EMERGING TRENDS & ISSUES IN IT 2007[power-point presentation ]


This talk was attended by a large number of students of ITS, Ghaziabad from all its campuses.


Slide - 1 : Title; self-explanatory.

Slide – 2 : India’s beginning in Electronics and its applications was good compared to many other countries in the world at that time. Those interested may look at the details. It is good for the youth to know the beginnings. Those who are not able to access information can ask me.

In particular, I would like the readers (clickers !) to tell me what they know about TIFRAC (it is not TIFAC !). Those who are curious to know ask me. (In the interactive keynote, I asked the question. Only one person around my age knew !).

Slide –3 : Again fast history of 70’s, 80’s & 90’s.

Slide – 4 : World wide Tech. Scenario is such that ICT will be in every walk of life as if “EMBEDDED – INTO – LIFE” far too many to list. Good for those who will be entrepreneurs or employees to list them … focus on them if you want to specialise [ Go to Slides p.2 ].

Slide – 5 : While the current IT industry has done remarkably be it TCS, WIPRO, Infosys and others; the greatest weakness of IT sector as a whole is that almost around the entire market is dependant on the developed countries (i.e. export by us). How much percentage. You find out – I ask these questions to the audience and they answer …. Also most of the hardware is imported and bulk of the software is under license as we depend on others software.

(I again repeat that what has been achieved by our IT companies is remarkable especially because they had to grow at the oppressive eighties of license and permit. They had the tenacity and a vision amid these difficulties and achieve. In the process created a hope in Indian economic growth. What I am emphasising is that IT can spread much more grow 100 times more.)

These weakness need to be rectified for long term sustained growth of IT. Otherwise it could saturate.

Slide – 6 : How to spread IT to India so that the market base becomes really large and wide. Don’t go far foreign generated slogans like one – child – one – computer, village full of computers etc. These types of models, pilots etc can be shown with huge foreign or Govt. funding for SHOW (as unfortunately is happening in some parts of India). Some from Re.1 to 10 crores in such projects per village. Every thing looks hunky dory for high level demonstration. Everybody applaud saying how modern ICT, IT can transform rural areas in a Knowledge Centre or Society etc.

What next ? Physical inputs required for better productivity or diversified economic life cannot move through IT cables ? or computer screens. Even medicines cannot move ! Then every body disappears. Many reports, books, coffee table volumes appear about IT revolution in rural India. 600,000 villages remain the same.

My appeal to the IT entrepreneurs is not for such show cases, often pulled out of tax payer money or international philanthropy.

But IT application should reach them at an affordable costs. Most families in rural areas survive on an yearly income of about Rs.25,000. They have to manage their lives, agricultural or poultry inputs etc within this amount. Their ability to find surpluses is limited. That is where the challenges lie. Innovations can be through minimising hardware capabilities, simple softwares and novelties in community utilisation…..

Slide – 7 & 8 : Explain the Indian realities. The IT impact is only around D, E regions of Slide 7 or with rich Indians, big cities and towns as given in Slide – 8. [These two slides are often used – I don’t explain further – see other parts of the website or my papers ].

How to spread to 70% others who do not have the access to IT application.

Slide – 9: is very clear in its message.

Note : I am happy I got a lots of special thanks messages from students and faculty.

  Y.S. Rajan


Innovation & Technology [power-point presentation ].

Slide 1

Sometimes, it becomes a season of talks on similar topic.

This one is a different type. It is to persons from colleges from different parts of India – mostly engineering & technologies, Principals, Professors, Readers etc. Compact group about 25. Mine was an inaugural talk.

It was an excellent interactive sessions where the participants gave the answers/views on the slides.

Slide 2

Try answers !

Slide 3 & 4

Read the statement. Do you agree ?

Most participants agreed – near unanimously.

Slide 5

ISRO experience – Read the referred papers, reports.

Sad part of it. It reconfirms Slide 4.

Slide 6

Gives reasons why it is so and also for Atomic Energy.

Slide 7

What about non-Government controlled systems.

Try answers.

Slide 8

Points out that we should understand different classes of eocnomic/technical activities.

Slide lists a few.

Slide 9

Describes the support system required for establishing an ecosystem conducive to promoting innovation.

Also the last two lines describe how it is, in India.

Slide 10

Need for Knowledge Intermediation especially to create new mindset by increasing success rates and reducing risks.

(Described in many parts of this website).

Slide 11

Attitudinal needs.

Slide 12

How to win. 


Slide 1

This was a very high level conference. H.E. Ambassador of Japan hosted a special exclusive dinner with the speakers a day before.

Slide 2

Reminds us of the historical developments of India and Japan – which reinforce “thinking” for strategic partnership.

Slide 3

I started slide 3 with apology for being blunt spoken in English and also in Japanese (I learnt at dinner). It was applauded.

The slide recalls how the past actions were moving slow.

Slide 4

It is taken 1985. Black beared young man was ME ! (Right hand edge !). It so happened that the right edge dark haired young person was Dr Das, who was Indian Science Counsellor at Japan then. He was fully gray (white hair) senior person in the meeting.

Middle is Prof U R Rao then Chairman ISRO.

I referred to both of them.

Whatever happened Indo – Japan Space partnership – both countries have lots of commonalties and complimentarities ?

This was again to emphasise the slowness of actions.

Slide 5

Some reasons.

Slide 6 & 7

World has changed. Sentences are complete.

You think further.

Slide 8

Are we ready ?

The response was yes.

Then I gave specific possibilities – suggestions are clear.

Slide 9, 10, 11, 12 are clear on a very few examples (limitation of time).

Slide 13 & 14

Specific ideas of how to go about Do’s & Don’ts.

Based on in-depth experience.

Slide 15

Indo – Japan partnership is not just exclusive isolationist. It is inclusive. 

By Y S Rajan



Technology Milieu for Prosperity in India



We have discussed in detail in the earlier chapter-3 about the causal connections for poverty and gender  inequalities. We have also discussed the approaches to provide prosperity for all.

There have been a number of schemes and programmes which have been attempted by the State and Central Governments and a few foreign agencies to address the question of Indian poverty in rural areas and urban areas. Many of them are independent of each other and have differing criteria. However, the effect of many of these have only been marginal (Ref. 1). There are also assessments that the bulk of the Government’s funding does not reach the rural areas directly due to various leakages in the transitional paths. As India aspires to become a developed country, with its own position in the comity of nations, poverty removal would become perhaps the utmost challenge. Though there are a number of programmes even now officially “operational”, some of which having very catchy slogans, it would be impossible to sustain economic development in the country (even leaving aside the humanitarian considerations about poor people) if India does not eradicate poverty totally both in urban and rural areas within a decade.

It is not enough to state through various statistics that so many percentage of people have been lifted above the poverty line. Author is aware of the fact that there are many intricate economic models and statistical techniques which have been developed or used to measure not only to poverty line and also as to how close people are near the poverty line or above etc. However, author would like to take a simple view that while all these complex models and resultant numbers have their own requirements and validity, the stark fact before the country is that for decades we have not been able to solve the crucial problems facing many millions of our people: to have a productive work and earnings for people to cover their food, clothing, habitat, health, education of their children and preparing them for a better future. The numbers of such deprived people does not seem to be decreasing (Ref.1). There are only many debates over the poverty line.

