Tailpiece - Point of View

Y.S. Rajan, one of the early pioneers of the Indian space programme, started his career in the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad in 1964. From 1968 to 1988, he held many important Positions in ISRO including Scientific Secretary, ISRO; and Director, Earth Observation Systems. He has also worked at NASA. He had made extensive contributions to India’s first three major space projects- Aryabhatta Satellite, Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) and SLV-3 and other later projects like INSAT, IRS, PSLV. He also led Indian delegations to the United Nations. During 1988-1996, he worked as an Adviser, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India; and first Executive Director, TIFAC (1988-2002). He was Senior Adviser (Technology) of CII (1996-2000). He was also Scientific Secretary to Government of India  and Scientific Adviser to the President of India from March 2000 to October 2002. Presently he is Vice-Chancellor and Chairman, Board of Governors, Punjab Technical University (PTU) as well as Scientific Adviser to the Chief Minister of Punjab, with rank of the Minister of State.

Mr Y S Rajan has authored the book “Choosing Career Paths”. The thought of writing a book arose when working in close association with President A.P.J Abdul Kalam to translate his Vision 2020 for a Developed India into Reality, what struck him was the high rate of unemployment among the youth. With millions more waiting in the wings, he felt it was a situation that needed to be addressed. The book is an attempt to open the eyes of not just job hunters, but also of students and parents, to the reality of the Indian job front.

Through extensive data the author charts out what career options are available, how to apply for a job, appear for an interview and what to do at the workplace. The author believes, for “cold” intellectual as well as emotional reasons, that empowering each Indian with right skills and knowledge (to enable him/her to add value addition) is crucial for national development.  If people are poor, it is because they have not been empowered with the right skills, which can provide value addition in the competitive world of market economics. The quest for choosing a career path should begin at the schooling stage itself. The youth must be made aware of the multiple options available to them and guided in the right direction, as job is as basic a necessity of life. Gone are the days of "conventional" degrees that once fetched jobs! Today, there is a wide variety of "educational choices". Many foreign institutions have stepped in. These offer multiple market-driven courses, of course at a price, which many can ill-afford. There are also multiple choices for career options.

Yet, the job requirements are different for different classes of the youth of different strata of society — high, middle and lower middle. Thus, in this small world, the big challenge is of providing employment opportunities to those who after classes X and XII are forced by economic necessities and family needs to opt for diploma or certificate courses, as they cannot afford to enroll in regular university degree courses. This calls for a joint effort at every conceivable level in society to reorient mind-set as well as to restructure the system or at least make the best use of the existing system in the interests of the youth.

Institutions of learning, schools to universities cannot turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to this emerging scenario. All shall have to develop forward and backward linkages and also drill into the young minds that education is only an "enabling tool" for choosing career paths, not a "guarantee" to employment!

Rajan has also expressed his views strongly on the linkages between technology, business and human resources. In the past, all of these acted in separate, often watertight compartments. The linkages were sparse between R&D groups and academia, but very little between them and business groups. This was most unlike the case in developed countries, especially the USA. Rajan goes on to say that when industry seeks technology from indigenous sources, they get very little response, or else offers that mean little. Even when practical ideas are put forward, industry has a hard time getting useful inputs from organizations such as national laboratories or research organizations.

Academia, says Rajan, acts only as a supplier of bright young boys and girls after degrees are secured. Industries find that they need practical orientation, because the whole education system, even the best of them, can only impart theoretical knowledge and very little experience in the school of life. The situation is now changing in India with organizations like the IITs linking up with industry, but the pace of change is slow and needs a big heave up by the bootstraps.

