Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Certification of ‘Quantum Entanglement’PIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quantum Entanglement (QE)

Mains level : Quantum mechanics and its applications

Indian scientists have developed a novel protocol to find out whether a pair of electrons are in an entangled state so that they can be safely used as resources for facilitating quantum information processing tasks.

Trending in news this year is the Quantum Technology, (As it used to be until last year were- the Internet of Things (IoT) CSP 2019, Artificial Intelligence (AI) etc.)

Must read all this news in a loop:

National Mission on QC

Quantum Coin

Quantum Supremacy

What is Quantum Entanglement (QE)?

  • QE is the name given to a special connection between pairs or groups of quantum systems, or any objects described by quantum mechanics.
  • It is one of the biggest parts of quantum mechanics that makes it hard to understand in terms of the everyday world.
  • When we look at particles, we usually say that each particle has its own quantum state. Sometimes, two particles can act on one another and become an entangled system.
  • When a pair or group of particles can only be described by the quantum state for the system, and not by individual quantum states, we say the particles are “entangled”.

Going bit technical here-

  • It is the physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated; interact, in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others.
  • Entangled states are key resources to facilitate many quantum information processing tasks and quantum cryptographic protocols.

Why decode the Entanglement?

  • Entanglement is fragile and is easily lost during the transit of photons through the environment.
  • Hence it is extremely important to know whether a pair of photons are entangled, in order to use them as a resource.
  • Verification of entanglement requires the use of measurement devices, but such devices may be hacked or compromised.

How to secure QE?

  • Device-independent self-testing (DIST) is a method that can be used in order to overcome such a possibility.
  • This method enables the verification of entanglement in an unknown quantum state of two photons without having direct access to the state, or complete trust in the measurement devices.
  • The theory relies on the application of the quantum uncertainty principle while implementing full device independence is a difficult task.

Back2Basics: Quantum Mechanics

  • Quantum mechanics (QM) is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.
  • It is the body of scientific laws that describe the wacky behaviour of photons, electrons and the other particles that make up the universe.
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Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

International Day of Light and its significancePrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LASER, LIDAR

Mains level : NA

The UN marks the International Day of Light (IDL) — an annual initiative held globally to raise awareness on the critical role played by light-based technologies in everyday life.

The IDL as mentioned in the news creates no scope for a possible prelim question, but the purpose behind its celebration does.  i.e. LASER technology. LIDAR is the latest development in the LASER technology. UPSC may puzzle you here by asking the working principle of LIDAR.

International Day of Light (IDL)

  • The IDL is administered from the International Basic Science Programme (IBSP) of UNESCO, and its Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) at Trieste, Italy.
  • The IDL highlights the contribution of such technologies in various avenues such as science, technology, art, and culture, thus helping achieve the UNESCO goals of education, equality, and peace.
  • The day selected, May 16, marks the anniversary of the first successful operation of the LASER in 1960 by physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman.
  • The LASER is a perfect example of how a scientific discovery can yield revolutionary benefits to society in communications, healthcare and many other fields.

Why is the IDL celebrated?

  • In 2015, to raise global awareness of the achievements of light science and its applications, the UN observed the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015).
  • The event helped establish links and collaborations between decision-makers, industry leaders, scientists, artists, social businesses, NGOs, and the public at large.
  • Following the success of IYL 2015, Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand and Russia placed a resolution before the UNESCO Executive Board supporting the idea of an International Day of Light.
  • It was adopted on September 19, 2016, at the Board’s 200th session at the UNESCO HQ in Paris, France.
  • The Board decision was endorsed by the UNESCO General Conference at its 39th session on November 7, 2017, and the first IDL was held on May 16, 2018.

Back2Basics: LASER

  • A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation.
  • It is an acronym for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.
  • The laser stimulates atoms or molecules to emit light at particular wavelengths and amplifies that light, typically producing a very narrow beam of radiation.
  • The emission generally covers an extremely limited range of visible, infrared, or ultraviolet wavelengths.
  • Many different types of lasers have been developed, with highly varied characteristics.
  • A laser is widely used in industrial cutting, surgical removal of tissues etc.
  • LIDAR is the most famous application of LASERs.

LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging)

  • It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.
  • It bounces pulsed laser light off the ground, revealing contours hidden by dense foliage.
  • These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
  • LIDAR systems allow scientists and mapping professionals to examine both natural and manmade environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility.
  • A LIDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver.
  • Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LIDAR data over broad areas.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IIIT Amendment Act

Mains level : Not Much

Lok Sabha passed the IIIT Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

About IIIT Act

  • IIITs are envisaged to promote higher education and research in the field of Information Technology.
  • The IIT Act of 2014 and IIIT (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017 are the unique initiatives of the govt. to impart knowledge in the field of IT to provide solutions to the challenges faced by the country.
  • Every Institute shall be open to all persons irrespective of gender, caste, creed, disability, domicile, ethnicity and social or economic background.

What are the proposed Amendments?

  • Introduction of the Amendment 2020 will amend the principal acts of 2014 and 2017.
  • It will grant statutory status to five IIIT in PPP mode in Gujarat (Surat), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal), Bihar (Bhagalpur), Tripura (Agartala), and Karnataka (Raichur).
  • It would declare them as Institutions of National Importance along with already existing 15 IIIT under the 2017 Act.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

A different fight-backop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- Using technology to deal with epidemics.


Coronavirus crisis is an opportunity for India to build on domestic technological capabilities in artificial intelligence, big data analytics, life sciences and health technology in the private sector.

How a small tech company flagged Covid-19 outbreak?

  • What does it do? A small tech company in Canada — BlueDot — was among first outside China to spot a new epidemic spreading out from Wuhan last December.
    • BlueDot, founded in Canada by a medical scientist of South Asian origin, Kamran Khan, tracks the origin and transmission of infectious diseases around the world.
  • How could they detect the outbreak in China?  BlueDot did this by sifting through massive volumes of news reports and blogs by individuals, including health professionals flowing out of China.
    • Data analytics and medical expertise combined: BlueDot combines “public health and medical expertise with advanced data analytics to build solutions that track, contextualise, and anticipate infectious disease risks”.
    • Use of AI: BlueDot is one of the many technology firms leveraging artificial intelligence for business and policy purposes.
    • Many governments are reaching out to tech companies to cope with the corona crisis.
    • The state government of California has just hired BlueDot to help it deal with the challenge.

The growing role of technology in dealing with coronavirus

  • Across the world, policymakers see a growing role for technology in identification, tracking, and treating the coronavirus.
  • Alibaba and Tencent’s help in China: In China, the Communist Party roped in big tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent in the battle against the virus.
  • Silicon valley’s help in the US: In the US, President Donald Trump has set aside his well-known distaste for Democrat-leaning Silicon Valley to tackle what he now calls a war-like emergency.
  • India will need all the science and technology it can get hold of in overcoming the crisis that is bound to escalate by the day.
  • An opportunity to do good: For the small tech startups in related areas, this is a moment to shine. For the large tech companies, this is a huge opportunity to deploy their immense capabilities to resolve the specific problems posed by the spread of the coronavirus.
    • In rising to the occasion, they could fend off a lot of the recent negative criticism of their business practices and demonstrate that their commitment to “doing good” is not just empty rhetoric.
  • A good business proposition: “Doing good” is also a sensible business proposition at this time.
    • As governments desperately seek solutions to the crisis, the tech startups and established companies leverage the moment to scale up many technologies, develop new uses and markets.

How countries used technology to deal with the outbreak

  • How China used technology? In China, as the government moved decisively after the delayed initial response, it turned to-
    • the well-established mass surveillance system based on facial recognition technologies,
    • sensing technologies to identify those with fever in public places and
    • data from mobile phone companies to trace the people who might be infected, and limit the spread of the disease.
  • China also developed a Health Code that uses data analytics to-
    • identify and assess the risk of every individual in a targeted zone based on travel history and time spent in infected places.
    • The individuals are assigned a colour code (red, yellow, or green) which they can access via popular apps to know if they ought to be quarantined or allowed in public.
  • How Korea used technology? Many Asian democracies like South Korea have also turned to AI tools to contain the spread of the disease.
  • How the US used technology? As it copes with the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the US had no option but to use surveillance to contain it.
    • Partners in dealing with outbreak: Unsurprisingly, the big tech companies in the US, based on collecting and monetising massive amounts of data from individuals, have inevitably become partners for Washington.
    • But the relationship between the government, corporations and individual citizens in the US is governed by a welter of laws.
    • There is mounting pressure now to tweak these laws to manage the corona crisis.
    • The US is also liberalising the regulations on the access to, and use of, patients’ health records.

Growing collaboration between science and the state

  • The race between China and the US: Overarching these arguments is a race between the US and China to find new vaccines for the coronavirus.
    • And, more broadly, for the mastery of new scientific capabilities — from artificial intelligence to health technologies.
    • The competition, in turn, is promoting a more intensive alliance between science and the state in both nations.
  • Collaboration could accelerate the technological capabilities: The collaboration between science and the state during past crises led to a dramatic acceleration of technological capabilities.
    • World War precedents: During the Second World War, science and the state got together to move nuclear physics from the lab to the battlefield.
    • Cold War precedent: The Cold War between America and Russia promoted the development of space technology, microelectronics, communications and computing.
  • Role of private entities: What marks out the current technological race between the US and China is the role of private and non-governmental entities.
    • That might well be the missing link in India’s effort to beat the coronavirus.


