Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Gramophone records were once the chief mode of entertainment when electronic medium was still in its infancy. SP and LP records carry music for playing on a turn table, mostly monopolized by HMV company. To day digital music has taken over the entertainment industry. Old music scores which were available only on cassettes and gramophone record formats serve the useful purpose of reviving old memories frequently. But in the scientific field the rapid progress achieved make many old studies irrelevant and obscure. Unfortunately some scientists either do not believe or blissfully enjoy in repeating/recycling what has been claimed earlier, as new.

It was known more than 4 decades ago that food industry in India could develop if R & D, helpful policies, adequate investments and trained technical personnel are evolved. This was highlighted in umpteen number of seminars, conferences and many forums with no tangible effect. To say the same thing towards the end of the decade of this millennium, after wasting so many years and crores of rupees from the public exchequer, is at best a cruel joke. Read what head of the once famous food technology organization in the country, has to say on this, as reported in the media recently. "The industry has potential for growth but there is lack of capacity building in both infrastructure and human capital," said the food 'Pundit'. "Mechanization is required and it won't be possible through production from cottage industries. Food security also comes in the question. Even the standards are not at par with international levels," the 'Pundit' pontificated further. One is tempted to ask the question as to what he has been doing during the last one and a half decades of his stewardship to address these problems.

Normally one expects the government R&D agencies, when they are invited to deliver "key note" speech or "special lecture" during industry meets, to highlight on the occasion, what technical innovations have been achieved that are of interest to the industry. Probably poverty of ideas and practically bare innovation cup board must have compelled such "VIP" speakers to digress on the subject and indulge in generalities. Industry is partly to be blamed for not demanding better accountability from the public funded R & D organizations and allowing them to get away with platitudes.


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