Science and Technology Infrastructure
Science and Technology Infrastructure


Scientific and technological activities in India are carried out under a wide set-up consisting of Central government, State governments, higher educational sector, public and private sector industry and non-profit institutions/associations. These institutional structures, with their research laboratories, are the main contributors to research and development being carried out in the country. Notable among these are : the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). In addition, there are many departmental laboratories of various departments/ministries, viz., Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Electronics, Department of Space, Department of Ocean Development, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Further, there are over 1,200 in-house research and development units in industrial undertakings supporting research in their respective industries. Many Indian Universities and Deemed Universities such as IITs also undertake substantial research and development work.

Facilities of sophisticated analytical instruments are provided to the scientists working in universities, R&D laboratories and industries through a programme of setting-up Regional Sophisticated Instrumentation Centres (RSICs) and Sophisticated Instrument Facilities (SIFs). RSICs are being supported at seven institutions namely IIT, Chennai; IIT, Mumbai; Bose Institute, Calcutta; CDRI, Lucknow; Punjab University, Chandigarh; NEHU, Shillong; and Nagpur University, Nagpur. The new Sophisticated Instrumentation Centre for Research and Testing has been set-up at Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat. The SIFs are in operation at IISc., Bangalore ; AIIMS, New Delhi; and Gauhati University, Guwahati. In addition, EPMA facility is being supported under the programme of Roorkee University, Roorkee.

Further, in order to attain the objective of strengthening of R&D infrastructure in the academic/research institutions, a new programme ‘Fund for the Improvement of S&T Infrastructure in Universities and other Higher Educational Institutions (FIST)’ was initiated. The programme would identify active university/academic departments through a peer review mechanism including on-site visits.

Vigyan Prasar

Vigyan Prasar was established in 1989 to take up large scale science popularisation programmes. It has been striving hard to reach out to masses through the mass media. Besides, efforts are underway to put together a network of Science Clubs for spreading scientific awareness and promoting use of scientific methodology in our lives. A CD-ROM on Eclipses is being developed to mark the last solar eclipse of the century. Vigyan Prasar launched a monthly newsletter DREAM 2047, focusing on Vigyan Prasar activities and programmes. The first issue of the newsletter came out in August 1998. Vigyan Prasar Network (VIPNET) is networking and weaving together science clubs, societies, organisations that are already established, functioning actively or are going to be formed. Further, Vigyan Prasar also aims at contributing towards the growth of HAM population as well as to provide technical know-how to the younger generation and form a countrywide network of HAMs.?/

Meteorological services

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was established in 1875. It is the National Meteorological Service and the principal government agency in all matters relating to meteorology, seismology and allied subjects. The Department has units all over the country engaged in collecting meteorological and seismological data besides providing various meteorological services. Its main objective is to provide meteorological information for weather sensitive activities like aviation, shipping, agriculture, irrigation, off-shore oil exploration and industries. The Department also issues warnings against severe weather phenomena like cyclones, dust-storms, heavy rains, cold and heat waves that cause destruction of life and property. Besides, it also provides climatological information, records earthquakes and promotes research in meteorology. The Department maintains an extensive network of modern observatories and communication links all over the country. Observations received through high power radars and weather satellites are extensively used these days for analysis and prediction of weather. INSAT Meteorological Data Processing System is being upgraded to handle reception, processing of data from INSAT 2E Satellite. This satellite is similar to INSAT 2B but has got additional capability of providing imagery in water-vapour band and higher resolution imagery in visible, near IR and short wave IR bands, using charge coupled devices. Current satellites provide imagery in Visible and IR bands only. National Seismological Database Centre (NSDC) has been established at IMD, New Delhi for collection, analysis and archival of earthquake data. Under modernisation of seismological observatories in peninsular region, 10 seismological observatories are being upgraded by installing Digital Broad Band Seismograph Systems.

