In its year-end review of performance for 2021, Ministry of Science and Technology on Tuesday listed a range of innovations, and solutions to ‘unprecedented challenges’ being posed by Covid-19 and other issues all aimed at bringing about ‘positive transformations in every sphere, be it healthcare, sustainability, energy efficiency, climate change, food production or even in terms of the way we work.”
“Department of Science and Technology has extended institutional support to women scientists, brought saffron bowl to Northeast, inspired Manak reaches out to remote places involving increasing numbers of students, and supports research to help move towards affordable health and wellbeing for all besides grassroots innovations: vocal for local,” the ministry pointed out.
“The year 2021 brought some unprecedented challenges for humankind. DST and its autonomous institutions geared themselves up to help India deal with the challenges. The department also implemented the lessons learnt last year through COVID-19 pandemic to reach out to the world with STI solutions that brought about positive transformations in every sphere, be it healthcare, sustainability, energy efficiency, Climate change, food production or even in terms of the way we work,” the ministry note added.
The ministry also refers to the major success stories of DST during 202. “India’s ranking in global S&T indices continues to rise. India has risen to the 46th position featuring within the top 50 innovative economies globally as per Global Innovation Index (GII). The country remains among the top three countries in scientific publication as per NSF database and has also reached 3rd position in terms of number of PhDs, in size of higher education system; as well as in terms of number of startups,” the Science and Technology ministry year-end review stated.
Under the National Supercomputer Mission (NSM), four new Supercomputers have been installed since July 2021 at IIT-Hyderabad, NABI- Mohali, CDAC-Bengaluru, and IIT Kanpur under NSM aiming to set up a grid of supercomputing facilities to provide access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities to around 75 institutions and more than thousands of active researchers, academicians working through Nation Knowledge Network (NKN).
DST’s efforts make scientific infrastructure accessible across institutions. A new program called Synergistic Training Program Utilizing the Scientific and Technological Infrastructure (STUTI) announced recently is envisioned to boost human resource and its capacity building through open access to S & T Infrastructure across the country. DST extends institutional support for women scientists.
Communities have been empowered through STI hubs, point of care diagnostic kits, and encouraging entrepreneurial initiatives. The Department had initiated the setting up of Community COVID Resilience Resource Centres (CCRRCs) for better recovery, building Science Technology and Innovation (STI) capacities and capabilities against various uncertainties at community level. Seven Scheduled Caste (SC)/Scheduled Tribe (ST) Cells and seven Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Hubs have been established for holistic development of SC/ST, the ministry note said.
Point-of-care, cost effective, easy-to-perform diagnostic toolkits developed to detect Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli contamination of food. A pen drive size android app-enabled user-friendly DNA sensor was developed for onsite detection of scrub typhus. A bouquet of coloured artificial diets for rearing silkworms was developed to produce naturally coloured cocoon, the note further added.
The Science and Technology ministry elaborates on how saffron bowl has been brought from Kashmir to the Northeast through the focused efforts of the North East Centre for Technology Application & Reach (NECTAR). The Northeast saw the successful cultivation of saffron for the first time in Yangang village of South Sikkim. It is now being expanded to Twang, Arunachal Pradesh and Barapani, Meghalaya.
SERB-DST also has partnered with Intel India to launch a first-of-its-kind initiative to advance deep tech-based research in India. The national hackathon organised by IIT Madras and Sony India encourages citizens to come up with solutions using IoT Sensor Board. INSPIRE MANAK awards were conferred to the top 60 innovators selected from a total of 3,92,486 students who submitted their innovations from schools across the country which were screened at different levels.
The ministry further gives details of several indigenous smart, low-cost technologies under DST-supported Make in India initiative in a bid to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’. New automated technology for collection of toilet waste which is easy to maintain and 7 times cheaper alternative to the bio-toilets, can be used to maintain the toilet system of the Indian Railways.
Low-cost semiconductor manufacturing process has been developed and used to design integrated circuits (ICs) to handle voltages up to 20 V. A sticky mat which takes away dust from a contacting surface can ensure a clean, hygienic, healthy, and refreshing atmosphere at our home, offices, hospitals, and laboratories as also smooth functioning of many expensive equipment, the ministry note pointed out.
According to the ministry, as a part of Mission Innovation 2.0, India is co-leading the Innovation Community on low carbon affordable heating and cooling of buildings along with European Commission and the UK. It has received overwhelming response from Canada, Australia, Finland, Morocco, Netherlands, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia with IEA and RMI participating as stakeholders, the ministry further added.
As part of ‘grassroots Innovations: Vocal for Local’ initiative, the DST along with National Innovation Foundation (NIF) has supported several grassroots innovations like traditional method of making Etikoppaka toys, Laxmi Asu Making Machine which has revolutionized the weaving of the Pochampally silk and reduced the drudgery of thousands of weavers involved in the occupation as well as polyherbal and cost-effective medicine to treat Mastitis, an infectious disease of dairy cattle.
Further, the National climate vulnerability assessment report supported by DST has identified 6 eastern states–Jharkhand, Mizoram, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and West Bengal as states highly vulnerable to climate change, the Ministry of Science and Technology year-end review 2021 further added.