  • Opportunity for India: The current crisis, however, is also an opportunity for India to build on the existing domestic technological capabilities in the areas of artificial intelligence, big data analytics, life sciences, health technology in the private sector.
  • India needs stronger private sector in science: In India, the state has dominated the development of science and its organisation. That was of great value in the early decades after Independence.
    • Today, what Delhi needs is a stronger private sector in science and greater synergy with it in dealing with challenges like the corona crisis.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) SchemeGovt. SchemesPIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SATHI Scheme

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Department of Science & Technology has launched a unique scheme called “Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes(SATHI)”.


  • SATHI aims to address the need for building shared, professionally managed and strong S&T infrastructure in the country which is readily accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing, industry and R&D labs etc.
  • These Centres are expected to house major analytical instruments to provide common services of high-end analytical testing, thus avoiding duplication and reduced dependency on foreign sources.
  • These would be operated with a transparent, open access policy.
  • DST has already set up three such centres in the country, one each at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU.

Objectives of the Scheme

  • SATHI will address the problems of accessibility, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipment in the institutions.
  • This will also foster a strong culture of collaboration between institutions and across disciplines to take advantage of developments, innovations and expertise in diverse areas.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] National Mission on Quantum Technologies & ApplicationsPIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NM-QTA

Mains level : Quantum technology

The Finance Minister in budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA).

What is Quantum Technology?

  • Quantum Technology is based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level.
  • It concerns the control and manipulation of quantum systems, with the goal of achieving information processing beyond the limits of the classical world.
  • Its principles will be used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computing, communications, sensing, chemistry, cryptography, imaging and mechanics.
  • This key ability makes quantum computers extremely powerful compared to conventional computers when solving certain kinds of problems like finding prime factors of large numbers and searching large databases.

What is Quantum Mechanics?

  • It is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest – including atomic and subatomic – scales.
  • At the scale of atoms and electrons, many of the equations of classical mechanics, which describe how things move at everyday sizes and speeds, cease to be useful.
  • In classical mechanics, objects exist in a specific place at a specific time.
  • However, in quantum mechanics, objects instead exist in a haze of probability; they have a certain chance of being at point A, another chance of being at point B and so on.

About NM-QTA

  • The mission will function under the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • It will be able address the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and take into account the international technology trends.
  • The mission will help prepare next generation skilled manpower, boost translational research and also encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development.

Why such mission?

  • Quantum technologies are rapidly developing globally with a huge disruptive potential.
  • The range of quantum technologies is expected to be one of the major technology disruptions that will change entire paradigm of computation, communication and encryption.
  • It is perceived that the countries who achieve an edge in this emerging field will have a greater advantage in garnering multifold economic growth and dominant leadership role.
  • It has become imperative both for government and industries to be prepared to develop these emerging and disruptive changes.
  • It will establish standards to be applied to all research and help stimulate a pipeline to support research and applications well into the future.

Also read:

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[op-ed snap] Here’s looking at youop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- Facial recognition technique and issues associated with it.


Face recognition technology calls for a more comprehensive domestic framework that promotes the use of new technologies for the public good as well as imposes necessary constraints against their abuse.

Debate on finding the balance between regulation and promotion

  • Google calls for partial ban: TheGoogle CEO’s recent support for a temporary ban on facial recognition technologies seems uncharacteristic.
    • It is not often that companies developing a technology call for its ban.
    • Their interest is in promoting the use of technology, not proscribing it.
    • Not every one of the leading tech companies agrees with Google on facial recognition.
  • Microsoft against the ban: Microsoft has questioned the idea of a ban. Calling facial recognition a “young technology”, it said “it will get better.
    • To get better the technology has to be used: The only way to make it better is actually to continue developing it.
    • And the only way to continue developing it actually is to have more people using it.
  • IBM’s precision regulation: IBM has taken a step forward in developing the policies for the use of technology by setting up a “lab”.
    • The lab will generate actionable ideas for policymakers to manage the emergence of new technologies like facial recognition that are shaping our digital future.
    • Precision regulation vs. complete ban: The idea is to develop “precision regulation” rather than enforce “blunt” instruments like the ban.
  • The EU’s plans for temporary ban: The debate on finding the right balance between regulation and promotion of emerging technologies comes in the wake of leaked plans of the EU to issue a temporary ban.
    • The ban could be up to five years.
    • Ban on use in public places only: The proposed ban is not a comprehensive one and will be applicable to the use of facial recognition in public spaces.
  • India’s own plans for law enforcement agencies: The intensifying global debate also coincides with India’s own plans to roll out a massive project on deploying facial recognition technologies, essentially for law enforcement.
    • The international discourse provides the context for developing a broad and effective Indian policy framework for the use of facial recognition.

Background of the backlash against the tech companies

  • Techlash: Well before the EU had begun to discuss a temporary ban on facial recognition, there has been a “techlash” against the companies.
    • The companies faced backlash because they have so dramatically altered our lives in the last few years.
  • The idea of “digital is different”: For nearly two decades, the idea that “digital is different” and does not need public oversight had triumphed in most capitals of the world.
  • Problems with regulations: The main argument was that regulation constrains technological innovation and retards progress.
  • AI and Big data:  The urge to regulate has triggered widespread concerns about the dangers of digitalisation, especially the use of big data and AI by private companies as well as governments.

Major concerns against facial recognition

  • Surveillance capitalism and surveillance state: The companies were seen as monetising the data generated by the widespread use of digital platforms like Google and Facebook.
    • Surveillance state:  China became the prime example of states using data and information to exercise ever more control over its citizens.
  • Accuracy: At the other end are concerns that facial recognition is not entirely accurate and could lead to punitive actions against innocent people.
  • Racial bias misogyny: There is also a concern in the US that the algorithms behind facial recognition carry the baggage of racism and misogyny.
  • Concerns in India: It also remains a fact that the Indian state has always been tempted to empower itself against its citizens in the name of collective security.
    • It has also tended to weaponise information against political opponents and dissidents.

Potential Advantages

  • In the control of crime.
  • Better border controls and countering terrorism.
  • Aid the Police: In India, a severely under-policed nation, facial recognition surely offers many benefits.


The foreign office must reclaim India’s place in the international discourse on AI and facial recognition and develop a productive alignment between India’s national interests and the development of new digital norms.


Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[op-ed snap] Art of science diplomacyop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CDRI-Coalition For Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Mains level : Bilateral, regional and global groupings involving India and/or affecting India's interests.


Some of the most pressing issues and developmental challenges facing nations in contemporary times have a scientific and technological dimension. Science and Technology (S&T)-led innovation offers an opportunity to address these multifaceted challenges, which are now global in nature.

Role of S&T in national and international obligations:

  • S&T today has a national obligation.
  • For a diverse country such as India, S&T is expected to empower the common citizen, making his/her life easier and also being inclusive, which is a national obligation.
  • It has to also meet the international obligation of a responsible country.
  • Importance of S&T innovation in achieving the 2030 Agenda for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- points towards new opportunities for cross border collaboration.
  • Science diplomacy, thus, is a crucial policy dimension.
  • India has launched several global initiatives.

Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA):

  • It was launched by India a few years ago.
  • GITA has provided an enabling platform for frontline techno-economic alliances.
  • It is an industry-led collaboration, with the government as an equal partner.
  • It is aimed at supporting the last phase of technology-based high-end, affordable product development — which can connect to both global and domestic markets.
  • Under GITA, enterprises from India are tying up with their counterparts from partner countries.
  • Partnering countries include Canada, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and the UK.

 International Solar Alliance (ISA):

  • It has more than 79 sunshine countries as signatories and nearly 121 prospective countries as partners.
  • The vision and mission of the ISA are to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries.
  • ISA can make a contribution to increasing the use of solar energy in meeting the energy needs of member countries in a safe, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI):

  • It was recently announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
  • CDRI is an international partnership piloted by India in consultation with 35 countries.
  • CDRI will support developed and developing nations in their efforts to build climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure.
  • It will provide member countries with technical support and capacity development, research and knowledge management, and advocacy and partnerships.
  • It is aimed at risk identification and assessment, urban risk and planning, and disaster risk management.
  • In the next two-three years, the coalition aims to have three types of impact.
  • First-impact on country’s policy framework, second-on infrastructure investments, third-reduction in economic losses from climate-related events and natural disasters.
  • Through this coalition, we can mitigate the fallouts of earthquakes, tsunami, floods.


  • No nation alone has the capacity, infrastructure, and human resources to address the massive challenges that the earth and mankind face, threatening our very existence. It is inevitable, therefore, that science, technology, and innovation should increasingly become an intrinsic diplomatic tool for India.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Private: [oped of the day] History, technology and the shackles of the presentop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : SnT policy in India


The government’s ambitious push for electric vehicles (EVs) rings a bell for the historian of science and technology.

Technology governance

  • After many decades, India is witnessing the fraternisation of high technology and authoritarian governance.
  • Technologies – The government has championed EV, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and sundry technologies into acronyms.
  • Governance – It has clipped Internet access to towns and villages when confronted with non-violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

In the past

  • In 1976, as India sank deep into Emergency, a group of scientists decided to ponder the future of technology in the country.
  • Lost opportunity – While the Indira Gandhi government built a surveillance state, Silicon Valley saw the birth of “public-key cryptography”, used in modern-day encryption.
  • India had regressed into the darkest chapter of its political history, just as the world began to use technology to preserve human rights.