India Meteorological department continues to participate in multidisciplinary scientific cruises of Ocean Research Vessel in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, etc. during pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon periods. These cruises are planned to collect meteorological data over the adjoining sea areas for the study of various aspects of monsoon circulation and other important weather systems affecting the country and also to validate satellite data of meteorological parameters on board the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS P3) as and when required. A faster humidity sensor for use in Radiosonde, namely Carbon Hygrister was developed indigenously in IMD. It has been field tested and introduced operationally at one upper air station with a plan to use it in the whole network.

Autonomous Scientific Institutions

Department of Science and Technology provides grants-in-aid to the following 13 autonomous scientific research institutions engaged in frontier areas of research in basic and applied sciences: (i) Bose Institute, Calcutta is devoted to fundamental and applied research in physical and life sciences; (ii) Agharkar Research Institute, Pune-research in basic and applied aspects in the fields of biological sciences; (iii) Shri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram- developing biomedical engineering and technology; providing and demonstrating high standards of patient care in advanced medical specialities and developing postgraduate training programme of the highest quality in these fields; (iv) Indian Association for the Cultivation of Sciences, Calcutta - studies on solid state physics, material sciences, theoretical physics, spectroscopy, energy research, chemistry including biological chemistry, polymer science, etc.; (v) Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune-functions as a national centre for basic and applied research in tropical meteorology; (vi) Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore-research in emerging as well as interdisciplinary areas of astrophysics and heavenly bodies, and development of instruments used in astrophysical studies; (vii) Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore- research in frontier areas of chemistry, physics of materials, computational fluid dynamics, geodynamics, condensed matter theory, animal behaviour, genetics, etc : (viii) Raman Research Institute, Bangalore-research in basic sciences such as astronomy, astrophysics, liquid crystals, etc; (ix) S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Calcutta promoting advanced studies in selected branches of basic sciences; (x) Birbal Shahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow-research in the area of palaeobotany, its relevance in modern context, (xi) Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Mumbai-observing and understanding some of physical processes taking place in the innermost crusts of the earth as well as phenomena occurring on the sun and in near earth and interplanetary space; (xii) Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun-basic research in areas of biostratigraphy, petrology and geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics and environmental geology to understand the geodynamics of the Himalayan region and (xiii) International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials, Hyderabad - the development of high performance materials, and processes.

DST also extends financial and administrative support to the following academies and professional bodies which are engaged in the promotion of S and T in the country through the involvement of scientists and engineers; (i) Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; (ii) Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, (iii) Indian National Academy of Engineering, New Delhi; (iv) National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad and (v) Indian Science Congress Association, Calcutta.

Department of Atomic Energy

Today DAE has under its aegis five Research Centres viz., the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)- Mumbai, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR)-Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT)- Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC)- Calcutta, and Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD)- Hyderabad; three Industrial Organisations viz. Heavy Water Board (HWB)-Mumbai, Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC)- Hyderabad and Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT)-Mumbai; four Public Sector Undertakings viz. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)- Mumbai, Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL)-Jaduguda (Bihar), Indian Rare Earth Limited (IRE)-Mumbai, and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL)-Hyderabad, and four service organisations, viz, Directorate of Purchase and Stores (DPS)-Mumbai, Construction, Services and Estate Management Group (CS&EMG)-Mumbai, General Services Organisation (GSO)-Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu) and Atomic Energy Education Society (AEES)-Mumbai.

DAE also financially supports seven autonomous Research Institutes, viz, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)- Mumbai, Tata Memorial Centre (TMC)-Mumbai, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP)-Calcutta, Institute of Physics (IOP)- Bhubaneswar, Mehta Research Institute of Mathematics and Mathematical Physics (MRI)-Allahabad, Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc)-Chennai, and the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR)-Ahmedabad. AEES also gets financial support from DAE. DAE, through the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) and the National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM) promotes research in nuclear and allied fields, and mathematics respectively.

