Indian Scientists and Technologists take challenges as opportunities

    21-Dec-2020   
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India International Science Festival (2020) is being organised by the Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences in collaboration with Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA). Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, speaking to All India Radio, said that in view of the clarion call of the Prime Minister, the central theme of IISF 2020 is ‘Science for Self-Reliant India and Global Welfare’ to strengthen the vision of ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’.
 
Dr. Mande added that along with other themes, a couple of new themes have been included this year. “In some events, social science is integrated with natural sciences and in this way event such as ‘Science and philosophy’, ‘Science Education in India’ and ‘Games and Toys’ have been included in IISF 2020”, hesaid. Talking about the S&T efforts in India, he said that “our country has faced so many challenges since independence and the scientists and technologists of the country have always taken these challenges as opportunities to serve the society. This year, we witnessed an unprecedented COVID pandemic and in this situation, we thought that we should convert this challenge into opportunity. And in that perspective, in IISF 2020, we have created a virtual platform on which several thousands of people will come together and discuss the issues concerned with self-reliant India and global welfare: he added. The total registration in this mega science festival has crossed 90,000 (Ninety Thousand).
 
In conversation with All India Radio, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India Dr. Madhavan Nair Rajeevan said that science and technology have great role in making our country self-reliant as well as to fulfill the role for global welfare. “India is also emerging as a scientific leader in global community”, he said.
 
Dr. Rajeevan said that in IISF 2020, the Ministry of Earth Sciences is contributing in two broad themes ‘Clean Air’ and ‘Water’. “Indian government has an emphasis to reduce air pollution and efforts are being made to improve the air quality. MoES is deeply involved in S&T intervention in this direction. Drinking water is a fundamental need of every citizen. MoES uses indigenous technologies to provide drinking water. In the IISF 2020, the scientific aspects and technological interventions in the clean air and water will be showcased in various interesting ways so that general public can understand and imbibe our efforts”, he added. MoES is one of the organisers of IISF 2020.
 
India Science, a dedicated science channel on OTT platform has also started a discussion series on the events of the IISF 2020. In this series, they live telecast a discussion show on 19 December 2020 and the themes covered in this show were Clean Air, Water, Energy and Philosophy & Science. The coordinators of these events in IISF 2020 were invited for this program. Dr. SachinGhude, Scientist, MoES-IITM, Pune discussed about Clean Air event included in IISF. Dr. Sangeeta M. Kasture, Scientist, DBT elaborated the activities and sessions to be organized under the Energy event. Dr. MadhulikaBhati, Scientist, CSIR-NISTADS gave her inputs on Water event and said that “Jal Vimarsh” and “Jal Chitra” activities have been included and ‘Jal Warriors’ will be identified during the event who will spread the message of water conservation. Dr. Sujit Bhattacharya, Scientist, CSIR-NISTADS discussed on the event based on ‘Philosophy and Science’.
 
“Our institute has started two important high value projects as a part of extensional activities directly related to societal work. First one, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) funded Common Research and Technology Development Hub (CRTDH) in the area of New Materials, Chemical Processes, to help local Micro Small and Medium Enterprises. The project outlay is approximately Rs.12 Crore over the 5 years. The other one is, Farm Based S&T Intervention for Socio-economic Development in the Aspirational District of Nabarangpur, Odisha”, said Prof. SuddhasatwaBasu, Director, Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT). He was addressing a webinar on science and Aatmnirbhar Bharat organized by Press Information Bureau, Bhubaneswar for the promotion of India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020. He also said that important metals like iron and aluminum can be produced in high quantity by the country itself.
 
Talking on the efforts on agriculture front Prof. SurendranathPasupalak, Chairman, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) Research Complex for Eastern Region (ICAR-RCER), Patna said that to increase the crop production genetically modified crops have also been introduced as they are reaping good results. “Earlier we were far behind in the rice production but now India is one of the leading countries in rice export. Science and technology have played a crucial part in it and because of it we are doing extremely well” said Prof. Pasupalak.
 
Weather forecasting is an important aspect of agriculture as the right forecasting at the right time can help farmers a lot. It is also useful for the fishermen who are going in sea for fishing. “Due to robust weather forecasting system now, we are providing accurate weather forecasting to the farmers and fishermen” said Dr. Sarat Chandra Sahu, Former Director, Indian Meteorological Department, Bhubaneswar. He said that timely weather forecast has save many lives during cyclones, storms and other such happenings.
 
To mark the theme of ‘Clean Air’ and to highlight its importance, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology-IITM (An Autonomous Institute of Ministry of Earth Sciences) organized a virtual Curtain Raiser Ceremony for the IISF-2020. This programme was organized with High Altitude Cloud Physics Laboratory (HACPL), Mahabaleshwar.
Prof. Ravi S. Nanjundiah, Director, IITM said that HAPCL is located at Mahabaleshwar at an altitude of 1378 metre above mean sea level and has been chosen for this event to highlight its unique contributions towards the study of cloud microphysics and interaction between clouds and aerosol, orographic process of precipitation and related dynamics.
 