Batting for electric vehicles

  • NCST – The National Committee on Science and Technology (NCST) mandate is to “study the outlook for India in 2000 A.D”. The group was set up in 1973 and took seven years to submit their report.
  • “Futurology” is the use of computer models for forecasting scenarios — became fashionable after the Club of Rome published its “Limits to Growth” report in 1972.
  • The report painted a doomsday scenario of acute food and water scarcity in 2000. 
  • Sci-Fi – This period also witnessed the “new wave” of science fiction, set in dystopic lands and featuring post-apocalyptic visions. 
  • New dystopia is unfolding in India’s present — while the civil liberties of Indians were cast aside, the government was busy discussing EVs and self-driving cars.
  • The Committee on Futurology analysed long-term projections for many sectors, including transportation. 
  • Transport sector – This sector’s problems were two-fold. There were just not enough vehicles for the larger public in India. India had only 1,00,000 buses on its roads. However, the number of cars and jeeps totaled nearly 750,000.
  • The wealthy and powerful elite enjoyed vastly better mobility than the majority of the population.

The shadow of the oil crisis

  • Price rise – Rising fuel prices presented the second problem. It was in the context of the oil crisis of 1973, brought on by a crude embargo imposed by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
  • Renewable alternatives – The committee argued India was better served in the long run by developing renewable alternatives to petrol.
  • Li-ion batteries – Western laboratories had begun exploring the development of lithium-ion batteries, critical to EVs.
  • The work of John B. Goodenough, Akira Yoshino, and M. Stanley Whittingham — who were jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of these batteries — was catalysed by the oil crisis of the 1970s.
  • NCST mention – The NCST mentions that it is imperative that some concentrated R&D is performed in the area of high energy-high power batteries.
  • The Committee even predicted EVs and self-driving cars – “adaptive, automobile autopilots” would be commercially available from the early 1980s.

Much politicking

  • Several autocratic regimes have tread down the same path, using technology as a totem to rally disaffected populations. 
  • While the NCST made grand claims about the future, the government was clamping down on technology in the present. 
  • Indira Gandhi’s government viewed computers with suspicion and discouraged PSUs from adopting them. 
  • The Futurology Committee’s view too was jaundiced by the Emergency. Not all technologies were “neutral” and useful to society, it declared. Doordarshan had become an instrument of state propaganda. 
  • Small scale tech – The government championed “appropriate technologies” that were small-scale — solar cookers and mechanised bullock carts. It did little to boost productivity. 

Change started

  • Computers – Indians were still beginning to embrace machines. As C.R. Subramanian has noted, the import of computers tripled during the Emergency. 
  • Automobiles – The number of automobiles plying on Indian roads in the 1980s increased by 400% over the previous decade.
  • The doubt against big technology by the government in the minds of citizens did little to not improve prospects for scientific breakthroughs.
  • If Indians had the political agency to form their own views of technology, India may have had a shot at developing EVs. 
  • One cannot aspire to a ‘Digital India’ if technologies are wantonly used for mass surveillance, or cut off altogether when faced with non-violent, democratic protests.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Shodh ShuddhiPIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Shodh Shuddhi

Mains level : Promoting skillful research in India

Shodh Shuddhi

  • The union Ministry of HRD has launched the Plagiarism Detention Software (PDS) “Shodh Shuddhi”.
  • This service is being implemented by Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET), an Inter University Centre (IUC) of UGC.
  • PDS will significantly help to improve the quality of research outcome by ensuring the originality of ideas and publication of the research scholars.
  • Initially, about 1000 Universities/ Institutions (Central Universities; Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs); State Public Universities; Deemed Universities; Private Universities; Inter University Centre (IUCs) & Institutes of National Importance are being provided with this service.

What is Plagiarism?

  • Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
  • Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)PIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)

Mains level : Not Much

Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)

  • International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is supposed to be a unique identity of a mobile phone device.
  • IMEI number being programmable, some miscreants do reprogram the IMEI number, which results in cloning of IMEI causing multiple phone devices with same IMEI number.
  • As on date, there are many cases of cloned/duplicated IMEI handsets in the network.
  • If such IMEI is blocked, a large number of mobile phones will get blocked being handsets with same IMEI causing inconvenience to many genuine customers.
  • Thus, there is a need to eliminate duplicate/fake IMEI mobile phones from the network.
  • Accordingly, a project called Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) system has been undertaken by the DoT for addressing security, theft and other concerns including reprogramming of mobile handsets.

Objectives of the project

  • Blocking of lost/stolen mobile phones across mobile networks thus discouraging theft of mobile phones
  • Facilitate in tracing of such reported lost/stolen mobile phones
  • Prevention of mobile devices with duplicate and fake IMEIs in the network
  • Curtail the use of counterfeit mobile devices
  • Reduced health risks to the users with the control of use of counterfeit mobile phones
  • Improved QoS and reduced call drops with reduction in use of counterfeit mobile devices
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Rashtriya Avishkar AbhiyanPIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan

Mains level : Not Much

  • Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan is running successfully to motivate children to learn Science, Maths and Technology through observation and experimentation confirmed HRD Minister.

Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA)

  • Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan is a unique concept developed by the Ministry of HRD that aims to inculcate a spirit of inquiry, creativity and love for Science and Mathematics in school children.
  • It was launched on 9th July, 2015 by Late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India.
  • It is a convergent framework across School Education and Higher Education to motivate children of the age group from 6-18 years in learning Science, Mathematics and Technology.
  • It focuses on learning through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities and processes.
  • It seeks to create curiosity, excitement and spirit of innovation and exploration amongst school children.
  • It encourages higher education institutions to become Mentoring Institutions and assist secondary and elementary schools in the study of Science and Mathematics.
Posted on | PIB
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

SuperconductivityPrelims OnlyPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Superconductivity

Mains level : Superconductors and their future uses

  • Researchers from IISc Bengaluru have confirmed that the material they tested exhibits major properties of superconductivity at ambient temperature and pressure.


  • Superconductivity is a phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic flux fields occurring in certain materials, called superconductors, when cooled below a characteristic critical temperature.
  • A material is said to be a superconductor if it conducts electricity with zero resistance to the flow of electrons.
  • Until now, scientists have been able to make materials superconduct only at temperature much below zero degree C and hence making practical utility very difficult.
  • They help build very high efficiency devices leading to huge energy savings.

Silver embedded gold matrix

  • The material that exhibited superconductivity is in the form of nanosized films and pellets made of silver nanoparticles embedded in a gold matrix.
  • Interestingly, silver and gold independently do not exhibit superconductivity.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] Redefined units of measurement of kilogram, Kelvin, mole and ampereIOCRPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Units and Measurements

Mains level : Read the attached story

  • The General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) at BIPM held on 16 November 2018 has unanimously adopted the resolution to redefine four of the seven base units.
  • These included kilogram (SI unit of weight), Kelvin (SI unit of temperature), mole (SI unit of amount of substance), and ampere (SI unit of current).
  • The new SI is being implemented worldwide from 20th May 2019 i.e. the World Metrology Day.

Global standards of Kg

  • The global standards for measurement are set by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), of which India became a member in 1957.
  • At BIPM in Sèvres, near Paris, stands a cylinder of platinum-iridium locked in a jar.
  • Since 1889, the kilogram has been defined as the mass of this cylinder, called Le Grand K, or International Prototype Kilogram (IPK).
  • In India, CSIR-NPL maintains the National Prototype Kilogram (NPK-57), which is calibrated with IPK.

Redifining Kg

  • The IPK was the last physical artifact used to define any of the fundamental units.
  • IPK would put on a little extra mass when tiny dust particles settled on it; when cleaned, it would shed some of its original mass.
  • Scientists have long stressed that the fundamental units should be defined in terms of natural constants.
  • On November 16, 2018 representatives of 60 countries agreed that the kilogram should be defined in terms of the Planck constant.
  • The Planck constant is a quantity that relates a light particle’s energy to its frequency.
  • Using a machine called a Kibble balance, in which the weight of a test mass is offset by an electromagnetic force, the value of the Planck constant was fixed, the kilogram was redefined.

How was this achieved?

  • The new definition for kilogram fits in with the modern definitions for the units of time (second) and distances (metre).
  • Today, the second is defined as the time it takes for a certain amount of energy to be released as radiation from atoms of Caesium-133.
  • By its modern definition, a metre is the distance travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second (which is already defined).
  • This is where the Planck constant comes in.
  • It has been measured precisely at 6.626069… × 10^(-34) kilograms per second per square metre.
  • With the second and the metre already defined, a very precise definition for the kilogram

Benefits of recalibration

  • What was 1 kg earlier is still 1 kg today. An updated kilogram doesn’t mean that weights everywhere will be thrown off balance.
  • All that has changed is the definition, for the sake of accuracy.
  • A mass measured as 1 kg earlier would have meant 1 kg, plus or minus 15-20 micrograms.
  • Using the new definition, a mass measured as 1 kg will mean 1 kg, plus or minus 1 or 2 nanograms.

About World Metrology Day

  • The World Metrology Day (WMD) is celebrated annually on this very day as the Metre Convention was signed by representatives of seventeen nations on May 20, 1875.
  • The Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and in its industrial, commercial and societal applications.