Unless the quantum of money available in the hands of people of the poor families increases very substantially and unless it continues to have some growth even in the subsequent periods, we cannot say that we have tackled the problems of poverty. Rural poverty can be removed only through prosperity i.e planning and implementing strategies for creating wealth in the villages through the efforts of people living there. The author has addressed these aspects to certain extent in his earlier two writings. One is “The promise of new technologies for poverty alleviation” (Ref.2) and another “A Vision for Rural Transformation: Science and Technology Based Initiatives” (Ref.3). These two articles provide a systematic view. Basic concepts from these two papers have been revised and updated and forms the Chapter-2 of this book. Several elements of these suggestions, have been successfully tested in a number of parts of India as briefly indicated in Chapter-2, Chapter-3 has provided a cogent structure of approaching the issue of prosperity for all, thus eradicating poverty once and for all.

Therefore the main thrust argument of the author is that we have to introduce selectively various forms of technologies (knowledge/ skills) into the lives of poor people in villages and also provide them with various forms of connectivities in order that they cut the vicious circle of poverty and further impoverishment as the country marches towards market driven transactional economy. India is a complex country having people with different levels of skills capability and therefore productivity. Therefore approach to actions will be as given in Chapter-3.  This chapter discusses in some detail, with examples how technologies have to be applied especially for the poorer segments of Indians.

When one talks of technology, it is not a uniform solution of one or two types knowledge and skill requirements (a la IT, BT, NT syndromes ie Information Technology, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology) but they are at various levels and sectors and would also require investments along with the same. Unfortunately a number of IT, BT or the other high tech solutions offered by many experts and agencies have not addressed the question of the levels of investment that can be done by the poor persons to derive benefits. The poor will also invest but at levels that they can afford, but need to get quick and better returns, as they cannot hold on too long. Poor in India understand, through practical experience, that they cannot for long live on subsidies or doles. Also they cannot depend upon the subsidy; already the public exchequer is under severe pressure. Also because in the past it has always been the experience that from what is proposed to be given as subsidy through public system, only very little of it reaches the poor. Therefore, the solution ought to be in terms of providing from public resources and otherwise, the right type of knowledge, skill and technological inputs and certain minimum infrastructure for connectivities and knowledge/skill inputs these can help the poor to come up with their own investments and also attract others’ investment. However, giving connectivity and knowledge/skill inputs is something which ought to be done with funds from public system but executed differently than what has been done during the past 50 years.

In yet another paper by the author which has appeared in a journal “Towards a Knowledge Society in India – Issues for Management “ (Ref.4) he has addressed this issue as to how different levels of knowledge and skills are existing in India and as to how one has to implement strategies to move these various levels to increasingly higher levels, that is, from the existing levels to better levels in terms in value addition. This concept is important to understand as there is a tendency to lump everything under the word “Knowledge” and the more powerful persons of the society who operate and high knowledge intensity levels and hence are wealthier, often try to push their agenda of knowledge which also often look “sexy”. This concept is important to understand as there is a tendency to lump everything under the word “knowledge” and the more powerful persons of the society who operate at high knowledge intensity levels and hence are wealthier, often try to push their agenda of knowledge which also often look “sexy”.

The chapter-3 of this book has also absorbed elements from the Reference 4 above and has expand the strategies to customize “knowledge” to different levels described in Figure 2 of that Chapter. Some of the experiences of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC)  for enhancing the wealth in the hand of rural poor through Vision 2020 Mission Programme on Agriculture which led by the late Prof. S.K. Sinha at Bihar, Deoria (U.P.), Uttranchal, Kancheepuram and other areas are briefly described as examples as to how the knowledge skills can be customised to meet different levels of poor people depending on their affordability and needs of market forces in this chapter. Technology Milieu described here is an example and there are several other technologies available which can adapted in the form described here, to reach large number of poor persons.


Details of technology milieu are discussed in Ref.2 and Ref.3 in specific terms. The foremost of the sector which will have immediate effect on poverty alleviation is agriculture, cattle rearing, poultry and such food related items and initial value addition to them through processing and other forms. The key issue is to provide the farmer with productivity enhancing knowledge / skills. Most of these activities will come under what is called “known science and technology”, but applied locally through systematic understanding of local habit and preferences and also choosing the produce, which can be positioned in a proper value chain in the nearby markets and even in distance markets, if there are comparative advantages. If necessary, the farmers have to be convinced to change some of their practices through practical demonstration.

The late Prof. S.K. Sinha who led the Technology Vision 2020 exercise of TIFAC on Agriculture & Food (Technology Vision 2020, TIFAC 1996)  during 1994–96, had later led the projects which precisely aimed at such demonstrations at the request of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, then Chairman TIFAC Governing Council. The successes achieved by him and his network of scientific teams and villagers in Bihar, Deoria, Kancheepuran                                           etc are very encouraging. They have sustained and are spreading. These are briefly described in the following.

Technology Vision 2020 Mission Projects on Agriculture :

Technology Vision 2020 Document of Food & Agriculture, brought out by TIFAC during 1996 visualizes the that items that need to be addressed for the agricultural prosperity of the country in next 20 years. Keeping in mind the spread of wealth to people in different parts of India. It is a natural resource cum people based vision taking into account the emerging global and Indian demands and advances in S&T. Major items are listed in Chapter-1 of this book.

To demonstrate that what is envisioned can be achieved, the TIFAC started Vision 2020 Mission projects on Agriculture during 1998; TIFAC had launched several projects in the states of Bihar (Sone Command distributaries) Orissa (Nayagarh district), Eastern U.P. (Deoria), Tamilnadu (Kancheepuram), Chennai (NAF), Uttranchal (Pinder valley) and Sikkim. More are planned. For latest updates it is better to refer to TIFAC Website (Ref.5). A few success stories already achieved so far are very encouraging and a brief report about them is given in the following: (mostly derived from TIFAC Website).

Some Success Stories in Agriculture

Approach Followed in TIFAC Projects

·  Identification of farmer’s constraint on the agriculture as a whole and productivity upliftment in particular by through interaction with farmers, field visits etc.

·  Understanding of the existing management practices of different crops.

·  Proper documentation of the base line data.

·  Determination of soil fertility status through testing and other scientific methods..

·  Action plan decided in consultation with the farmers without making drastic changes in their existing practices.

·  Training is an important component. Extensive training cum demonstration are being given to the farmers before cultivation of each crop.

·   A few farmers were brought to Delhi, Punjab, Haryana to visit reputed agriculture institutes and also to the fields of farmers so that can get an idea how others progressive farmers are doing agriculture.

·  Arrangement of good quality right variety seed for the farmers from Delhi and other areas on cost to cost basis; the transportation cost is being borne from the project.

Technology as such

The technologies, which are being followed in these projects, are farmers friendly, inexpensive, basically optimisation of management practices. No modern technologies like Biotechnology, Genetically engineered crop are being used now as these will not suit them now. In a nut shell the technology is a combination of the following efforts:

Selection of right kind of variety of a particular crop synchronising with the climate, market potential, soil test value etc.

