Innovation Ecosystem in India

Journey towards innovation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Samba mashuri rice, Wax Deoiling Technology

Mains level : CSIR ,IPR regime

Context

  • Senior scientist Nallathamby Kalaiselvi was appointed the director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), on Saturday, August 6, 2022. This makes her the first woman to head the largest research and development organisation in India, which runs 38 laboratories and institutes, 39 outreach centres, and three innovation centres. 

What is CSIR?

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, abbreviated as CSIR, was established by the Government of India in September 1942 as an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India.
  • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology.

Who established it?

  • Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar
  • He was the Founder Director (and later first Director-General) of CSIR who is credited with establishing twelve national laboratories. He played a significant role in the building of post-independent Science and Technology infrastructure and in the formulation of India’s S & T policies

CSIR’s Vision

  • “Pursue science which strives for global impact, technology that enables innovation – driven industry and nurture trans-disciplinary leadership thereby catalyzing inclusive economic development for the people of India”

Why CSIR is important?

  • Innovation: Regarding intellectual property, the CSIR has over 2971 patents filed internationally with 1592 patents filed in India. Since its inception in 1942 over 14000 patents have been granted worldwide. It was awarded the National Intellectual Property Award in 2018 by the India Patent Office.
  • Pandemic handling: CSIR identified the unmet needs, assessed its strengths and capabilities for addressing the pandemic and adopted a multi-pronged strategy of working on diagnostics, surveillance, drugs, hospital assistive devices, personal protective equipment and supply chain and logistics. This strategy is now beginning to yield exciting solutions.

Contribution of CSIR

Strategic Sector

  • Head-Up-Display (HUD) In high-tech areas, CSIR-NAL made significant contribution by developing indigenous Head-Up- display(HUD) for Indian Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas. HUD aids the pilot in flying the aircraft and in critical flight maneuvers including weapon aiming.
  • Design and Development of Indigenous Gyrotron: Addressing the challenges of technology denial:Design and development of indigenous gyrotron for nuclear fusion reactor has been accomplished.

Energy & Environment

  • Solar Tree: On July 22nda solar tree designed by CSIR- CMERI lab in Durgapur was  launched which occupies minimum space to produce clean power.
  • Wax Deoiling Technology:Technology developed for recovery of wax developed in collaboration with Engineers India Limited (EIL) and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd., (NRL). Country’s largest wax producing (50,000 metric ton) plant has been commissioned at NRL with investment of over Rs 600 crore.

Value added Agriculture

  • Medicinal and Aromatic Plants:Enhanced cultivation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in the country brought about through development of new varieties and agro-technologies.
  • Samba Mahsuri Rice Variety – Bacterial Blight Resistant:CSIR has in collaboration with DRR (ICAR) and DBT part funding developed an improved bacterial blight resistant Samba Mahsuri variety.
  • Rice Cultivar (Muktashree) for Arsenic Contaminated Areas:A rice variety has been developed which restricts assimilation of Arsenic within permissible limit. The variety has been released to farmers of West Bengal.
  • White-fly resistant Cotton variety:Developed a transgenic cotton line which is resistant to whiteflies. It is expected to render it commercially cultivable in 10 years, after due regulatory clearances.

Healthcare

  • JD Vaccine for Farm Animals:Vaccine developed and commercialized for Johne’s disease affecting Sheep, Goat, Cow and Buffalo so as to immunize them and increase milk and meat production.
  • Plasma Gelsolin Diagnostic Kit for Premature Births, and Sepsis related Deaths:A new kit is being developed to diagnose pre-mature birth and sepsis.
  • Genomics and other omics technologies for Enabling Medical Decision – GOMED: Genetic diseases, though are individually rare, cumulatively affect a large number of individuals. A programme called GOMED (Genomics and other omics technologies for Enabling Medical Decision) has been developed by the CSIR which provides a platform of disease genomics to solve clinical problems.

  Food & Nutrition

  • Ksheer-scanner: The Ksheer Scanner, a new technological invention by CSIR-CEERI detects the level of milk adulteration and adulterants in 45 seconds at the cost of 10 paise,
  • Double-Fortified Salt:Salt fortified with iodine and iron having improved properties developed and tested for addressing anaemia in people. To be launched in the market soon.
  • Anti-obesity DAG Oil:Oil enriched with Diacylglycerol (DAG) instead of conventional triacylglycerol (TAG) developed. To be launched in the market soon.

Water

  • Aquifer Mapping of Water Scarce Areas: Heliborne transient electromagnetic and surface magnetic technique based aquifer mapping carried out in six different geological locations in Rajasthan (2), Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  • Understanding the Special Properties of the Ganga Water:Assessment of Water Quality & Sediment Analysis of Ganga from different parts being done.

Some of the challenges faced for sustainable growth of R&D in India are

  • Low research professionals: India has an estimated full-time equivalent R&D professional strength of only 150 professionals per million, compared to that of other countries.
  • Low investment: Indian research is mostly skewed towards basic research and lacks in application oriented R&D. The vast majority of organizations would rather go for quick acquisition of technology rather than invest in internal R&D.
  • IPR enforcement: Inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). While India has improved its IPR regime, the protection of intellectual property remains weak in some areas owing to inadequate laws and ineffective enforcement.

Some positive suggestions to improve innovation

  • Embrace technology: Technologies, such as machine learning, can be used to improve R&D decision-making. Documents need to be filed throughout the R&D process, for example, and the process could be automated to free up employees to do more complex tasks.
  • Invest in innovation hubs: Companies that invest in innovation hubs expand talent and relationships with local universities and startups can support a two-way learning process and faster innovation cycles.
  • Promoting startups: Most radical innovations are coming from startups and more of them are needed. Tilting higher education towards science and encouraging more students to take degrees in science-based subjects can provide the people needed for R&D.

Conclusion

India is a strong contender in the field of Global R&D. For India to derive maximum growth and sustainability of R&D, its R&D fundamentals have to be strong and excellent.

Mains question

Q.Culture of innovation is needed in national growth in this context discuss what is IPR regime? How CSIR has helped to consolidate it?

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