On the dynamics of higher technical education in the Indian context, Rajan states that the traditional academic planners at the level of government or apex agencies, tend to chase elusive models of projections for growth and then matching other activities to their projections. These are general based on vestiges of thinking on centralized systems of the past, which have either failed substantially or are no longer relevant, measured either in terms of spurring economic growth or in terms of providing social equity. Even in the eighties, to support the IT boom, the government funded institutions that were unable to meet the demands of the rapidly growing IT industry. In the end, it was the “mushrooming” of private sector colleges, which entered into the non-formal sector of education which met the quantitative demand for the IT sector – not always with the requisite quality.

Rajan believes that it is not enough to address the matter of educational systems only from the point of view of academic institutions or that of business enterprises. 17 million new children are born in India every year and as such, at every age bracket, such a number of children exist. All of them have the right to be empowered with the appropriate productive skills – and not just garner literacy and numeracy, which might leave them in the lurch in a modern economy. Says Rajan, in the present day, only about 1% of eligible children are able to get into the upper layers in terms of earnings they can get in the present competitive scenario. The average for developed countries is 20%. Hence India needs to expand the whole system 20 fold or else in the future, we will be condemning 99% of this mass as unfit for the modern competitive world. The social issue, says Rajan, cannot be ducked by asking “where are the jobs?”. We cannot ask our future generations to stay put as literate hibernates till the age of 16 till the economy makes a demand on them. Education and skill needs to be imparted constantly – not possible by any slot-machine technology – because it requires a gestation period and a time frame for a person to come out with reasonable skills and a knowledge base.


(Read more about the above at and

Poem "Twenty First Century 2006"

1) Years before the birth

Of the century twenty first

Many dooms day predictions

Of stuck up machines,

Paralysed communications

In flight failures in aviation, 

Many such hi-tech worries

Creating business opportunities

Quietly is born the century

Life moving on smoothly


2) No abating of petty terrors,

Daily violence, lives in turbulence

Inheritance of the earlier century

With growing riches ’n technology

Majority of people still in penury

Hopes of future

Fears of the present


3) Growing wealth, individual debts

Huge money flows, trade deficits

Arms trade, non-proliferation vows

Daily violence, libertarian laws

Companies in search of profits

Outsourced unemployments

Faster movement of peoples’n goods

Growing unrest of immigrants

Rapid pace of science ‘n technology

Resurrection of old theology

More and more education

Also growing drug addiction

Endless list of contradictions

No let up in aspirations


4) Symbols of the extremist violence

Shaking the walls of Western liberals

Unable to grasp the links

With Punjab, Kashmir, Afghanisthan

Iran, Iraq, Pakistan

Kargil, Balkans, Palestine,

Chechanya ’n tiny Eastern Timor

Jews and the Nazi terror

Earlier times of colonial plunder

Annihilation of heathens ’n tribes

Single truths ’n ideologies

Loss of Buddha’s statue

Suppression of a Buddhist state

Violence and Ahimsa

Former winning the present

The latter the hope of future !


5) Nearer home in India

A near chaotic democracy

Mixed with hypocrisy

Leftist, rightist, or centric

Looks like isotropic

Centred around oneself

With hidden agendas

And populist promises

With violence of various forms

Worse than animal sacrifice

And the caste indignities

Modern populist forms

With libertarian garbs

Left shining in media glitters

Anarchists capturing sexy flutters

Intellectuals with selfish goals

Market pundits with sensex trends

Common people with day’s income

Being only their lives’ main theme

Survival at one extreme

Supremacy as another theme

Global forces and local tyrannies

Contradiction continues!


6) Human rights, voting elections,

Freedom of press, demonstrations

Exposed bosoms, dancing bars

Various forms of civil wars

What is freedom and liberty

Creating mothers out of children in puberty

Or women suppressed by traditions

Identity politics of blind beliefs

Or divisive forces of arithmetic?

Blind forces of masses or votes

Or crazy sounds of media bytes?

Some idealists still wielding guns

To annihilate the social goons


 7) Twenty first century

Goes so crazy

With media frenzy

And the markets in tizzy

People in penury

And politics of hypocrisy

The spiritual leaders

Some lost and some found

Scientists abandoning

The path of truth

And amassing wealth

‘N wearing crowns of power!