Advancement of nursery raising of Paddy synchronising with monsoon arrival which has helped in advancement of sowing of Wheat.

Reduction of seed rate in nursery from 30 kg per acre to 10 kg per acre in order to get good healthy seedlings.

Addition of balanced doses of fertliser, introduction of micro nutrient specially Zinc in the fertiliser schedule.

Proper irrigation at right time(s)

Taking plant protection measures


Scenario before start of the project in Bihar


Crop productivity of all crops very low, viz. productivity of Paddy and Wheat around 2 t/ha

Non-availability of good quality inputs – seeds, fertiliser and plant protection measure

Cultivation practices traditional and in many cases counter productive. For example:

Late raising of nursery and late planting of paddy, consequently late to very late sowing of wheat

Very high seed rate used in raising of paddy nursery, viz. 30 kg/acre

Local and own produce seed used

Imbalance use of fertilisers: Nitrogenous fertilizers applied in much excess, use of phosphatic and potashic fertilizers almost negligible, zinc never applied

Canal water released generally in excess due to field to field irrigation system

Plant protection measures either absent or defective for lack of knowledge

Farmers too vulnerable to existing market forces


Progress and Achievements


Year                   # Area of adoption(ha)                         No. villages involved                                 Results

                   Kharif(Paddy)     Rabi(Wheat)                     Kharif(Paddy)   Rabi(Wheat)              Productivity increased

 1999           2.4*                      16                                      5*          11                           Paddy – from around 2t/ha to around 5.8 t/ha

 2000          432                        1000                                  76         113                           Wheat - from around 2t/ha to around 4-5 t/ha

 2001          1200                      1300                                  110        144

 2002          1500                      >1500                                200       175

 2003           2000                        -                                     225          -

Note: * Demonstration of paddy crop undertaken by TIFAC with input costs. Farmers with their input costs followed the practice in 32 ha land from 9 villages. In the subsequent years all input costs borne by farmers themselves. TIFAC provided technical guidance, field level advice, training and limited linked support from time to time and provided revolving fund to impart sustainability in the system for availability of good quality seeds based on the advice of experts/lead persons.

# More area coverage indicates the area coverage during that particular year.

Paddy Crop in 2003 at Paliganj

Paddy Crop in 2003 at Paliganj

The project was initiated after doing a base line survey focussing on soil analysis, identification of resources, constraints of farmers, prevailing productivity scenario etc. Implementation of the project was started from Khariff '99 (Paddy crop) with a 2.4 acres demonstration using total systems approach and technology in RP Channel 5 and Majouli Distributories of Sone Command where all inputs were provided from project. Besides this, farmers adopted this technology with their own inputs in about 32 hectares of land in the Khariff ' 99 season itself. The average yield obtained by farmers was 5.8 tonne per hectare as against their traditional yield of around 2.0 tons per hectare.

In Rabi '99 (Wheat Crop) cropping season, the yield of wheat obtained in the demonstration trail was 4-5 tone per hectare as against the traditional yield of around 2.0 tons per hectare. Since there was a forecast that water will not be available in canal during Rabi '99 season, because renovation work of the canal was scheduled during that time, demonstartion was carried out only in 16 hectares of land.

Demonstration trial of potato cultivation was also conducted in 0.46 hectares with TIFAC input. Yield obtained was around 20 tons per hectare as against the normal yield of < 10 tons per hectare.

The self multiplication of this technology has been observed enormous in the subsequent years.

In Khariff  '2003 season, the area coverage has been further increased to 2000 heactare comprising 225 villages.In the Rabi '2002 season, the area coverage has been further increased to more than 1500 hectare comprising of 175 villages.

Farmers are getting trained for cultivation of vegetables using modern technology.

Training of farmers at village level:








4 camps, 5 vill, 150 farmers

6 camps, 48 vill, 341 farmers

6 camps, 51 vill, 286 farmers

8 camps, 49 vill, 300 farmers

3 camps, 30 vill, 176 farmers


4 camps, 11 vill. 176 farmers

8 camps, 82 vill, 438 farmers

10 camps, 77 vill, 603 farmers

8 camps, 49 vill, 270 farmers








4 camps, 12 vill, 123 farmers


2 camps, 4 vill, 20 farmers










7 camps, 57 vill, 637 farmers


4 camps, 37 vill, 250 farmers


6 camps, 30 vill, 245 farmers


Institutional training of farmers:








No. of Farmers


Vegetable seedling production


Division of vegetable crops, IARI






Wheat seed production


IARI, Regional Station, Karnal






Poly house construction


Division of Agriculture Engineering, IARI






Paddy seed production


IARI, Regional Station, Karnal






Paddy Seed production


IARI, Regional Station, Karnal






Training of Project staff at Patna








Plant protection aspects of Kharif and Rabi season crop


Agriculture Research Institute, RAU, Meethapur, Patna






Other Unique Initiatives


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Improved seed supply: As farmers of these areas are used to use their own farm produce as seeds for both paddy and wheat year after year, the viability of these seed are very poor, which has direct negative impact on the yield. In this project good quality seed materials of different crops are arranged from IARI ( New Delhi, Karnal, Pusa & Patna) and were provided to farmers on cost to cost basis. This approach has contributed a lot in increasing the productivity of crops.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Seed Grower’s Co-operative: The system of arranging of seeds from outside may not continue for long. Hence inbuilt mechanism was developed for producing good quality seeds in the project areas itself. As a result Pataliputra Seed Grower Co-operative has been formed at Paliganj, which produced and distributed about 35 quintals of paddy seeds in Kharif’2001and 55 quintals of improved paddy seed in Kharif 2002-03. The members got trained at IARI, Karnal center on seed production technology.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Revolving Fund: To have sustainability in the system without assistance from outside, a revolving fund concept had been introduced. Initially for three years input material cost provided by TIFAC from project. These input materials are sold to farmers on cost to cost basis and with the money on realisation from farmers, revolving fund is created instead of putting the money back to the project cost. This revolving fund will be used by the farmers in revolving manner for variety of developmental needs including purchase of input materials from outside as and when required without further assistance from the project.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Storage Structure: Introduced low cost seed storage structure in the project areas. Pusa kothar was built with unbaked brick with polythene lining. This structure saves the stored grains from insects and environmental hazards. Three such kothars have been constructed in three villages viz. Biranchak, Shahar Rampur and Bhelura Rampur. Farmers were given training on construction of such kothars.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Institutional Training: Periodical trainings given to farmers on different traits at different institutes, mostly at IARI, New Delhi & its Regional Station at Karnal. The traits are vegetable cultivation technology, which were given in the division of vegetables, IARI; maintenance of agro-machinery & poly house construction in the division of Agricultural Engineering, IARI; seed production technology at IARI Regional Station, Karnal.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Educational Tour of Progressive Farmers: In order to provide an exposure to farmers on improved crop cultivation and farm management practices, progressive farmers in batches were sent on educational tour to visit IARI, New Delhi & Karnal Centers, P.A.U. Ludhiana, NDRI, Karnal, Darshan Singh’s Farm, Hayatpura, Punjab, G.B.Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Women Empowerment Activity: An initiative under taken towards empowering rural women. Under this programme, two lady workers were trained on formation of Self Help Group (SHG), as a result seven women SHGs have been formed. These SHGs are encouraged to take  up different entreprenuership development activity on their own. They have been advised to take up agriculture related activities like, compost making, raising of seedlings, papar making etc.


