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Science, Technology and Mrs. Gandhi

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Even before independence, Indian political elites were well aware of the role of science and technology in the economic and industrial development of their country. Indira Gandhi inherited a well-developed scientific and technological institutional infrastructure founded by her father. Even though, unlike Nehru, she did not develop close personal relations with scientists, she was well aware of their importance in India's quest for self-reliance. Indira Gandhi increased government spending on research and development activities and she was keen to utilize the results for the social and economic modernization of the country. Not only did she place emphasis on formulating a national science and technology plan, she expanded research and development facilities in such areas as atomic energy, space and electronics, defense production and agriculture. Despite the fact that her efforts may have been hampered by the in-fighting and inertia of the bureaucrats, Indira left an impressive and rich legacy in the areas of science and technological development. The gains in technics are never registered automatically in society; they require equally adroit inventions and adaptations in politics; and the careless habit of attributing to mechanical improvements a direct role as instruments of culture and civilization puts a demand upon the machine to which it cannot respond... Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization

Affiliations: 1: University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls U.S.A.


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