Nari Shakti Puraskar Awarded to Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC)

Nari Shakti Puraskar Awarded to Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) 

The President of India Conferred Rani Lakshmibai Award (Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015) to Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) for its work under the scheme KIRAN-IPR for women empowerment in R&D through Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) training. Prof Prabhat Ranjan, ED TIFAC received the award last evening at Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

On International Women’s Day Ministry of Women and Child Development gave away the Award to Institutions and Individuals for their contribution to the society for women empowerment in the country.  TIFAC was awarded under the institution category for its work for KIRAN-IPR. TIFAC runs this programme as a part of Scheme called ‘Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing’ (KIRAN) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) for Government of India. Award consists of  a citation and a cash prize of two lakh rupees.

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The Prime Minister of India met all the award winners and complimented them.
About the KIRAN IPR Programme:
A large number of women in India are highly qualified in science. Many of them are not able to pursue career in science due to domestic and social reasons. India cannot afford to miss out the skills and talent of such highly educated women. The training allows them to work from their homes and thus maintain a good balance between professional and domestic demands. The scheme is being implemented by Patent Facilitating Centre (PFC) of Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC) on behalf of DST. About 400 women have already been trained under this scheme, out of which 138 have cleared the Patent Agent Examination conducted by the Patent Office of India. Most of these women are pursuing their career in the area of IPR. Some of them are self employed and have become entrepreneurs and has created jobs for many. 10% percent of active patent professionals as patent agent in the country are from this scheme KIRAN-IPR.
India's Performance in Research is Impressive in Recent Years Says Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan 
India's performance in research is promising and impressive in recent years as is evident from the fact that India’s position globally in scientific publications, as per Scopus database, has improved from 12th position in 2005 to 6th position in 2013 with a growth rate of 13.4% as against the world average of 4.4% during 2005-2013.

This was stated by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

In the field of nano-science and technology, India’s position has moved from 6th in 2011 to 3rd in 2013. Recent report of Springer Nature has indicated that India is ascending towards world-class science and our country is at 13th position globally on an index of world-class scientific journals. Between 2012 and 2014, Indian Chemistry research increased rapidly with a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% and it stood second only to the United States of America in terms of number of publications.

Government has instituted many schemes to promote indigenous talent of scientists for advancement of scientific research in the country. The Swarnajayanti Fellowship and Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), Faculty Scheme of Department of Science and Technology (DST), J.C Bose Fellowship of Science and Engineering Research Board and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize instituted by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are all meant for recognition of indigenous talent and outstanding contribution of scientists to science and technology by Indian scientists. Some other measures taken by the Government to attract more and more talented scientists towards advancement of research include successive increase in plan allocations for Scientific Departments, offering attractive research fellowships, strengthening infrastructure for Research and Development (R&D) and implementing programs like Nano Mission, Solar Energy Research Initiative etc.

A total of 22100 persons has been granted financial assistance by the DST and Department of Biotechnology during the last three years including current year, the Minister said.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan also stated that there is no shortage of scientists and technologists in various research institutions/laboratories under the various departments of the Ministry of Science & Technology.

Government has taken various steps to create more institutions and strengthen facilities for higher education and research in the country. It has established 5 Indian Institute of Science, Education & Research (IISERs) at Pune, Mohali, Kolkata, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram on the lines of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. In addition, Government has also established 11 new autonomous S&T institutions under the Ministry of Science and Technology to undertake research in new and emerging areas of S&T such as National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad; Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati; National Centre of Molecular Materials (NCMM), Thiruvananthapuram, National Agri Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali, Translational Health Science and TechnologyInstitute, Faridabad, Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad etc apart from establishing Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), an autonomous body by an Act of Parliament to promote scientific research in all frontline areas of science and engineering to academic institutions, research laboratories and other R&D organisations. Government has also approved setting up of new IITs, IIITs and universities in various states of the country.

To strengthen facilities in emerging and frontline S&T areas in academic institutions, Government has launched various schemes such as Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST), DBT- BUILDER (DBT-Boost to University Inter-disciplinary Departments of Life Sciences for Education and Research), Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE) with special S&T packages to spread R&D base for North-Eastern Region, J&K and Bihar etc.