8) Mother Earth crying

With her children consuming

Wastes amassing

Still it is the human

To find solutions

For sustained harmony

Between non-living, living

And the unknown many

High seas ’n  outer space

Planets ’n asteroids

Physical spaces all pervasive

And virtual universe

For sensory delights

And knowledge games

The inner space ever expanding

Peace ’n happiness more eluding

Beautiful parks, fountains of blood

Human flesh for human vultures

Eagles with a longer vision

Flying away into oblivion

Traffic jams till eternity

Price being paid for longevity

Soothing flickers of light

Even under the terrible plight

Continuing hum of divine music

Even amidst the din chaotic


9) Will twenty first century

Evolve the human

In search of a new divine

With science in full union

And ten billion humans

Living in a grand unison

With local traditions

In convergence with universal

And cultural diversity

Alongwith scientific unity

Cherishing individual liberty

In harmony with the collective

Opposites in symbiotic

And multiples in syncretic

Unity in diversity

And diversity in unity?



Y S Rajan


11 pm


“This poem was written recently. May be seen along with my earlier poem “Waiting for the Twenty First Century” – 14/11/1989, already placed on this website”.

Educational Reforms - Some Crucial Recommendations



1.India has now more than 1billion in population and is still growing. It is young, about 54% below twenty five years. This youthful population is likely to be so even through 2050 when many developed countries including China are likely to have a large aged population and less of youthful workforce. Global analysts project it as an advantage for India.

2.Young population is good to have. But they become great core strength only when they are equipped with right knowledge and skills to meet the needs of economy and society. In addition they should have the capability for life long learning as the knowledge intensive societies (agriculture, manufacturing or services) require continual update of knowledge & skills.

3.Presently every age group of youth in India has about 20million. i.e 18 years old about 20million :15years old about 20 million : 5year olds about 20million. Of this only about less than 2% get some reasonable professional education required for industry, business and developmental tasks. About 10% some form of post +12 education, having little relevance for society, economy or for their own self employment. A large percentage do not cross primary stages of education, among them larger percentage are girls (70% or more).


4.Therefore a whole series of measures need to be taken with great urgency, sincerity and attention to the details of implementation, from pre-primary stages to PhD levels as well as for periodic upskilling of the entire work force already employed from bottom most levels to upper levels of organizational hierarchies.

5.While noting such a need this write-up cannot cover all these elements at one go. There are hundred of reports and recommendations, some being very good and most others being repetitive. Therefore this report gives specific action oriented recommendations on professional engineering / technical education in an integrated form and a few other recommendations which address a few other crucial issues of having large impact. Since the rationale of most recommendations are obvious due to past debates and reports, in the interest of brevity and focus the write up lists the recommendations.


1.Universal Primary Education up to 8th standard is a must for all Indians in order to achieve the goals of empowering a large number of Indians with relevant economic and social skills. This is the basic Foundation.

1.Central / State Governments may consider making the syllabus structure and other details flexible so that many local initiatives for creative learning can flourish. The obsession with a single uniform syllabus for the country or even at a State level must go. Let 10,000 flowers bloom !.

2.Increased use of ICT tools to supplement such a learning process may also be encouraged by all – Govt., philanthropists, companies doing Corporate Social Responsibility and others who can work part time for them..

3.Those who do such innovative methods may be freed to do by empowering the Head of Primary School to enter into such cooperative and creative partnerships.

4.Skill Development Initiatives such as the one launched by CII (and others, as relevant) may be dovetailed at the 7th and 8th standard stages themselves so that many children who cannot afford to learn more would have globally relevant skill for their livelihood.

2.Education for children can be encouraged remarkably when the adults are also literate.

1.Therefore the successfully demonstrated models of functional adult literacy (e.g TCS) may be encouraged by State/Central Govts and also by philanthropists, activists as local levels.

2.Corporate Industry may also adopt the local areas to spread such an adult literacy around he areas they function.

3.Coming now Degree level Engineering Education, presently

The country produces about 2,36,545 engineering degree holders from about 1300 engineering colleges each year. This number is increasing every year by about 5% (China produces about 3 times more than this number each year). Not all of them are of high quality. Even while recognizing the diversity of skills and knowledge bases required it is essential to improve the quality of the existing colleges. Most of the engineering colleges are privately funded in a self-financing mode with very little or nil Govt funds. Some the govt funded colleges are also being converted to self-financing mode in a number of States. Some immediate steps required to improve the relevance and quality to meet the industry / business needs are the following :

1.One full semester during the course of an engineering degree (about six months) are stipulated by most universities for industrial work experience. Many colleges are unable to fulfill this realistically and even by those who implement there are no systematic effort to work with Industry. If the colleges can work out their academic requirements and calender of the work semester in consultation with industries and also assure a continual supply of students over a period of 3 years or more many industries will be willing to integrate them as a part of their work force planning thus avoiding disruptions due to trainees and also giving much needed real industrial training. If this requires changes to rules by Universities concerned they may do so at the earliest in the interest of relevance and quality. The key is some crreative and innovative actions not bombastic announcements !

2.Effecting changes to syllabus and changing teaching methods in affiliated colleges are often very difficult and delay prone due to several problems of academic governance (Rules of Affiliating Universities, UGC, AICTE regulations / approval cycles, ruling by various courts etc). These require immediate attention for actual implementation. Free the colleges from plethora of centralised micro management guidelines.

3.Govt at present funds IIT’s substantially and REC’s named as National Institutes of Technology – NIT) declared as Deemed Universities receive reasonable funds. Another hundred out the 1300 better performing deemed universities/ or colleges may be selected by a groups of Academics & Industry experts. Let there be focus on these 100 colleges/ deemed universities to improve quality on the following lines. Let them not be government funded ones. Let privately funded colleges be also selected on merits. There are Govt. colleges which are funded reasonably but do not perform well. They should not be placed in this 100 colleges. Here only performance merit counts.

Quality or education in such good quality engineering colleges (non-IIT’s) need to be improved along 4 key dimensions –a) governance and administration, b) financial autonomy, c) faculty and curriculum development, d) increasing electronic connectivity.

Governance and administration : This should be restructured with best practices from IITs and also other innovative ideas which may not have been experimented. Quality of students could be improved by offering admission to those who take JEE and other equivalent tests.

Financial autonomy : Government grant should be increased by at least Rs.5cr/year to each institution. Such a grant to a private institution should not become a method of introducing Govt. controls. (They should byte as free as before). Colleges should be encouraged to generate their own resources (research/consultancy etc) and government should encourage such efforts by matching such earnings rupee for rupee. Low interest student loans of longer tenure could help charge higher fees from students. An initial corpus for 4 years provided b y the govt could fund the loans on a sustainable basis.

Faculty / curriculum development : Sabbatical leaves for the faculty, and other types of encouragement should be continually provided to enhance faculty knowledge and skills. Post Graduate courses should be offered only on the basis of faculty interests, competence and facilities along with industry needs, thus restricting the number of such courses, but greatly enhancing quality.

Increasing electronic connectivity : Substantial investments in building wide bandwidth need to be undertaken. This could enable several far-reaching measures such as distance education from IITs, shared library resources and real-time exchange for knowledge and also some reputed foreign Universities.

4.Long term solution to improve engineering education for relevance, excellence and quality would require two steps:

1.All round increase of science, maths and computer –English teaching in all the 10+2 schools in the country using ICT tools and creative participation by Industries and other Academics. A number of awards at regional and national levels may be instituted by Govt., Industries and Industry and Business Associations to focus on the importance on excellence in Science – Math – Computer – English for school stages themselves. This should also include concerted effort English proficiency as higher education is in English. Children from Rural / Small town background students should have special attention and regional award system may be tailored to encourage them as well in substantial numbers.

