Inter-State Collaborations in Science and Technology in India:
A scientometric Analysis of Parliament Questions

by Nirmal Haritash

Introduction

India is a Parliamentary democracy. It comprises of two chambers Lok-Sabha;the House of People, and Rajya-Sabha;the Council of States.The Parliament is represented by all kinds of political ideologies ranging from rightist, centralist to leftist. However,in the course of time various regional and local state parties have come up some of which have joined the national parties at the center thereby making the Parliament better representative of the once neglected remote regions of the country.This is one of the major reasons for the predominant state-level issues in the overall issues discussed in the Parliament.

The 'Question-Hour' in the Parliament forms a special component of the proceedings of the Parliament in making inquiries from the government about the implementation of the policies and programmes and to suggest ways and means to improve the performance of the government. In the course of time this forum of Parliament has gained considerable importance, this is evident from the fact that the total number of questions asked by the Members of Parliament (MPs) during the Question-Hour have increased progressively. Taking S&T questions raised during the Question-Hour as indicators of S&T activity being understood and performed at different levels in the Parliamentary democracy, the S&T questions raised during the Question-Hour have been content analyzed. A comparative trend analysis of data for the period 1951-1992 reveals an increase in the growing concern of the Parliament for science. This has been exhibited through an increase in the proportion of S&T policy related questions from about 5% to about 12% in the overall questions raised in the Parliament. Along with the growth of S&T related issues in the Parliament there has been a shift in the sectoral priorities for the development of science for its impact on society.

The study also reveals that almost all states have shown interest in the issues of science. However,there is an unequal distribution of concern for science among MPs belonging to different states.The science concern index computed for different states.reveals that states like Rajasthan,Orissa,Maharashtra,Himachal Pradesh have high science concern index of about 8Ques./MPs which is above the average mean value. Thus revealing high level of interest of MPs belonging to these states in the issues of science.The science concern index of states like Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh is also above the mean value of 4.63 Ques/MP. whereas, the other states viz.Assam, Haryana, Punjab etc.have low science concern index. Low level of interest of MPs belonging to these states may be due to their more interest in other areas. (Table 1)

No. State Total S&T Ques. Strength in Parliament Science Concern Index
1. Andhra Pradesh 333 60 5.55
2. Assam 44 21 2.09
3. Bihar 328 76 4.15
4. Gujarat 176 37 4.52
5. Haryana 50 15 3.30
6. Himachal Pradesh 50 7 7.10
7. Jammu & Kashmir 10 10 1.00
8. Karnataka 156 40 3.90
9. Kerala 123 29 4.73
10. Madhya Pradesh 329 56 5.87
11. Maharashtra 510 67 7.10
12. Orissa 232 31 7.48
13. Punjab 45 20 2.25
14. Rajasthan 269 35 7.68
15. Tamil Nadu 116 57 2.03
16. Uttar Pradesh 495 119 4.15
17. West Bengal 253 58 4.36
18. Delhi 10 10 2.60
19. Others 10 27 2.33
20. Total 3608 778 4.63

Table 1: Concern of different states on science

The structure of the data apart from the above exhibits that the Parliamentary concerns for science is not always limited to the party ideologies and is not only restricted to the geographic boundaries. Since, many of the S&T policy questions raised in the Parliament cut across party line while others cross geographic boundaries. As, these S&T questions are raised by joining together of MPs belonging to different political parties and/or by the MPs from different regions and states. Co-sponsorship of questions on a particular topic implies more widespreaded concern than questions raised by a single Member of Parliament.

Our present concern is to study the structure of relationship among different states on the policy issues of science. In this context the study examines the:

Dynamics of co-sponsorship among S&T related questions wherein MPs belonging to different states collaborate in raising issues of wider national concern.
The extent and nature of co-sponsorship along with the propensity among different states for collaboration on S&T issues. The very structure of co-sponsorship on S&T policy issues among different states and the position of various states in the collaboration network.


Methodology


The Data
A content analysis of Parliament questions was performed to classify the questions into different categories and to depict the widespreadness of concern for science in Parliament in:i) assigning sectoral priorities to science in the fulfillment of national goals ii) and their perception of the way science be managed in the country, in the present and future context. It involved quantitative and qualitative categorization of S&T issues through classification schemes adopted for different aspects of MPs participation in S&T issues along with the projection of socio-economic and cultural background of MPs concern and interest in S&T policy issues.

A database of Parliament Questions on S&T related issues has been set up which covers years from 1951 to 1992. The database comprises more than 10,000 questions classified into 15 socio-economic categories and 8 policy categories. The present study is based on the sub-set of data for the 10th Lok Sabha , year 1992.


Measurement of Co-Sponsorship


In the study of co-sponsorship is defined in terms of S&T questions raised by Members from different states. These co-sponsorships are used to identify relationships by means of state of the members. Here, the principle assumption used is that, raising of a co-sponsorship question is a manifestation of a fairly active linkage between the Members of different states across their geographic boundaries through exchange of information and opinions in arriving at common consensus on important issues of national concern. An important, but controversial issue in co-sponsorship analysis is how to assign credit of a co-sponsored question. Since the objective of the study is not co-sponsorship perse, but the pattern of relationship between different states. We have adopted the 'whole-count' method in preference to fractional counting.,

The extent and nature of co-sponsorship between different states has been examined based on the proportion of co-sponsored inter-state questions in the context of total S&T questions raised in the Parliament. The network of collaboration links of states is created in order to study the following:

The structure of the network of linkages among the states. How are the various states linked among themselves and which state collaborates with whom and to what extent on S&T policy issues?

Which are the states that fall in the center of network and which are the states that fall in the periphery of the network ?



