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India Index

Founded in 1942, CSIR is headquartered in New Delhi, but its network of laboratories is spread throughout the nation. Although heavily involved in science, biotechnology, and information science activities, it also emphasizes industrial research. The president of CSIR is ex officio the prime minister, a situation that gives the council considerable political prestige. CSIR's network of nearly 200 national laboratories has links throughout the nation to another 200 government-sector research and development institutions and about 1,000 research and development units in the industrial sector that are supported by both public and private funds (see Early Policy Developments, this ch.). Beyond pure and applied research, CSIR also has outreach programs such as those under the auspices of the National Institute of Science, Technology, and Development Studies (NISTADS), established in 1974 as a center and raised to institute level in 1981.

CSIR also conducts and funds studies, organizes conferences and training programs, prepares exhibits, and publishes reports on the history and organization of Indian science, resource allocation and planning, analyses of the science and technology community (including behavioral research on scientists), the societal and environmental impact of science and technology, and international cooperation. Part of CSIR's publication program is directed at elementary and secondary school students with the intention of popularizing science at early ages.

The emphasis on industrial research is observable in the organizations supported by CSIR. They include, among others, the Central Electrochemical Research Institute in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu; the Central Electronics Engineering Institute in Pilani, Rajasthan; the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute in Calcutta; the Central Leather Research Institute in Madras; the Indian Institute of Petroleum in Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh; the National Metallurgical Laboratory in Jamshedpur, Bihar; and the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi.

Nuclear Power

The key policy-planning body for India's nuclear energy program is the Atomic Energy Commission, which was founded in 1948 and has offices in New Delhi and Bombay. The chairman of the commission is concurrently the secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (later the Ministry of Atomic Energy), which was established in 1954 (with Homi Bhabha as is first head) and exercises executive control over nuclear programs and executes India's development and utilization of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. To carry out its avowed peaceful-use mission, the department has policy bodies involved with regulatory and safety issues; research and development centers, both integral to the department and private concerns that receive government funding; organizations involved with nuclear fuel and heavy water development; and public-sector rare earths and uranium mining and electronics companies (see Energy, this ch.). The department also funds numerous research institute- and university-based projects.

As a far-reaching result of India's 1974 test of a nuclear explosive device, nuclear proliferation problems continue to confront both the department and the commission (see Space and Nuclear Programs, ch. 10). Divisive issues between India and the United States over nuclear-fuel supplies for the Tarapur nuclear power plant (which the United States wants cut off) were compounded in 1993 when the Ministry of Atomic Energy announced it was seeking foreign buyers for surplus heavy water being made by India's seven operating heavy water plants. The plants were developed originally because of the fuel shortage that confronted India after the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed by most other nuclear nations in 1968. Over time the plants met domestic needs and began to produce an exportable surplus, leading to India-United States friction. The Atomic Energy Commission's January 1994 announcement that it planned to continue its development of fast breeder reactors also was likely to cause international concern.

India also has made a major commitment to the use of nuclear power for the generation of electricity. Major resources have been devoted to research, power station construction, and delivery services.

Data as of September 1995

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