NRDC Meritorious Invention Awards were presented by the Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harsh
March 25, 2017 (New Delhi)
The Minister for Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that the Prime Minister has a lot of confidence in the youth to give the country a great advantage now. Speaking after presenting the Meritorious Invention Awards of National Research Development Corporation(NRDC) in New Delhi today, he said that in this context the Prime Minister looks forward for a new India by 2022. The Minister said that due to demographic dividend of the country, the next 5-10 years are expected to be a kind of golden era for the country. He urged all to move with a great self-confidence and zeal to achieve the glory that is due for India. He said that there is a need for greater innovation in institutes like NRDC.
Secretary, DSIR and DG, CSIR Dr. Girish Sahni, said that the NRDC with its good track record should further forge ahead to be a leader for taking the technology to the people particularly that which do not have sufficient financial support.
The National Research Development Corporation (An Enterprise of DSIR, Ministry of Science and Tech., Govt. of India) was organising its 43rd NRDC Meritorious Invention Awards Ceremony & Conference on "Leveraging Innovation Ecosystem for Accelerating Startups".
The aim of the event is to encourage the inventiveness and inculcate the spirit of invention in the country by giving them awards for meritorious activities in various fields. Various stakeholders, including governments and the scientific and academic communities, were present on this occasion.
IIT Bombay researchers find a novel target for blocking cancer metastasis
March 25, 2017 (Mumbai)
The biophysical properties of cancer stem cells are used to control the metastatic cancer
Researchers from IIT Bombay have found a novel pathway that is responsible for the progress of cancer metastasis - spread of cancer cells from its primary site of origin to new areas of the body. The finding holds potential in controlling metastasis to reduce cancer deaths. The study was published in the journal Oncotarget.
Surgical removal of primary tumours has long been used as a standard treatment for localised tumours, but treating cancer metastasis remains a formidable challenge. "Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are one cause of cancer metastasis. However, there is no study done so far to examine the impact of biophysical properties of cancer stem cells in cancer metastasis," says Dr. Rahul Purwar, Assistant Professor at Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering, IIT Bombay.
Contractile dynamics of a tumour cell represents one of the most important biophysical properties and is closely associated with cell spreading and cell adhesion properties of tumour cell. Increased cell contractility in breast cancer can initiate the escape of cancerous cells from their primary sites to distant organs, that is, metastasis.
Dr. Purwar's investigating team as well as other, earlier researchers have shown a close relationship between cell contractility (ability of cells to contract) and invasiveness in breast cancer cells, ovarian cancer cells and melanoma cells. Increased contractility is correlated with increased migration of cells which helps in metastasis.
However, it remains unknown whether contractile dynamics of CSCs are distinct as compared to the bulk tumour population and contribute in CSC-mediated metastasis.
Study lead author Dr. Purwar explains that "With this study, we identified a distinct pathway which CSCs use to invade the extracellular matrix and metastasise to other organs. Surprisingly, we observed that blockade of this pathway by pharmaceutical drugs completely abolished the invasion of CSCs as well as other tumour cells. Thus, targeting this distinct pathway may lead to the development of robust and long-term remission of cancer metastasis".
Cell contractility is regulated by two groups of enzymes including myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) and Rho associated protein kinase (ROCK). The team found that pharmacological targeting of ROCK prevents contractility and cell invasion potential of both CSCs and non-cancer stem cells, and is therefore a novel strategy for the treatment of cancer metastasis.
"Our work provides the first evidence of targeting biophysical properties of cancer stem cells for controlling metastatic cancer. However, further work is required to translate our findings before it goes to clinic," he says.
Government Aims To Make India A Global Biotech Hub By 2020 Impacting the Biotech Ecosystem
March 21, 2017 (New Delhi)
Government Aims To Make India A Global Biotech Hub By 2020 Impacting the Biotech Ecosystem: 5th Foundation Day Of BIRAC Inaugurated
The Minister of State for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, Mr. Y. S. Chowdary, has said that biotechnology will be the leader among the knowledge based industries of the 21st century. He said producing affordable products will be major issue for India. He called for efforts to set up a proper ecosystem with sustainable systems, particularly in hubs of rural India. The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the 5th Foundation Day of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Bio-Technology at New Delhi today.
Mr. Y. S. Chowdary, further said that - "Research and innovation has been one of the key areas emphasized by the Prime Minister. Globally, BIRAC has been hailed as one of the most effective government measures to create an enabling environment for research and development to flourish in a country. We aim to develop India into a global innovation hub by 2020 and BIRAC has paved the way to deliver on that mandate."
The 5th Foundation Day themed 'Impacting the Biotech Innovation Ecosystem' was presided over by and attended by a large number of dignitaries from the scientific and industry sectors both from within the country and oversees.
BIRAC is a not-for-profit public sector enterprise, set up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India which acts as an interface agency to support emerging biotech enterprises to undertake strategic research and innovation, to address nationally relevant product development needs. Through the course of five years, BIRAC has supported over 618 projects, 850 start-ups, entrepreneurs, biotech companies and organizations and 20 incubators across the country, resulting in over 66 products and technologies and 120 Intellectual property rights being generated.
