Science for Development
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Role of Government in strengthening S&T:
(Related Article: Strengthening the S&T Roadmap, by Ashutosh Sharma, page no. 7)
· The department of Science and Technology (DST) serves as the nodal agency for all government led initiatives that create and strengthen the science and technology landscape in our country.
· The transformational changes are enabled through developmental models, stake holder engagement, internal connectivity of programmes, and coordination with several other departments within our country and institutions outside through bilateral and multilateral frameworks
·The missions of the Government of India have added impetus to the initiatives of the DST. These include the Make in India, Start up India, Swachh Bharat, and Digital India programmes in particular.
· The DST partners the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) to empower national academic and R&D institutions across the country.
· The collaboration in Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) project entails DST’s partnership with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to address major societal and developmental needs, environment and climate change related mitigation and adaptation.
· A joint R&D initiative with Ministry of Railways focuses on fuel efficiency enhancement and emission control technologies, alternate fuels, fuel conservation in diesel traction etc.
· To reverse trend of Brain Drain: An Early Career Research Award (ECRA) has been launched to provide rapid research support to pursue exciting and innovative research in areas of science and engineering.
·The National Postdoctoral Fellowship (N-PDF) scheme is aimed to attract and retain young scientists and discourage brain drain in academic/R&D institutions.
· To include Women in S&T: KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing) launched in 2014 enables gender parity in science. The programme provides opportunities to women scientists to take up research and emerge as an entrepreneur who had a break in their career primarily due to family responsibilities.
·Surya Jyoti lights up homes of poor. A low cost device named Surya Jyoti has been developed and tested. Surya Jyoti is basically a Micro Solar Dome which has a transparent semi spherical upper dome made of acrylic material that captures sunlight.
· For inclusive development of the country indigenous technology for rural development, sustainable industrial activities using local resources is extremely important. One such initiative by DST is in a rural industry complex in a plot of wasteland at a village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan by utilization of local resources and by converting waste to wealth.
· North Eastern Centre for Ethno Medical Research: The centre will undertake ethno phyto-chemical research on wild herbs. The scientific validation of traditional herbs and products and help improve socio economic status of local communities and enhance quality of life through better livelihood and benefit sharing.
·Thirty Meter Telescope:
a)India’s participation in Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project is built at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA.
b)The cost would be met by DST and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
c)The other countries participating in the project are USA, Canada, China and Japan.
·Associate Membership of CERN:
a)The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory.
b)The CERN Council admitted India as Associate Member of CERN in Sep. 2016.
·Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO):
a)India has agreed in-principle to set up an advanced gravitational-wave (GW) observatory in the country which will be the third such observatory across the world.
·Devasthal Optical Telescope:
a)A state of the art world class 3.6 meter Devasthal Optical Telescope was remotely activated jointly by India and Belgium.
b)The telescope is installed at Devasthal near Nainital. It is the largest steerable imaging telescope in Asia; a result of scientific collaboration between Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) and Belgian Scientists.
·Enhance quality and quantity of R&D:
a)The objective is to position India amongst the top 5 countries in scientific research by augmenting the R&D infrastructure, enhance number of active scientists and reverse brain drain to brain gain for societal and industrial development and attract youth to pursue career in science and technology.
b)The DST will also intensify industry-academia R&D partnerships, to find solutions to national challenges pertaining to energy, water, health, environment and climate and cyber security.
c)There will be steps to leverage the best of international S&T knowledge and infrastructure by cooperating in the selected areas to gain global competitiveness and support S&T capacity building in least developed countries.
S&T for Masses:
(Related Article: Connecting to the masses, by Manoj Kumar Patairiya, page no. 59)
·India is the only country to have a special provision ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform’ as one of the ‘Fundamental Duties’ of the Constitution.
·The campaigns of polio eradication, swachh bharat and swasth bharat, etc are tremendously supported by science and development communication models.
· A variety of programmes are available now on All India Radio, Science Today, DD Vigyan, DD Krishi etc.
· This new media has given birth to a more instant and global mode of communication in the form of ‘Social Media’.
· Some important modes and means employed for science and development communication are:
a)Popular literature (newspapers, magazines etc.)
c)Science express, Environment Express etc.
d)Museums, Science Centers, parks
e)Radio and TV broadcasts, Digital softwares, Science films.
a)The scientific literacy is drastically low in the country.
b)The development communication has still not succeeded in attracting the media to the extent that it could appear on the front page.
c)Indian science magazines have been closed and Indian editions of some foreign magazines have ceased their publication.
Impact on women:
(Related Article: Impact of S&T on Women, by Anitha Kurup, page no. 68)
·The National policies on S&T in India have over the decades, made shifts to engage with science technology and innovation as reflected in mist recent Science Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013.
·Historically and in present context of S&T has shown that S&T has excluded women.
