Ministry-wise Initiatives 2019: Ministry of Science and Technology

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Relevance:
Mains: GS II- Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary; Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

About the Ministry:

The Ministry of Science and Technology is the Indian government ministry charged with the formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to science and technology in India.

The ministry includes the following departments:

  1. Department of Science and Technology: 
    • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) was established in May 1971 to promote new areas of science and technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organizing, coordinating and promoting Scientific and Technological activities in the country.
    • It gives funds to various approved scientific projects in India.
    • It also supports various researchers in India to attend conferences abroad and to go for experimental works.
    • DST supports open access to scientific knowledge, originated from the public-funded research in India.
    • In December 2014, the DST and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India had jointly adopted their Open Access Policy.
  2. The Department of Biotechnology:
    • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is responsible for administrating development and commercialization in the field of modern biology and biotechnology in India.
    • It was set up in 1986.
    • Through several research and development projects, demonstrations, grants, and creation of infrastructural facilities a clear visible impact of this field has been seen.
    • The department has made significant achievements in the growth and application of biotechnology in the broad areas of agriculture, health care, animal sciences, environment, and industry.
    • The proven technologies at the laboratory level have been scaled up and demonstrated in the field.
  3. Department of Scientific and Industrial Research:
    • Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) is responsible for carrying out activities relating to indigenous technology promotion, development, utilization and transfer.
    • The primary endeavor of DSIR is to:
      1. promote R&D by the industries,
      2. support a larger cross-section of small and medium industrial units to develop state-of-the-art globally competitive technologies of high commercial potential,
      3. catalyze faster commercialization of lab-scale R&D,
      4. enhance the share of technology-intensive exports and
      5. establish information networks to facilitate scientific and industrial research in the country.
    • It also provides a link between scientific laboratories and industrial establishments for the transfer of technologies through National Research Development Corporation and facilitates investments in R&D through Central Electronics Limited. 

Schemes/Initiatives/Achievements of MoST:

  1. The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019” passed in Lok Sabha.
  2. Schemes:
    • Atal JaiAnusandhan Biotech Mission
    • UMMID’ initiative
    • Launch of Green Crackers
    • Indian air quality Interactive Repository or IndAIR
    • National Centre for Clean Coal Research & Development
    • Zero Waste Potash technology
    • Guidelines Released for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India
    • Redefined units of measurement of a kilogram, kelvin, mole, and ampere implemented in India
    • NSG facility inaugurated at CSIR-CCMB
    • First Indigenous Fuel Cell System developed by CSIR
    • HPCL & CSIR have developed BND
    • CSIR-NPL designated as the National Verification Agency for Air quality monitoring instruments.
    • Smart Aerospace Composite Manufacturing Facility.
  3. Domestic Cooperation:
    • MoU for Inter-Ministerial Cooperation for Promotion and Facilitation of Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Education.
    • Government and IIT-Delhi to set up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies.
    • MoU for Joint Collaboration on Cancer Research.
    • Launch of electronic collection facility of Non-Tax Receipts of Survey of India.
    • Drones to undertake Large scale Mapping of Village areas in Maharashtra.
    • CSIR signs MoU with KVIC on the promotion of honey production.
    • MOU signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
    • CSIR signs MoU with the Indian Navy.
    • CSIR and IIT Delhi Signed an MoU.
    • CSIR-TKDL (Traditional Knowledge Digital Library) signs Agreement with Asian Agri History Foundation.
    • CSIR-IHBT, Palampur and Ladakh Farmers and Producers Co-operative Limited (LFPCL) have entered into an MoU.
  4. International Cooperation: 
    • MoU between India and Thailand in the field of Astronomy.
    • Inter-Institutional Agreement between India and the USA for cooperation in the field of medicine.
    • India joins the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub.
    • Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation between India and the United States of America.
    • India and the Netherlands launched the second phase of the LOTUS-HR.
    • 5th Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
    • Joint Workshops conducted by CSIR and Fraunhofer, Germany.
    • CSIR and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (National Institutes of Health) the USA, signed an MoU.
    • CSIR has signed MoU with CNRS, France.
  5.  Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) prizes

 

Now, we will look at these Schemes/Initiatives/Achievements one by one:

The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019 passed in Lok Sabha:

  • In a landmark decision, the Lok Sabha passed The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill – 2019 in January 2019.
  • The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology, for establishing the identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons.