Special Guest, Shri Jayant Sahasrabudhe, National Organising Secretary, Vijnana Bharati briefed about IISF activities and encouraged the scientists to present science in an interesting manner with the available resources and mechanisms. He informed that a large number of people had registered for this mega event and is likely to cross the one lakh mark. This time, the event will be open 24X7, enabling the scientists to participate from far away countries.
 
Dr. G. Pandithurai Scientist and Project Director of HACPL showcased a video clipfollowed by a virtual tour to HACPL showcasing the R&D activities and observational facilities established by IITM at Mahabaleshwar.
CSIR-CSMCRI, Bhavnagar organized IISF2020 pre-event lecture series in which a large number of school students, faculty and staff/scholars of CSIR & other academic organisations participated virtually.
 
Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG, CSIR & Secretary, DSIR delivering the keynote lecture on Biological Sciences talked about the history of evolution and adaptability of life to environment. He went on to discuss about messenger RNAs (mRNA) that forms the basis of two of the COVID-19 vaccine forerunners - the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.
 
In his opening remarks, Dr. Kannan Srinivasan, Director, CSIR-CSMCRI hoped that the Indian society would make science an integral fabric of the culture and value it such that science too is celebrated as a festival in true spirit. Dr. Somak Ray chaudhary, Director, IUCAA, Pune spoke on Astrophysics, highlighting the great contributions made by world renowned Indian scientists like Prof. P. C. Vaidya and Dr. MeghnathSaha.
 
Prof. GadadharMisra from the Department of Mathematics at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore explained about how mathematics works in the background of every essential utility of our daily lives.
CSIR-Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC), Ghaziabad too organised an Outreach Programme for IISF 2020. Students and Teachers from various schools and universities joined virtually. Approximately 600 people joined through Facebook live and 40 people through MS-Teams.
 
Dr. R. K. Sinha, Head, CSIR-HRDC gave the brief information about the purpose and the vision behind the outreach programme. He urged to take proper measures and follow all the instructions and guidelines issued by government for the precautions of COVID-19.
 
Dr. Nakul Parashar, Director, Vigyan Prasar emphasised on the concept of “Scientific Social Responsibility”. He also shared the mandate of Vigyan Prasar which communicates science and technology to masses through books, Journals, Movies and Science festivals etc. He proudly mentioned that Vigyan Prasar has launched India’s OTT channel for science.
 
Dr. Srinagesh D., Chief Scientist, CSIR-NGRI made a detailed presentation on Earth and Earthquakes. He explained the How, Why and What about the earthquakes. He gave detail information on the cause of earthquake and the science behind the earthquakes.
 
Prof. M. Pushpavathi, Director, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Mysore, also empahsised on the scientific temper among students. She urged the common and fully abled persons to understand and care about the problems of speech and hearing disabled people (Divyangajan). She explained the Speech Problems, Language peoblem and Hearing problems in detail and also shared success stories of the institute.
 
CSIR–Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi has organised various outreach activities (online) during 3-17 December 2020. Science Quiz for students of schools and colleges, Women Scientists and Entrepreneurs Conclave, Nobel Day Lectures, Industry & MSME Conclave, Jigyasa National Science Teachers Congress and Young Scientists Conclave.
 
Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Director, CSIR–CECRI in her presidential address, highlighted the importance of IISF to academicians, industrialists, research scholars and students. She also highlighted CECRI’s R&D activities in alignment with self-reliant India especially in the area of energy conversion and storage. Dr. Kalaiselvi introduced the Chief Guest of the event, “Padma Bhushan” Dr. T. Ramasami, Former Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and Former Director, CSIR–CLRI, Chennai and Nayudamma Abdul Wahid Chair Professor at the Department of Leather Technology, Anna University. In his valedictory lecture on “Science for Self-reliant India and Global Welfare”, Dr. Ramasami recollected the glorious achievements of CSIR–CECRI and CSIR–CLRI and appreciated the activities of CECRI which was the largest patent filing institute. In his lecture, he stressed the importance of legacies that are the foundation stones for future. Dr. Ramasami also listed out the sustainable development goals related to global human welfare priorities.
 
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST) organised a two-day program on Jigyasa Outreach program for school students as a part of outreach activity for India International Science Festival 2020 (IISF).
 
The Programmewas attended by more than 300 students and many of them interacted with the panelist through question answer session on general science questions. Dr. U. S. Hareesh, Principle Scientist, CAIR-NIIST talked on the advanced ceramics for popular applications. He explained and answered question in the different areas of research such as material science, food technology, molecular biology, photovoltaic, aluminium alloys, energy related research, dioxin research, waste management, ceramics, organic chemistry etc.Dr. A. Ajayaghosh, Director, CSIR-NIIST, impressed upon the youth to be curious about whatever happening around them.
 
Vigyan Yatra is a major outreach program of the IISF and under this around 35 locations have been identified in the whole country where popular science lecture and awareness programs are being organized. IISF will be organised from 22-25 December 2020. The nodal institution for the event is CSIR-National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), New Delhi. India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 is the largest science festival on virtual platform. This Science Festival is organized jointly by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in association with Vijnana Bharati.