BIRAC supports entrepreneurs and start-ups at different stages of innovation - from the ideation stage to managing intellectual property rights and finally to the commercialization of products. Different initiatives of BIRAC target different stages of the innovation ecosystem from ideation stages to proof-of-concept and late stage validation to product development. BIRAC has 9 flagship schemes that are supported by funding from the Department of Biotechnology, and manages 7 collaboratively funded programs with international partners, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Nesta, the Wellcome Trust and USAID, among others. Social Innovation is a key focus for affordable and accessible product development.
Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology and Chairman, BIRAC said that Innovation and research must be directed toward addressing the most pressing problems of society. We're proud that BIRAC and the Department of Biotechnology are spearheading this effort in the biotechnology domain. Since its inception in 2012, BIRAC has created nearly two dozen incubators across the country and supported over 350 start-ups. We firmly believe that social entrepreneurship is the key to creating an inclusive society and our government is committed to providing all the necessary support.
The science and technology sector will play a key role in the government's Start-Up India Action Plan. The DBT, in line with the Start-Up India Action Plan has undertaken a number of initiatives centered on the three pillars of an ideal innovation ecosystem - funding, mentoring and capacity building, and the infrastructure to translate scientific research into commercial products. To this end, BIRAC implements its mandate through a wide range of high impact initiatives, providing access to risk capital through targeted funding, facilitating technology transfer, and supporting intellectual property management and handholding schemes for biotech firms to make them globally competitive.
Dr. Renu Swarup, Senior Adviser, Department of Biotechnology and Managing Director, BIRAC said that through initiatives such as Start-Up India and the Science and Technology for Harnessing Innovations or SATHI, the government is ushering in supportive policies and removing regulatory barriers to create an atmosphere of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. The world as a whole stands to gain with Indian innovators stepping up and changing the way we address the grand challenges we face today. We are proud that BIRAC has created an enabling environment for the biotechnology industry to prosper.
The BIRAC Foundation will be followed by the Grand Challenges India Meeting to be held from 21st to 24th March, 2017 which will have the participation of BMGF, Wellcome Trust, USAID and Grand Challenges Innovators from Brazil, Canada, Bangladesh, Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Switzerland.
Dr. Harshvardhan inaugurates the 1st Grand Challenges India (GCI) Meeting
March 21, 2017 (New Delhi)
Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan presided over as Chief Guest and inaugurated the 1st Grand Challenges India (GCI) meeting here today. The meeting is being hosted by the Program Management Unit at BIRAC (PMU-BIRAC) from 21st to 24th March, 2017 and is jointly supported by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Wellcome Trust.
The Grand Challenges India (GCI) is a mission-directed research initiative, collaboratively launched in 2012 under the umbrella of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DBT and BMGF. As India transitions from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals, the GCI partnership has ushered a new wave of innovative solutions to help address issues that are inextricably linked to social impact. This aims to achieve the said goals by reconnecting Science to People and available scientific data & evidences to the societal problems for finding tangible solutions.
Programs such as Grand Challenges India are providing global innovators and researchers a fantastic platform to collaborate and progress through the innovation ecosystem by developing their ideas and concepts. The PMU- BIRAC manages the complex portfolio of managing grants. The GCI provides financial support in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts to support the advancement of the GCI mission to enhance health, extend healthy lives, and reduce the burdens of poverty.
Addressing the distinguished gathering, Dr. Harsh Vardhan noted that the Department of Biotechnology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have set up a very important strategic partnership, which is working towards funding innovative solutions to societal problems not only within India but also has a reference to the developing nations. Such partnerships bring together the strength of organizations and it is important to note that through this partnership, this initiative has been able to address issues around healthcare, sanitation and human development including nutrition and maternal child health brining nearly 45 organizations working together with a joint commitment. Shri Goyal also expressed great amount of confidence that Government of India reposts in the young scientific community and the seniors.
The GCI covers all kinds of health and developmental priorities, ranging from maternal and child health, infectious diseases, vaccines, point-of-care diagnostics, agriculture, food and nutrition to other related arenas of developing nations as per individual requirements. Most importantly, this partnership signifies a convergence between Indian and global priorities and synergistic new initiatives of the Government such as Swachh Bharat, Start-up India and others, Shri Harsh Vardhan added.
On the occasion, the Minister also released the booklet 'Grand Challenges India - Our Journey so Far', which describes the various achievements and success stories under the initiative including the 17 innovations across India that the GCI funds.
In his keynote address, Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary DBT and Chairman BIRAC, informed that Grand Challenges India, through PMU-BIRAC, supports flagship initiatives like All Children Thriving, Agriculture & Nutrition, Reinventing Toilets and the Healthy Birth Growth & Development Knowledge Integration (HBGDki) focusing on addressing stunting and physical, immunological and cognitive development with a particular focus on South Asia. He said that Governments, research experts, innovators are a facilitator to show multiple proofs of principle for various societal problems, which then need to be scaled up by the collaboration of efforts of all stakeholders to widely apply the demonstrated solution to the problem affecting all stakeholder cohorts.