Assist this newscard with:


[pib] World’s standard definition of kilogram now redefined

How much is a kilogram? Here comes a new way to measure it

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Project MANAV: Human Atlas InitiativePriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Project MANAV

Mains level : MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative

  • For the first time, Indian scientists will be mapping every single tissue of the human body to have deeper understanding of the roles of tissues and cells linked to various diseases.
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT) launched MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative towards improving knowledge on human physiology.

MANAV: Human Atlas Initiative

  • It is a project funded by DBT, which aims at creating a database network of all tissues in the human body from the available scientific literature.
  • It is a project that involves scientific skill development for annotation, science outreach along with handling big data.
  • It will involve gaining better biological insights through physiological and molecular mapping, develop disease models through predictive computing and have a holistic analysis and finally drug discovery.
  • The student community, who will be the backbone on assimilating the information, will be trained and imparted with skills to perform annotation and curation of information that will ultimately form the online network.
  • DBT has invested funds shared between two institutions in Pune – National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) and Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune.
  • Besides, Persistent Systems Limited has co-funded the project and is developing the platform.

Who can participate in this project?

  • The project can be signed up by students who are in their final year graduation and above.
  • Students from the fields of biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, botany, zoology, bioinformatics, health sciences, systems biologists, pharmacologists and data sciences can associate with this project.
  • Even participants having a science background but not necessarily involved in active scientific research can be part of this network.
  • The MANAV team has encouraged colleges and universities to register as teams and work in this project.
  • Initially, DBT will accommodate colleges that operate the DBT Star College scheme to register for this Human Atlas programme. There is no restriction on the time period set for student participation.

How has the project been designed?

  • Once registered, the student groups will be assigned research papers or literature to be read in a time-bound manner.
  • They will be given training to perform annotation and curation activities using the specialised tools developed for this project.
  • Student groups, led by either by the HoDs or any senior researcher at the colleges, will be evaluated from time to time and their annotations will be reviewed by the trainer scientists, hailing from NCCS, IISER and other senior scientists from the team.
  • Presently, there are workshops organised to impart training to the teacher community who can then lead the student groups for this project.
  • Students will be issued certificates for their contributions based on the levels of expertise attained in annotation and for their acquired skills.
  • Initially, the project will focus on curating information revolving skin tissues.

Utility of the project

  • The aim of the project remains to understand and capture the human physiology in two stages – in a normal stage and while in a disease stage.
  • Such a database on individual tissues, once ready, can come handy in tracing the causes of a disease, understanding specific pathways and ultimately decode the body’s disease stage linked to tissues and cells.
  • The teams will also study any potent elements or molecules that have never been used in the form of drugs, to target the specific cells or tissues.


  • So far, researchers and students have had little or no expertise in reading scientific literature and develop or build further information on the same.
  • This platform will impart key skills to the student community to read classified scientific literature, in this case, on individual tissue-basis, and perform annotation and curation.
  • Since all the information generated will pass through multiple levels of reviews, it will be an Atlas or a reliable collection on human body tissues.
  • This collated data can be useful for both future researchers and parallelly, to the clinicians and drug developers, who finally handle human bodies in disease conditions.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Genetic Study on people of Lakshadweep IslandsPrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lakshadweep Islands

Mains level : Read the attached story

Genetic studies in Lakshadweep

  • Genetic studies on the people of the Lakshadweep archipelago was done by a team of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), for the first time.
  • It has have shown that a majority of human ancestry in Lakshadweep is largely derived from South Asia with minor influences from East and West Eurasia.
  • And, there was no evidence of early human migration through the Lakshadweep islands.

Findings of the study

  • The islands are located between Africa and southwestern part of India.
  • Through our earlier studies we know that early human migration from Africa to Andaman and Australia happened through western coast of India.
  • So it was presumed that Lakshadweep Islands might have played a major role in early human migration and expected the presence of genetic signatures of ancient people, such as Andamanese and Australian aboriginals.
  • The study of major islands of Agatti, Andorth, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kiltan and Minicoy of Lakshadweep and demonstrated a close genetic link of Lakshadweep islanders with people from Maldives, Sri Lanka and India.

Why study Lakshadweep?

  • Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 36 islands, scattered over approximately 78,000 square km of the Arabian Sea, 200-440 kms off the south-western coast of India, with a population of approximately 65,000.
  • However, the genetic composition of the first human settlement of this archipelago is not clear.
  • The islands were known to sailors since ancient times and historical documents say that the spread of Buddhism to these islands happened during 6th century B.C. and Islam was spread by in 661 A.D. by Arabians.
  • Cholas ruled the islands in 11th century, Portuguese in 16th century, Ali Rajahs in 17th, Tipu Sultan in 18th before the British Raj of 19th century.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

IIT Bombay’s bacteria preferentially degrade aromatic compoundsPriority 1


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bamboo Rice

Mains level : Bioremediation

  • Using a unique strain of bacterium isolated from soil contaminated with petroleum products, IIT Bombay researchers selectively removed from the environment toxic pollutants.

Pseudomonas Putida CSV86

  • The bacteria helped selectively remove pollutants such aas aromatic pollutants such as benzoate (sodium benzoate is used as a food preservative), benzyl alcohol and naphthalene.
  • The strain can degrade aromatics and organic acids simultaneously.

What makes this bacterium so special?

  • The unique feature of the bacterial strain is its preference for aromatic compounds and organic acid as a food source even when glucose is available.
  • Since breaking down aromatic compounds is difficult, bacteria generally prefer simple carbon sources such as glucose for obtaining energy.
  • Even the bacteria that are known to degrade aromatic compounds tend to first prefer glucose and other simple carbon sources for energy and feed on aromatic compounds only when glucose gets exhausted.
  • Even when both benzoate and glucose were available, the bacteria first utilized benzoate, and only when it was exhausted did it start feeding on glucose.
  • This gives an advantage to remove the pollutants with priority even in the presence of simple carbon source from the contaminated site.


  • The bacterial strain is a very good candidate for bioremediation or waste-water treatment.
  • We can increase the metabolic diversity and capacity by genetically engineering the strain.
  • The team hopes to engineer the strain so it can be directly applied to the soil to preferentially degrade aromatic pesticides.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

IIT Madras converts petroleum waste toluene into useful productPrelims Only


From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Toluene

Mains level: Not much


What is Toluene?

  • Toluene is one of the petrochemical wastes that get released without treatment from industries such as refineries, paint, textile, paper and rubber.
  • It is a colorless, water-insoluble liquid with the smell associated with paint thinners.
  • Toluene has been reported to cause serious health problems to aquatic life, and studies point that it has genotoxic and carcinogenic effects on human beings.

Converting Toluene into Benzene

  • Using platinum nanocatalyst, a team of researchers at the IIT-M has successfully converted petroleum waste-product toluene into benzoic acid.
  • Toluene when oxidised gets converted into benzoic acid.
  • Benzoic acid is used as a food preservative (E210) and medicine for fungal/bacterial infection.
  • Toluene is converted into benzoic acid through selective and controlled oxidation in the presence of a catalyst — binaphthyl-stabilised platinum nanoparticles (Pt-BNP).
  • Also, a green oxidant (70% aqueous tert-butyl hydroperoxide or TBHP) is used for converting toluene into benzoic acid.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Humans can detect the earth’s magnetic fieldsPrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Magneto-reception in Human beings

Mains level: Not Much


  • Now a team of researchers has shown that humans do indeed unconsciously respond to the changes in the earth’s magnetic fields.
  • Scientists have long known that turtles, birds, honeybees and even bacteria can sense the earth’s magnetic field and use them for navigation.

Magneto-reception in Human Beings

  • Magneto-reception has hardly been tested in humans and many studies have been inconclusive.
  • The researchers wrapped with electrical coils, which helped simulate the earth’s natural magnetic field.
  • The participants were connected to an EEG set-up and their brain activity was monitored.
  • In the one-hour session, for a few minutes, the magnetic field around the chamber was shifted. They noticed that during this period, the alpha power of the brain began to drop.
  • When a human brain is unengaged, the alpha power is high.
  • When something catches its attention, consciously or unconsciously, its alpha power drops.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] India’s first indigenous semiconductor chips for 4G/LTE and 5G NR modemsPIB


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Semiconductor chips mentioned in the newscard

Mains level: Not Much


  • A Bengaluru based company SIGNALCHIP has fabricated high performance and cost-efficient semiconductor chips.
  • These would enable high-speed wireless communication.

Four chips designed by SIGNALCHIP

  1. SCBM3412: a single chip 4G/LTE modem including the baseband and transceiver sections in a single device
  2. SCBM3404: a single chip 4X4 LTE baseband modem
  3. SCRF3402: a 2X2 transceiver for LTE
  4. SCRF4502: a 2X2 transceiver for 5G NR standards


  • The RF sections cover all LTE/5G-NR bands upto 6 GHz.
  • These chips also support positioning using India’s own satellite navigation system, NAVIC.
  • The combined multi-standard system-on-chip (SoC) can serve as a base station chipset for a wide range of form factors from low-cost indoor small cells to high performance base stations.
  • Through the IPs created for devices, the company now has the potential to design products for multiple related fields.


  • Currently, in India, all devices and infrastructure, whether imported or domestically manufactured, use imported silicon chips.
  • Silicon chip design is a very challenging activity requiring high-cost R&D, deep knowhow and mastery of multiple complex domains.
  • Hence, this technology is not available in most countries.