2.Reforms for Higher Professional Educations are a must. The colleges themselves must be empowered to teach variations of courses with full autonomy for exams as well. To avoid over centrailised system which have introduced delays and have not avoided unhealthy practices, it is recommended that such reforms for autonomy may also include the mandatory disclosure of crucial process in such colleges, performances data (such a placements etc) in the public domain, including Websites (compulsorily), so that all can access & evaluate. In addition similar to the profession of Chartered Accountants, each year Independent (non-Govt).

Chartered Educationists (Comprising only those who have academic teaching and administrative experience with special training to evaluate) may be allowed to certify performance and their reports may be placed on public domain. A national debate on Higher educational Reforms as was done for Economic Reforms may be done, in order to capture many ideas and implement with speed and due diligence.

4.Similar actions are required for MBA courses offered by about 900 colleges/departments B.Pharma courses, and other professional courses.

4.Indian Industry may introduce a Human Resources Regeneration Schemes for continually upgrading the skills of their existing work force including managers.

4.Based on the few successful experimentation and demonstrated models by CII, time is now ripe for a TQM / TPM movement in Educational sector (Primary to Higher Educational levels) as was initiated by CII for manufacturing Industries during 1980’s. This will go a long way to create a self- evaluation and self-improvement process within each institution. This is crucial for sustaining the Quality in a period when new knowledge / skills are rapidly generated and some of earlier knowledge / skill bases become obsolete.

8.We have to keep our optimism alive about the opportunities for rapid action, and to transform India as a Global Human Capital Centre for the World. Youth are wealth only when they are empowered with the knowledge and skills required for the modern world and all those in work are provided opportunities for Life Long Learning. Our aim should be to have 40% eligible Indians to have relevant higher education (i.e. about 4 years after 10 + 2) through Direct, Distant, or through Life Long Learning process. All others should have excellent marketable skills. They also should have opportunities for higher education through flexible processes briefly outlined above. Let us not make Education a rigid process for a few lucky ones. Also let us learn to integrate “Humanities” at all levels of education as they provide the much needed human dimensions to professional knowledge.

Also see other Vu graph titled “India’s Demographic Dilemma”, “Education User Domain” which may appear in this website. If at the time you read you don’t see it, please ask for it.



Significance of the Indian Ocean




Significance of the Indian Ocean

-   Y S Rajan & G K Moinudeen*


Indian ocean and its rim region has been the area of significant importance over centuries. The region covered by Eurasian, Indian and Australasian land mass provides a rich natural diversity in terms of culture, climate, trade, natural resources, habitat and human resources. Indian ocean has been the home ground for trade between Asian-African littoral states and also with nations like Greek and Romans for a long time.

Indian ocean region contains about one-third of the world’s population, 25% of its landmass, 40% of the world’s oil and gas reserves. Indian ocean region hosts some of the important International Sea Lines Of Communication (SLOC). The choke points such as Straits of Hormuz, Straits of Malacca, Lambok and Sunda Straits are of significant importance in terms of trade and security.

Indian ocean’s influence on trade has come a long way. The ocean provided a high way for cultural infusions across continents. From 16th century onwards, European nations used the ocean as a highway for maritime trade. This resulted in establishment of new colonies, injection of new cultural groups and creation of new linguistic and cultural patterns. The growth of science and technology drove European nations to a new era of industrial and societal change. The dynamics of interconnectedness between nations also took rapid strides as the developments pulled other nations along in the era of industrialization.

The world saw collapse of feudal systems and establishment of democracies. The interactions between the nations on trade on the whole further changed creating complex trading systems, commercial linkages through advanced scientific and technological development in transport and communication. During the late 18th and early 19th century, the quest for establishing colonies of the Great Britain saw the usage of Indian Ocean as one of the main sources of military transport. During this period, European goods were sailed across all over the world. By the start of 20th century, the Indian Ocean region started making its mark due to the change in geo-political and geo-economic changes effected by discovery of minerals, oil and natural gas.