bull.jpg (5174 bytes)Agro Service Centre: One Agro Service Centre (Krishak Seva Kendra) has been created. In this year 2003  6 sprayers & 6 dusters were provided from project to the Agro Service Center & these machines are utilised by about 200 farmers from 84 villages. Further, 442 bags of pure fertilsers are also sold by this centre


Deoria District. U.P


A project titled Demonstration of Systems approach towards increasing agriculture productivity in low productivity regions at Deoria district which is about 52kM away from Gorrakhpur and  has been launched, reaching out to the people of India under the Technology Vision 2020 Mission on Agriculture & Agro Food Sector.

Seeing the success of Bihar project, farmers from Deoria district approached TIFAC to include them with TIFAC programme and hence the project started in 2000 with demonstration of systems approach for cultivation of paddy crop in 9 villages of 3 blocks (Baitalpur, Pathardeba, Valuani) of Deoria district covering about 11 ha land. Before start of the project a benchmark survey was conducted.


Scenario before start of the project:


Crop productivity of all crops low, viz. productivity of Paddy and Wheat is around 3 – 3.5 t/ha

Non-availability of good quality inputs – seeds, fertiliser etc.

Traditional cultivation practices. Farmers use more quantity of seed (30 kg/acre) than the actual requirement (8-10 kg/acre)

Lack of knowledge of plant protection measures


Progress and Achievements



Area of adoption(Ha)


No. villages involved
















Productivity increased


Paddy – from around 3-3.5t/ha to around 5.5-6 t/ha


Wheat - from around 3-3.5t/ha to around 4.5-5.5 t/ha









































Note: Input costs borne by farmers. TIFAC costs include training, technical guidance, field level advice and limited linked support from time to time based on advice of experts/lead person of the project

Farmers have been encouraged to grow fruits & vegetables. 500 good litchi plants have been distributed among the farmers on part cost basis. Further, initiative has been taken to increase the productivity of sugarcane, the main cash crop of the region. About 53 quintals of sugarcane seed has been arranged for the farmers from the Indian Sugarcanae Research Institute, Lucknow. More than 3 times yield was obtained.


Training of farmers at village level:














7 camps, 9 vill., 235 farmers


6 camps, 88 vill, 535 farmers


6 camps, 20 vill. 125 farmers


6 camps, 33 vill. 165 farmers




6 camps, 9 vill., 275 farmers


6 camps, 55 vill, 400 farmers


10 camps, 50 vill, 100 farmers


06 camps, 88 vill, 110 farmers






3 camps, 18 vill. 70 farmers


8 camps, 8 vill. 500 farmers





Institutional training of farmers








No. of Farmers


Vegetable seedling production


Division of vegetable crops, IARI






Paddy Seed production


IARI, Regional Station, Karnal






Other Initiatives

Zero tillage machine has been introduced for timely sowing of wheat which has great impact on productivity

With a view to improve the productivity of sugarcane, about 53 quintals of sugarcane seed was arranged for farmers from Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow. In this area, no sugarcane seeds were changed since last 10 years, which caused a lowering of productivity to a significant extent.

Farmers were encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables, about 500 good quality lichi plants were distributed amongst the farmers.

An effort has been made to revive the cultivation of chick pea in this region after almost 30 years. In 2001, chickpea cultivation was taken up in 25 acres land with bio control measures to prevent from pod borer attack. Farmers harvested about 26 q / ha yield. In the year 2002 also farmers in about 25 acres land took up chickpea cultivation. The yield was satisfactory

In addition to chickpea, mustard, pea, lentil have also introduced in the cropping system


Ballia District .U.P



Overall upliftment of the socio-economic conditions of the rural people engaged in farming

a) Improvement of agricultural productivity of different crops mainly rice and wheat by incorporating total systems approach

b) Multi trait training to unemployed youth

Location: Ballia district adjacent to Deoria district, which is about 180 KM away from Deoria Sadar

Background: As a multiplier effect of Deoria project, the project activity started in Ballia district from Kharif season of 2002. The demonstration of paddy crop cultivation was taken up in 8 ha land from 20 villages in Beruarbari block.

Approach followed : The approaches followed in Bihar and Deoria project are also being followed in this project.

Scenario before start of the project : Similar agricultural scenario like Deoria project also exist in Ballia.


Progress and Achievements




Area of adoption(Ha)


No. villages involved
















Productivity increased


Paddy – from around 3t/ha to around 5t/ha


Wheat - from around 3-3.5t/ha to around 4.5-5.5 t/ha


Maize crop is in field














52+12 for maize








Note: Input costs were borne by farmers themselves. TIFAC costs include training, technical guidance, field level advice and limited linked support from time to time based on advice of experts/lead person of the project


Training of farmers at field level:










2 camps, 20 vill. 100 farmers


6 camps, 44 vill. 225 farmers




7 camps, 31 vill, 225 farmers


03 camps, 47 vill, 160 farmers




7 camps, 31 vill. 225 farmers




Institutional training of farmers:








No. of Farmers


Paddy Seed production


IARI, Regional Station, Karnal






Other initiatives

Zero tillage machine has been introduced for timely sowing of wheat which has great impact on productivity

An effort has been made to revive the cultivation of chickpea in this region after almost 30 years.

In addition to chickpea, pea, lentil have also introduced in the cropping system


Agriculture Development Project in Uttaranchal


Location : Pinder Valley, Chamoli District and Bhageswar district, Uttaranchal

The approval of baseline determination, soil assessment, discussion with farmers etc were similar. However, the crops and the practices advised were different as the geographical area had different agroclimate features. Its comparative advantages and market linkages were kept in mind. (See TIFAC website).


TIFAC has done several such successful demonstrations customised to local geographical areas such as Maharashtra (fisheries) and Tamil Nadu (Kancheepuram District). The key conclusions are that rural persons are capable of adapting to changes very fast and are fully aware of the importance of the market forces. The main thing they require is the knowledge and skill to take actions within their means. Once that is imparted they move very fast. The cooperation between themselves at community level for knowledge sharing is also remarkable. It is in this context  e-chaupal is a good concept. As a part of Public – Private – People (P – P – P) partnerships, if government agencies meant to help rural areas pool their resources and tie up with agencies like TIFAC, NAF, BAIF and others to provide technical expertise (not just through e-means but also through periodic visits of experts as physical presence helps a lot) and pay these agencies on a contractual basis (flexibly) , then many rural areas untouched by the earlier green revolution will raise their income levels considerably through agriculture and other land based activities like animal husbandry, poultry fisheries, and related efforts. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to empower women as well  using the similar linkages to markets and providing them higher and higher income earning avenues. Also educational and skill avenues may be introduced later.

