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Special Content


Issue no 48, 26 February-04 March 2022

Moving Towards a Scientifically Robust Future

National Science Day: 28th February

 

EN EXPLAINS

On 28th February 1928, Indian Scientist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman discovered a phenomenon in which light particles are scattered by molecules of a medium. The scattering occurs due to a change in the wavelength of light as it enters the medium. The discovery created a sensation worldwide and was named the 'Raman Effect.' In 1930, Sir C V Raman received the Nobel Prize for this remarkable discovery. It was for the first time that an Indian received a Noble Prize in the field of Science. The date of this discovery, 28th February, is now celebrated as National Science Day in India

The first National Science Day was celebrated on 28th February 1987. The primary objective of National Science Day is to spread the message of the importance of Science and its application. To fulfill this objective, theme-based Science outreach activities are carried out all over the country.

 

What is Raman Effect? Raman Effect is a change in the wavelength of light that occurs when a light beam is deflected by molecules. When a beam of light traverses a dustfree, transparent sample of a chemical compound, a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than that of the incident (incoming) beam. Most of this scattered light is of unchanged wavelength. However, a small part has wavelengths different from that of the incident light; its presence is a result of the Raman Effect.

 

National Science Day 2022 Theme: The theme for National Science Day 2022 is - 'Integrated Approach in Science & Technology for Sustainable Future.' Launching the theme, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted that a four-fold integrated approach in science and technology for a sustainable future would help us come out of our culture of working in silos as suggested by the Prime Minister to play a leading role in the global arena. He said that the four-fold approach would comprise the integration of all the scientific departments which can work on theme-based approach; extended scientific integration encompassing engineering, medical and other institutions; extra-scientific integration involving identification of the needs of other ministries like Jal Shakti, Railways, etc; and extended science-driven allinclusive approach integrating startups and industry.

 

National Science, Technology, & Innovation Policy:  As India and the world reorient in the present context of the COVID-19 crisis, a new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) was initiated at this crucial juncture during mid-2020. The new STIP aims to bring about profound changes through short-term, medium-term, and long-term mission mode projects by building a nurtured ecosystem that promotes research and innovation on the part of both individuals and organizations. It aims to foster, develop, and nurture a robust system for evidence and stakeholder-driven STI planning, information, evaluation, and policy research in India.

 

          The objective of the policy is to identify and address the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse socio-economic development of the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive. The new STI policy revolves around the core principles of being decentralized, evidenceinformed, bottom-up, expertsdriven, and inclusive. Also, it aims to bring in the concept of 'dynamic policy' with a robust policy governance mechanism incorporating features such as implementation strategy, periodic review, policy evaluation, feedback, and adaptation, and most importantly, a timely exit strategy for various policy instruments.

          STIP will lead to establishing a National STI Observatory that will act as a central repository for all kinds of data related to and generated from the STI ecosystem. It will encompass an open centralised database platform for all financial schemes, programmes, grants, and incentives existing in the ecosystem.

An India-centric Equity & Inclusion (E&I) charter will be developed for tackling all forms of discrimination, exclusions, and inequalities in STI leading to an institutional mechanism and an inclusive culture facilitated through equal opportunity for all marginalized groups. Strategies will be adopted to improve STI education, making it inclusive and more connected with the economy and society.

 

Initiatives of Department of Science & Technology

·       India has risen to the 46th position featuring within the top 50 innovative economies globally as per the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2021. The country remains among the top three countries in scientific publication as per National Science Foundation (NSF) database. It has also reached 3rd position in terms of number of PhDs, in size of Higher Education System, and in terms of number of startups.

·        Under the National Supercomputer Mission (NSM), four new Supercomputers have been installed since July 2021 at IIT-Hyderabad, National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Bengaluru, and IIT Kanpur. The mission envisages empowering our national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast super-computing grid comprising more than 70 highperformance computing facilities. These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The mission brings supercomputing within the reach of the large scientific and technology community in the country and helps them solve multi-disciplinary challenges.

·        The recently announced Synergistic Training Program Utilizing the Scientific and Technological Infrastructure (STUTI) envisions boosting the knowledge capacity of India's human resource by lending open access to science and technology infrastructure across the country.

·        The recently announced Synergistic Training Program Utilizing the Scientific and Technological Infrastructure (STUTI) envisions boosting the knowledge capacity of India's human resource by lending open access to science and technology infrastructure across the country.

·        KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing) embraces women-exclusive schemes of DST with the mandate to bring gender parity in S&T through various mechanisms. The latest initiative under this scheme is GATI - (Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions)- a pilot programme envisioned in mission mode to promote gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) domains. So far, 30 institutions have officially started the GATI pilot programme.

·        The Fund for Industrial Research Engagement (FIRE) launched by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in collaboration with Intel India will facilitate Indian research community to pursue industry-relevant research in deep technologies that are novel, transformative, and can have a ground-breaking impact on a national scale.

·        Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) aims to attract the attention of talented students towards the field of Science from an early age and build the required human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the R&D base and the Science & Technology (S&T) system of the country. In 2021, INSPIRE MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) awards were conferred to the top 60 innovators selected from amongst a total of 3,92,486 students. These students belonged to schools from across the country, and their submissions were screened at different levels.

·        The Department of Science and Technology (DST) along with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), has supported several grassroots innovations. Some of them include the traditional method of making Etikoppaka toys, Laxmi Asu Making Machine which has revolutionized the weaving of the Pochampally silk, and the polyherbal and cost-effective medicine to treat Mastitis- an infectious disease of dairy cattle.

·        DST is supporting agricultural technologies for doubling farmers' income. For example, the technology involved in cultivating the self-pollinating variety of apples and the Sadabahar variety of mangoes that are resistant to most major diseases and common disorders. Another remarkable technology is the process of developing support roots in cashew trees to protect the plant from borer attacks and cyclonic storms. Composite paper made of carbon (grapheme oxide) loaded with preservatives has also been developed by scientists, which can be used as wrappers to help extend the shelf life of fruits.

·        The saffron bowl of India, so far confined to parts of Kashmir, has now spread its wings to parts of the North East through the focused efforts of the North East Centre for Technology Application & Reach (NECTAR). Yangang village of South Sikkim saw successful cultivation of saffron for the first time. This is now being expanded to Twang, Arunachal Pradesh and Barapani, Meghalaya

·        DST support has 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 Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have produced electron gas with ultra-high mobility, which can speed up the transfer of quantum information and signal from one part of a device to another and increase data storage and memory. Researchers at Raman Research Institute (RRI) have discovered a new exotic, strange state of materials 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 Science for Equity for Empowerment and Development (SEED) Scheme supports several field-based programs that require the application of S&T. Actionoriented initiatives under SEED Division have contributed immensely to the national initiative for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat by empowering the scientific communities at the local level that work towards achieving socioeconomic targets within environmental considerations and hence contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Source: PIB/ Department of Science & Technology/ National Council of Science Museums Compiled by: Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan