign collaboration can be highlighted through an analogy. Indigenous science and technology plays the part of an engine in an aircraft, while foreign collaboration can play the part of a booster. A booster in the form of foreign collaboration can give a plane a assisted take-off, but it will be incapable of independent flight unless it is powered by engines of its own. If Indian industry is to take-off and be capable of independent flight it must be powered by science and technology based in the country…. . ”
• The strategy worked out by Bhabha with the total support of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, DAE describes the pair as the Architects of India’s Atomic Energy Program, under the " growing science " approach had the following major elements: – a. Evaluation of the technology gap in the field between India and advanced countries in all aspects, including the nature of Intellectual Property Rights related to it, (The nuclear reactor was patented in 1945 itself by Fermi and Szilard in an extensive US patent!) – b. Importation of appropriate technology under conditions “favorable to us” in the words of Bhabha, wherever feasible and thereby utilizing the opportunity to get a “quick and assisted take-off”, – c. Systematic development of the appropriate indigenous S&T infrastructure to assimilate the " know-how and know-why " of designs, equipments and systems, and – d. Providing adequate legal/administrative policy support for implementing the indigenous development program, including support measures to overcome issues connected IPR's. • The Indian Atomic Energy Act 1962 had incorporated all the essential requirements for implementing the DAE program as envisaged.
• In essence, nuclear energy has been developed in our country under the “Growing Science” model of Homi Bhabha as a safe, reliable and thereby feasible source of energy and which also becomes economic in locations where hydroelectric sources are inadequate and/or deposits of coal and allied thermal energy sources are too far away. Over a dozen 220 mw capacity reactors have been in operation in many parts of our country within internationally accepted and approved norms of safety, plant load factor and so on with the one at Kakrappara wining also the prestigious WANO Award (World Association of Nuclear Operators). The latest to enter the nuclear stable are the 540 mw reactors operating at Tarapur, these also designed, manufactured and set up by the DAE staff. Very soon there will also be 700 mw systems in place. In other words, DAE has the total know-how in nuclear power technology indigenously; even our thermal power plants do not fall into this level of indigenous expertise, with those like BHEL still updating their technologies through successive imports only! What India lacked was in the adequate availability the raw material uranium and with the mining mill in AP going on full stream, the shortage could be much less. Alternatively if we succeed in getting a friendly nation for import of raw material uranium under normal safety surveillance requirements, DAE can expand its capacities to the required levels as mandated by country’s needs within acceptable levels of economic operation costs.
• In the strategic sector also, DAE has enabled the nation to achieve independent nuclear deterrence capability, however limited it be currently. And hence the reason that over the years DAE has become the priced Jewel of Indigenous Self Reliance and the envy of even many advanced countries, two of its major units, ECIL and NFC, being situated in this city and the largest uranium mining unit coming up elsewhere in this State itself. More of these details are beyond the scope of this paper except to highlight the point that with the right implementation strategy and assisted by a matching political leadership, India could penetrate and cross all hegemony limits set by the nuclear powers and to go a long way in mastering this “unforgiving technology”, to use the description of one of its founding fathers Prof Alfred Weinberg himself!
ISRO, DRDO Developments on Growing Science Model • Other two strategic departments which also have more or less been fashioned on the same model are ISRO and DRDO, the former in aerospace technology related to satellites and launch vehicles and the latter for the multifarious missiles, to mention only one from the many, with Brahmo Aerospace products gloriously adding to the latest list. Details are obviously beyond the scope of this lecture.
