IRTC was borne in 1987 out of a realization of the need to adopt the advances in science and technology to improve the social and economic life of rural folk. Development of appropriate technologies and promotion of rural technology was recognized as the vehicle for this purpose. This coincided with the KSSP's resolution to take up technology popularization and encouragement of local inventiveness in to the ambit of its programmes.
IRTC was thus conceived as an autonomous research and development institution with its core objectives encompassing development of indigenous inventiveness, adaptation of technology to local societies, enrichment of scientific culture, innovative practices and technologies and local development interventions. The initial activities included development of innovations like the energy efficient smokeless chulha, biogas plants, watershed based programmes etc.
From these humble beginnings, IRTC has grown in size, scale and scope, widening its horizons of operation according to the growing demands of the community. Over the years, IRTC has forayed into a number of areas like Solid Waste Management, Gender Studies, Rabbit rearing , Aquaculture, Ornamental Fisheries, Mushroom Culture, Post-Harvest Technologies, Fruit Processing, Biomass Gasification, Resource Mapping, Watershed Based Development, Planning & Development Consultancy, Education Research, Rural Engineering, Chemical Analysis, etc. and has introduced an array of innovations and products including the energy-saving Hot Box, Electronic Ballast, Compact Fluorescent Lamps, Portable Domestic Biogas Plants, Small Hydro Electric Plants, Solar Driers, Mechanised Potter's Wheel, Pug Mill etc. IRTC is on a constant lookout to expand its operations as responses to the demands of the society. It seeks feedback and suggestions from farmers, students, activists, innovators and organizations alike.