Schemes:

  1. Atal JaiAnusandhan Biotech Mission: Undertaking Nationally Relevant Technology Innovation (UNaTI) is expected to transform the Health, Agriculture and Energy sectors during the next 5 years. This mission included:
    1. GARBH-ini– A Mission to promote Maternal and Child Health and develop prediction tools for preterm birth,
    2. IndCEPI– A Mission to develop affordable vaccines for endemic diseases, Development of Biofortified and Protein-Rich wheat – contributing to POSHAN Abhiyan,
    3. Mission on Anti Microbial Resistance– for Affordable Diagnostics and Therapeutics and
    4. Clean Energy Mission– Innovative Technology interventions for Swachh Bharat.
  2. UMMID Initiative: 
    • DBT has started the UMMID Initiative which is designed on the concept of ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.
    • The UMMID initiative aims 
      1. to establish NIDAN Kendras to provide counselling, prenatal testing and diagnosis, management, and multidisciplinary care in Government Hospitals wherein the influx of patients is more, 
      2. to produce skilled clinicians in Human Genetics, and 
      3. to undertake screening of pregnant women and newborn babies for inherited genetic diseases in hospitals at aspirational districts.
  3. Launch of Green Crackers: 
    • The Union Minister launched the “Green Crackers” developed by CSIR  in a bid to curb air pollution.
    • Green logo and QR coding system was also launched to track the manufacture & sale of counterfeit crackers.
    • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound-emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar, and sparklers.
  4. Indian air quality Interactive Repository or IndAIR: 
    • CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur launched the Indian air quality Interactive Repository or IndAIR which has archived approximately 700 scanned materials from the pre-internet era (1950-1999), 1215 research articles, 170 reports and case studies, 100 cases and over 2,000 statues, to provide the history of air pollution research and legislation in the county.
    • Such a repository on the subject of air pollution is one of the first in the world.
  5. National Centre for Clean Coal Research & Development: 
    • Government of India through the Department of Science & Technology has set up the National Centre for Clean Coal Research and Development (NCCCR&D) as a national level consortium on clean coal R&D, led by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)-Bengaluru.
  6. Zero Waste Potash technology:
    • The efforts of CSIR scientists from CSIR-CSMCRI have helped in developing a technology for recovery valuable potash from spent wash and saves foreign exchanges and prevents hazardous spent wash being discarded.
  7. Guidelines Released for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India:
    •  “Guidelines for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India” is one of the most important steps for delineating quality, safety and efficacy assessment of the novel nanoformulations. 
    • These guidelines are intended to provide transparent, consistent and predictable regulatory pathways for nanopharmaceuticals in India.
    • The guidelines will pave the way for significant benefits through such cutting edge technology and contribute to the mission on “Affordable Health Care for All”.
  8. Redefined units of measurement of a kilogram, kelvin, mole, and ampere implemented in India:
    • After decades of ground-breaking laboratory works, the world’s scientific and technical community, in a landmark and historic decision taken in the recent open session of the General Conference on Weights and Measures at International Bureau of Weights and Measures has unanimously adopted the resolution to redefine four of the seven base units,
      1. the kilogram (SI unit of weight),
      2. Kelvin (SI unit of temperature),
      3. mole (SI unit of amount of substance), and
      4. ampere (SI unit of current).
    • The new SI is being implemented worldwide from 20th May 2019 i.e. the World Metrology Day by CSIR-NPL in India.
  9. NSG facility inaugurated at CSIR-CCMB:
    • Next-Generation Sequencing (NSG) facility at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMC) in Hyderabad was launched.
    • The facility includes technology for high genome sequencing and also diagnostic sequencing of clinical samples.
    • The state of art machine, acquired at a cost of Rs. 8 crores can sequence 18,000 samples in 8 minutes.
    • The NGS would help prenatal genetic screening and counselling, thereby generating large scale genomic data critical for diagnosis and therapy.
  10. First Indigenous Fuel Cell System developed by CSIR:
    • The first Indigenous High-Temperature Fuel Cell System was developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Indian industries under India’s flagship program named New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI).
    • The Fuel Cells developed are based on High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology.
    • The development is most suitable for distributed stationary power applications like; for small offices, commercial units, data centers, etc.; where highly reliable power is essential with a simultaneous requirement for air-conditioning.
    • This system will also meet the requirement of efficient, clean and reliable backup power generators for telecom towers, remote locations, and strategic applications as well.
    • This development would replace Diesel Generating (DG) sets and help reduce India’s dependence on crude oil.
  11. HPCL & CSIR have developed BND: 
    • HPCL and CSIR–NPL released 26 Petroleum BNDs (Bharatiya Nideshak Dravya or Indian Reference Material) coinciding with the occasion of World Metrology Day.
    • These will be of immense use for BS-VI fuels and will save foreign exchange through import substitution for Certified Reference Materials (CRMs).
    • This will provide traceability for all vital parameters of Petroleum products testing and certification comprising of 13 physical properties, 2 Physicochemical properties and 11 Chemical properties, including BND for sulfur content measurement at lower concentrations which will be of immense use for BS-VI fuels.
  12. CSIR-NPL designated as the National Verification Agency for Air quality monitoring instruments: 
    • The union environment ministry has designated CSIR-NPL as the national verification agency for certifying instruments and equipment for monitoring emissions and ambient air quality, which will assist in maintaining standards of instruments and data of air quality being collected.
  13. Smart Aerospace Composite Manufacturing Facility: 
    • Smart Aerospace Composite Manufacturing Facility was inaugurated which will produce high-quality lightweight polymer composite airframes for the HANSA-NG program of CSIR-NAL and the present prototyping facility shall produce 3 to 4 aircraft per year.