National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad set up by the Department of Science & Technology in 2010 has been providing support to grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge in the country. NIF, Ahmedabad has built a database of more than 2,25,000 technological ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge practices from over 585 districts of the country. It has recognised more than 775 grass root innovators and school students at the national level apart from providing help in getting thousands of grass root technologies validated/ value added. It has also set up a Fabrication Laboratory for product development apart from strengthening in-house research and development facilities for the initial validation of herbal technologies resulting in filing of over 745 patents on behalf of innovators.

National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) under the Ministry of Science and Technology is engaged in licensing, transfer and commercialisation of technologies and innovations to enterprises in the country. Over the last six decades of its existence, the corporation has forged strong links with large number of R&D organisations/universities/industry associations and has filed 1700 patents and signed 4,874 license agreements for transfer of technologies in different sectors. 

Resources Increased for Science 
Total Plan allocation of Ministry of Science and Technology for the Financial Years 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 was Rs. 5145.00, Rs.5495.00 and Rs.7200.80 crores respectively. Central Plan outlay of Rs. 8100 cr for the Ministry of Science and Technology for 2016-17 has been proposed which is 12.5% higher than the allocation during previous financial year. This will facilitate Ministry of Science and Technology to implement Science & Technology (S&T) programmes aligned with the country’s strategic priorities.

This was stated by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

The Government has taken several steps to improve science administration, quality of science education and research in India including creation of new institutions devoted to science education and research such as “Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER)”. Five such Institutes have already been established at Kolkata, Pune, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram. IISERs aim to integrate under-graduate, post-graduate and research under one umbrella and to interact with National Laboratories and other research institutes to develop a synchronous environment for research that would transcend rigid administrative structure and encourage inter-disciplinary research. Government has decided to establish two new IISERs in the States of Nagaland and Odisha.

Ministry of Science and Technology also supports various fellowships and S&T infrastructure improvement programmes such as Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE); Ramalingaswamy; JC Bose; Ramanujan; Swarnajayanti; National Postdoctoral; Tata Innovation Fellowships; Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST); Promotion of University Research for Scientific excellence (PURSE); Boost to University Interdisciplinary Life Science Departments for Education and Research (BUILDER); and Star College Programme, etc. to encourage competitive research. Besides this, a large number of extra-mural R&D projects are supported through a competitive research grant to improve quality and quantity of R&D output of scientific institutions. 

Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory to be an Important Project in the Field of Fundamental Sciences in the Country Says Dr Harsh Vardhan 
The world’s third advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO-India) will be set up in India. The Union Cabinet granted, in-principle approval, for the same on 17.02.2016.

This was stated by Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

This project will be a mega science project to be jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science & Technology (DST). The LIGO-India observatory will be part of a global network with two other advanced LIGO observatories where scientific research has already started from September 2015. The LIGO-India observatory will be set up as a joint scientific collaboration between LIGO laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of the USA and three lead Indian institutions, namely, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore. This will be a nationally coordinated project and a number of other Indian institutions would also be participating. LIGO-India will be an important project in the field of fundamental sciences in the country. The observatory will be among the most precise scientific apparatus on the Earth, with technical capability of measuring displacements which are a billion times smaller than the size of an atom. This will help develop national capabilities in technological areas such as control systems, lasers and optics and vacuum technology well beyond the currently available expertise in the country. This will help train highly skilled scientific and technological manpower. The analysis of the measurements for obtaining the scientific results will involve very sophisticated computational and data handling infrastructure. Such a front-ranking scientific experiment on Indian soil will be a source of inspiration for young and budding scientists. This will help launch an entirely new discipline of gravitational-wave astronomy.

The estimated cost to be incurred for the LIGO-India project is about Rs. 1260 crores. For this purpose, a Detailed Project Report will be prepared by the LIGO-India team.

It is true that setting up of ground-based detector in India will form a triangulate with the US detectors which will help to locate the source of gravitational waves. The location of the observatory in India will have scientific advantage because of large separation with the two observatories in USA which will permit more refined triangulation of detected gravitational wave.

