India year book provides details of the most authentic government schemes and policies on the scientific and technological developments in the country that can be directly asked in the IAS prelims exam.
Department of Science and Technology:
This department endeavours to strengthen national science and technology capacity and capability and keep its pace to implement several planned initiatives to enable Indian S&T community to increase scientific and technological outputs.
Some of the important domains in which the Department devotes its attention are:
• Strengthening the pool of scientists and technologists for carrying out globally competitive R&D in cutting-edge areas of science;
• Nurturing R&D institutions and building infrastructural facilities for enhancing global ranking of India in scientific research;
• Deploying technology through national missions;
• Developing capacity of institutions and industry for technology commercialization for solving national challenges;
• Providing S&T inputs to society for its socio-economic benefits;
Science, Technology and Innovation Policy
• The new Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy unveiled in 2013 includes a thrust for innovations in science and technology sector.
• STI policy reveals an aspiration to gain global competitiveness and link science sector to the developmental agenda of the country.
• One of the main policy goals of STI policy is the Science, Research and Innovation System for High Technology led path for India (SRISHTI) initiative.
• Integration of science, research and innovation systems and the emergence of India as one of the top five of six knowledge powers in science are expressed aspirations of the new STI policy.
• To translate this vision into action, the Department has already established a dedicated Policy Research Cell.
Science & Engineering Research
The research and development in frontier areas of science and engineering have received an overwhelming support with the establishment of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).
New initiatives to stop Brain-drain:
Several new initiatives have been launched by the Board recently to reverse the brain drain at different stages of scientific careers such as:
• Early Career Research Awards (ECRA) for young faculty for setting up laboratory facilities for quick launching of research by new faculty.
• A National Post-doctoral Fellowship (N-PDF) scheme will allow the best of our 3000 scientists to stay in India to serve and strengthen our R&D institutions, industry and universities.
• To augment quality manpower in niche areas of research, Overseas Doctoral Fellowship has been launched in 2015-16. Under this programme, a fellowship to Indian students graduating from Indian universities/ institutes to pursue PhD in select areas of science, technology, engineering and medicine in academic institutions of international repute abroad will be provided.
Schemes for Human Resource in Science:
1. Attracting Young Talent to Science
• Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) is an ongoing initiative for the attraction of talent for science and research.
• More than 13 lakh students in the age group of 10-15 have been provided INSPIRE awards.
• Science camps for students organised to interact with the science icons from India and abroad including Nobel Laureates to experience the joy of innovations.
2. Opportunities for Women Scientists
Department of Science & Technology has launched several initiatives for women in science under its flagship scheme namely:
KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing)
• DST provides an opportunity to women scientists who had a break in their career, to pursue research in Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and Engineering Technology.
• The second component is focused on Science & Technology solutions at the grassroots level for social benefit.
• The third component provides one-year internship in the domain of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) which includes theory as well as hands-on training in different law firms.
New Initiatives within the National Agenda on Science and Technology:
A. Nano Science and Technology
India has secured the third position amongst nations of the world in terms of scientific publications in nanotechnology. National Mission of Nano Science and Technology which is an umbrella programme was launched in 2007.
The main objectives of the Nano Mission are –
• Basic research promotion
• Research infrastructure development
• Nano application and technology development
• Human resource development
• International collaboration
• Orchestrating national dialogues
B. Climate Change
Missions implemented under the department of Department of Science and Technology:
• National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE)
• National Mission for Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change (NMSKCC)
• As part of deliverables of these national missions, six major research programmes have been initiated and supported.
1) Himalayas Climate Change Portal
To make the knowledge on the Himalayas readily available for the end users and community new initiatives aligned with the National Agenda
2) National Supercomputing Mission:
• This is a visionary programme to enable India to leapfrog to the league of world-class computing power nations.
• The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) jointly implement it.
DST has launched new programmes:
3) Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)
To rejuvenate research in yoga and meditation which now has 15 R&D projects in the existing autonomous institutions of the DST have been set up to translate basic science to technology.
4) National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)
• This has been evolved as an umbrella scheme for a seamless innovation ecosystem booster.
• Major links of the innovation to market value chain would be supported and strengthened at various nodes across the country to attain the mission of nation building through innovation, entrepreneurship and incubation.
• Target is to scale up current 65 nodes to 125 nodes.