Green Revolution, Another Success Story through “Growing Science” Model • In a commemorative article on late C Subramaniam described as the “Architect of the green revolution” in The Hindu, November 4, 2001, a former Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (better known as Pusa Institute), Dr Suresh K. Sinha, summarized his contributions as follows: • (a) When he took over as Minister of Food and Agriculture under Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, India had imported 19 million tons in just two years 1966 -67. On the floor of the parliament, CS declared, “Therefore if this house and the country want that we should reach self-sufficiency…we shall do everything possible. And get rid of our dependence on imported food grains as early as possible”. The pledge was fulfilled when the country, between 1976 and 1980, did not import any grains despite a severe draught of 1979 that led to a 22 million tones decline in production over the previous year;
• (b) CS further set out two major objectives of the government’s new agricultural policy (i) active introduction of science and technology in agriculture and (ii) establishing a pricing policy to motivate farmers to enhance production. The team of scientists was headed by Dr B. P. Pal of IARI. Notwithstanding some differences of opinion, it was CS who took the major decision to introduce the new high-yielding dwarf wheat varieties from Mexico (developed by Norman Borlaug), as was suggested by Dr Ralph Cummings of the Rockefeller Foundation. This decision was later converted into a policy – again, in spite of divergent views emanating from the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission. Even some leading economists and agricultural experts voiced concern over the likely increased expenditure arising from supply of the new seeds and chemical fertilizers, besides provision of remunerative prices to farmers. Fortunately for him, CS had the full support of Shastriji and his successor Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, in addition to a few senior bureaucrats (notably, the Agriculture Secretary, B Sivaraman).
• When queried about these concerns from various quarters, this is what CS said by way of reply in the Rajya Sabha, “…the new policy (is) whether we go in the same way of traditional agriculture or whether we shall break away from that and to scientific and modern agriculture. This is the issue…Some of us have been saying that we have been carrying on this agriculture for 200 years and our peasants know everything in the world with respect to traditional agriculture. But modern scientific agriculture is not known to every one of us. We have to learn many new things. Therefore the policy decision with reference to the question is that we are not going to stick to traditional agriculture. We are going to turn to modern agriculture on the basis of modern material inputs based on science and technology”.
• CS was able to convince his cabinet colleagues on the new policy by converting five acres of lawns and playground area in his own bungalow into a Demonstration Farm for the new seed varieties! While at an FAO Regional Conference in Manila, he also visited the International Rice Research Institute, from where he procured small quantities of seed of 12 new varieties, including the Taichung Native 1 and 3. This material, which was brought in 1965, was not only suitable for cultivation, but also for use as parental lines for breeding newer high yielding varieties suited to our conditions. CS also took a deliberate decision to try out the high yielding wheat varieties first in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP, having full confidence in the entrepreneurial farmers of that region! Once the technology was shown to be successful in this belt, further steps were taken to spread the same to larger areas of the country with a view to completely do away with imports under the PL-480 dispensation of the US. And that is precisely what happened by the 1980 s.
• CS’ stellar role also came out at a meeting of scientists under M. S. Swaminathan, who was then Head of IARI’s Botany Division in IARI. When the latter suggested organization of 1, 000 demonstration plots of two acres each in farmers’ fields for the new wheat varieties, CS went one step ahead by agreeing to compensate the farmers in the event of losses. Thus began the ambitious program of producing 25 million tons of wheat within a short period, unparalleled in the history of agriculture anywhere in the world. 23, 000 tons of seed was imported from Mexico for distribution in 1965 -67 crop seasons. Moreover, in the words of Dr Sinha, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) was itself re-organized on the pattern of Homi Bhabha’s “Growing Science” vision, with its Director-General elevated to the level of Secretary in the Government of India. As Dr Sinha concluded, “He is the man who made India self-sufficient in food through his conviction, courage and commitment. The country rightly recognized this great son of India with the Bharat Ratna”.
Borlaug’s role • CSubramaniam, MS Swaminathan and B Sivaram are always remembered as the three pillars of our green Revolution; and yet the role of Norman Borlaug, the celebrated inventor of the new hybrid technology and the resulting high yielding, short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat varieties that were widely adaptable to a range of altitudes, elevations and soil types, is certainly no less. He was not just a scientist but one who ardently believed and worked almost like an evangelist for pushing his R&D results to the fields, particularly of those in utmost need of them; and Indian subcontinent attracted his highest attention and priority. He had scant respect for those whom he had described as ‘butterfly scientists’!