·It is important to recognize that current STI policy opens two windows to allow S&T to impact women:
a)To bulid bridges between S&T with socio economic sectors & address national problems
b)Increased real participation of women S&T professional to shape research agenda of this country.
·Today the statistics of participation of women in science is extremely encouraging with almost equal participation of women in science courses in the under graduate and post graduate levels.
· Women’s participation at higher levels of science in research positions has shown little increase.
· A compulsory gender audit with mandatory requirements for all research institutions, universities and national laboratories to provide department wise gender breakup of students and faculty at all levels needs to be implemented.
·Time bound target recruiting system (TRS) with an emphasis on increasing the recruitment of women to premier research institutions needs to be implemented.
·Periodic review of policies to evaluate the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented or may require modification.
S&T in Defence Applications:
(Related Article: Defence Applications for Civilian Sector, by G Satheesh Reddy, page no. 12)
·From the GPS and other communication technologies, to drones, defence research fosters innovation and engenders development.
· Defence research, aligned with the Make in India and Skill Development programmes are bound to speed up the development process.
· As per SIPRI database, total world spending is about 2.3% of global GDP. Indian Defence R&D, operated with a financial outlay of less than 6% of the Indian Defence budget, compared to USA at 15%, UK 8%, China 15% and Israel at 9%.
· A significant part of economic growth of a country is dependent on the country’s ability to produce indigenous defence equipment and systems.
· Lack of proper research and infrastructure facilities made India dependent on imports to a larger extent.
· India has been making strides towards achieving self reliance in critical areas. There is no dearth of entrepreneurship and policy making initiatives in the country.
Defence in R&D:
· India is today one of the only 5 nations with ICBM capability, one of the 4 countries in the world to have a multi level strategic deterrence capability, one of the only 5 countries of the world to have its own BMD program and underwater missile launch capability.
· Defence R&D led to the development of Bullet proof jackets, breathing systems, farming in high altitude areas, multi insect repellent and food poison detection kit.
·Bio-digester for human waste management has become a significant part of Swachh Bharat movement.
·Establishing focused research centres at R&D centres and academic institutes with state of the art infrastructure.
·Innovations at small and medium scale industries should be encouraged and supported.
·The country needs to have innovative manufacturing institutes with public and private partnership.
·These technologies must be devised for ultimate exports to earn foreign exchange for the country.
·Futuristic R&D is only possible by engaging the scientific manpower appropriately and a research conducive ecosystem is evolved and put in place.
Skill Development Initiatives:
·In the defence sector domain knowledge should be highly specific.
·Universities and institutes need to plan programmes with curriculum related to the defence science and technologies.
·Science in general and defence science in particular is collaborative & competitive on global scale.
· The walls of institutions, nations etc are making it multidisciplinary approach.
·The country needs to have innovative manufacturing institutes with public and private partnership.
·India is transforming itself from biggest importer of defence products and equipment to a major exporter. However, a few points need to be taken into cognizance:
a) The defence sector is technology intensive. Changes take place at a rapid pace, and with shifting goal posts dictated by perceived and apparent threats.
b) R&D in defence science is to a large extent carried out by government agencies, with little R&D in the non-governmental sector.
·Increasing role of private sector
· The new policies of the Government are enabling many overseas enterprises to start operations and set up manufacturing units in India with large investments.
S&T in development of Space Based Platform:
(Related Article: Space Based Platform for common man, by G Madhavan Nair, page no. 16)
·India has achieved self-reliance by mastering the technologies for building powerful rockets, satellites for earth observation scientific experiments and communication.
Indian space program started with the launch of a rocket from the beaches of Thumba in 1963. Dr Sarabhai set up the Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) at Thumba. Later this became Vikarm Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
·Simultaneously development of spacecrafts was taken up at ISRO satellite Centre (ISAC). Aryabhata and Bhaskara were the first two satellites developed for establishing our competence in space craft technology.
·ISRO took initiative of integrating 3 services in the same satellite i.e. Telephony TV broadcasting and earth observation for Meteorology.
·Mapping of cultivated areas and monitoring crop growth helps in providing early warning of pest attack and drought control.
·Periodic monitoring provides an opportunity to detect damage caused to environment due to human intervention.
·Mapping forest coverage.
·Identification of potential fishing zones & proper communication to fishermen regarding weather and area with dense fish productivity. Functioning in Gujarat, Kerala & AP
·Watershed development. Suitability of land for agriculture social forestry etc advised to farmers.
·Program called SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment) was intended for beaming socially relevant television programs to remote villages aiming educating village about health, hygiene, agricultural practices.
·ISRO has launced EDUSAT for purpose of education in 2004.
·Cyclone and tsunami warning systems.
