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Year-End- Review-2021- Ministry of Science and Technology

  • IASbaba
  • December 29, 2021
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Year-End- Review-2021- Ministry of Science and Technology

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Science and Technology

Context: 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.  

  • India has risen to the 46th position featuring within the top 50 innovative economies globally as per Global Innovation Index (GII).
  • Under the National Super-Computer Mission (NSM), 4 new Supercomputers have been installed
  • 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.
  • Proposals have been invited to support strengthening the R&D base of the performing Universities in the country under the Scheme “Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence” (PURSE).
  • The Women Science Programme of DST has started a new initiative to support Women PG Colleges under the CURIE (Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities) Program and invited proposals for the same. 
  • 30 institutions have officially started GATI (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions) Pilot Program.
  • The first of its kind program for lateral entry for women researchers in joint R&D projects between India and Germany was launched.
  • 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
    • 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 silkworm was developed to produce naturally coloured cocoon.
  • Through North East Centre for Technology Application & Reach (NECTAR) Northeast saw the successful cultivation of saffron for the first time in Yangang village of South Sikkim.
  • The Indian research community will soon be able to pursue industry-relevant research opportunities in the areas of deep technologies that are novel, transformative, and can have a ground-breaking impact on a national scale through ‘Fund for Industrial Research Engagement (FIRE)’ launched by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in collaboration with Intel India.
  • Marching towards Atmanirbhar Bharat with several indigenous smart, low cost technologies under DST supported make in India
  • DST along with National Innovation Foundation (NIF) has supported several grassroot 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.
  • DST supported research helps move towards affordable health and wellbeing for all
    • Researchers have developed a compound called “6BIO” that can provide a better method to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 
    • A molecule that disrupts the mechanism through which neurons become dysfunctional in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been developed
    • A new technique to measure DNA modifications can help early diagnosis of multiple diseases.
    • The first National Heart Failure Biobank (NHFB) in the country that would collect blood, biopsies, and clinical data as a guide to future therapies was inaugurated
  • DST supported research assesses state level vulnerability, health & other effects of climate change
    • Climate parameters accounted for 9-18% of the total infectious disease cases in children. 
    • Mineral dust, biomass burning, secondary sulfate, secondary nitrate from northwest India and Pakistan, polluted cities like Delhi, the Thar Desert, and the Arabian Sea area, and long-range transported marine mixed aerosols are the main sources of aerosols in the central Himalayan region. 
    • North-Western, Central, and further to south-central region of India were found to be the new hotspot of intense heatwave events over the past half-century highlighting need for developing effective heat action plans in the three heatwave hotspot regions with a focus on different vulnerabilities among the inhabitants. 
    • Researchers have also calculated the economic impact of aerosols, dust, and clouds reducing solar energy generation from photovoltaic and rooftop solar installations, found severe cyclonic storms in the North Indian Ocean region increasing in the past four decades, and that thermocol could be the material of the future for construction of earthquake-resistant buildings. 
  • For better disaster management: Found the first geological evidence of an earthquake at Himebasti Village on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, documented by historians as Sadiya earthquake in history, which is recorded to have caused massive destruction in the region and almost destroyed the town in 1697 CE. This finding could contribute to a seismic hazard map of the eastern Himalaya, which can facilitate construction and planning in the region. On the other hand Mishmi ranges (MR) in the North-Eastern tip of India, which has witnessed the imprints of the largest earthquake ever recorded in the Himalaya in the Kamlang Nagar town of Arunachal Pradesh, India has a widely distributed earthquake pattern, unlike the western and central Himalaya where the pattern is concentrated south of the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ), in the margin between the Eurasian and Indian Plates) over a nearly 30-km-wide at 10 – 20 Km depth.
  • Clean and potable water for all
    • A much-improved Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) technology targeting zero discharge water management system is being utilized for the complete reuse of industrial dye wastewater for domestic and industrial usage at a rate of 10 Kilo litres /day. 
    • A new technology using UV-Photocatalysis can treat municipal sewage and highly polluting industrial wastewater streams
  • Agricultural technologies ranging from grassroots to lab based for doubling farmer’s income: Grassroots technologies like a variety of mango called Sadabahar, which is resistant to most major diseases and common mango disorders, practice to develop support roots in cashew trees to protect from borer attacks and cyclonic storms, self-pollinating apple variety that does not require long chilling hours were supported. A composite paper made of carbon (graphene oxide) loaded with preservatives has been developed by scientists which can be used as wrappers to help extend shelf life of fruits.
  • Waste Management technologies helps the march towards waste to wealth: 
    • A novel high-performance bioreactor system integrated with sustainable pre-treatment process enables anaerobic digestion of complex fat-rich sludge from dairy industry.
    • Researchers have developed a technology to produce energy-efficient walling materials using construction and demolition (C&D) waste and alkali-activated binders. 
    • A new high rate biomethanation technology for the integrated treatment of sewage and organic solid waste and concomitant generation of biogas and bio manure can treat groundwater and wastewater and convert it to potable water. 
    • A low-cost, integrated composting technology, which includes microbe-aided vermistabilisation can convert toxic sludge from the textile industry into plant probiotics in a short time.
  • Helped develop a slew of new age technologies: 
    • A highly stable and non-toxic security ink from nano-materials that spontaneously emits light (luminescent) due to its unique chemical properties can combat the counterfeiting of branded goods, bank-notes, medicine, certificates, currency.
    • Scientists at INST have produced electron gas with ultra-high mobility, which can speed up transfer of quantum information and signal from one part of a device to another and increase data storage and memory. 
    • A classification method based on Deep Learning (DL) network can evaluate hormone status for prognosis of breast cancer. 
    • Researchers at RRI have discovered a new exotic, strange state of materials in contact with an environment that alters its physical properties in the presence of an electromagnetic field, leading to better quantum technologies, which are tunable and controllable as per the user requirements.
  • The IIA’s Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) located at Hanle near Leh in Ladakh is becoming one of the promising observatory sites globally. 
    • A faster method of predicting space weather has been identified in a type of Solar Radio Bursts (SRBs) observed using the global network of solar radio telescopes called CALLISTO a clue to the mystery behind the high abundance of Lithium— a trace element on Earth has been traced while an  active galaxy found in a very bright state with 10 times more X-ray emission than normal, equivalent to more than 10 trillion Sun, and located 5 billion light-years away could help probe how particles behave under intense gravity and acceleration to the speed of light. 
    • An algorithm that can increase the accuracy of data from exoplanets by reducing the contamination by the Earth’s atmosphere and the disturbances due to instrumental effects and other factors has been developed while a new method to understand the atmosphere of extrasolar planets has been found. 
    • Besides, we now have clues to mystery of solar flares & CMEs in regions on Sun with disturbed magnetic field can help improving solar weather predictions.

News Source: PIB

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