  • Data Security is the paramount concern in the World today and India cannot remain secure in terms of data, unless it manufactures its own chips.
  • India is just breaking into the elite club of the world and this will have huge implications for India’s data security and data sovereignty, besides the positive economic implications.
  • At present only 8 companies and a few countries can design and build semiconductor chips.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Andhra to adopt district cooling in govt. buildingsStates in News


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: District Cooling

Mains level: Optimization of energy use for govt. buildings


  • AP govt. is going to lay the foundation stone of India’s biggest district cooling system in Amaravati.
  • District cooling was first set up in India at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).
  • The first phase of this system, with a capacity of 10,000 RTs, has been operational since April 2015.

What is District Cooling?

  1. District cooling means the centralized production and distribution of cooling energy.
  2. Chilled water is delivered via an underground insulated pipeline to office, industrial and residential buildings to cool the indoor air of the buildings within a district.
  3. Specially designed units in each building then use this water to lower the temperature of air passing through the building’s air conditioning system.
  4. The output of one cooling plant is enough to meet the cooling-energy demand of dozens of buildings.
  5. District cooling can be run on electricity or natural gas, and can use either regular water or seawater.

Details of the AP Project

  1. UAE-based company has entered into a 30-year concession with Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) to build, own, operate and transfer India’s first district cooling system in Amaravati.
  2. The agreement is for a contracted cooling capacity of 20,000 refrigeration tons (RTs).
  3. The district cooling system will cater to the state’s assembly, high court, secretariat and other government buildings currently being constructed, for which cooling services will start in early 2021.
  4. Touted as a highly efficient, cost-effective form of air conditioning, district cooling uses only 50 per cent of primary energy consumption for cooling urban buildings thereby reducing carbon emissions.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Periodic Table completes 150 yearsPrelims Only


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of the Periodic Table

Mains level: Not Much


  • The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements was launched on January 29, 2019, at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.
  • The UNESCO stated that the events and activities will be held throughout the year in order to mark 150 years of the formation of the periodic table.
  • Dmitri Mendeleev was the man who published the periodic table for the first time in 1869.

The modern Periodic Table

  1. The periodic table is an arrangement of all the elements known to man in accordance with their increasing atomic number and recurring chemical properties.
  2. They are assorted in a tabular arrangement wherein a row is a period and a column is a group.
  3. Until 1863, the world was aware of only 56 known elements.
  4. The rate of scientific progress was such that every year, a new element was being discovered.
  5. It was during this time that Mendeleev came up with the idea of the Periodic Table.
  6. He published the Periodic Table in his book– The Relation between the Properties and Atomic Weights of the Elements.
  7. Mendeleev said that he arrived at the idea in his dream, where he saw all chemical elements falling into place on a table according to their chemical properties.
  8. Mendeleev had found a definitive pattern following which, each element could be placed according to their atomic weight.
  9. He had also predicted the qualities of the ‘missing’ (yet to be discovered) elements and gave them Sanskrit names.

Its Evolution

  1. The noble gases including helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and radon (Rn) were added to the table between 1895 and 1901.
  2. Likewise, additions have been made to the periodic table as new elements have been discovered in the last hundred years
  3. In 1914, English physicist Henry Gwyn-Jeffries Moseley found out that each atomic nucleus can be assigned a number, according to the number of protons in that atom.
  4. This changed the way the periodic table worked. The table was redesigned according to the atomic number of elements rather than their atomic weight
  5. Rare-earth elements, including the elements in the Lanthanide series, were included in the atomic table in the late 19th century.

About the UNESCO event

  1. The year 2019 was declared as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT 2019) at the 74th Plenary Meeting.
  2. The event will highlight the importance of periodic table in various science disciplines.
  3. Scientists and representatives of the private sector will came together for the event.

Aim of the International Year of Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

  1. The fundamental motto of IYPT 2019 is to recognize the importance of periodic table of chemical elements as one of the most important and influential achievements in modern science.
  2. The periodic table reflects the essence of all basic science disciplines like- physics, biology and chemistry.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Project Cosmic Microwave Background-BharatPrelims OnlyPriority 1


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievement of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CMB

Mains level: CMB-Bharat will be path breaking project along with various ongoing projects such as LIGO etc.


  • CMB stands for Cosmic Microwave Background, and the scientific space project CMB-Bharat has been presented as a proposal to ISRO and is under consideration.
  • In the workshop, project CMB-Bharat, which could help us listen to the faintest murmurs of the early universe, was discussed.


  1. CMB-Bharat is a proposal for comprehensive next generation Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) mission in international collaboration with major Indian contribution.
  2. This referred to quantum gravitational waves, which are different from what LIGO detectors had observed that were classical in nature.

What CMB actually means?

  1. The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is thought to be leftover radiation from the Big Bang, or the time when the universe began.
  2. As the theory goes, when the universe was born it underwent a rapid inflation and expansion.
  3. The universe is still expanding today, and the expansion rate appears different depending on where you look.
  4. The CMB represents the heat left over from the Big Bang.
  5. We can’t see the CMB with your naked eye, but it is everywhere in the universe.
  6. It is invisible to humans because it is so cold, just 2.725 degrees above absolute zero (minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 273.15 degrees Celsius.)
  7. This means its radiation is most visible in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Way Forward

  1. CMB-Bharat mission presents an unique opportunity for India to take the lead on prized quests in fundamental science in a field that has proved to be a spectacular success.
  2. However there are no active proposals for a comprehensive next generation CMB space mission at this time.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

DD Science and India Science channels launchedPrelims Only


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments & their applications and effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: DD Science and DD India

Mains level: National Science channel for India and its implications


  • Two new science communication platforms DD Science and India Science were launched by Minister for Science and Technology.

DD Science

  1. DD Science is a joint initiative of Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and public broadcaster, Doordarshan.
  2. It is a one-hour slot on Doordarshan National channel, which will be telecast from Monday to Saturday from 5 pm to 6 pm.
  3. DD Science service would be in Hindi in the beginning and efforts would be made to gradually expand its scope to have the programme telecast in other Indian languages as well.

India Science

  1. India Science is an Internet-based science Over-The-Top (OTT) TV channel.
  2. This 24×7 video platform is dedicated to science & technology knowledge dissemination, with a strong commitment to spreading scientific awareness.
  3. It will be available on all internet-enabled devices.
  4. It offers live, scheduled play and video-on-demand science programming.

Aims and Objectives

  1. The two channels will have science-based documentaries, studio-based discussions, virtual walkthroughs of scientific institutions, interviews and short films and will be free to access.
  2. The new initiatives are expected to be the first step in creating a national science channel for India.
  3. It would help people understand the benefits of science and integrate it in their daily lives.

About Vigyan Prasar

  1. Vigyan Prasar (VP) is an autonomous organization under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
  2. The principal objective of VP is to serve India’s science popularization agenda.
  3. This is achieved through several strategically important two – way stakeholder specific approaches to communicate about principles and practice of science and technology and implications for development and quality of life.
  4. It publishes a magazine “Dream 2047”.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Various achievements of Indian scientists in 2018Prelims Only


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievement of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: The attached story provides a quick recap of all significant developments which were less highlighted in news


  • The year 2018 is ending with spectacular success of Indian scientists and technologists in space and defence sectors, with a series of high impact missions.
  • But that’s not all Indian scientists achieved in 2018.

Here is a collection of such stories that gives a glimpse of important developments by Indian scientists during the year.

A gel that can protect farmers from toxic pesticides

  1. Most farmers do not wear any protective gear while spraying chemicals in fields, which often leads to pesticide exposure and toxicity.
  2. Scientists at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore have developed a protective gel – poly-Oxime.
  3. It can be applied on skin and can break down toxic chemicals into safe substances
  4. This will prevent them from going deep into the skin and organs like the brain and the lungs.

World’s thinnest material with novel technique

  1. Pushing the envelope in nanotechnology, researchers at the IIT Gandhinagar have developed a material that is 100,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper.
  2. They synthesized a two-dimensional material of just one-nanometer thickness (a human hair is about 80,000 nanometer wide) using Magnesium diboride – a compound of boron.
  3. This is said to be the world’s thinnest material.
  4. It can find a range of applications – from next-generation batteries to ultraviolet absorbing films.

Gene editing applied to banana genome

  1. Using the gene editing technique – CRISPR/Cas9 – researchers at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali have edited the banana genome.
  2. This is the first such work in any fruit crop in India.
  3. Banana is a the fourth most important food crop after wheat, rice and corn in terms of gross value of production.
  4. Gene editing could be deployed for improving nutritional quality, agronomical important traits as well as pathogen resistance in banana.

Discoveries to tackle Zika, dengue, JE and chikungunya

  1. The National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) at Manesar has figured out cellular and molecular mechanisms that show how Zika virus causes microcephaly or small head size in babies.
  2. Researchers discovered that envelop protein of Zika virus affects proliferation rates of human neural stem cells and promotes premature but faulty neuron formation.
  3. Another study led by scientist at the Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad has identified a key protein which helps dengue as well as Japanese Encephalitis viruses replication inside human body by inhibiting anti-viral cytokines.
  4. This finding could pave way for development of targeted drugs for dengue and JE.
  5. For detecting Chikungunya, a group of researchers have developed a biosensor using molybdenum disulphide nanosheets.

