Science and technology in India has been growing rapidly. As India develops and becomes more connected to the global economy, the government has placed a stronger emphasis on science and technology as an integral part of the socio-economic development of the country. This has led to increases in investment, improved scientific structures, and more funding for research. These factors have led to much advancement, including in the fields of medicine, genetics, global change and space science. The necessity of harnessing science and technology for transforming rural India has long been recognized.
Rural India faces a severe technology deficit. There are serious shortages – power, water, health facilities, roads, etc. However, the role of science & technology in solving these problems is barely acknowledged, and the actual availability of technology in rural areas is, at best, marginal. The so-called digital divide is widely spoken and written about; the technology divide is hardly mentioned. Yet, this disparity is arguably more important, as it has far greater impact. Science and technology are often hyphenated and spoken of in the same breath.
One would, however, like to differentiate the two. Technology generally (though not always) derives and draws from science, and often manifests itself in physical form – for example, as a piece of hardware. Science, on the other hand, is knowledge. In rural India, there is a dire inadequacy of both. Practical results are, therefore, far lower than what they are in demonstration or research results, where science and technology are more fully applied. The scope to apply technology to activities (agriculture, fishing etc) in rural areas is huge, as are the potential benefits.