Information Technology

The processing power of the 6-node Anupam Alpha Super Computer developed by BARC has been enhanced to 10 nodes. In its present configuration, Anupam gives a sustained performance of 1.5 giga flops for large scientific jobs, with a peak speed of 8 giga flops. A new faster super computer Anupam PII has also been developed. Remote Handling and Robotics : Both at BARC and IGCAR, robotics is a major thrust area of R&D programme of DAE. The Bilateral Master Slave Servo Manipulators, manufactured under collaboration between BARC and HMT, Bangalore, have undergone field trials. A five-degree-of-freedom Robot for deployment in radioactive chemical laboratories, a six degree-of-freedom Robot and a mobile Robot have been developed at Trombay. The design of mechanical and control systems for the commercial scale Irradiator (POTON) for sprout inhibition of potatoes and onions is in progress. At IGCAR, for automation of nondestructive evaluation, various devices such as a Mobile Scanner (MOBSCAN), and robotic devices, such as a Remotely Operated Power Manipulator (ROPMAN) were developed. For remote operations, a Decapping Robot for capping and decapping bottles, was also built.

Plasma Technology

BARC has been developing plasma technology which has many industrial applications. The Centre has completed a plasma based aerosol generator with integrated 40kW torch and achieved plasma coatings of alumina on carbon steel moulds. Magneto welding canning and end plug collapsing techniques were successfully developed at BARC. A 150 megawatt high power microwaves device VIRCATOR has been developed at Trombay using indigenously developed KALI-1000 system.


CAT and VECC have successfully developed expertise in cryogenics. Closed cycle cryorefrigerators which can produce temperatures of 10 Kelvin, have been developed at CAT. Also, the two stage and single stage cryocoolers developed here with a mean time between failure of more than 1,000 hours, are ready for trials.

Astronomy Research Facility

In the field of radio astronomy, a giant radio telescope was constructed in the Nilgiri Hills near Ootacamund, Tamil Nadu. The radio telescope facilities were designed and built fully in India. The telescope has been used for studies of very distant extragalactic radio sources and interplanetary objects. Another Giant Metre Wave Radio- Telescope (GMRT) with 30 gigantic parabolic dishes, has been set up by TIFR for at Narayangaon, near Pune frontline research in radio astronomy. The international class astronomy research facility GRACE set up by BARC at Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, was inaugurated on 13 October 1997 and the Imaging Element of the TACTIC array was successfully commissioned. The imaging gamma-ray telescope of GRACE was in regular use and the mechanical structures of three additional telescopes of the TACTIC array were installed.

International Relations

In the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy, India continues to provide training facilities, fellowships, scientific visits, etc., through IAEA and to the countries with which it has bilateral agreements. Chairman, AEC led the Indian delegation to the IAEA general conference held in Vienna, Austria in September 1998. India has been a member of the Board of Governors of the IAEA since its inception. In September 1994 the country was elected as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of IAEA for one year. Training facilities, fellowships, scientific visits, etc., and providing services of scientists for expert assignments are offered both through the IAEA and to the countries with which India has entered into bilateral agreements for cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy. As an active member of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), Indian experts participated in Peer Reviews in many countries including the USA, Japan and South Korea. IGCAR has played an active role in the International Working Group on Fast Reactors.

Recent Achievement. Indo-US Nuclear Deal Signed (October 8, 2008).

President Bush signed the more controversial Indo-Us nuclear deal into law on October 8, 2008. This means that India can count on reliable supply of nuclear fuel from the US. It was that the deal that was started on July 18, 2005 had closed on October 10th friday after signing the 123 agreement. It almost ended the three-decade ban on US nuclear trade with India. It was passed in the US Congress by a margin of 298-117. The Bill had finally reached to the US senate for Approval.

Indian Space Programme

The Indian space programme was formally organised in 1972 with the setting up of Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS) to promote development and application of space technology, specifically, in the areas of telecommunication, television broadcasting, meteorology, resources survey and management. Development of satellites, launch vehicles and associated ground systems is integral to the space programme objective. The space programme is executed through, mainly, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), National Remote Sensing Agency and Physical Research Laboratory. Over the last two and a half decades, the Indian space programme has made an impressive progress through a well integrated, self-reliant programme.

