The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India was established on the 3rd of May 1971 following the success of Green revolution,that signified innovative deployment of scientific methodologies. . Over the last forty three years, DST developed several streams that later established themselves as departments or even ministries with focused goals. Some of these include the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), Department of Electronics (DoE) and Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). The DST serves as a nodal agency connecting the science sector to the Government verticals. The roles played by DST are varied and these evolved with time. DST is accordingly (a) Develops S&T policies, (b) Strengthens human resources and institutional capacities, (c) Enables development & deployment of technologies, (d) Creates opportunities for societal interventions through S & T & (e) Establishes and engages in mechanisms of cooperation, partnerships & alliances. These approaches that reflect its mission ensure a holistic systemic influence, immediate, medium and long term relevance/ gains. It enables cross cutting impacts across sectors to sustain growth/ development and synergies to optimize on time, human, institutional and financial resources.
The DST has consistently enabled transformational changes through appropriate responses and often non-participative roles. DST accordingly played the role of an extra mural research funding agency wherein competitive grants for research was provided to investigators based on technical merit. This system was in vogue for nearly three decades. DST also took cognizance of several changes in approaches around the world, over the years and evolved its own systems adapted to India’s needs. This resulted in some directional changes that evolved into proactive functions and participative actions. These are evident in DST’s robust facets including proactive identification of gap areas and development of new programmes and schemes, evidence based approaches to define gaps / needs balancing competitive and development models, championing for larger resource allocations for science, expansion of stakeholder variety and base, interactions centered on value of stakeholder engagement, internal connectivity of various programmes, effective planning and coordination to optimize use and delivery of resources, gain a deeper understanding of local needs and establish a dynamic balance among three basic priorities of an integrated vision to synthesize equity, expansion and excellence in the science sector.
DST ensures a synthesis of the outcome of policies, plans, programmes and projects through appropriate forward and backward linkages. International S&T cooperation with friendly countries had become a national priority and DST was assigned the task. Thus, DST establishes strategically important systems / mechanisms to stimulate and foster excellence and leadership in scientific research and development. These are aligned with India’s developmental aspirations and will further help consolidate the niche it has established in several frontiers at the national, regional and global levels.