Faster diagnostic tests for tuberculosis

  1. Scientists at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad and AIIMS, New Delhi have jointly developed highly sensitive and rapid tests for detection of TB infection.
  2. The current test uses antibodies for detection of bacterial proteins in sputum samples.
  3. New tests use Aptamer Linked Immobilized Sorbent Assay (ALISA) and Electrochemical Sensor (ECS) for detection of a bacterial protein in the sputum.

Space weather warning model rules out ‘mini ice age’

  1. A team of scientists from the IISER Kolkata have dismissed the speculation that the upcoming sunspot cycle is going to be stronger, based on calculations using a model developed by them.
  2. The near-Earth and inter-planetary space environmental conditions and solar radiative forcing of climate over the upcoming sunspot cycle 25 will likely be similar or marginally more extreme.
  3. The method makes it possible to make predictions almost a decade before the next sunspot cycle activity peaks in strength.

New tool developed for autism screening

  1. In many cases, autism is misdiagnosed as mental retardation and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  2. Early identification and interventions may help children with autistic disorders.
  3. To help this process, scientists at the GMCH, Chandigarh, have developed an Indian tool for screening children for autism.
  4. The Chandigarh Autism Screening Instrument (CASI) is designed to help community health workers to carry out initial screening for autism.

Hope for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s

  1. Scientists at the IISc Bengaluru, have figured out the way memory deficit develops in early stages, resulting in Alzheimer’s disease.
  2. They have found that early breaking down of a protein, fibrillar actin or F-actin, in the brain leads to disruption in communication among nerve cells and consequently memory deficits.
  3. This knowledge can be used to develop early diagnosis test in future.
  4. In another study done in fruit flies, researchers at Department of Genetics at Delhi University found that it was possible to restrict the progression of Huntington’s disease by increasing insulin signaling in the brain neuronal cells.

Green technique can address Plaster of Paris pollution

  1. A team of scientists at Pune-based CSIR-NCL has developed a technique that helps recycle Plaster of Paris waste from hospitals in an eco-friendly and economical way.
  2. The new technique disinfects waste and converts it into useful products like ammonium sulphate and calcium bicarbonate.
  3. The technique can also be used to disintegrate PoP waste from idols immersed in water bodies.

Stone Age tools, genetic studies throw new light on peopling of India

  1. The Stone Age tools discovered in a village near Chennai suggest that a Middle Palaeolithic culture was present in India around 385,000 years ago.
  2. It is roughly the same time that it is known to have developed in Africa and in Europe.
  3. The discovery pushes back the period when populations with a Middle Palaeolithic culture may have inhabited India.
  4. It challenges popular theory that the Middle Palaeolithic was brought to India by modern humans dispersing from Africa only around 125,000 years ago or later.
  5. In the North, a population genetic study has revealed that the Rors who inhabit modern Haryana came to the Indus Valley when it was flourishing during the Bronze Age and inducted West Eurasian genetic ancestry.

Computing capacity for weather forecasting gets a boost

  1. During the year, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) upgraded its computing capacity for weather forecasting and climate monitoring.
  2. It took its total high performance computing (HPC) power to as high as 6.8 Petaflop.
  3. With this, India rose to the fourth position, next only to United Kingdom, Japan and USA in terms of dedicated capacity for HPC resources for weather and climate proposes.

Scientists use silk polymer to develop artificial vertebral disc

  1. Scientists at IIT, Guwahati developed a silk-based bioartificial disc that may find use in disc replacement therapy in future.
  2. The group has developed a fabrication procedure for a silk-based bioartificial disc adopting a “directional freezing technique”.
  3. The disc mimics internal intricacy of human disc and its mechanical properties too are similar to those of the native ones.
  4. The use of a silk biopolymer to fabricate a biocompatible disc can reduce the cost of artificial discs in future.

Transgenic rice with reduced arsenic accumulation, flowering mustard

  1. To address the problem of arsenic accumulation in rice grains, researchers at Lucknow- based CSIR-NBRI developed transgenic rice.
  2. They inserted a novel fungal gene, which results in reduced arsenic accumulation in rice grain.
  3. They cloned Arsenic methyltransferase (WaarsM) gene from a soil fungus and inserted it into rice genome.
  4. In another study, TERI School of Advanced Studies has developed an early flowering transgenic variety of mustard.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: Time for Techplomacyop-ed snap


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Telecommunication Union

Mains level: The trend of techplomacy and changes required in India’s foreign policy


Technology usage in diplomacy

  1. As a far more sweeping technological revolution envelops the world today, governments are finding new ways to adapt
  2. Whether it is in using social media to influence public opinion at home and abroad, conducting espionage on other states, securing one’s critical infrastructure against foreign interference, setting terms for cross-border data flows, governing the internet, countering terrorism, or preventing the militarization of Artificial Intelligence, all major governments are reorganising their diplomatic mechanisms
  3. To enhance the effectiveness of its voice in the new domain, France appointed a full time “digital ambassador” in 2017
  4. Denmark has set up offices of “TechPlomacy” in Silicon Valley, Copenhagen and Beijing
  5. A major part of their mandate is to deal with technology giants like Google, Facebook and Alibaba and Huawei
  6. India too needs to review and reorganise its technology diplomacy

History of technology usage in foreign policy

  1. The slow pace of long-distance communication until the 19th century meant that ambassadors acted on their own
  2. Because they had no way to get frequent instructions from the sovereign, they were conferred with the title “ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary” and given the full authority to negotiate with the sovereigns to whom they were accredited
  3. The communications revolution ended the age of the aristocrat diplomat and turned the envoy and his staff into professional bureaucracies run from the governments at home
  4. Beyond the process of diplomacy, the envoys had to deal with the substantive impact of new communications technologies on international affairs
  5. In finding ways to facilitate wireless communication across territorial borders, major nations negotiated the establishment of the International Telegraph Union in 1865 that would later become the International Telecommunication Union
  6. The ITU is one of the oldest international organisations

Changing roles 

  1. As the impact of science and technology on the world expanded, diplomats had to go beyond their traditional focus on negotiating peace pacts and territorial settlements
  2. Over the last century, the diplomatic mandate on science and technology has ranged from chemical weapons to climate change and naval arms limitation to nuclear proliferation

India’s journey in technological adoption

  1. Due to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s deep commitment to the creation of national technical capabilities through international cooperation, technology diplomacy became an important priority for independent India’s foreign policy
  2. But Delhi’s so-called “peaceful nuclear explosion” in 1974 resulted in an expanding regime of technology sanctions against India
  3. As Delhi reconnected to the world and embarked on a high growth path in the 1990s, options opened up for ending the international technology blockade against India
  4. In two decades of productive diplomacy, built around the historic civil nuclear initiative with the US, Delhi has largely completed India’s integration with the international non-proliferation regime
  5. From being a major target of technology sanctions, it is now part of the community that sets the rules for international transfers of sensitive technologies

Way forward

  1. The nuclear problem that Delhi had to address through the second half of the 20th century might pale into insignificance with the kind of challenges that the new technological revolution presents
  2. The nuclear revolution affected only a small fraction of India’s economy and security
  3. The current technological transformations, especially in the digital and genetic domains, will have far-reaching consequences for India’s economy, society, politics and international relations
  4. The challenges and opportunities presented by the unfolding technological revolution are too important to be left to individual departments and ministries
  5. What India needs is a “whole-of-government” approach to technology diplomacy led by the Prime Minister’s Office
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

IISER team develops method to simulate Sunspot CyclePriority 1


Mains Paper 1: Geography | Salient features of World’s Physical Geography

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Sunspots, Maunder minimum

Mains level: Impact of Sunspots on mankind as a whole


  • IISER Kolkata have developed a way of predicting the intensity of activity in the next solar cycle (approximately from 2020 to 2031) using data spread over the last 100 years.

What are Sunspots?

  1. Sunspots are temporary phenomena on the Sun’s photosphere that appear as spots darker than the surrounding areas.
  2. They are regions of reduced surface temperature caused by concentrations of magnetic field flux that inhibit convection.
  3. Sunspots usually appear in pairs of opposite magnetic polarity

Observing Sunspots

  1. Astronomers have observed sunspots on the surface of the sun for nearly 400 years.
  2. It is known that sunspots follow a cyclic pattern of growing in number and disappearing in approximately 11 years, known as the sunspot cycle or the sun’s activity cycle.
  3. We are currently in the 24th sunspot cycle since the observation began in 1755.

IISER Model of Sunspot

  1. The researchers has simulated the behaviour of the sun using magnetic field evolution models and observational data.
  2. They simulate solar activity, and using inputs from observed data from one cycle, predict the behaviour of the sun over the next cycle, about ten years in advance.
  3. Comparing their simulations with recorded data from 1913 to present, they show a remarkable agreement in most cases.
  4. Using the same method, they predict solar activity over the next cycle, about ten years into the future.
  5. IISER’s sunspot simulation states that the sun’s activity would not dip during the next cycle, but it would be similar to the current cycle, perhaps even stronger.
  6. They expect the cycle to peak around 2024.

Impact of Sunspots

I. Solar missions

  1. This kind of work will be very important for the understanding of the long-term variations of the sun and its impact on our climate which is one of the science objectives of Aditya mission.
  2. The forecast will be also useful for scientific operational planning of the Aditya mission.

II. Space Weather

  1. This refers to the effect of radiation, particle flux and magnetic flux in the region around the sun.
  2. During extreme events, space weather can affect electronics-driven satellite controls, communications systems, air traffic over polar routes and even power grids.