To be presented at National Seminar on “India, The Indian Ocean and Global Challenges”, 23rd September 2006, New Delhi.

All the views are personal.

* Y S Rajan, Principal Adviser, CII & G K Moinudeen, Executive Officer, CII

At present, the India Ocean region is not just a waterway to be defended for intrusion. This region hosts heavy international maritime traffic that includes half of the world’s containerized cargo, one third of its bulk cargo and two third of its oil shipment. Its waters carry heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oilfields of Persian Gulf and Indonesia and contain an estimated 40% of world’s offshore production. In addition to the bordering countries, fishing fleets from Japan, Russia, South Korea and Taiwan make a rich harvest of the region. The region with beach sands rich in heavy minerals and offshore placer deposits are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Having explained about the importance of the region, we need to ponder about making use of this region effectively. In the present world, nations are attributed supremacy with respect to their trade and global industrial presence. The war between the nations is fought by information, knowledge and industrial capability. Even though the world nations are developing on military might’s, the flexing of muscles is done with advancement in science and technology and hence the improvement of the society. Industry and trade, which plays a major role in propelling the economy, are considered vital in par with national security. Any disturbance on economy or security severely affects other.  Hence the aspects of security and trade are interwoven together for economic prosperity of the nations considering the Indian Ocean and usage of advanced technologies can balance these issues to a great deal of perfection.


Security challenges in the IOR

First and foremost challenge is the diversified naval strengths of nations associated with Indian Ocean. There are about 30-35 countries claiming membership for the region. Out of the countries, India, Australia and South Africa have a blue water capability and a growing economy. For some of the other nations, maintaining such a naval force is virtually impossible. The recent advancements in nuclear technology by Indian and Pakistan have also changed the dynamics of the region.

Piracy is considered as one of the important security threats for Ocean. According to Report on Piracy of International Maritime Organization (IMO) there were 15 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported between April and June 2006. The other problematic regions include Malacca Straits and South China Sea.

Terrorism and arms smuggling also poses a serious threat. One of the main sources for smuggling terrorists is identified as containers with all communication and living facilities. USA has initiated the Container Security Initiative (CSI) as one of the measures to fight against maritime terrorism. Special teams are placed in the ports to pre screen the containers destined to reach USA. Recently Pakistan joined the initiative. Similarly smuggling of arms has been a long-term threat in the Indian Ocean region. Especially for the militant groups in North-Eastern States of India or the groups on Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean has been the main source of arms supply. It is noted in international forums that several terrorist groups are running their own fleets registered in smaller countries as trading ships.

Oil Spill and other environmental disasters affect the maritime region immensely. The 2002 oil spill disaster of Prestige Vessel in the Spanish Coast created an environmental havoc in the region. The ship spilled about 5000 tons of fuel oil and the Spanish coastline is still fighting its after effects. Indian Ocean region being a home ground for fishermen would be seriously affected if one such disaster strikes.


Challenges for Trade in IOR

Indian Ocean Region plays an important role in the global maritime trade. According to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), the global maritime stood at 30800 ton-miles performed per dead weight in the year 2004.  A significant percentage of the trade passes through Indian Ocean Region. As mentioned earlier around 40% of world’s oil and gas reserves are located in the Indian Ocean region. Hence the region would promote growth of consumer-based markets and also secure the energy needs of the world.

Considering the fact that bulk of the ship transport happens in the region, the ship building capability is to be given a look. The demand of new ships due to growth in maritime trade has resulted in increase of shipbuilding orders. The cost competitiveness of Asian Ship building industry has shifted most of the orders to ship building giants China, Japan and South Korea. India is also working on promoting new shipyards and upgrading existing ones.