There are more than 300 telecommunication terminals of various types, including 50 terminals for rural telegraphy in the north eastern part of the country, operating in the INSAT network providing about 5,500 two-way speech circuits over 166 routes. More than 800 micro-terminals have been set up under National Informatic Centres to provide nationwide data communication links between district and state capitals. Captive satellite-based networks such as for National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC), Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) and Coal India Limited (CIL), are operating through INSAT. The Press Trust of India (PTI) has implemented a system to provide its news and information services at high speed and increased volume by utilising broadcast facilities of INSAT satellite. With the availability of INSAT-2C, business communication in Ku-band and mobile satellite service are being tried out.

Space Science

Space science research is mainly carried out in the areas of astronomy and astrophysics, planetary atmosphere and aeronomy, earth sciences and solar system studies and theoretical physics. The activities are carried out mainly at Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmadabad and, to a lesser extent, at Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram, Space Applications Centre, Ahmadabad and ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. A programme on geo sphere biosphere research using balloon, rocket and satellite-based experiments to study the effect of anthropogenic activities on the earths environment is continuing. A National Mesophere-stratosphere Radar Facility (NMRF) has been established at Gadanki near Thirupati for study of atmospheric dynamics, atmospheric turbulence and diffusion measurement, study of atmospheric pollutant dispersion, detection of wind shear, cloud physics, etc. The gamma ray burst experiment carried on board SROSS satellites and X-ray Payload on IRS-P3 satellite have helped in furthering research in high energy astronomy.

Space Centres and Units

The headquarters of the Department of Space (DOS) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are located at Bangalore. Research and development activities under the space programme are carried out in the following centres/units of DOS/ISRO: (i) Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, is the lead centre for launch vehicle development. It pioneers in rocket research planning and execution of launch vehicle development projects; (ii) ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bangalore, is responsible for the design, fabrication, testing and management of satellites for scientific, technological and application missions; (iii) Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmadabad, is engaged in design and development of payload systems for satellites and carry out application demonstration of space technology; (iv) SHAR Centre, Sriharikota, located on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh, is the main launch centre of ISRO. Propellent processing and ground testing of solid fuelled rocket stages are also carried out in this centre; (v) Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) is the centre for development of liquid propulsion systems both for launch vehicles and satellites. It has facilities located at Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore and Mahendragiri (Tamil Nadu); (vi) Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU), Ahmadabad, is involved in conception, definition, planning and socio-economic evaluation of space application programmes; (vii) ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) with its headquarters and Spacecraft Control Centre at Bangalore and a network of ground stations at Sriharikota, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Lucknow, Port Blair and Mauritius, provides telemetry, tracking and command (TTC) support for the launch vehicle and satellite missions of ISRO and also for other space agencies; (viii) Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka is responsible for all post launch operations of INSAT satellite including orbital manoeuvres, station keeping and in-orbit operations on the spacecraft; (ix) ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU), Thiruvananthapuram, carries out development of intertial systems for both satellites and launch vehicles; (x) Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmadabad, under DOS is the premier national centre for research in space and allied sciences; (xi) National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad under DOS is responsible for reception, processing and dissemination of data from remote sensing satellites and also carry out aeraial surveys; and (xii) National Mesophere, Stratospherl Stratosphere, Troposphere Reader Facility (NMRF) at Gadanki, near Thirupati is available to scientists for carrying out atmospheric research.

Recent Achievement: India becomes fourth nation to land on moon

India's first probe into moon landed on the lunar surface on November 14, 2008 night after riding on Chandrayaan-1, the country's first unmanned spacecraft to the moon, after travelling around 384,000 km in 24 days days after blasting off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh October 22, 2008.

Soon after the launch at 6.22 a.m. the spacecraft carrying 11 scientific payloads was put in an orbit of 22,860 km apogee (farthest point to the earth) and 225 km perigee (nearest point to the earth).        
This is how Chandrayaan-1 reached the lunar orbit and then sent the moon impact probe (MIP) with the colours of the Indian national flag painted on its sides to the lunar surface. It landed on the Earth's only natural satellite at 8.31 pm after ejecting from the Chandrayaan-I spacecraft.