Partners in Network

Similar efforts are being done under Vision 2020 Projects on Agro processing led by Smt. Lila Poonawalla in the milk sector and for cereal/horticulture value addition.  A major project was undertaken in the herbal sector at Uttaranchal to provide local value addition at the farm level so that the farmers get considerable earnings (and substantial returns on their investment) per hectare.  It is a question of stabilizing the agro technologies for the well chosen (market share wise) herbs and placing them in the correct places of value chain.  These projects in the herbal sector are sequel to a major report by the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C) and TIFAC (Ref.6).  A beginning was made in the fisheries sector under the leadership of Dr.S.A.H.Abidi in 2002. TIFAC also works closely with BAIF, National Agro Foundation (NAF) and other similar organizations.  TIFAC studies in 1993   on leather (Ref 7) have led a major mission implemented by Central  Leather Research Institute  (CLRI) Chennai as leather,  which again helps the poor to  grade themselves.  There were  other projects under the title of Home  Grown Technology (HGT)  Scheme dealing  with use of local waste materials  as value added  marketable products  ranging from wood substitutes and natural dyes. (Ref. 5 TIFAC  Websites: www.;; There is also a major mission for technology for bamboo products executed by TIFAC.  This will greatly facilitate rural poor to earn through selling bamboo with value addition.

These examples are briefly mentioned because in addition to increasing agricultural productivity at the marginal farmer levels, there are several other recently proven technological initiatives by TIFAC with other partners and industries which demonstrate clearly that empowering rural poor with necessary tools is possible. They are successful in further multiplication. Through improvements in agriculture production and enhancing their earnings through supplementary income obtained from poultry, animals, fishing etc will be a major action to remove rural poverty in the short run. It is essential to diversify into other activities indicated above in order to avoid stagnation and also to avoid “income killing” competition between poor persons who are on the upward move. There has to be a continuous flow of new skills and knowledge to help the onward march of many poor persons towards prosperity levels. This will continue to be the public responsibility for at least two decades to come.

There are also many examples from the work of BAIF mostly around agriculture and animal rearing (Ref.9). NAF activities and success stories (and methodologies may be seen in the website www……………………….(Ref. 10).


There is an urgent need to empower the rural poor with technological (knowledge/skills) tools for various sectors at different appropriate levels and also crucial connectivities described earlier.  There are a number of technology milieus providing successful models which have been implemented in the recent years by TIFAC, BAIF, NAF and a few other agencies. Networking these efforts is important. TIFAC had entered into a memorandum of understanding with Akhil Bhartiya Gramodyog Mahasang (ABGM) to initiate such a process. It is important to remember that time is of essence.  Value addition at local levels (not necessarily total production and self sufficiency at these levels) is crucial because that alone ensures additional earnings at the villages. The approach should absorb the realities of the market forces of globalization and liberalization, so that they can be mastered by our people.  Experiments show they can be; but large scale and speedy actions are called for with technology milieus, on the lines suggested in this paper. As the capabilities of the villages change. The world and India will also be changing in markets, lifestyles, technologies and businesses. Continual adaptions of new knowledge and skills and newer technology milieus, would need to be done to keep up the growth, to avoid stagnation, and to help the poor to march towards prosperity in an accelerated way. If concerted actions a are taken all over the country in a professional manner, as briefly described here and in Chapter-3 in about 15 years it is possible that almost all poor persons would have become prosperous. Also endogenous capabilities would have been built in them to spot, absorb and disseminate (the then) new knowledge bases/skills. They would have become entrepreneurs themselves in the globalised and liberalised India. They can be choose to be employees and employers. They would also be in a position to choose the market places as they would have by then mastered the process of e-marketing and also the contents in the cyberspace would be market driven and therefore relevant and ……………Then alone we can consider that poverty has been eradicated and rural prosperity can sustain.



1. Kamal Taori Understanding Rural Industrialization in a book “Sustaining Rural Industries”  edited by Laxmi Das & D.K. Giri, published by Samskriti, New Delhi 2002.

2. Y.S.Rajan – “The promise of new technologies for poverty alleviation” – a paper presented in the conference “The role of new technologies in poverty alleviatin and sustainable development” held on 6 November, 2000 in Washington D.C., U.S.A, organized by Tata Energy Resources Institute – North America (TERI).

3. Y.S. Rajan – “A Vision for Rural Transformation:Science and Technology Based Initiatives” -  Chapter III of the book “Empowering Indians: with economic, business and technology strengths for the twenty-first century, by Y.S.Rajan. Har Anand Publications, New Delhi (2001)

4. “Towards a Knowledge Society in India – Issues of Management” – Y.S.Rajan.

5. TIFAC Website –

6. SAC-C & TIFAC: Herbal & Natural Products (2001)

7. Leather Technology Vision 2010 (1993) by Dr.G.Thyagarajan & Dr.A.Amudeswari.

8. TIFAC Websites

9. BAIF Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Livelihood – Replicable Models by Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation

10. NAF reference & website 

An Article on Prof. Sathish Dhawan by Y.S.Rajan



Prof Satish Dhawan is one the master architect of the Indian Space Programme, taking the mantle of ISRO after Dr Vikram Sarabhai’s early demise. He oriented ISRO towards targeted projects with clear operational direction. Very little is written about him, in the annals of Indian Science & Technology even while his contributions are monumental. An article written about him by Y S Rajan which has appeared in the Journal of Indian National Science Academy (INSA) is placed here for wider audience.






1920 – 2002


Satish Dhawan passed away on the night of 3rd January 2002. He was one of the greatest leaders of the scientific and academic community in modern India. His lifelong passion for aeronautics manifested itself early in his career through his pioneering work on experimental fluid dynamics carried out at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore making him in some sense “the father” of experimental fluid dynamics in the country. Prof. Dhawan combined engineering skills and knowledge with a scientist’s view of the world and its workings being the first example of an Indian “engineering scientist” (Reference 1). During his long tenure at the Indian Institute of Science he transformed it’s working and moved it into new areas. During his term as the Chairman of the Indian Space Programme in its initial crucial period after the death of Dr.Vikram Sarabhai, he transformed ISRO into a dynamic and powerful organization that could compete with other space organizations at the global level. A thinker, a doer and a builder – that was Satish Dhawan.

In addition he set a very high ethical and moral standard for himself and for others around him. He did this not by preaching or talking about morality and ethics but by setting a personal example. In the words of Prof.R.Narasimha (Reference 1) “He was, most of all, the undeclared but widely accepted moral and social conscience of the scientific community. He was a great man”.


Satish Dhawan was born on 25th September 1920 in Srinagar. He graduated from the University of Punjab (Lahore): BA in Mathematics, MA in English and a BE in Mechanical Engineering. He spent a year on the shop floor of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) working as a technician and a mechanic. This experience of working with his hands seems to have had a major impact on Prof. Dhawan. His respect for and fascination with people who could do things with their hands was a kind of personal hallmark. Prof. Dhawan could also fix and repair many things on his own. Many of us at ISRO who worked with him closely, often saw him carrying out minor repairs on many things including the air conditioner in his room. His daughter told me recently that when they collected his personal belongings from his room in ISRO, there were small knives, screwdrivers and other small tools. Smt. Kausalya Ramaseshan also told me that just a few weeks before his demise Prof.Dhawan had designed a special chair for his friend Dr.S.Ramaseshan. This lifelong respect for manual craftsmanship and actual engineering execution also came through in his worldview as an organizational head both at IISc and ISRO. He respected the workers and devised methods for their career advancement and welfare.