Domestic Cooperation:

  1. MoU for Inter-Ministerial Cooperation for Promotion and Facilitation of Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Education: 
    • The DBT and ICAR entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for much-needed emphasis on multi-disciplinary R&D activities and nurturing innovations in Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Education.
    • Major facilities and technology platforms created by both the agencies will be accessible to the National systems and a joint working group will be constituted to take the partnership forward.
  2. Government and IIT-Delhi to set up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies:
    • The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt of India and Director, IIT Delhi signed an MoU, in New Delhi for setting up a Centre of Excellence for Waste to Wealth Technologies for implementation of sustainable, scientific and technological solutions for waste management.
    • This will be done through the validation and deployment of available technologies for the transformation of waste to wealth.
  3. MoU for Joint Collaboration on Cancer Research:
    • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India signed an MoU for supporting joint collaborative research programmes in the area of Cancer.
    • This MOU shall help strengthen the various initiatives specifically for cancer viz.
      1. Strategizing and prioritizing cancer research,
      2. development of new and affordable technologies,
      3. jointly design and fund clinical trials,
      4. coordinate and collaborate for translational research,
      5. interventions,
      6. training of manpower and
      7. infrastructure development.
  4. Launch of electronic collection facility of Non-Tax Receipts of Survey of India:
    • The electronic collection facility for the costs of maps and other publications will now be available at all the sale counters of Survey of India (SoI).
    • This will help students, researchers and other customers to buy what they would need using credit/ debit cards, etc.
  5. Drones to undertake Large scale Mapping of Village areas in Maharashtra: 
    • Survey of India, the national mapping agency of the country under the Min of Science & Technology has signed an MoU with the Department of Revenue & Land Records, Govt of Maharashtra to undertake the Large scale Mapping of Village Gaothan (Aabadi) areas in the State of Maharashtra using drones.
  6. CSIR signs MoU with KVIC on the promotion of honey production:
    • The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has entered into an (MoU) with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to leverage the expertise available in CSIR with the effort of KVIC for promotion of honey production and also to enable wider outreach of the CSIR technologies and products.
  7. MOU signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research:
    • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and CSIR, New Delhi for cooperation in research and education in areas of traditional systems of medicine and its integration with modern science.
  8. CSIR signs MoU with the Indian Navy:
    • The Indian Navy and CSIR signed an MoU to undertake joint research and development of advanced technologies for the Indian Navy.
    • This will be a collaborative arrangement between labs of CSIR, the Indian Navy and the Indian industry.
  9. CSIR and IIT Delhi Signed an MoU:
    • CSIR and IIT Delhi, have entered into an agreement with five of the renowned National Laboratories of CSIR.
    • As a part of MoU, IIT Delhi plans to promote collaborative research, exchange of ideas, development of knowledge, enhancing high-quality research throughput.
    • IIT Delhi and CSIR aspire to leverage the mutual expertise to contribute to the socio-economic needs of the country.
  10. CSIR-TKDL (Traditional Knowledge Digital Library) signs Agreement with Asian Agri History Foundation:
    • An agreement with Asian Agri History Foundation was signed by TKDL for cooperation related to digitization and inclusion of information on traditional Indian agriculture and allied domains.
  11. CSIR-IHBT, Palampur and Ladakh Farmers and Producers Co-operative Limited (LFPCL) have entered into an MoU:
    • The MoU is to grow saffron in Ladakh using tissue culture technology for the production of disease-free, healthy and flowering sized saffron corms in the non-traditional areas of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Leh, North East and hilly regions of Tamil Ladu.