The specific components of NIDHI are –
Grand Challenge and Competitions for scouting innovations;
• Promotion and Acceleration of Young and Aspiring innovators & Startups (PRAYAS) - Support from Idea to Prototype;
• Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) - Support system to reduce risk;
• Accelerator - Fast tracking a startup through focused intervention;
• Start-up Centre in collaboration with MHRD— Inculcating a spirit of entrepreneurship in National Institutions of Higher Learning;
• Technology Business Incubator (TBI)—Converting Innovations to startups;
• Startup- NIDHI through Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs) in academic institutions for encouraging students to promote start-ups;
• Seed Support System (SSS) —Providing early stage investment;
• Centres of Excellence (COE)—A world-class facility to help startups go global and/or scale up.
5) MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge):
• To widen the base of the innovation pyramid by cultural intervention, ideas relevant to the national needs are to be invited from 10 lakh school students in any language.
• Top ideas will be supported for mentoring, prototype development, showcasing from the district to national levels and intellectual property protection.
6) Technology Development for Waste Management:
• To come up with technological solutions for the problems faced by the country in waste management
• Areas under this include hospital waste, plastic waste, e-waste etc
Organisations related to science and technology in India:
1. Survey of India
Survey of India (SOI) was set up in 1767. It is the national survey and mapping organisation under the Ministry of Science and Technology,
As the National Principal Mapping Agency, Survey of India bears a special responsibility like:
• To ensure that the country’s domain is explored and mapped suitably
• To provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development
• To ensure that all resources contribute their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of India
The primary responsibility of SOI is to maintain topographical map coverage on 1:250K, 1:50K and l: 25K scales.
It has also been called upon extensively to deploy its expertise in the field of:
1 Geodetic and geophysical surveys
2 Study of seismicity
4 Participation in Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica
5 Projects related to digital cartography
• The Department is responsible for fixing the external boundary of India, their depiction on maps published in the country and also advise on the demarcation of inter-state boundaries.
• SOI is in the forefront of providing tidal information for the Indian Ocean by observing sea level data at various ports of India and other countries.
• These are crucial for scientific study in fields including climatology modelling, analysis of sea level changes, predicting a tsunami, etc. Besides, this is also an important input for sea navigation.
• Geospatial data are being generated at various levels and by various agencies. These are being utilised for various applications which need the integration of data from various sources.
Survey of India’s support to other countries:
• The Survey of India also provides support to other countries, e.g., Nigeria, Afghanistan, Kenya, Iraq, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Bhutan, Mauritius, etc., in the field of mapping, survey education, transfer of technology, and various other surveying technologies under bilateral arrangements.
• Under UN mandate, Survey of India also provides support to countries in Asia-Pacific region for capacity building in Spatial Data Infrastructures.
• Survey Training Institute which is established under UNDP assistance is a premier institution for training in various disciplines of surveying and mapping to the trainees sponsored by the Department.
National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO)
The National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) operating under the Department concentrates its attention in a number of areas to integrate resource maps with other relevant socio-economic data and represent them in spatial forms, useful for developmental planning.
NATMO is trying to develop the technology of reverse printing for NATMO maps on an experimental basis. It is also trying to introduce the technique of using metallic colours in map printing. These facilities are also being modernised.
2. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)
• The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research constituted in 1942 is an autonomous body.
• It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, leather, and farm and non-farm sectors.
• CSIR is the nation’s custodian for measurement standards of mass, distance, time, temperature, current, etc.
• CSIR has created and is the custodian of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which is a powerful weapon against unethical commercial exploitation of Indian traditional knowledge.
• It maintains Microbial Type Culture Collection (MTCC) and Gene Bank.
• CSIR today is strengthening its patent portfolio to carve out global niches for the country in select technology domains.
3. Atomic Energy
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is engaged in the development of nuclear power technology, applications of radiation technologies in the fields of agriculture, medicine, industry, and basic research.
Some of these are:
• Increasing the share of nuclear power through deployment of indigenous technologies
• Developing fast breeder reactors and thorium reactors with associated fuel cycle facilities
• Developing advanced technologies such as accelerators, lasers and encourage transfer of technology to industry
• Support to basic research in nuclear energy
• Building and operation of research reactors for production of radioisotopes
• Carrying out radiation technology applications in the field of medicine, agriculture and industry
• Contribution to national security