Over the past 40 years, there has been a growing need in India for an information system and database on Science and Technology (S&T) Statistics, popularly known as Science Statistics.Policy makers particularly those concerned about planning, implementation and management of science felt the need for a comprehensive information not only on the use of input resources like financial and manpower resources deployed and infrastructure available to science and technology but also the output of such activities measured in terms of increased productivity, increased economic growth, new products/processes developed, their large scale diffusion and impact on society. Such information could be useful for undertaking cost benefit analysis and other economic studies as well as for efficient programming planning and budgeting. It will also help to compare the national efforts with those of other countries.
It may perhaps be useful at this point to trace the history of Science & Technology (S&T) data collection mechanism in the country and changes undergone by it over a period of time. An attempt to collect information regarding investment on scientific research in India was first made in 1958. The data for the years 1955-56 and 1956-57 were compiled from the demand for grants of central ministries, the state governments, the records of University Grants Commission etc. The data so collected had a number of drawbacks and could not be considered reliable.
Another attempt was therefore made in 1959 using a specially designed questionnaire which was mailed to scientific institutions, universities etc. This questionnaire sought information separately for research and development expenditure, scientific and technical manpower etc. A similar exercise was made in 1961. The responses to these surveys were not very encouraging and the data collected was used only to prepare internal reports. During the period from 1962-1968, several meetings were held under various fora to devise methods to tackle the problem of data collection on S&T but with very limited success.
In August 1968, the Government of India constituted a Committee
on Science and Technology (COST) with one of the charters to survey the existing
state of science and technology in the country and to plan for future
developments in various fields of science and technology in the next 10-12
years. As a part of this exercise, the data were collected on resources devoted
to R&D in the country both in Government institutions and private sector and the
report brought out in 1970-71 covered data on R&D of 100 private companies.
DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (DST) - A NODAL AGENCY
Department of Science and Technology (DST) was setup in 1971, and by virtue of its responsibility in S&T policies, implementation and funding involving multi-agencies/ministries, the department has been acting as the nodal agency to establish S&T statistical system and collect national science statistics at regular intervals in the country.
National Science and Technology Management Information System Division (NSTMIS) formerly known as Science and Technology Statistics (STS), a division of DST has been entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out the studies relating to resources devoted to S&T activities at regular intervals. The Division published the first report Research and Development Statistics in the year 1973-74 .