The Indian Ocean rim with its large number of land locked nations as the members also presents a challenge for trade. Some of the nations are booming economies while others are very small to compete in the world market. The economies that are open to international trade have progressed. The other reasons are non-uniform tariff systems and exchange controls.

Another most important issue in the region is the diversity in processing of cargos and port capacities. This also includes the procedural difficulties to clear the cargo in time. Some of the ports are automated to handle large amount of traffic and identification of cargo containers with much ease. China scores very high in clearing the cargo within a week. Apart from improvement in technology, privatization of ports and attracting investments can help to improve the situation.


Technology for development of Indian Ocean Region

All the above-mentioned issues on security and trade involve policy and political aspects. However technology plays a vital role in finding solutions or preventing problems from occurrence (for example, advance surveillance can prevent terrorist or piracy attacks) and for implementing the policy related decisions. Most of the time technology can solve problems ahead of problems needing a policy fix. What is discussed here are a select few technologies that can have an impact in the growth of Indian Ocean Region if properly adapted and implemented.


Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV)

AUVs sometimes called as Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) had a significant progress in the last few years. The scientists and researchers came out with breakthrough designs and applications that helped maritime missions. For example AUVs assisted in New Orleans Katrina Hurricane disaster.

MIT researchers are working on developing a group of robots working together for undersea exploration, search and rescue operations. This would help also to pre-sweep for undersea mines in disputed areas. The scientists are fitting the kayaks with onboard computers, communication systems, propulsion and steering to create Surface Crafts for Oceanographic and Underwater Testing (SCOUT). Software and the hardware capability would help in development of AUVs further. Similarly MIT Marine Lab researchers have developed a robotic fish using polymer muscles and skeletal actuators, which propels the AUV by the action similar to fish waging its tail.

Further advancement in this technology would be development of self-recharging AUVs through solar power and ocean current. The AUVs would be deployed more and more for mine-sweeping and reconnaissance missions in terrorist suspect areas. IT would also play a role in monitoring of hyperactive volcano vents thus announcing tsunami in advance.


Physical Oceanographic Real-time System (PORTS)

PORTS is a program of the National Ocean Service of USA that supports safe and cost-efficient navigation by providing ship masters with accurate real-time information required to avoid groundings and collisions. PORTS includes centralized data acquisition and dissemination systems that provide real-time water levels, currents, and other oceanographic and meteorological data from bays and harbors to the maritime user community in a variety of user friendly formats (including Telephonic voice response and internet). PORTS® systems come in a variety of sizes and configurations; each specifically designed to meet local user requirements.

There are 13 ports in USA, which are connected through this system. Such a system can integrate the ports of Indian Ocean Region thus providing efficient communication and transport.


Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA develops the ENCs, which contains suitable data for aiding the marine navigation. These charts follow International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) S-57 standard. ENCs are intended for use in Electronic Charting System (ECS) and Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).  Marine navigation, route planning, and GIS applications are just some the uses for the data as a background display. NOAA ENC® is also used in several Vessel Traffic Systems (VTS) to monitor ship movements in rivers, harbor, and bays in the U.S.

Last year, US Navy Submarines incorporated Electronic Navigational Charts into their Voyage Navigation Systems. The scientists are working on using Electronic Navigational Chart data structure and the standard for usage in classified data files. This way the cost of using papers can be reduced and the security of the data is enhanced. If the navigational charts of Indian Ocean region also follow an international standard (like S-57) for Electronic Charts it would be more viable for trade and improve the communication measures with international agencies for security.