• In March 1963, the Indian government invited Borlaug for discussions. According to Hesser’s account, Dr Swaminathan asked Borlaug, “You have seen our program, do you think Mexican wheat can help us? ” The path was clearly being laid. In 1964, 200 tons of Borlaug’s seeds were imported and planted in various experimental locations, especially in areas where his recommended norms and practices could be implemented. The yields in these plots were found to be exceptionally good, leading CS to declare, “This wheat is better than anything we have ever seen. We better go with it”.
• Having made the technological point, Borlaug’s next challenge was to work on the psychological and economic factors to get the Indian Government moving on the policy front. This, he believed, was necessary to “kick-off” the Green Revolution. Fortunately for Borlaug, he found the right politician in CS, who, against the advice of even some senior scientists, decided to import 18, 000 tons of short-strawed high-yielding, Lerma Rojo-64 seeds from Mexico. This was something that had never been attempted before. In the fall of 1966, approximately 240, 000 hectares were planted with the new seeds with dramatic results to follow. In March 1967, Borlaug, Swaminathan, SP Kohli and Glen Andersen made a field trip. In Borlaug’s words, “I had an opportunity to observe many hundreds of farmers’ fields throughout the wheat area. Euphoric wheat fever was widespread. The grass-roots were on fire! It had infected farmers, big and small, scientists, professors and politicians, and even a few immutable bureaucrats. I have never seen anywhere in agriculture such euphoria nor do I expect to see it again”.
• From there, he went on to campaign for an appropriate policy regime to put the demonstrated-and-proven technology to large-scale production. His demands were (i) availability of the right kind of fertilizer at reasonable prices at the village level six weeks before the onset of the planting season (ii) credit for farmers to purchase fertilizer and seed before the planting season and to be repaid at harvest time (iii) an announcement before the initiation of the planting season that at the time of harvest, farmers would receive a fair price for their grain. Borlaug also insisted that this price should be on par with that in the international market, rather than being only half as was the practice for decades under the cheap-food policies then in vogue. Reportedly, Borlaug went to the extent of proclaiming on March 29, 1967, “I wish I were now a member of India’s Congress Party; I would stand up and shout in a loud voice: What India needs now is fertilizer, credit, credit and fair prices, fair prices!”
• The very next day Borlaug, Anderson and Swaminathan met the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, the President, V. V. Giri and later CS himself to inform them about the great farm-front success. They also sought urgent attention to be paid on the matching economic policy regime – making available adequate quantities of fertilizers at affordable costs, to dispense with the cheap-food policy and adopt one that assured farmers of a fair price at harvest-time, close to international levels. Borlaug apparently even warned the Indian Government not to be dependent on US mercies for too long, lest “these (PL-480) concessional sales be cut off …by shifts in political winds”. In CS’s words, “the hour which Borlaug spent with the Asoka Mehta (Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission) was probably the most productive hour of his career, for it apparently contributed to changing government policies on several fronts and greatly influenced agricultural production”. • Thanks to all such major policy changes accompanying the S&T breakthroughs, India’s Green Revolution was acclaimed as a historic achievement. In his “The Population Bomb” tract published in 1968, Paul Ehrlich had predicted that it was a “fantasy” that India would ever feed itself. But by 1974, India had turned self-sufficient in the production of foodgrains. As Minister for Food and Agriculture, CS played a decisive role in the introduction of the high-yielding varieties of seeds and intensive application of fertilizers, paving paved the way for increased output of cereals in the late 60 s and the subsequent attainment of self-sufficiency in food-grains by the country. About his contribution, Borlaug wrote: "The vision and influence of Mr. Subramaniam in bringing about agricultural change and in the very necessary political decisions needed to make the new approach effective, should never be underemphasized”. The groundwork for this advance (in the production of wheat) was solidly laid during that period (1964 -67) when Mr. Subramaniam was the guiding political force instituting change. He, along with MS Swaminathan and the former Agriculture Secretary B Sivaraman, formed the three 'S's instrumental in heralding the Green Revolution. With Swaminathan standing at the helm of the scientific community that spearheaded the project, and Sivaraman providing the required administrative support, CS was its real architect. Apart from them was, of course, B. P. Pal, who headed the ICAR during the crucial 1965 -72 period. As Borlaug noted, “It was during Dr Pal’s leadership that the agronomic research on wheat in India equalled the best in the world”. Dr Pal’s major initiatives were in research, education, extension, institution building and international cooperation. For him, the farmer was the ultimate judge of applied research and this was conveyed through the two mantras: “Solve problems in the field” and “From the lab to the field”.