The MIP impacted on the Moon's surface 25 minutes after it was separated from Chandrayaan at 8.06 pm, orbiting at 100 km above.

"We have given the Moon to India. We have successfully placed our national flag on the lunar surface. In this auspicious month of Karthika, the Moon has been very favourable to us," a beaming G Madhavan Nair, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), announced amidst thunderous applause by space scientists and officials. To savour the historic event, former President and rocket scientist APJ Abdul Kalam and former ISRO chairman UR Rao were present at the space agency's telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) on the outskirts of Bangalore.

"On Jawaharlal Nehru's 119 birthday, the space scientists have gifted the Moon to millions of Indian children. I am proud of ISRO. The success of Chandrayaan mission demonstrates the creative leadership of Nair and the technological excellence of our scientists," Kalam told reporters after witnessing the complex manouvres from the spacecraft control centre at Istrac. It may be recalled that the modern Indian space programme was initiated in 1962 when Nehru was the Prime Minister.

The 34 kg boxed shaped probe, with the saffron, white and green colours of the Indian flag painted on all its four sides, hit the lunar surface in the designated area of Shackleton crater, near the South Polar region.

Soon after the probe mission was accomplished, Chandrayaan disappeared behind the moon in its two-hourly orbit. Before going out of sight, the payloads in the 519 kg spacecraft captured all the pictures taken by the video imaging system of the MIP and recorded the data relayed by the radar altimeter and the mass spectrometer of the probe.

ISRO plans to use the data for its future lunar soft landing missions. Information from the instruments was radioed to Chandrayaan-1 by the descending probe. The spacecraft recorded the data in its onboard memory for later readout.

The crash landing of the 375 mm x 375 mm x 470 mm MIP, a honeycomb structure carrying a radar altimeter, a video imaging system and a mass spectrometer, raised a cloud of dust that will be analysed by the scientists, yielding a host of data about the composition of the moon. But well before that, the video imaging system and the mass spectrometer had obtained data that will enable the scientists to analyse if the moon has water, if it has anything that can be used as fuel for nuclear fusion, hopefully even the age of the moon. The landing of the MIP comes 50 years after the first man-made object landed on the lunar surface. The other countries that landed probes on the Moon are the former USSR, the US and China.


As on 31 March 1999, India has one of the largest telecom networks in Asia comprising about 25,000 telephone exchanges, with a total equipped capacity of 26.05 million lines and 21.59 million working telephones. The long-distance transmission network has about 1,49,000 route km of radio systems, and about 1,08,032 route km of optical fibre systems. Fully automatic International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) service is available to almost all the countries. The total number of stations connected to National Subscriber Dialling (NSD) is over 18,000. In the field of international communications, tremendous progress was made by the use of Satellite Communication and submarine links. The voice and non-voice telecom services, which include data transmission, facsimile, mobile radio, radio paging and leased line services, cater to a variety of needs of both residential and business customers. ISDN facility is available in a number of cities. A dedicated Packet Switched Public Data Network with international access for computer communication services is also made available. More than 3.40 lakh of the total six lakh villages in the country have been covered with telephone facility. relevance of these systems. These include: (i) Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) — provides end-to-end digital connectivity, faster and reliable transfer of data, supports many advanced supplementary services such as Multiple Subscriber Numbers (MSN), Calling Line Identification Presentation (CLIP), Advice of Charge (AOC), Terminal portability, etc.; (ii) Intelligent Network (IN) Services — provides immense value-addition and revenue earning potential for service providers and services to the subscribers get improved flexibly and economically. Some of the IN services are Free-phone, Virtual Card Calling (VCC), Virtual Private Network, Premium Rate Services, Televoting and Universal Access Number; and (iii) V 5.1/5.2 interfaces for connecting Wireless Access Network to the C-DOT MAX System and thereby enhancing C-DOT MAX. Used with Wireless, this provides WLL (Wireless in Local Loop) capability.