Technology in industry:
One aspect of technology is that the latest scientific methods are used in prduction. This, in turn, depends on the availability of the-right type of scientific manpower. We shall exkine in the next unit (Unit 28) how deeply the question of buying technology or developing it within our own country is related to the whole question of economic and political independence. But at this stage it is sufficient to mention that it might seem simple to impon technology from the developed countries and use it in our own processes of production, but it is not, in fact, so. It is seen very often that a country from which a technology waS imported had access to raw materials of a particular type which may not be available in our country. In other words, it is often necessary, in the absence of a particular raw material, to substitute it by another, or to modify the process.
To give a common example, earlier the composition of vanaspati, the well-known cooking and edible fat used to be 95% groundnut oil and 5% seasame oil. About 30 years ago, groundnut oil was available abundantly. For the last decade or so, both due to paucity of supply and increase of demand abroad. Indian manufacturer$ had to switch over to other oils, and in recent years more of these have had to be imported. For example, we now have dils such as soyabeanoii, Canadian rapeseedoil (Canola) or palm oil imported from U.S.A., Canada and Malaysia respectively, as the maor raw material for the vanaspati industry. But the quality, appearance and other properties of vanaspati have been kept the same, because of stringent government regulations. So research and development efforts had to be made by Indian scientists for this adaptation. Similarly, imported tallow, which was once a major raw material for our soaps and detergents has been totally banned. Indian scientists had to adopt other oils for preparing the same quality of soap, and many processes have' been developed. For example, stearine and tallow substitutes have been prepared from castor oil, (one of our industrial oils) by chemical reactions. Such examples can be multiplied from other industries.
Further, it would not have been possible to effectively utilise imported technology in many other important industries without the help of skilled human resource. In this resDect, trairiing of slulled human resource anmaintenance of research laboratones ana organisatlons have played a major role. From our first five year plan onwards, efforts have been made to increase scientific and technical human resource by creation of engineering and technology departments in our universities. We now have about 200 such institutions as against 21 before independence. In addition to the university departments, six Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been establishedqt Kharagpur, Kanpur, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Guwahati. The first five were set up with thhelp of developed countries, such as U.S.A., U.S.S.R., U.K. and West Germany. Even before independence, the three old universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, the Indian Institute ofScience, Bangalore, engineering colleges like that of Roorkee and Bengal Engineering College,the National Council of Education, the present Jadavpur University, had created many engineering departments.