• If the net immediate results of the Green Revolution in terms of food security were stupendous, the matching S&T base created concurrently within the country made it a more permanent one. To extend Homi Bhabha’s phraseology originally used in the context of the country’s nuclear program, “The imported technology gave the nation a quick and assisted take-off. Steadily, however, the indigenous S&T base provided also the ability for independent flight”. That makes the Green Revolution a truly Indian phenomenon in Bhabha’s “Growing Science” mode! Thus, the Green Revolution had its origin in Mexico’s International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center or CIMMYT. The two semi-dwarf wheat strains — Lerma Rojo-64 A and Sonora-64 — that launched India’s Green Revolution in the mid-1960 s were developed by CIMMYT scientists led by Norman Borlaug. But at the same time, the presence of publicly funded institutes under the ICAR and State Agricultural Universities enabled our scientists to effectively leverage the knowledge resources of CIMMYT and adapt them to the country’s local environment. An example of this is the Lerma Rojo-64 A and Sonora-64 wheats that, notwithstanding their high yields, found poor domestic acceptance — the reason being the deep-red colour of their grains. The Indian scientists, then, applied “mutation breeding” techniques to obtain a light-coloured grain mutant, Sharbati Sonora, from Sonora-64 and, likewise Pusa Lerma from Lerma Rojo-64 A. Similarly, PBW-343 — a workhorse variety covering 80 per cent of the wheat area of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh — was a selection from CIMMYT’s ‘Attila’ lines”. As Suresh K. Sinha has noted, CS was instrumental in remodelling the ICAR structure on the “Growing Science” model of Bhabha.
• • The other major player in this entire coordinated effort at ushering in the Green Revolution were the State Agricultural Universities, remodelled on the well-known Land Grant Universities of the United States. The first such university, to be named after the Chief Minister of the United Provinces, G. B. Pant, came up at Rudrapur in the Terai region during the Second Five Year Plan. Since then, many more have been set up on the same Land Grant model in virtually every State. They all adhered to the basic principle – namely, that these institutions must serve to increase the concerned State’s agricultural production through research, technology development and field extension as required by the farmers themselves. On the implementation side, the SAUs were made technical partners of counterpart US Land Grant Universities through a support program channelized through the USAID. Thus, technical collaboration agreements were drawn between Pant University and University of Illinois, Punjab AU with Ohio University, Andhra Pradesh AU with Kansas University, Rajasthan AU at Udaipur with Illinois University, Orissa AU with Missouri University, Mysore AU with University of Tennessee, Maharashtra AU with Pennsylvania University, and so on. The two structures together, the remodeled ICAR institutes and the new Land Grant-model SAUs, became the veritable backbone for indigenous agricultural R&D in the country. There is very little doubt that without these major policy initiatives, India’s Green Revolution would have remained very peripheral and sans any dynamic self-reliance content. It is this institutional set-up that has underpinned our own “Growing Science”-based Green Revolution!
“Growing Science” model & Drugs sector • Another crucial sector which enabled India to be described as an “advanced developing country” is drugs and pharmaceuticals. According to my own overall judgment, the three elements which contributed to the above are: – (a) 1970 Patents Act, – (b) Major R&D cum T/T support from public sector agencies such as CSIR, – © Pioneering role and initial thrust of public sector units like IDPL in imparting high-level technological confidence to enterprising technocrats in this high-tech high-quality conscious sector, so far the exclusive preserve of the large multinational drug companies. The three elements again contributing synergistically as envisaged in the “Growing Science” Model.
