Photo Credit: The Nuclear Weapon Archive
National Technology Day 2021 on May 11 celebrates the achievements and contributions of Indians to science and technology. This day serves as a reminder of India breaking into the elite group of nations with nuclear weapons. On May 11, 1998, India conducted three successful nuclear tests at the Indian Army's Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan under Operation Shakti. Two more nuclear tests were conducted on May 13. The tests were led by late President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The National Technology Day was observed for the first time on May 11, 1999.
National Technology Day 2021 history takes us back to 1999, when then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared May 11 as a day of significant achievement for the country. The Technology Development Board ever since has been honouring scientists and engineers and their technological innovations that have added to the growth of India on this day.
The nuclear tests conducted on this day in 1998, which gives National Technology Day 2021 its significance, were helmed by aerospace scientist and former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam. The mission was carried out by the Indian Army in collaboration with scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER). These tests made India capable of building thermonuclear weapons and fission bombs.
Also on National Technology Day, India's first-ever indigenous aircraft, Hansa-1, took flight and the DRDO tested the surface-to-air Trishul missile. It is a short-range missile with a quick reaction time.
Usually, a large-scale event is organised in New Delhi for the National Technology Day celebrations and the President is invited to be the chief guest. He confers awards to scientists and honours them for their achievements. With the coronavirus pandemic raging, it is not clear whether any programme will be held this year.
The National Award for Successful Commercialisation of Indigenous Technology is given to an industrial concern for successfully developing & commercialising an indigenous technology on this day, according to the Technology Development Board.
The board announces a theme every year. The National Technology Day 2021 theme is “Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future”. In 2020, the theme was ‘Rebooting the Economy through Science, Technology and Research Translations' titled ‘RESTART'.