 

International Cooperation: 

  1. MoU between India and Thailand in the field of Astronomy: 
    • The MoU will lead to new scientific results, human resource development through increased scientific interaction and training, joint use of scientific infrastructure, etc.
  2. Inter-Institutional Agreement between India and the USA for cooperation in the field of medicine:
    • The Inter-Institutional Agreement between India and the USA is in the areas of regenerative medicine and 3D bioprinting, new technologies, exchange of scientific ideas/information and technologies, and joint use of scientific infrastructure.
  3. India joins the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub:
    • India joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member.
    • This expands the global partnership working to address challenges and improve coordination and collaboration in global AMR R&D to 16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organizations.
  4. Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation between India and the United States of America:
    • The Agreement would provide an opportunity to promote ‘high quality’ and ‘high impact’ research and innovation partnerships as well as broadening and expanding relationships between the extensive scientific and technological communities.
  5. India and the Netherlands launched the second phase of the LOTUS-HR:
    • During the visit of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty, Queen Maxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands a joint launch of the second phase of the Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse (LOTUS-HR) program was done by the Union Minister for Science & Technology.
  6. 5th Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):
    • The 5th Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States’ Heads of Ministries and Departments of Science and Technology and Permanent Working Group on S&T Cooperation concluded in Moscow, Russia.
    • India will be the host of Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of SCO Member States in 2020, which will approve the Draft SCO Roadmap on cooperation between research institutions of SCO Member States for the period 2021-2023.
  7. Joint Workshops conducted by CSIR and Fraunhofer, Germany:
    • A series of workshops were conducted between CSIR and Fraunhofer Institute, Germany towards Indo – German collaboration in Research and Innovation towards leapfrogging in Frontier Technologies.
  8. CSIR and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (National Institutes of Health) the USA, signed an MoU:
    • The MoU was to strengthen and develop research cooperation related to environmental health sciences with an emphasis on understanding the health effects associated with exposure to air pollutants and other environmental chemicals.
  9. CSIR has signed MoU with CNRS, France:
    • MoU signed with CNRS, France for Promotion & Support of Scientific & Technological Research in areas of mutual interest including-
      1. plant and marine biotechnology;
      2. health research;
      3. environment and climate change studies;
      4. engineering science and technology;
      5. material science and technology;
      6. energy science and technology and
      7. water research.

 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) prizes:

The Prime Minister conferred Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) prizes for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 in New Delhi on 28th February. The SSB Prize is awarded each year on the basis of conspicuously important and outstanding contributions to human knowledge and progress, made through work done primarily in India during the five years, preceding the year of the prize.



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