• Describing very briefly about all these three elements, • (a) India had a patent law as early as around 1857 enacted by the colonial rule to protect imported technologies from ‘copying and reverse engineering’. One of the earliest steps of independent India was to review and make in nation-centric through the Patent Enquiry Committee (1948 – 50) and eventually through the celebrated 397 pages long Justice Rajagopala Ayyangar Committee reports, leading to the much-discussed 1970 Act under the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi. If over the next two decades India rose to the status of an ‘advanced developing country’, due credit should go to those techno-political visionaries driven also by feelings of nationalism with matching passion for self-reliance. I consider the Ayyangar Committee report as a true Bhagavad Gita for all those who aspire to truly appreciate the envisaged role of patent law as an instrument to promote “R & D of possible industrial use” for national development.
• (b) The era ushered in through the imported know-how, plant and machinery from the erstwhile Soviet Union, IDPL became the largest Central Pharma Public Sector Undertaking in India with plants at Rishikesh, Gurgaon & Hyderabad and two Subsidiary Units at Chennai and Muzaffarpur. The vision of first Prime Minister of India, late Jawaharlal Nehru regarding Indian Drug Industry was that “the drug industry must be in the public sector…. . I think an industry of the nature of the drug industry should not be in the private sector anyhow. There are for too much exploitation of the public in this industry”. With the vision of then Prime Minister of India, IDPL was incorporated in April, 1961 (Company Registration No. 3418 of 1961 -1962 with Registrar of Companies, Delhi and having its Registered and Corporate Office at Gurgaon) with main objectives of creating self-sufficiency in respect of essential life saving medicines, to free the country from dependence on imports and to provide medicines to the millions at affordable prices and not to make millions from the medicines. IDPL was basically conceived and established as a part of Healthcare Infrastructure and has played a pioneering infra-structural role in the growth of Indian Drug Industry base. IDPL is the largest Central Pharma Public Sector Undertaking in India. IDPL has also undoubtedly facilitated in the evolution of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry in the Private sector, the city of Hyderabad itself being the true testimony of the same!
• • • © In an eminent lecture “Indian Pharma Industry: Decades of Struggle and Achievements” delivered on April 2, 2005, in honor of AV Rama Rao (former Director/IICT) on his 70 th birthday, Chairman CIPLA YK Hamied says, “…the foundation and backbone of the pharmaceutical industry is the manufacture and availability of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs)…. an inventor should be rewarded but there should not be monopolies in priority and need-based areas such as health and food, not only in India but in all third world countries. “…Prior to the second world war, there was virtually no basic drug manufacture in the country…When I joined the pharma industry in 1960, the label “Made in India” was not acceptable internationally. “…We formed the IDMA in 1961 for the sole purpose of boosing the national sector drug industry. We fought for eleven years to amend the draconic patent law then prevailing in India…We opposed monopoly. Our efforts culminated in the enactment of the 1970 patents act…. This act de facto gave India pharma industry the legal right and freedom to manufacture and market within our country almost any drug that was available internationally. It was the dawn of a Golden Age for the indigenous pharma industry. ‘…. From a turn over of Rs 100 million in 1947 and 3, 600 million in 1972, it is now 280, 000 million… equal in quality, trust and respectability.