After his stint at HAL he left for the USA on a government scholarship and obtained an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Aeronautics and Mathematics in 1951 from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He then returned to India.

There are writings about Prof Dhawan that cover different facets of his life and work. Details of his academic career at the Indian Institute of Science, his directorship of “the Institute” from 1962 to 1980 and his role as Chairman ISRO from 1972 onwards are well covered in these publications (References 1 & 2). An article by Y.S.Rajan (Reference 3) covers the period during which Prof. Dhawan headed the space programme. It provides considerable information and insights into Prof. Dhawan’s leadership style, his managerial and organizational contributions, his philosophy and other related aspects.

It is not my intention to cover the same ground again. This article will therefore cover aspects of Prof. Dhawan’s life, contributions and interests that are not so well known. It will touch upon certain special events that occurred after 1984 when Prof. Dhawan relinquished his direct leadership of the Indian space effort. Through this approach we try to add to and enrich our understanding of this great humanist.

Two unique features of Prof.Dhawan’s style was the inherent respect he accorded to the views of others and his ability to blend change with continuity. Though he held very powerful positions (Chairman Space Commission, Director IISc) he never ever used his position to make the point that “he knew better because he was so and so”. He could be tough and rigorous in how he viewed what you said but never overbearing or condescending. This was his attitude not only to his peers but to everybody around him. This inherent modesty, often bordering on humility, seems to have been born out of a blending of a kind of scientific temper and an almost Buddha like approach to life and knowledge.

Two extracts from his description of his predecessor Dr.Vikram Sarabhai and his colleague and “number two” Dr.Brahm Prakash, both of whom had a major hand in shaping ISRO, are note worthy.

“Vikram Sarabhai was the gifted architect of the Indian Space Programme. It was his imagination backed by an extraordinary capacity to band together people – scientist, engineers and others – that brought ISRO into being with the objective of using Space Technology for the benefit of India. This collection of his writings and speeches gives a glimpse of his vision” (Reference 4).

“Dr.Prakash never raised his voice in anger, never missed a schedule or failed to complete a responsibility he had undertaken --- how do you measure the contribution of such a man? We will all miss him” (Reference 5).


Even though he recognized that Science & Technology systems had several unique features in their operations, he never visualized them as being independent and separate from the social and political contexts in which they were happening. He had a deep sense of history and an enduring concern for humanity and society. These were reflected in many things that he did both in his personal life as well as in his leadership of various organisations. He did not write many articles. Neither did he deliver many lectures on his views and understanding of these complex problems. However these beliefs and values influenced all his discussions and actions in ISRO.

He clearly understood the role of S&T in the development of India. He understood even better the particular role that space technology could play in the development of a modern India. He saw ISRO and the space programme as an organization that had to translate the potential of space into products and services that could benefit the people of India. Though he was the head of the space programme and would seem to have a vested interest in its development he often divorced himself from this role so that he could be more objective about what the programme should and should not do.

He insisted that ISRO should never push technology for the sake of technology. The extensive analyses carried out within ISRO not only addressed technology choices and options but also addressed in great detail the impacts that the applications of this technology would have on India. Cost-benefit analyses, environmental or societal impact studies, user involvement and commitment to the Indian space effort were part and parcel of every minor and major initiative that ISRO undertook. It was only after this intensive personal and organizational soul searching that he would try and move ISRO towards its next major challenge. This approach came about because of Prof. Dhawan’s commitment to position space applications in India in its right socio-economic context. To him space was not about chasing fanciful notions or fashions. Nor was it meant to be a proclamation of state power. It was a human activity in the service of human beings who live in the larger context of the earth’s ecology. The philosopher and engineer in him were integrated through his deeper understanding of science as a great human endeavour. He understood the processes of science in its larger context – its potential and limitations.

One of the finest pieces of writing by Prof.S.Dhawan on the development of Science &Technology in India, and the processes in science can be seen in his Aryabhata Lecture delivered on August 02, 1985 at the Indian National Science Academy (Reference 6)

“ The manner in which space technology was grown and established and is now beginning to be put to use in India is perhaps a rare and remarkable example of a scientific enterprise allowed to be conceived and run by scientists with the active support of the Government.

Scientific enterprises inherently tend to be “high risk” ventures in the sense that there is no apriori guarantee of attaining specific success. Scientific research if diligently and honestly carried out with the searingly critical appraisal of peers almost always results in new knowledge  - often modifying and upsetting earlier theories and understandings. Even negative results make positive contributions. The case with new technology can be quite different. Technology, embodying scientific and engineering principles is directed towards human needs, felt, perceived or defined in some manner. It is thus closer to practical matters and more directly intertwined with human economic and social affairs. A given technology can be effective only in a particular social context. However efficient in the purely technical sense its success or failure is largely conditioned by the human environment. The results of introduction of a new technology in a particular socio-economic context or environment may turn out to be a ‘disaster’ or ‘boon’. Many of the problems of the third world in S&T applications are related to this issue and often are compounded by internal socio-political weaknesses and the distortions generated by foreign governments and international organizations which influence aid programmes with the selectivity mechanisms based on parameters derived from applications in the advanced countries. The desire to adopt the ‘forced march’ approach, relying on the selection and adoption of technology developed elsewhere and not organically grown within the country of application, adds to the risks of producing a mis-match. In this background, the selection of space technology for India carried inherent risks and it was obviously important to be perceptive about the manner of its growth and application in the country. Finally it must be noted that it is not technology that guarantees social objectives – it is people who must decide”.

He then goes on to describe the two major applications - communications and remote sensing applications. A few quotes:

“ One has however to contend with change. Over the 25 years a new generation has grown up in India. Those who made the selection of space technology and provided the inspiration, initial momentum and enlightened political support have passed into history. How will the new generation of scientists, political leadership and the people at large see the social goals and the role that should be assigned to space technology?

As the experimental phase transitions into space operations and the lives of millions of Indians can be influenced and affected, people are bound to ask, ‘is this for our good’? The tools have been built, how will they be used? Will TV now that it can reach the millions, help them? Centrally beamed programmes reach every nook and corner but they are one way – what is the feed back? Don’t the teachers want to listen to the students? Can we not devise a two-way system? Will the resources managers decisions, armed with good and timely information help the farmer, the urban elite or the stock exchange? A million questions! These cannot be answered by space technology. Only people who care, can.” (Reference 6)

In another remarkable lecture on “Space and Foreign Policy” delivered as the K.P.S. Memorial lecture, on 29th October 1988 (Reference 7) he reviews the growth of space technology over three decades from the date of the first Sputnik launch in 1957, describes India’s own capability and then goes on to raise the issue on how these growing capabilities will force countries into cooperating with one another:

“The case of space technology forcefully illustrates that as nations master and use it for their own good they cannot escape consideration of the interests of others. Expediency and ideas of the absolute sanctity of national sovereignty need to be reconciled and harmonized with global considerations of peace and survival of the earth. The promise of space itself can hardly be realized unless nations cooperate peacefully.

