Crux of the minister’s speech:
- The minister said, our science is now working to solve important challenges in the areas of water, energy, health, environment, climate, agriculture, food.
- At the same time, India is getting future-ready in launching ambitious missions in cyber physical system, Artificial Intelligence, Super Computing, Deep Ocean, biopharmaceuticals, and others, which will make us globally competitive in a rapidly changing world order.
- S&T collaborations with the best in the world benefit immensely our scientific community and R&D institutions. Some noteworthy international collaboration during the last four years are: India becoming a partner in the LIGO project for gravitational wave detection with agreement to set-up the detector station in India and India becoming an Associate Member State of CERN; Establishment of India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund, etc.
- The notable achievements during the last four years have been development of new technologies and transfer of over 800 technologies to the industry.
- A new synergy has been established between intra-ministry laboratories and inter-ministry institutions. Scientific laboratories have increasingly become problem-resolution hubs for many government agencies like Railways, Heavy Industry, Urban Development, Defence, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy. Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to name a few.
- The approach has been realigned to have a mix of fundamental science and application science.
- This year’s budget announcement on Mission for Cyber-Physical Systems is one such example of application science.
- Mission-based projects on Supercomputing, Aroma, Sickle Cell Anemia and Biopharma are some illustrative examples of application and solution science initiatives.
S&T intervention in Agriculture:
- S&T intervention in Agriculture sector to improve crop productivity makes a huge impact on rural economy.
- Ministry of Earth Sciences provides agro-meteorological advisories to 24 million farmers currently, which will be scaled up to 40 million by July 2018.
- The timely weather information has helped in farming activities, which had resulted in a positive economic impact of Rs. 50,000 crores to national GDP.
- The quality of weather and ocean forecast services has improved substantially.
- Ministry of Earth Sciences has commissioned the Ensemble Weather Prediction system, one of the best in the world, for generating probabilistic block level weather forecasts.
- This was possible due to the procurement of new Super computers Pratyush and Mihir with a combined capacity of 6.8 Peta Flops by the Ministry.
- A similar kind of information is provided to fishermen in the country on potential fishing zones, on fish availability.
- A joint research by CSIR DBT and ICAR has developed blight resistant improved Samba Mahsuri Rice, which is now being cultivated in an area of 120,000 hectares in seven states.
- This variety of rice is amongst the low glycemic index, which is amongst the lowest value for several rice varieties tested and thus, is considered highly suitable for diabetic patients.
- CSIR has launched a project in Mission-mode for development of Chemical Intermediaries and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), which would significantly reduce India’s dependence on imports, especially from China.
Pledging to reduce fossil fuel:
- With India pledging to reduce fossil fuel, the new energy mix includes higher percentage of clean energy. Several technologies have been developed indigenously by CSIR, such as coal dust collecting and briquetting system, Solar Power Tree, Novel Hydro-Electric Cell, etc.
- India’s first Second-Generation (2G) Ethanol plant has been formally unveiled and transferred to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) to build commercial scale biomass ethanol plants.
- In the area of Clean Energy India today occupies a leadership role in the 23 country Mission Innovation network. In less than 3 years, the investment in R&D has been doubled.
- India has announced the first International Clean Energy Incubator.
- The ministry has also launched a programme called MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge), to trigger innovation among school children from 6th to 10th standard.