III. Earth’s Climate

  1. The other reason sunspots are interesting is the belief that they are correlated with climate on earth.
  2. A lot of the research in this area focuses on predicting the way the next sunspot cycle will shape up – whether the sun will be extremely active and produce many sunspots or not.

IV. El-Nino

  1. ENSO occurs at irregular interval between 3 and 7 years causing global climate system variation.
  2. Considering this event occurs periodically, it might be triggered by the 11-years of solar cycle as an energy source.
  3. In this case, the solar activity is represented by the variability of the periodical Sunspot.
  4. Changes in the rate of heating and the amount of solar energy package is presumed to be the cause of the ENSO phenomenon.

Upcoming Sunspot  and expected impacts

  1. There have been predictions that the next cycle (cycle 25) will show reduced sunspot activity.
  2. There have even been speculations that the sun may be heading towards a period of prolonged low activity – what solar physicists describe as a ‘Maunder-like minimum’.
  3. The Maunder minimum refers to a period from 1645 to 1715 where observers reported minimal Sunspot activity — the number of sunspots reduced by a factor of nearly 1,000, over a period of 28 years.
  4. This has led to speculation of an imminent Maunder-like grand minimum and cooling global climate.
  5. During this and other such periods of low activity, some parts of Europe and North America experienced lower-than-average temperatures.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

[pib] National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical SystemsPIB


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NM-ICPS

Mains level: Particulars of the NM-ICPS


  • The Union Cabinet has approved the launching of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to be implemented by Department of Science &Technology for a period of five years.


  1. CPS and its associated technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (Al), Internet of Things (loT), Machine Learning (ML),  Deep Learning (DP),  Big Data Analytics,  Robotics, Quantum Computing etc. have pervaded and is playing a transformative role in almost every field of human endeavour all most in all sectors.
  2. It has become imperative for government and industries to be prepared to adopt these emerging and disruptive technologies in order to remain competitive, drive societal progress, generate employment, foster economic growth and to improve the overall quality of life and sustainability of the environment.

National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS)

  1. The NM-ICPS is a comprehensive Mission which would address technology development, application development, human resource development & skill enhancement, entrepreneurship and start-up development in CPS and associated technologies.
  2. The Mission addresses the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and takes into account the international trends and road maps of leading countries for the next generation technologies.
  3. It would be a Pan India Mission and covers entire gamut of India that includes Central Ministries, State Governments, Industry and Academia.
  4. The Mission will feed the Central Ministries/ Departments and State Govts and also the Industry to effectively use the CPS technologies in their projects and schemes for the benefit of the society.
  5. The mission implementation would develop and bring:
  • Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and associated technologies within reach in the country,
  • adoption of CPS technologies to address India specific National / Regional issues,
  • produce Next Generation skilled manpower in CPS,
  • catalyze Translational Research,
  • accelerate entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development in CPS etc.

Implementation strategy

  1. The Mission aims at establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).
  2. These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.
  3. A strategic approach involving a suitable mix of Academic, Industry and Government is proposed to be adopted.
  4. Strong Steering and Monitoring Mechanisms in the form of Mission Governing Board (MGB), Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee (IMCC), Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and other Sub-Committees will guide and monitor the Mission implementation.

Benefits of the mission

  1. CPS is an integrated system of upcoming technology, which in turn is being taken up on priority basis by countries in the race for development.
  2. CPS will indeed bring a paradigm shift in entire skill sets requirement.
  3. The proposed Mission would act as an engine of growth that would benefit national initiatives in health, education, energy, environment, agriculture, strategic cum security, and industrial sectors, Industry 4.0, SMART Cities, SDGs etc.
  4. The job opportunities will be enhanced through the Mission by imparting advanced skills and generating skilled manpower as per the requirement of the industry/ society.
  5. As Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Start-up Ecosystem is an integral part of the proposed NM-ICPS, the start-ups will also create a number of technology driven job opportunities in CPS and allied areas.
Posted on | PIB
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Explained: Thermal BatteryPrelims OnlyPriority 1

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Thermal Battery working

Mains level: Alternative source of clean energy and storage.



  1. India became home to the world’s first-ever thermal battery plant that was inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh.
  2. This plant aims to create a new energy storage form that is expected to have commercial applications, while also maintaining a low carbon footprint, and being less dependent on external factors like weather.
  3. The thermal battery facility is to be owned by Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST) could provide energy solutions for electrical grids, transport and telecom services.
  4. At the initial stage of commercial operations, set for May 2019, BEST plans to create a battery capacity of 1000MW. This is expected to be upgraded to a 10GW capacity by 2025.

Thermal battery technology

  1. Thermal battery technology was patented in India by Dr Patrick Glynn in 2016.
  2. Conventional battery technology is based on the system of charging/discharging cycles that are driven by electricity. Ex: Lithium-ion battery.
  3. Thermal batteries use thermal energy to operate, i.e., the energy created by temperature differences.
  4. The energy transfer in thermal batteries helps store heat when heat travels from one part of the battery setup to the other.
  5. For that to happen, a thermal battery consists of two parts: a cool zone known as sink, and a hot source called source.
  6. Both these sides consist of compounds known as phase-changing materials (PCMs), which can change their state of matter on the basis of a physical/chemical reaction.
  7. When the sink of a thermal battery receives heat, it transforms physically or chemically, thereby storing energy, while the source cools down.
  8. During operation, the sink is cooled down, so it releases the stored energy, while the source heats up.
  9. Depending on the nature of the battery, the system can derive heat from any source, which makes a thermal battery very versatile.

Integration with power grids

  1. Given the positives from thermal battery technology, its main application lies in the possible integration with power grids, that can help industrial demand, while also supporting public transport systems and telecom grids.
  2. In the field of power transmission, thermal batteries will be able to function as long as there is a heat source to drive their operation.
  3. This could help solve power issues in remote areas, and also address rising energy requirements from regional or national grids.
  4. Power-intensive industries will also be major beneficiaries, and the transformation will mean reduced dependence on fossil fuels for energy.
  5. Telecom infrastructure is also a target area, as thermal batteries will help maintain signal strength and network connectivity.
  6. This, in turn, could also improve internet penetration and ultra-fast mobile services.

Easing roadmap for E-vehicle manufacturing

  1. Another area that could receive impetus from thermal batteries is that of electric vehicles.
  2. Currently, Tata and Mahindra are the only domestic firms working on such transport systems.
  3. With thermal battery technology, car makers could consider going green, and deploy clean energy at minimal maintenance costs.
  4. At the same time, e-vehicles could also derive charging power from stations that run on thermal batteries.
  5. In AP plant, BEST aims to setup an electric truck that can run up to 800kms on a single charge.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

India unveils Pratyush, its fastest supercomputer yet

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pratyush, Top500 list, petaflops

Mains level: India’s technological advancement in recent years

Fourth fastest dedicated supercomputer in the world 

  1. India unveiled Pratyush, an array of computers that will be used for weather and climate research
  2. Pratyush is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated to weather and climate research and follows machines in Japan, USA and the United Kingdom
  3. It will also move an Indian supercomputer from the 300s to the 30s in the Top500 list, a respected international tracker of the world’s fastest supercomputers

Pratyush’s prowess

  1. Pratyush is an array of computers that can deliver a peak power of 6.8 petaflops
  2. One petaflop is a million billion floating point operations per second and is a reflection of the computing capacity of a system

Better monsoon forecast

  1. A key function of the machine’s computing power would be monsoon forecasting using a dynamical model
  2. This requires simulating the weather for a given month — say March — and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September
  3. With the new system, it would be possible to map regions in India at a resolution of 3 km and the globe at 12 km
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

More scientists coming back now

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ramanujan Fellowship Scheme, INSPIRE Faculty Scheme, Ramalingaswami re-entry fellowship scheme

Mains level: Steps being taken to promote scientific R&D in India

Indian origin scientists returning back

  1. The number of Indian-origin scientists working internationally and returning to India between 2012 and 2017 has jumped 70% from that from 2007 to 2012
  2. This was revealed by figures from the Department of Science and Technology

Why this trend?