India’s space programme is reaching the stage when the policy for domestic and international use needs to be orchestrated explicitly with full national consensus. The time is ripe for the formulation of a National Space Act and its promulgation after approval by Parliament. Then we can hope space and foreign policy to reinforce each other in conformity with the peaceful aspirations of the people of India as well as the world”. (Reference 7)

In a private communication to Prof.M.G.K.Menon on May 4th, 1988 – then Member Planning Commission with a copy marked to me, Prof Dhawan strongly pleads for consolidating basic research in Universities in several areas… “We do not know the lacunae in detail – is it personnel or some equipment missing or just sloppy leadership? We must not allow decay of existing scientific units to subcritical activities after having made investments for years. If you think it worthwhile (I think it is) you could identify a few major areas and set the ball rolling. The essence is to find an active scientist for each area, with wholesome outlook who would be prepared to put out some effort – not easy, but still possible and worth while” (Reference 8).

Prof. Dhawan’s long term vision for space technology spanning into the 21st century and beyond can be seen in another lecture he delivered at the Astronautical Society of India on September 06th, 1996 entitled “Whither Space and Astronautics” (Reference 9). In this lecture he advocates the integration of Communications and Earth Observation Satellite Systems into a National Space-based Early Warning and Response System (NEWARS), which would collect timely information on all major aspects of national life. He saw such a system to be strongly coupled with and dependent on the protection and effective use of both natural and organized human resources. This view can be thought of as a clarion call to the young generation of Indians to take these ideas and transform them into major national and global enterprises. To the best of my knowledge this lecture was the last major lecture given by Prof.S.Dhawan that was recorded as a published document. It can be seen as a Dhawan Manifesto on Space. This lecture also covered the origins and evolution of the universe since the Big Bang, examines issues related to the establishment of Space colonies and explored the prospects of planetary engineering. The philosopher, engineer, academic and social thinker in him are all alive and integrated into one in this seminal lecture.

The concluding remarks of this lecture are: -

Civilizations have for long sought answers to problems of existence. In the last half a century it has slowly dawned on Mankind that of the great variety of Life Forms on the Earth, one of them – Homosapiens – has reached a stage when its actions are endangering the Globe. The Sceptic asks: “What is the moral justification for exploring the Planets & Stars when there is so much Hunger, Misery, Poverty & Strife on Earth? The Optimist says: Programmes which focus on space and encounter complex issues of survival in a hostile environment, facing unexpected dangers and situations and overcoming them – enhance Man’s capability to face the Unknown and survive as a truly civilized being.

Collectively can Mankind enhance its capabilities to evolve a Civilization on Earth which is more humane, sensitive and harmonious not only to humans but to all forms of life? If yes, then we go into Space to Understand and Resolve problems of Life on Earth –


ISRO, as an Innovation System

Even after nearly four decades, ISRO still continues to be a very powerful innovative organization. In a seeming contradiction, it combines this innovative capability with world-class operations. Most of the credit for this can be directly linked to Prof. Dhawan. After taking over the leadership of the space programme in 1972  (ten years after the start of the programme) he transformed it into a goal oriented performing organization. All major programmes and projects of ISRO were re-organised and focused to deliver results. Prof Dhawan also looked ahead to see how the Sarabhai vision for the space programme could be given tangible shape and form through technology, R&D, organizational and managerial initiatives.

A well researched account of the details of organisational structure, organizational processes and key people involved in one aspect of the space programme is available (Reference10) This was based on extensive research and interviews of all key personnel involved in ISRO’S remote sensing programme. The authors had also interviewed Prof. Dhawan in the year 2000. The report addresses in some detail the key elements of the “Strategic Planning Phase or the Dhawan era”: These included formal and informal mechanisms for fostering innovation and resolving conflicts. It also consisted of managing external interfaces such as networking government and working with and cooperating with international partners. The report also talks about the aspirations, motivations and careers of key people who made important contributions to the space effort. These building blocks of capabilities transformed ISRO into an organization that was special. “One of the key characteristics of the organisation (ISRO) in the mid-seventies and early eighties was that ISRO was simultaneously able to run operational projects and also plan ahead and build the technology base for the future. Some further quotes to look at these capabilities are in order (Reference 10).

“Prof. Dhawan mentions that the thing that struck him most about ISRO at that time (when he took over) was the belief shared by most people, that they could do anything however difficult it might appear to be. This belief of the people in ISRO according to him was directly related to the influence of Vikram Sarabhai. This idea that space could make a difference to nation building tasks was something that people seem to have shared. Dr.Hariharan. Dr.George Joseph mention similar motivations and aspirations. As Prof.Dhawan states “ there was a suspension of disbelief.” However he also mentions that he was significantly influenced by this “can do” attitude.

There is no doubt that “culture”, “vision” and “belief” are important ingredients for success. Prof.Dhawan mentions that while he did not have any doubts about the capabilities of ISRO, he felt that the vision needed to be translated into concrete products and services that space could provide to the country. Without building such capabilities visions and beliefs tend to be just visions and beliefs. To lend substance and shape to the Sarabhai vision he saw two necessary things that had to emerge form the system – programmes and projects. If such programmes and projects had to add value, they also had to involve the potential users of space services. According to him there were clearly established users in communications, TV broadcasting and weather. No such entities existed in using remote sensing and therefore there was an even greater need to provide a focus for ISRO activities in this area.

A programme according to Prof.Dhawan was long term and emphasized broad goals that the organization needed to set itself. It is like a statement of intent or a perspective plan. It was more specific than a vision and identified key areas and in certain situations specific projects also to realize the goals outlined. The first occasion in preparing such a perspective plan took place in Ahmedabad in 1972.”

Prof. Dhawan was also an able administrator.  He understood the need for various procedures required for systems funded by the Government. He therefore created mechanisms for such an administration taking into account the “peculiar” or “unique” nature of S&T processes. His administrative capabilities were not merely limited to the units under the aegis of the specially empowered Space Commission (the ISRO / Department of Space family) but also extended into the user administrative systems outside ISRO such as the Planning Commission, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Department of Telecommunication, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Forestry.

Details of the systems created by Prof. S Dhawan and the processes introduced by him are given in Reference 10.  Reference 10 deals only with the Remote Sensing Part of the Space Programme. Similar elements can be seen in the ISRO launcher and satellite programmes as well as in the various telecommunications and other initiatives taken by ISRO.