• Dr Hamied goes into great detail the contribution of Dr Rao the outstanding scientist on the one hand of CSIR as a veritable public funded R&D institution in terms of very many successful industry-collaboration efforts for productionizing valuable drugs such as diazepam, salbutamol, sulphamethoxazole, trimethoprim, ibuprufen, vinblastine, vincristine, vitamin B 6, AZT, etc. , to name just a few. Many more others also have contributed in both R&D and industries over the years in this marathon march; I leave it at this stage only due to shortage of time! •
Conclusion. • • • We note that all three cases have major common and mutually synergistic elements – a proactive government policy and determination at the highest level of governance in terms of self-reliance in the sectors, major administrative/legal initiatives at same levels to remove existing hurdles and a distinct implementation plan with clear cut goals on the ground, e. g. mastering nuclear technology to meet the nation’s needs, achieve food security at the earliest and ensuring availability of essential drugs for reasonable levels of health delivery in the masses. Whereas the first was expected essentially to be totally in public domain, the second turned out to be a masterly crafting in public-private participation spread through millions of farmers all through the country and the third one as another example of a different public-private partnership; and all of them with the interventionist role of the government/ public sector being very predominant ! And in all these successful cases, the “Growing Science” model has again played its supreme role! In other words, the successes were due to having in place a well-crafted ‘developmental-cum-industrial policy’, more or less emulated from the experiences of other ‘lately’ industrialized countries such as Japan!
• In the post WTO liberalized and globalized scenario, major policy changes have been made and new difficulties have concurrently cropped up: • (a) After the India-US Nuclear deal, our Energy Security has been identified with expanded nuclear power production a significant portion of which through Imported nuclear reactors. According to former AEC/Chairman, those will have to be indigenized substantially to make them economically viable; and this will demand amendment of Atomic Energy Act in a number of aspects including its ‘non-patentability’ clause of items covered under the Act. IPR issues related to ‘dual use materials and systems are even more problematic. Last but not the least, the reactor calandria systems from the West will come through only Japan; and Japan even now insists on India to sign NPT. (b) With the Seeds Bill to be passed in the next session of parliament, IPR related issues will become strictly rigorous for new plant varieties including GMCs. Further the CBD stipulations do not allow free transfer of plant resources between countries as had happened during the Green Revolution. Still more serious is the policy decision of GOI that public R&D agency like ICAR provide more support in infrastructure needs and not new seeds per se. In other words the Second Green Revolution is not going to be easy! © With product patent being made applicable to pharmaceuticals and CL powers having been made restricted to meet only conditions of national emergency (which itself is yet to be defined!), native drugs sector is going through a serious spin, with even companies like Ranbaxy opting to sell itself to multinationals; and with FDIs soon to being permitted to hold even majority shares, the native units are under further serious threat; no wonder that prices are steadily also under increase. The biggest long term danger is the steady erosion in indigenous R&D itself! • • • All these issues are posing tremendous threats to even our present levels of self reliance. Unfortunately enough, they are hardly discussed even by S&T personnel and their professional bodies, leave alone by the informed public. Obviously the nation badly needs once again a new nation-centric policy even in this globalized world. Any lessons from China? I will leave it here.
• In the well known book “Between MITI and the Market”, the articulate development economist and policy analyst Daniel I. Okimoto writes thus: – • • • “Of the industrial countries that have heavily relied on industrial policy …. Japan is cited as an unambiguous success story; the effectiveness of the industrial policy is revealed in the successful emergence of one industry after another as world-class competitors: steel, automobiles, semiconductors” and so on. Pioneering studies by Sanjaya Lall on Korea and other East Asian economies also point out to only similar conclusions. Homi Bhabha’s Growing Science model formulated in the mid-sixties for India has much in common with the former ones. Perhaps Indian policies should be revisited on those models appropriately synergized with contemporary requirements – It appears that China has been doing this in her own way! More on these aspects is beyond the scope of this lecture; we only emphasize this point here as an essential pre-requisite for national development with self reliance as its base. A Faustian Challenge indeed, but then are there any alternatives? The steady erosion in self reliance and the continuing slip in the contribution of manufacturing in the Indian GDP virtually proves that there is no alternative if India must have her own industry and Indian Industry must be powered “by engines of its own” and with the ability for “independent flight”, to quote Homi Bhabha again.
• Last but not the least, and lest we forget, we must concurrently also realize that even in these successful sectors, we have become at best great innovators; and yet we have been nowhere as inventors nor could such a thing have ever happened except through appropriate stages of evolution, save some exceptions here and there. In other words, as late Jawaharlal used to always remind himself, • The woods are lovely, dark and deep, • I have promises to keep, • Miles to go before I sleep”. =========================