National Technology Day is celebrated in India on the 11th of May every year to raise a toast to the contributions made by our scientists, engineers and researchers in the field of science and technology. The national technology day in India serves the twin purposes of reminding us of the technological achievements we have made thus far while also encouraging us citizens to take initiative for further scientific advancement. Unlike many days that are observed to honour the past, this day is also acknowledged to map the future of science and technology in India.
This topic is important for the candidates preparing for competitive exams like Bank PO, RBI Grade B, NABARD Grade A/B, SSC CGL and other exams as part of their General Awareness syllabus. Let us try to understand further the history of national technology day and why it is celebrated in India.
History Of National Technology Day
In 1998, India successfully managed to conduct 5 nuclear tests off the Indian Army base in Pokhran, Rajasthan. After years of dedicated research at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on this day, India managed to effectively test-fire the Shakti-1 nuclear missile codenamed Operation Shakti under the supervision of Late, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, then serving as the Director of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). A series of 5 successful nuclear test bomb detonations were organized with 1 fusion and 4 fission bombs, which came to be known as Pokhran-II. The fusion bomb along with 2 fission bombs was tested on May 11th. 2 days later, on May 13, two more fission devices were detonated. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of this historic feat accomplished by India. In the past, India had tested their nuclear missile in 1974, which is known as Pokhran-I and codenamed, Operation Smiling Buddha.
When is National Technology Day celebrated?
The following year, in 1999, on its first anniversary, this day was declared as National Technology Day by then-Prime Minister, Late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Since then, the 11th of May is commemorated as the National Technology Day in India. India became the 6th country to join the niche community of nuclear powers along with the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. India, however, chose to remain non-signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT.
Importance OF May 11.
Aside from the 5 triumphant nuclear bomb explosion sequences of Shakti-1 as part of Pokhran-II, on the 11th of May, 1998, India also initiated its first indigenous aircraft, named Hansa-3, developed by the CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore. Hansa-3 was a pioneering 2-seater aircraft used for surveillance, aerial photography, recording sports and by aviation institutes for pilot training.
On the same day, India also successfully test-fired its first surface-to-air short-range missile, Trishul. The Trishul missile was developed by DRDO as part of its Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). After 24 trials, the missile was initiated into use by the Indian Army and Indian Air Force. The Trishul missile system set precedence for the development of the Agni, Prithvi and Akash missile systems.
Celebration And Themes
The National Technology Day in India is celebrated to highlight the importance of science in a nation’s development and to honour those who spearhead ground-breaking contributions to the same. The event is held in Delhi with the President attending as the chief guest. The event is invitation-based with invitees being members from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, and other such scientific organizations and departments. A National Technology Day theme is selected every year. The national technology day theme for the 2021 celebration is “Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future”.
The Technology Development Board of India (under the Ministry of Science and Technology) has instituted a National Award which is conferred upon individuals and industries for their outstanding contribution toward science and technology. These rewards do not only honour achievements but also act as incentives to introduce more and more minds into the field of science. As a part of the celebration, the Technology Development Board presents 3 kinds of awards. They are;
- There is 1 award consisting of ₹ 25 lakh cash prize and a trophy to an industrial enterprise that has been successful in developing and profitably distributing any indigenous technology. In a case where the developing concern and the commercializing organizations are separate, each one would be presented with the cash prize and a trophy.
- 3 awards of ₹ 15 lakh and a trophy each have been declared for micro, small and medium level establishments that have been profitable at commercializing a technology product inspired or evolved from indigenous technology.
- In the fiscal year of 2017-2018, a new cash award of ₹15 lakhs was introduced as the National Technology Start-up Award to be awarded to promising new technology with potential for high marketability.
The Way Forward
The significance of the day does not lie only in its past but also in its future. It is no secret that what separates a developed nation from a developing nation is its scientific advancement and technological prowess. To ensure India’s swift development into becoming a developed nation is via technological advancement. While much progress has been made, in our race to swiftly become a superpower, we as a nation need to multiply our efforts by leaps and bounds. This advancement does not need to revolve around missiles and weaponry alone. All spheres of science and technology such as IT, agriculture, medical research, life and earth sciences among others should be given their due importance for the nation’s holistic development. Commemorating the 11th of May every year reminds us of our commitment toward science and development as a nation.
This National Technology Day inspires us, especially the children and youth of the nation, to take up science as a career. Owing to the inspiring leadership in the fields of technology and science in the past, the blueprint for development has been laid out for us. What we do from here on or how we utilize the opportunities and awards presented before us will determine whether we have truly been able to imbibe the spirit of the National Technology Day or not.