His concern for the human rights of employees was very high. This belief was not just an ideal but something, which he practiced – often under very trying and difficult circumstances. When he was Secretary, Department of Space, he successfully resisted various pressures to dismiss employees on frivolous grounds that often cited some draconian provisions of the law. Similarly in the (in) famous ISRO spy case, even when he was not at the helm of affairs of ISRO/DOS but was a Member of the Space Commission, he came out forcefully and openly in defence of his former colleague Nambinarayanan who had suffered due to the excesses and apathy of various wings of the government system. Prof. Dhawan spearheaded the drafting and sending out of a joint letter to newspapers and scientific journals that openly came out in support of a colleague who had become a victim of the system. This has to be a rare isolated event in post-independent India. Only a Satish Dhawan could have done it! No wonder many distinguished colleagues called him “the moral and social conscience of the scientific community”

Even though most of Prof. Dhawan’s active and “retired” professional life was devoted to aero space sciences and technologies, he took a keen interest in nature. He took an active interest in the flora and fauna of the various campuses of ISRO or IISC. During the construction of the Sriharikota complex he ruled that no trees could be cut unless it was absolutely necessary. He made it a rule that any cutting of trees had to be cleared by him and only after due and rigorous justification. The amount of care he took in selecting sites for ISRO - for a liquid engine testing complex or a launch vehicle centre or tracking facilities in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are unequalled. ISRO must still possess the various reports assessing various sites. I am sure these would still serve as models of how environmental impact analyses can be made. After a cyclone in Sriharikota Island where ISRO launch and rocket testing facilities are located, he initiated a major afforestation effort. He particularly enjoyed going to Sriharikota and took the extra bit of effort to make sure that the development of the island for the space programme did not damage it’s original ecosystem. Along with a colleague Seetharaman he took photographs of the various birds that visited Sriharikota island as a part of his research that combined two of his loves in life – aeronautics and nature. The love for nature in him was thus further intensified by his researches on “Bird Flight”. He also took special care of the Yenadi tribes who were displaced from Sriharikota, and rehabilitated nearby. When they were displaced again because of the administrative actions of the State he took care of them through the innovative administrative method of engaging them in the forest work at Sriharikota Island.

I have accompanied him in many of these visits and am aware of the particular care and follow-up that he brought to bear on the various issues. He was an “environmentalist” long before the government and various other policy makers were looking at it as an area of concern. In the later years of life he spent considerable amount of time with slum and street children trying to understand and solve their problems.

He has given some of his research findings on bird flight in one of the Raman Memorial Lectures 1988 (Reference 11). Some of the films of birds in flight were taken with the cameras used for recording launch vehicle performance. This 87 page illustrated document with numerous references and appendices provides an excellent foundation for naturalists and scientists to pursue further studies on bird flight in India. Many of the drawings of birds and their wings were made personally by Prof. Dhawan. He has also indicated areas needing further empirical studies.



It is difficult to describe a person like Prof. Dhawan in an article or even in a few articles. Many persons who have worked with him and seen the actions generated by him revere him – though he would be the first person to “pooh pooh” such adulation. He was a rare blend of a philosopher, scientist, academic, engineer and administrator, possibly the only one of its kind in the history of post-independent India. He shunned publicity, discouraged iconising and believed in systems and collective efforts. His life’s philosophy is best exemplified by the quote from Buddha which is given in the decade Space Programme Profile 1980-90 which he shaped.

    “Be ye lamps unto yourselves

    Be your own reliance

    Hold to the truth within yourselves

    As to the only lamp.”

I have had the opportunity of working with Prof. Dhawan and experiencing the joys and sorrows and the ups and downs of the space programme as it evolved from a small effort to a major national capability. I was 29 years old when I first started working with him. I and many of my colleagues have been shaped by his philosophy and his practice of that philosophy. On hearing of his death from Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam at Lucknow I felt that a major pillar of one’s life was no longer available to lean on. I could reach Bangalore only a day later. My feelings on the early morning of 5th January 2002 when I met Prof. Dhawan’s family (many of whom I had known for more than 25 years) were penned in a poem on Prof. Dhawan and given to his family. (Reference 12). It will be apt to end this article with that poem which attempts to capture a unique modern sage who lived in our midst.



Satish Dhawan

The Pride of the nation

Bhishma of the yore

And Buddha so dear

Both combined

In an ancient land

And with a modern mind

We saw him walk

Much ahead of the folk

Lifting them all

Into a brave new world!


He shaped cosmos

As a mighty canvas

Not for a cause

With goals amorphous

It was for millions

And many, many millions

Of poor and deprived

Born into this land

The Universal mind

Could clearly see

Originations dependent many


 With the lamp of truth

Firmly in hand

And as the only guide

He walked miles’n miles

To modernize us!


Along with the lotus*

On this lovely earth

He cared for plants

Insects’n all life

The cosmic connection

As if inborn!


The mighty spirit

With many lamps it lit

Will shine in effulgence

Like thousand suns


And radiate love

With tenderness divine

 And wisdom so unique

In an hour of need!

Without a spoken word

 Or a written word

But thru our minds

As a Universal Mind!





 The author thanks Dr. T Ramaswamy, Director CLRI for referring my name to INSA for writing this article and to INSA for giving me this opportunity.  The author acknowledges with gratitude the advice and assistance provided by Prof. S Chandrashekar, IIM, Bangalore who had worked with Prof. Dhawan in ISRO since 1974.  He also assisted me with new material with critical observations and serious editing of the manuscript.


1.   Roddam Narasimha: Current Science, Vol.82, No.2, 25 January 2002: pp.222-225

2.   R.Narasimha and APJ Abdul Kalam: Development in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology: Indian Academy of Sciences 1988, Bangalore.

3.   Y.S.Rajan: Management of the Indian Space Programme in Development in Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology, Indian Academy of Sciences 1988, Bangalore: pp.397-413

4.   S.Dhawan: Sarabhai on Space- A selection of writing & speeches, September 1979: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bangalore

5.   S.Dhawan: Dr.Brahm Prakash- A Eulogy: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Bangalore: 1984

6.   S.Dhawan: Application of Space Technology in India: Aryabhata Lecture at Indian National Science Academy, August 2, 1988: ISRO, Bangalore: pp-2 -13

7.   S.Dhawan: Space and Foreign Policy: K.P.S.Memorial Lecture: Delivered at Andhra Bhavan, New Delhi: 29 October 1988: pp.14

8.   S.Dhawan: Letter to Prof. M.G.K.Menon (Personal Communication): May 4,1988: New Delhi

9.   S.Dhawan: Whither Space & Astronautics, Lecture Delivered at The Astronautical society of India: Bangalore, September 6,1996: pp.28

10. A.R.Dasgupta & S.Chandrashekar, Indigenous Innovation and IT-enabled Exports: A Case study of the Development of Data Processing Software for Indian Remote Sensing Satellite: Study prepared for the University of Pennsylvania Institute for the Advance Study of India: New Delhi, 2000: pp.48-49

11. S.Dhawan: Birds Flight - Raman Memorial Lecture 1988: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research: National Aeronautical Laboratory, Bangalore

12.  Y.S.Rajan: Agony & Harmony: New Century Book House (Pvt) Ltd, Chennai:  September, 2002: pp 97-99




This article has already appeared in the publication of Indian National Science Academy  (INSA) – Ref. No. ………




* (* Nalini in Sanskrit is Mrs.Dhawan’s name who greatly influenced his love for nature).