Earth Science system:
(Related Article: Earth System science for Public Safety, by M Rajeevan, page no. 22)
·Ministry of Earth sciences was established in 2006
·Doppler Weather Radar network was augmented to strengthen data assimilation efforts and to improve weather forecasts.
·Indian Meteorological Department provides the Agro-meteorological advisories for farmers.
·Improvements in track and intensify forecast of the tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall forecasts.
·Air pollution monitoring and forecasting network was established in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune to monitor air quality and generate air quality forecasts.
·A state of the art High Altitude Cloud Physics Observatory was established at Mahabaleshwar near Pune for aerosol and cloud observations.
·Significant progress has been made in establishing a large ocean observing network for the Indian Ocean during the past 10 years.
·A state of the art Tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean Rim countries was established at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).
·Implementation of Storm Surge Prediction system for the Indian coasts and development of systems for ocean state forecasts.
·Important achievement made by scientists at National Institute for Ocean Technology (NIOT) is installation of desalination plants in three islands of Lakshadweep and at North Chennai Thermal Power station using low temperature thermal technology.
·Survey and exploration, environmental impact assessment, and technology development for exploration of polymetallic nodules in the central Indian Ocean.
·A new research station ‘Bharati’ – a state of the art facility was commissioned at Larsemann Hills, Antarctica in March 2012.
·A research station ‘Himansh’ was established in Himalayas.
The ministry is planning to expand its activities on ocean survey and exploration, with a view to support the Blue Economy initiative of the Government. Another major mandate of the ministry is to explore the polar regions of Antarctica, the Arctic and the Himalayas for monitoring and predicting variability of the fragile global cryosphere system.
S&T in upgrading Nuclear capabilities:
(Related Article: Atoms in Service of Nation, by K N Vyas & M Ramanamurthi, page no. 28)
·‘Atoms for Peace’ focuses on peaceful use of atomic energy, promising the use of radioactivity in energy generation for harnessing the power of the atom.
·The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was thereafter founded by the UN charter in 1955.
·The journey of the Indian Atomic Energy programme began in 1954 with the founding of the Atomic Energy Commission under the leadership of Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha.
·Motto of the nuclear energy programme of the country – the use of nuclear and radiation technology for providing better quality of life to its citizens.
a)Applications of radio isotopes
b)Over 500 centres across country using radio pharmaceuticals
c)Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is working with Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to benefit common man, with an aim to bring the benefits of these technologies to everyone.
d)Nuclear medicine procedures help in identification of abnormalities in organ function in early stages of a disease.
e)Effective in diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders (like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases), and cardiovascular disease in their initial stages.
f)Radiation therapy involves the use of high energy radiation substances. The aim is to impart specific amount of radiation at tumours or parts of the body to destroy the malignant cells.
In Food security and preservation:
a)Use of ionizing radiation based technologies provides safe, hygienic and economically viable solutions to address the issues of agricultural productivity. b)Pest infestation
c)Conservation of agricultural produce
d)Radiation processing can provide a viable, effective and eco-friendly alternative to chemical fumigants.
e)Radiation processing of food has been approved by various International and National Organizations viz. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), WHO, WTO, and FSSAI.
a)Radiation technology has been used to hygienise the sludge to protect public health and environment and in addition, manufacture the manure for use in farming sector. Eg. Used by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)
b)Isotope hydrology techniques enable accurate tracing and measurement of the extent of new and renewable underground water resources.
c)User friendly kits for measurement of contaminants in water. These are used for the detection of fluorine in ground water and chromium in water of river Ganga.
d)Technologists of BARC have developed a membrane for filtration for the removal of bacterial contamination and for desalination of brackish water as well as sea water.
Role of S&T in Agriculture:
(Related Article: Agriculture Technologies: Social Contributions, by Sant Kumar & Suresh Pal, page no. 35)
·The role of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) has been pivotal to the immense growth in agricultural production.
· Agriculture faces new challenges of sustainability in terms of sustaining factor productivity, increasing profitability, and building resilience to climate change, besides attaining significant increase in the production of pulses and oilseeds for self-sufficiency.
· The production loss in perishable products indicates weak linkages (both forward and backward).
· Addressing these problems and challenges and providing durable solutions is a technology and policy challenge.
Contributions in R&D:
·Agricultural R&D has potential to offer long term solutions to the problems of agriculture sector and has the potential to derive the same or even higher benefits at lower cost per unit of output.
·Development in pre and post harvest management technologies have facilitated reduction in losses and helped in increasing the availability, value addition and contributing to national economy.
·Research in horticultural crops making available disease-free planting materials by tissue culture and other modern technology and contributing to rapid adoption of improved varieties and higher crop yields.
·The resource conservation technologies are reducing water use by 5 to 30 per cent in rice-wheat system.
·The development of livestock technologies have increased milk and meat yields and reduced mortality rates in animals.