  1. Long plagued by “brain drain”, India has over the last decade ramped up schemes to attract Indian- origin scientists
  2. This trend is primarily due to schemes such as the Ramanujan Fellowship Scheme and the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Faculty Scheme and the Ramalingaswami re-entry fellowship scheme coordinated by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
  3. These schemes allow “high-caliber” Indian researchers working abroad to relocate to Indian institutes and universities of their respective interest and domain

All scientists don’t get desired institutions

  1. Of the 373 scientists, who got these scholarships between 2014 and 2016, only 125 were absorbed into their host institutions
  2. The lack of absorption is often due to returning researchers not always getting their choice of institutions
  3. This is due to limited institutional capacity to absorb all of them


Ramanujan Fellowship Scheme

  1. The fellowship is meant for brilliant scientists and engineers from all over the world to take up scientific research positions in India, i.e. for those scientists who want to return to India from abroad
  2. Ramanujan Fellowship are only for those candidates who are doing Post Doctoral abroad and not for the people who already have permanent position in a scientific organization in the country
  3. The fellowships are scientist-specific and very selective
  4. All Areas of Science (in the broadest terms) are covered by this Fellowship
  5. The Ramanujan Fellowship duration is for 5 years only
  6. The Ramanujan Fellows could work in any of the scientific institutions and universities in the country
  7. They would be eligible for receiving regular research grants through the extramural funding schemes of various S&T agencies of the Government of India
  8. This scheme is managed by Science and Engineering Research Board under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India

Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Faculty Scheme

  1. INSPIRE is an innovative programme sponsored and managed by the Department of Science & Technology for attraction of talent to Science
  2. The basic objective of INSPIRE is to communicate to the youth of the country the excitements of creative pursuit of science, attract talent to the study of science at an early age and thus build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and R&D base
  3. A striking feature of the programme is that it does not believe in conducting competitive exams for identification of talent at any level
  4. It believes in and relies on the efficacy of the existing educational structure for identification of talent
  5. INSPIRE has three components:

    i. Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS)

    ii. Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE)

    iii. Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC)

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Indian Science Congress ‘indefinitely postponed’


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indian Science Congress, pseudoscience

Mains level: Organizations dedicated to promotion of science in India

Security problems cited

  1. For the first time in its 105-year history, the Indian Science Congress(ISC) — the largest congregation of Indian scientists — has been indefinitely postponed
  2. This is due to “security problems” at the Osmania University, Hyderabad where the event was to be organized between the January 3 and 7 next year

Other controversies associated

  1. In recent years, the Science Congress has also got flak for being a forum that promoted pseudoscience
  2. Especially in 2014, when a session on mythology and Vedic-era airplanes was a highlight of the event


Indian Science Congress

  1. Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is a premier scientific organization of India
  2. The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon
  3. It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged
  4. The Association was formed with the following objectives :




  • To advance and promote the cause of science in India;
  • To hold an annual congress at a suitable place in India;
  • To publish such proceedings, journals, transactions and other publications as may be considered desirable;
  • To secure and manage funds and endowments for the promotion of Science including the rights of disposing of or selling all or any portion of the properties of the Association
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

House panel for early enactment of Space Law

  1. Context: Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee dealing with the Department of Space
  2. Early: Govt should take all necessary action for the enactment of the National Space Act at the earliest
  3. Why? As it would benefit the overall growth of activities and services in the sector
  4. Dept. of Space has also been urged to speed up its decision on an internal committee report relating to supporting start-ups in the Space sector
  5. Background: The law comes at a time the DoS is increasing its engagement with public and private sector industries
  6. It will cover licensing, authorisation, regulation and supervision of activities by other players in the sector
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

March to mark National Science Day

  1. Context: In India February 28 is celebrated as the National Science Day i.e. Rashtriya Vigyan Diwas every year
  2. Significance: Aims to impart scientific temper in the minds of people of all age groups
  3. Theme: “Scientific Issues for Development of the Nation” that aims at raising public appreciation
  4. This day is celebrated as science festival in the entire nation by organising science exhibitions, seminars, workshops, symposiums and many other activities
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

India Signs an Agreement for European Molecular Biology Organisation

  1. India through the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology has signed a Cooperation Agreement
  2. To acquire the status of the Associate Member State European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).
  3. After Singapore, India will now become second such country outside the European region to sign this agreement.
  4. This would strengthen scientific interaction and collaborative research between India and Europe in this field.
  5. With this, researchers working in India are now eligible to participate in all EMBO programmes and activities.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Global Biotechnology Summit on “Destination India”

The Summit would help attract investors and other key partners to invest in the biotech sector in India.

  1. A 2-day Global Biotechnology Summit on “Destination India” will be held on 5th & 6th February 2016 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
  2. The event would showcase India’s Biotechnology strength and capacity.
  3. It would provide an opportunity to bring together all stakeholders.
  4. To discuss opportunities, collaborations and to prepare a joint action plan for achieving the target of 100 billion US dollars for the Biotech sector by 2020.
  5. The Summit will be held as a run up to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) celebrating its 30th Foundation Day on 26th February, 2016.
  6. It would broadly focus on the priority themes – Make in India, Nurturing Bio entrepreneurship, Skill India, and Swasth Bharat.
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Cloud Computing Would be a Solution for BIG Data Problem : Experts

With over 2.5 quintillion bytes created every day, data storage and analysis has become a great challenge.

  1. Addressing “Big Data and Cloud Computing in Agri-Bioinformatics” in the plenary talk session of 103rd Indian Science Congress at the University of Mysore.
  2. Cloud computing is very important in BIG data analytics due to its application sharing and cost effective properties.
  3. To head towards sustainable livelihood and development, such analyses with respect to agriculture including plants and animals are crucial.
  4. Hundreds of Agricultural institutions across the country should be connected and for this CLOUD is a good option.
Posted on | PIB
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Introduction of Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2015

It is currently operational at the NCR Biotech Science Cluster, Faridabad.

  1. Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of Regional Center for Biotechnology Bill, 2015.
  2. To provide a legal status to the Regional Centre for Biotechnology, so as to function independently as an autonomous body.
  3. Also an ‘institution of national importance’ for education, training and research in the areas of biotechnology.
  4. Centre would offer training in the related areas of biotechnology including bio-drug discovery science, nano-science and medicine, designer crops, intellectual property.
Posted on | PIB
Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

ROTOVAC – Desi Rotaviral vaccine


  1. Rotovac will boost efforts to combat infant mortality due to diarrhoea.
  2. It is an oral vaccine, administered to infants at the ages of 6,10 and 14 weeks.
  3. Rotovirus affects populations in all socio-economic groups, which makes it equally prevalent in industrialized and developing countries.
  4. It is an infection of stomach and bowel and spreads by contact/airborne route.
  5. The first infection tends to be mostly severe as later body develops immunity to the virus.


What is Rotavirus infection and what do you know more about it?

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Experts bat for space law. What is the need?

  1. With growing space programmes and objects in space orbits, such a law is needed to ensure that space assets and applications are used for the right causes.
  2. Space laws could include a regulator for compensation for harm caused by space objects, registration & licensing of private firms, insurance, investor disputes, environmental damage, IPR issues etc.



Technology Vision 2035 – Putting science to Use

The Prime Minister unveiled the ‘Technology Vision Document 2035’ while inaugurating the 103rd Indian Science Congress on  January 3,  2016. Let’s take a glance at it

<The document is dedicated to late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India.>


What is Technology Vision 2035?

  • The document foresees the technologies required for fulfilling the needs of India 2035
  • This is a vision of where India and its citizens should be in 2035 and how technology should help achieve this
  • Twelve Sectoral Technology roadmaps are being prepared by the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, (TIFAC)

Which are the 12 sectors?

  • Education
  • Medical Sciences & Healthcare
  • Food and Agriculture
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Habitat
  • Transportation
  • Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials
  • Information and Communication Technology

The prime aim of the vision document

  • To ensure the security of every Indian, enhancing their prosperity and identity
  • This is stated in the document as “Our Aspiration” or “Vision Statement” in all languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution
  • The Vision document also identifies 12 prerogatives – (six for meeting individual needs and six for collective needs) that should be available to each and every Indian


How technologies could map to assure prerogatives?

  • Those are readily deployable
  • Those that needs to be moved from Lab to Field
  • Those that require targeted Research
  • Those that are still in Imagination

What type of technologies are expected in future?

  • Technologies could come about as a result of curiosity driven or paradigm – shattering ‘Blue-sky’ Research like Internet of Things, Wearable Technology, Synthetic Biology, Brain computer Interface, Bioprinting and regenerative medicine
  • Precision agriculture and robotic farming, vertical farming, interactive foods, autonomous vehicles, Bioluminescence, 3D printing of buildings, earthquake prediction, weather modification technologies, green mining etc <Here, UPSC has great scope to ask questions, as we know 3D printing technology was asked in 2013 Mains >

What is Bioluminescence?

Bioluminescent creatures are found throughout marine habitats, from the ocean surface to the deep sea floor.
Bioluminescent creatures are found throughout marine habitats, from the ocean surface to the deep sea floor.

  • Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism
  • The light emitted by a bioluminescent organism is produced by energy released from chemical reactions occurring inside (or ejected by) the organism

What are the challenges in the field of Technology?

  • Guaranteeing nutritional security and eliminating female and child anaemia
  • Ensuring universal eco-friendly waste management
  • Taking the railway to Leh and Tawang
  • Understanding national climate patterns and adapting to them
  • Ensuring location independent electoral and financial empowerment

Then! Are there any ways to overcome these challenges?

Technology Leadership – niche technologies in which we have core competencies, skilled manpower, infrastructure and a traditional knowledge base; eg. Nuclear Energy, Space Science.

Technology Independence – strategic technologies that we would have to develop on our own as they may not be obtainable from elsewhere eg. Defence sector

Technology Innovation – linking disparate technologies together or making a breakthrough in one technology and applying it to another. eg., solar cells patterned on chlorophyll based synthetic pathway are a potent future source of renewable energy

Technology Adoption – obtain technologies from elsewhere, modify them according to local needs and reduce dependence on other sources eg., foreign collaboration in the sectors of rainwater harvesting, agri-biotech, desalination, energy efficient buildings.

Technology Constraints – areas where technology is threatening and problematic i.e. having a negative social or environmental impact because of serious legal and ethical issues eg., Genetically Modified(GM) Crops.

Which 3 key activities were identified as a part of the ‘Call to Action’?

  • Knowledge creation It says India cannot afford not to be in the forefront of the knowledge revolution, either applied or pure
  • Ecosystem design for innovation and development
  • Technology deployment by launching certain national missions involving specific targets, defined timelines requiring only a few carefully defined identified players


Source - PIB Features | Pic - Vision 2035

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