 Technologies of impact

There are a whole gamut of technologies which may be of the avant garde types as above but their large scale applications can bring about large scale economic and social benefits to the Indian Ocean Rim Countries. For example, desalination plants around the coasts can be an excellent source of good water for many countries. If they are deployed on a large scale with some form of coordination, economies of scale would come into play. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies may be extended to individual or group of containers and other cargo to enable monitoring upto the delivery point by individual trading groups or transport agencies. Ocean tourism say all through Indian Ocean may turn out to be good business, as modern ICT technologies keep them close to their homes and businesses without feeling lonely for a long time. There is a need to concentrate on applications oriented research on material fatigue to avoid oil spills in future. Ocean based space launches are already successful. The vast expanse of Indian Ocean allows it to be a useful platform for Geosynchronous and Polar launches.



Indian ocean plays a major role in maritime trade and security of the regions. The region encompasses economies like India and China, which has growing defense strength and a booming consumer markets. Large amount of energy needs traverse through this region. But countries utilizing the region have not cooperated in a definitive way over years due to their diversity and different strategic perceptions including hostility. Challenges in trade have impeded the growth of maritime market growth.  The security concern with respect to military powers of the nations, piracy, and environmental disasters have also has its role to play in the development of the region. Infusion of new technologies into the developmental programmes (some of which have been indicated above) can bring about a change in the region. Indian ocean region is altogether set to transform the security and trade of the region in the coming years and also bring in prosperity to the people of many nations including those in the Indian Ocean Rim.


"Basic Research & Higher Education System." [power-point presentation ]



Principal Adviser, CII

(views personal)


To be Delivered at the 

CII National Summit on Quality in Education

16-17 November 2006, Bangalore







Applied Research41.7%

Experimental Dev.34.0%

Basic Research17.8%

Other Activities6.5%


Courtesy : R&D Statistics, DST, September 2006


National R&D Expenditure


1998 - 99 Rs.12473.17 Crores

2002 - 03 Rs.18000.16 Crores

2004 - 05 Rs.21639.58 Crores (estimate)

(DST : Sept.2006)

2006 - 07 Budget estimates for major 

Central Govt. agencies DRDO

Rs 29,600 crores (derived by YSR)

(S&T) Researchers per million people for selected countries (1996-2002)  DST September 2006

Total Researchers

Argentina  715  26455

Australia3446  68920

Brazil  324  55728


China  633805176


  Total Researchers

Finland7431  37155


India  110115936*


Korea2979140013 Singapore4352  17408


USA4526       1289910

*includes 22,100 researchers employed in Higher Education

 Doctorate Degrees Awarded Faculty-wise

2002-03 (DST September 2006)

Science & Technology(A)

Faculty 2002-2003


Engg./Technology 779

Medicine  243


Veterinary Science  153

                                 Total A 6714


Other Disciplines(B)

Faculty 2002-2003


Commerce  857

Education  554

Law  138

Others  436

Total  B 7019

Total  A+B  = 13733





Stock of S&T personnel at the beginning of year

Category        1991    2001   2006

Engg. Degree Holders    519.6 1024.4

Engg. Diploma Holders   859.3 1531.7

Medical Graduates 310.3   415.9

Agri. Graduates         168.4   238.6




Stock of S&T personnel at the beginning of year


Veterinary Graduates          34.4   46.7

Science Graduates 2430.3   4024.9

Science Post Graduates  482.0  805.0

TOTAL         4804.3 9785                      (projected by YSR) 

Average Rate of Growth about 4%




      What do we learn ?

Bulk of /S&T funds in India only by Govt.     (very little for Humanities/Social Sciences)

Of the Govt. funds in S&T mostly it goes to major laboratories

   Industries about 25% of national expenditure is in-house - units.

So what about Higher Educational Sector ?


Researchers in Higher Educational Sector is very low - that too crowded in IIT’s, IISc & a few other select Central Universities.

Naturally low Ph.D. out turn

   Also many questions as to what they are.

Solutions :


Industry Role

Academia Role




What is it ?

Academic Perception

Industry perception









Languages       Basic for cognitional foundation

Knowledge about people, culture - Winning Minds therefore markets

Traditional Knowledge bases - New Gold Mines

Continuing Education - Making it interesting

Many more for those who seek