PIB News: January 22, 2021

National Conference on Agriculture for Summer Campaign, 2021

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala addressed the National Conference on Agriculture for Summer Campaign, 2021 through Video Conferencing on 22nd January, 2021.

Highlights of his speech

  • The agriculture sector is the backbone of the economy of the country. The Government accords the highest priority to this sector and has taken several vital steps in Agriculture to improve the socio economic status of the farmers to improve their lives.
  • A target of 51 lakh  has been fixed to cover summer season with pulses, oil seeds and nutri-cereals crops this season. Further, as per 4th Advance Estimates (2019-20), total food grains production in the country is estimated at 296.65 million tonnes, and horticulture production 319.57 which will be an all time record in 2019-20.
  • The pulses and oilseeds production is at 23.15 and 33.42 million tonnes, respectively.
  • Production of cotton is being estimated at 354.91 lakh bales with which India is set to rise to the top producing countries in the world.
  • On the production and productivity fronts, the horticulture sector has also outperformed conventional food grain crops.

“Shramshakti” Digital Data Solution for Migrant Workers

The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda virtually through Video Conference launched “ShramShakti”, a National Migration Support Portal at a programme held at Panjim, Goa today. 

  • It would effectively help in the smooth formulation of state and national level programs for migrant workers. He also launched a tribal migration cell, a tribal museum at Goa and “ShramSaathi”, a training manual for migrant workers.
  • Shram Shakti will be able to successful able to address the data gap and empower migrant workers who generally migrate in search of employment and income generation.
  • It will also help the government for linking the migrant population with existing Welfare Scheme- under Atam Nirbhar Bharat. 
  • The various data that will be recorded via Shram Shakti include demographic profile, livelihood options, skill mapping and migration pattern.
  • Tribal training module- ShramSaathi will ensure that the process of livelihood migration is safe and productive.

India’s global position rises both in innovations & publications

India’s excellence in science has now been combined with the recognition of its brilliance as an innovative economy.

  • While the country has already attained the third position in terms of publications, it now features among the top 50 innovative economies globally as per the Global Innovation Index (GII), placing it ahead of many developed and developing countries.
  • The combination of scientific excellence and innovation has been possible through encouraging investments in scientific activities, infrastructure as well as manpower development along with boosting of the entire innovation chain in an environment charged with the start-up India movement.
  • “Our efforts for connecting the invention ecosystem that excels in creating knowledge and the innovation ecosystem facilitating knowledge consumption have helped bring about this transformation, and the 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy will help us take this forward more effectively,” said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) while talking about this achievement.
  • India’s national investment in R&D has increased from Rs. 1,13,825.03 crore in 2017-18 to Rs. 1,23,847.71 crore in 2018-19.
  • At the same time, initiatives of DST like NIDHI have played a crucial role to reach this position. The implementation of NIDHI has nurtured 3681 startups under incubation through the network of around 150 Incubators created by DST, generated 1992 intellectual property.
  • Further, in the last five years, jobs generated in the form of direct employment were 65,864 and Rs 27,262 crores of economic wealth.
  • The movement to convert ideas to usable technologies and then to scale them up has now spread through the country.
  • Among the 13,045 patents sealed in the year 2017-18, 1,937 patents were by Indians. However, some states held the lion’s share of patents filed. Out of 15,550 patents filed by Indians at Indian Patent Office during 2017-18, 65% were filed from the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi.
  • At the same time, the start-up India mission has given a boost to convert these patentable innovative ideas into start-ups levitating India into the country among those with the highest number of start-ups.
  • While the startup India movement and push for patenting has brought a paradigm shift in science and technology, the country has maintained its growth in publications—the traditional indicator of scientific excellence.
  • The number of publications has increased exponentially over the last 10 years.  According to data from the US agency, the National Science Foundation (NSF), India is currently in third place, only behind China and the United States, with 135,788 scientific articles in the year 2018.
  • The NSF database shows that India’s growth rate of scientific publication was 12.9 percent, as against the world average of 4.9 percent.
  • India recorded the fastest average annual growth rate of publications between 2008 and 2018 with 10.73 percent. In comparison, the average annual growth rate of China and the United States are respectively 7.81 and 0.71 percent.
  • This was a result of the government’s encouragement to researchers in the form of increasing investment on R&D activities, R&D infrastructure as well as manpower development.
  • The country’s per capita R&D expenditure increased to PPP $ 47.2 in 2017-18 from PPP $ 29.2 in 2007-08, as has the R&D manpower to 3.42 lakh in 2018 from 2.83 lakh in 2015. The country now has a stronger manpower base, with India’s researchers per million population increased to 255 in 2017 from 218 in 2015.
  • The breeding ground of this escalating scientific research lay in the country’s 993 Universities/Deemed Universities, 127 institutes of national importance, and 39,931 colleges across the length and breadth of the country, which nurtures human resources that will take forward the scientific and technological legacy of the nation.
  • It is here that India’s future hopes in science and technology lie, and the country is now among the top in nurturing the talents in them.
  • It has attained 3rd rank in terms of the number of PhDs produced as also in the size of the Higher Education System, creating a massive strength of human resource that will take the nation forward in S&T.

Air Quality Commission ropes in top technical institutions to set up a Decision Support System

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areashas begun the process of setting up a Decision Support System (DSS) having a web, GIS and multi-model based operational and planning decision support tool

  • This tool will help immensely in capturing the static and dynamic features of the emissions from various sources.
  • It will have an integrated framework to handle both primary and secondary pollutants using chemical transport model.
  • The system will also be able to handle the source specific interventions with the framework to estimate benefits of interventions and will focus on presenting the best results in a comprehensive user friendly and simple format for different users.
  • The Air Quality Management Decision Support Tool (DST) integrates an emissions inventory development application and database; regional, local and source–receptor modelling; and Geographical Information System (GIS) based visualization tools in a software framework so as to build a robust system to formulate and implement source specific interventions to improve the air quality over targeted sectors of Delhi / NCR.
  • Identification of source specific interventions by the DST is deliberated with the involvement of stake holders.
  • The sources covered will include industries, transport, power plants, residential, DG sets, road dust, agricultural burning, refuse burning, construction dust, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, landfill etc.  
  • For instance, municipalities, industrial associations, industrial development authorities etc. would be the stake holders for identifying interventions related to waste burning, industrial source pollution, respectively.
  • Upon identification of feasible interventions, the artificial intelligence based expert system which has a hierarchical data base of simulated scenarios, potentially assessing the impact of the identified feasible intervention which would be implemented by the regulatory organization such as CPCB and state PCBs.
  • The on-field implementation is monitored by credible citizen watch groups and professional NGOs independently. Finally, air quality data collected in the vicinity of the area where intervention is implemented will be analysed to understand the real-world benefits of such intervention.