GIST is an autonomous platform created by Vijnana Bharati to link global Indians with the under privileged (40 crore) masses in the country, mostly residing in more than three lakh villages.GIST was officially launched by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on 26 December 2010 at Pune. Dr. Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of Dept. of Atomic Energy is the guiding spirit behind this noble vision. As India makes rapid economic progress, the need for inclusive development covering the larger fraction of our weaker population has become far more critical. There are also serious issues with regard to sustainability of natural endowments like good quality air and water, nourishing the soil cover and responsibly managing other earth resources. Further, the threat of climate change requires that we bridge our development deficit in a manner that does not take us irreversibly close to the tipping point. There are also other issues of sustaining development as we cope up with global warming. For example projected rise in sea level would not only inundate low lying areas but would also necessitate adoption of new strategies in many areas including for example adoption of salinity tolerant crops in coastal areas.
The challenges that we face need actions at several levels. We need to explore innovative approaches for action by different stake holders to constructively supplement the efforts of governmental agencies. Clearly S&T can play a crucial role. India has a large pool of scientists and technologists both within the country and outside. Many of them would like to participate in such efforts bringing in their experience and expertise. In the modern era of ICT empowerment and cost free access to global information and knowledge pool, it would be very desirable and useful to develop a ICT enabled platform consisting of Indian scientists and technologists all over the world and people seeking development solutions in their place. Such a platform should also involve NGO’s, financial institutions and other stake holders wishing to participate in developmental efforts leveraging S&T inputs. With the availability of such a platform several groups can be networked to address specific problems. We could thus create a truly peoples movement to develop the underdeveloped areas particularly in rural domains of our country as also solve problems needing solution where ever they exist. This is the core idea behind the GIST Forum. The GIST forum would facilitate identification of problems needing solution and the group that could engage itself in working out the required solution and its implementation. As a part of its activities GIST Forum would also organize conventions on specific themes where one can do the stock taking of current status, the development needs and strategies, exchange ideas and case studies and showcase success stories.