LIGO-India which is planned to be set up would be operational by the year 2023. 

Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan says Science to be for Economic Growth and Employment Generation Now 
Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that Science & Technology and innovation are planned to be used as tools for economic growth and employment generation. Accordingly the government has given priority to these areas across the Union Budget, he said. The Minister recalled as to how the Prime Minister while addressing the National Science Congress in Mysore, in January this year, had said that the good governance is also about integrating science and technology into the choices we make and the strategies we pursue. Accordingly the government even while taking measures to control overall fiscal deficit, had clearly increased budgets to various departments of the government in areas of Science & Technology.

Various Departments under his Ministries have embarked upon several collaborative projects on national priorities such as National Supercomputing Mission to ensure nations competitiveness in supercomputing with Department of Electronics and Information Technology; envisaged to implement IMPRINT projects with Ministry of Human Resource Development; shaping a joint R&D initiative to work in the areas of fuel efficiency and emission control technologies with Ministry of Railways (MoR); and working on R&D component of electric mobility mission with Department of Heavy industry.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan expressed satisfaction with budgetary allocations for his Ministries too for the ensuing financial year. The Minister said all in his ministries have been gearing up to work in a concerted and coordinated manner for the overall objective of higher economic growth, employment and social equity. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched several Missions and his Ministries are working in a synergistic manner with the other Ministries to leverage these efforts, such as Make in India, Swasth Bharat, Swachh Bharat, Innovate in India, Start-up India and Stand-up India, among others. The focus is on Affordable Healthcare including Phyto-Pharmaceuticals & Bio-therapeutics, Food & Food Processing, Sustainable Energy, Affordable Housing along with Green Buildings, Advance & Nano-materials, Ocean Exploration, Climate Change, Weather Forecasting for Farmers and Fishermen, Wealth from Waste, Aroma & Herbals, Harnessing Ocean resources and genome programme livestock.

The Minister said that he himself had been calling upon the scientific community in all departments of his ministries to synergize their efforts to contribute to such challenging areas for human welfare. The Minister pointed out that this does not mean that there has been any de-emphasis on basic research. “You know the government is considering instituting the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India and intends to promote other basic research too” he added.

Allocations under Budgetary heads for promoting Innovation, Technology Development and Deployment in various departments have been raised many fold in the recent Union Budget. Major focus would be laid upon creating incubation facilities for spin-off and start-ups. The Minister said various departments would hand hold innovators so as to create a new segment of knowledgebase enterprises. This would help boost the economy step-by-step. Focus is also on some recently launched initiatives aimed at societal priorities such as Science & Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) to explore the modern scientific roots of Indian traditional knowledge; advanced manufacturing for Make in India; and waste processing technology for Swachh Bharat.

Focus would also be on disease control and prevention through finding new and cheaper vaccines, increasing of agricultural production, animal health, furthering Medical Technology (Med-Tech) Innovations, solid waste management etc, A mission on Biotherapeutics called “Aroma Mission” will be launched soon, he added.

With increased allocations, besides further fathoming the secrets of the oceans, Agro-Meteorological Advisory service units to cover all farmers are to be expanded. Efforts are on to rope in various agencies, including NGOs at sub-district level for organizing awareness and training programs at Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Spatial and temporal resolutions of weather forecasts are to be increased with introduction of Now-casting (up to 3 hours) and Extended Range Forecasts (15-20days). A major thrust in the Union Budget for 2016-17 is to improve agricultural output and to increase the income of farmers as part of major effort to weather proof the Indian Agriculture. To facilitate the objective of helping the farming community including the farmers over the northeastern region, as envisaged in the Union Budget, the Ministry of Earth Sciences will be generating high resolution weather forecasts (10 km resolution), for which the exiting High Performance Computing facility will be upgraded to 10 Petaflop facility. It is planned to make critical procurement of Doppler Weather Radars for Himalayan States for improving the services over the Western Himalayan Hill states of Jammu & Kashmir; Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Ministry of Earth Sciences and CSIR are working together for developing indigenous airport meteorological instruments. 

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