Policy and planning inevitable for S&T development

SINCE THE United Nations Conference on “Application of Science and Technology (SandT) for the Benefit of Under developed Countries” in 1963, a conviction has grown that SandT are catalysts for development and propellants for progress, reducing the widening gap between the advanced and developing countries thus called for the building up of indigenous SandT capacity in developing countries.

It was further suggested that the judicious introduction of “new technologies,” like space, computers etc. might accelerate the progress of developing countries. However, the apparent emphasis was on appropriate technology and technology transfer, on the premises, that enough knowledge was already available to be transferred. The limitations of such an approach are now well recognized.

There has been a visible progress in the indigenous SandT infrastructure in several developing countries as well in Pakistan and the world plan of action is still valid. The experience shown in Pakistan that the technology policy has to be integrated in the industrial policy, which, in turn, has to be integrated with other national policies and development goals, the ability to discern Technology is an essential ingredient for self-reliance. This ability to discern can only come from choice and from awakening and awareness about technology impact on social, economic and industrial development. This calls for an urgent need in Pakistan for easy access to industrial technological informations, trained personnels to analyze it and build up the necessary structures and organizations.

Effective relationship is also certainly required. It means that indigenous SandT competence for industrialization need an effective relationship that would be an essence for industrialization strategy. The Government of Pakistan needs to develop effective task force to build an effective strategy. It is noticed that lack of indigenous technology leads to import foreign technology which require foreign exchange, loss of control, foreign expertise etc. The enclave economy leads to further import and perpetuate technology dependence.

Industrial transformation is the exponential variable; this needs to be attained through technology transformation which in turn would bring reduction of technology dependence on transnational companies. Through development of technology and strengthening the technological compatibilities would improve access for more export of products on fair and reasonable terms thus improving the bargaining position of Pakistan in internationals market. There is less awareness among government and industrialist for the cause and use of SandT for development and increase local competence. However, the Government relies more on international assistance for technology and financial investments and it face financial, managerial and market constraints, others feel that the atmosphere may be upset for foreign investment by regulating technology and setting up industries is more important than building up technological competence. However, in this process they take the risk of charting on wrong course of development.

Pakistan needs to devise SandT plans and strategies for future and should show explicit policies to integrate with other policies to make SandT as deliberate instrument for development. Policies are not based upon integrated system approach and efforts in in general have been ad-hoc and fragmentary than within a total framework of development policy. Sufficient interaction of SandT with productive sectors had not taken place to create self generating dynamism in industrial structure. There are no systematic evaluations of the existing technology structures.

Evaluation, monitoring and coordination are the weakest links. Furthermore there are not adequate policy instruments because of both internal and external influence and vested interest.

The much needed linkage and mobility between research, industry and education are mostly absent. There is still a huge gap between technological service capabilities like project preparation, feasibility studies, design and engineering consultancy etc. Technology transformation also needs social and political transformation for cooperation between government and industries to create confidence for creative, invention, innovative environment for conductive use for technology generation. The general level of technological awareness and capability of the population as a whole is distinct from scientist and engineers which must be improved substantially.

A single pattern for SandT development and a cure for all deficiencies can`t be prescribed but attempts should be made to augment a sound policy for autonomous decision making for optimum use of available resources and capabilities. In spite of several progressive steps taken by the Government of Pakistan in past, technology innovation in industrial sector has been limited; this position certainly has to be improved. There is no doubt that awakening and consciousness in current government exists for upgrading the policy, for the cause and use of technology for development but the efforts do not commensurate with the needs and conditions.

It is fair to say that current government is facing the dual tasks of rectifying the deficiencies of past efforts and improving upon the present position to come to grips is an emerging challenge, it is time for the government to find alternate pathways for industrialization and technological self reliance. The up gradation of existing and traditional technologies, generating, mobilizing and optimally utilizing local natural resources for revitalizing and accelerating the development process for self-reliance.

It is also recognized that technology policy instruments and the political will to implement them and a system for monitoring its implementation, to review and re-orient and administrate policies response would be a step in the right direction. Technology policies and plans would have to cover its all segments for the total technological spectrum for using technology as an instrument for total national development.

Unfortunately, failure to implement policies has been the tradition of our system of governance over and over again. In the past, many policies have floundered because the policy makers embarked on their ambitious program for political reasons and as it appears that current government has not change its course. The government must trace root cause, why implementation has always been such a problem when policies are designed for improvement and those factors which are in-built in the policies contribute towards the failure of implementation and those factors of the policy to address unequivocally the core issues of good governance.

The good governance requires the implementation of all policies for economic and social benefit of the society as a whole instead for a particular social group. In short, good governance takes place when leaders confront such challenges as development, poverty and in equality head on, by the only, democratic institutions can provide the accountability and responsiveness that are a fundamental requirement for good governance. The democracy is a necessary precondition for good governance, the existence of democratic structure is not enough to guarantee responsible and enlightened leadership.

Periodical electronic, however, free and fair, are insufficient by themselves to secure action tending to achieve genuine development. It needs a system of constant interaction with the people it represents, and monitoring development policy and its goals. What that system will offer answers; people of Pakistan are still waiting.

Following programmes should be included in policy for development of SandT:

i. Emphasis on local resources and skills generation mobilize and utilize the local rich resources like biomass and biomass-based industrialization strategy, by utilizing every part of the plants from “leaf to root” as an industrial raw material. This may lead to decentralized rural industrialization and rural development leading to a rural urban continuum rather than rural-urban conflict. This would also reinforce the nexus between Agriculture, Food, Energy and Industry/Development.

ii. Emphasis on exports and competitive aspects. This would need upgrading existing technologies, to improve productivity, quality and international competitive strength with a dynamic and aggressive policy keeping a keen eye on technological advances and their introduction.

iii. Those policy issue have a bearing on Technology should relate to identify specific growth poles in terms of specific clusters and activate the dynamic interlink ages within and among these clusters. Technology thrust areas have to be identified and defined.

iv. The technological status of individual industrial sectors in Pakistan must be assessed first as well as the technological service capabilities. Possible import of technological advances should be evaluated for competition in external markets. New institutions may be build only after translating existing national programmes into concrete Technology tasks, assigning these tasks to existing centers, identifying the gaps and only then new core of institutions to close these gaps and to promote new areas. Whole range of technological institutes, their relevance, effectiveness and interaction, interlink-age, trans-disciplinary trans-pectoral, trans-organizational links, have to be reassured.

Pakistan has huge potential and provided the resources are utilized in channelized and organized way the overall scenario can be reversed that can lead country towards prosperous future.

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