The following measures have been used to characterize the co-operation network of different states on the policy issues of science.

INTER-STATE COLLABORATION INDEX: Inter-state collaboration index for each state is calculated to examine the extent of inter-state links in the overall linkage pattern of the states.

E-I INDEX: E-I INDEX for each state is computed to identify whether co-sponsorship varies with the size of the state.The status of co-sponsorship of states can be judged by two indicators: External Status and Internal Status. External Status indicates the preference given to the members of other states for collaboration. The Internal Status indicates preference given to the in-house state members for raising a particular issue. Based on the number of such instances the total external and internal linkages can be calculated. The E-I Index (Krackhardt and Stern1988) compares the number of internal and external links within the groups in the network.

AFFINITY- INDEX: AFFINITY-INDEX for each state is calculated to measure the affinity towards other co-sponsoring states on S&T issues.Affinity index is a measure of collaboration between a given state A and the other state B compared to the total collaboration of the given state A with all the other states on S&T issues in a given period of time. AFI is therefore the number of links between A and B divided by the total links A has with the rest of the states on S&T issues during a given period of time.It indicates the scientific affinity of A towards B(A(B).

Affinity index has been used to find how A is situated in B's affinity index to measure to and fro affinity index of different states

IDENTIFYING POSITION OF STATES IN THE CO-SPONSORSHIP NETWORK : With a view to give concrete shape to the inter-state linkages and to quantify the position of different states in the network we have used the software UCINET IV. The analysis for locating the position of different states in the structure of network comprised the following steps:

  • Normalization of valued adjency matrix for removing the effect of size of states.
  • Dichotomization of data on and above mean value for the representation of strong linkages among states and to remove the effect of weak linkages below the average mean value.



The data on and above the mean value has been represented through graph locating position of states in the overall network. Whereas,the distance between different states in the network has been determined through the" Dissimilarity matrix".

Krack Plot 3.0 was used to aesthetically improve the map yielded by the MDS algorithm.


Analysis and Results


General Overview of Data
Table 2 presents an overview of the data on the number of questions raised by the MPs belonging to different states and co-operation links of S&T questions raised by joining together of MPs belonging to different states. The distribution of S&T questions and inter-state co-operation links between states is highly skewed.The data exhibits that five states viz. Maharashtra, M.P, U.P, Bihar,Andhra Pradesh account for about 55% of all S&T questions raised in the Parliament and 47% of co-sponsored questions of all the states taken together.

Maharashtra though ranks highest on the count of S&T related questions and the co-sponsorship questions raised in the Parliament ranks low on the inter-state linkages count. Uttar Pradesh though ranks second on the count of S&T related issues rais4ed in the Parliament, ranks fourth on the inter-state co-operation.(Table 2)


No. State Total S&T Ques. Co-sponsored Ques. Inter-state Links
1. Andhra Pradesh 333 153 58
2. Assam 44 14 6
3. Bihar 328 150 76
4. Gujarat 176 86 46
5. Haryana 50 28 8
6. Himachal Pradesh 50 39 11
7. Jammu & Kashmir 10 10 0
8. Karnataka 156 70 38
9. Kerala 123 44 19
10. Madhya Pradesh 329 136 70
11. Maharashtra 510 243 100
12. Orissa 232 53 20
13. Punjab 45 35 7
14. Rajasthan 269 173 110
15. Tamil Nadu 116 46 29
16. Uttar Pradesh 495 226 124
17. West Bengal 253 102 54
18. Delhi 26 10 2
19. Others 63 38 0
20. Total 3608 1960 984

Table 2: State-wise distribution of co-sponsored questions and inter-state links among different states on S&T policy issues in parliament

The analysis reveals that almost all states have collaborated with other states on S&T policy related issues. However, there are significant differences in the nature and extent of collaboration links between different states. The Inter-State collaboration index computed for different states exhibits that the smaller states like Jammu& Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana have high inter-state collaboration index which is above the average mean value of 108.12 whereas the inter-state collaboration index of bigger states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa, Karnataka, is below the mean value. The value of E-I index computed for different states for examining the proportion of external and internal linkages in the collaboration network of states reveals that the bigger states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh have low E-I Index revealing more internal linkages than the linkages with other states. Whereas, the smaller states like Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and other small states exhibit high level of E-I index which is quiet above the average mean value of -1.57.The analysis thus exhibits that the size of the state has it's influence on the inter-state collaborations on the issues of science.

State to state affinity among different states reveals that propensity between two states depends upon the size of the state, its geographic location and its status in terms of the socio-economic developments achieved. The big states have more affinity towards other big states and very less affinity towards small states. Whereas, the smaller states have more affinity towards bigger states. The affinity of states belonging to the geographic locations based on the hindi speaking states of north reveals that states like Haryana,Rajasthan,Uttar Pradesh Delhi have stronger collaborative links whereas, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have comparatively weak linkages. Propensity of southern states on S&T related issues reveal that there are weak linkages between Kerala, and Tamil Nadu whereas, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka have strong affinity towards each other and with Kerala and Tamil Nadu individually.

The structure of multivariate relationship of states analysed through multidimensional scaling reveals that a few states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh have strong collaborative links as they occupy central position in the collaboration network. These states have more diverse linkages with other states whereas, states like Punjab, Haryana, Jammu&Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala occupy peripheral position in the network revealing weak linkages with other states.


Conclusions


The data and analysis presented in the study provides useful insight into the very structure of relationship among different states in dealing with the important issues of science. The variations in the pattern of collaborative linkages among different states reflects upon the variations in the interests among different pressure groups in the Parliament about the way science should perform; is an important feed back to the Government in deciding future S&T policy of the country.

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