GCI promotes scientific and technological advances which aim to find solutions to key health and development challenges through research and innovation, by funding Indian researchers. Projects are selected based on national and societal need and transparent calls are made for proposals seeking the best ideas. Under this initiative, the DBT and the Gates Foundation have pledged an investment of up to US$25 million each, over a period of 5 years.
Dr. Steven Buchsbaum, Deputy Director, Discovery & Translational Sciences, BMGF said that Grand Challenges not only seeks new ideas and new innovators to solve problems, but to be careful in defining the important problems worth solving. The GCI partnership with BIRAC provides India leadership for two goals - defining important problems to solve for India and India leadership in identifying ideas and innovators from the country to solve problems for both India and the world.
Dr. Renu Swarup, Senior Adviser, DBT and Managing Director, BIRAC said that through this meeting and future collaborations, the partners aim to build momentum for health and development initiatives via innovations and to foster scientific collaboration among national and international groups and researchers.
Other dignitaries present at the event were Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr. Nachiket Mor, Country Director, India Office, BMGF, Dr. Shirshendu Mukherjee, Mission Director, PMU-BIRAC and other distinguished senior national and international personalities from the Ministry, BMGF, Wellcome Trust, USAID and Grand Challenges Innovators from Brazil, Canada, Bangladesh, Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Switzerland.
National Physical Laboratory(NPL)- CSIR dedicates the first - Pristine air-quality monitoring statio
March 20, 2017 (New Delhi)
National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has established an atmospheric monitoring station in the campus of Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) at Palampur (H.P.) at an altitude of 1391 m for generating the base data for atmospheric trace species & properties to serve as reference for comparison of polluted atmosphere in India. At this station, NPL has installed state of art air monitoring system, greenhouse gas measurement system and Raman Lidar. A number of parameters like CO, NO, NO2, NH3, SO2, O3, PM, HC & BC besides CO2 & CH4 are being currently monitored at this station which is also equipped with weather station (AWS) for measurement of weather parameters.
This station has been dedicated to nation today by Dr. D.K. Aswal, Director, NPL and Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, IHBT. A number of senior scientist present included Dr. R.K. Kotnala, Head, Environmental Sciences and Biomedical Metrology Division of NPL, Mr. M.P. Goyal, Dr. S.K. Vats, Dr. Brij Lal, Dr Sanjay Uniyal, and large number of research students. Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Aswal stressed upon the need to promote quality measurements in atmospheric sciences which would help in developing appropriate policy measures for societal goods. He also underlined the need to develop synergies & interactions between all the agencies undertaking atmospheric monitoring for this purpose. Dr. Sanjay Kumar in his inaugural speech mentioned the need for setting up of such state of art monitoring systems in Himalayan region to assess the vulnerability of region's sensitive ecosystem due to climate change & pollution. During the function, Dr. R.K. Kotnala appreciated the collaboration between the CSIR-NPL & CSIR-IHBT in setting up this state of art monitoring facility which will serve as reference station. Dr. Chhemendra Sharma provided the perspectives and objectives of the CSIR's XII Five Year Plan Project 'AIM_IGPHim' under which this facility has been established and thanked the colleagues of NPL & IHBT for their contributions. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has funded this project under its XII Five Year Plan projects.
In India, air quality parameters are mostly measured in industrial and residential areas, however, data for air quality of pristine atmosphere is not available in India. NPL's station will contribute to fill this important gap. The NPL's station will also serve as a base station for inter-comparison of air quality monitoring equipment being used in India to improve quality of monitored data in India. As the issues of atmospheric pollution has assumed a significant proportion of social concerns, it is utmost important to ensure quality of atmospheric monitoring so as to devise appropriate policies for abatement of air pollution based on sound scientific data for their effectiveness.
NPL has undertaken activities to contribute in improving the quality of atmospheric monitoring through providing traceable measurement facilities to various stake holders in the country and the NPL's monitoring station is an important step in that direction. In addition, NPL is also developing calibration standards for different pollutant gases and PM10 samplers for use in atmospheric monitoring.
The pristine CAAQMS station houses calibrated state-of-the-art-equipment for the continuous measurements of ambient and greenhouse gases (CO, NO, NO2, NH3, SO2, O3, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, hydrocarbons, black-carbon, CO2 & CH4), and weather parameters. Because of Palampur's pristine air, and the capability of the new monitoring station for detection of small amounts of pollutants, the impact of faraway pollution sources can be measured precisely. The data taken at this station during past one year shows that the pollution levels are far below the limits of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). In addition, this new station has the experimental facilities to investigate the aerosol/cloud interactions, and such investigations would be helpful in generating a better understanding of the Earth's climate system.
The data generated by pristine CAAQMS station at Palampur will act as background data for the measured pollution at various cities in the country. The generated background data will be shared with different pollution control boards and agencies in the country so that the more precise pollution mapping traceable to standard values can be done, which in turn, would assist policy decisions for the abatement of air pollutants.
For a country where one person dies of a heart attack every 33 seconds, an affordable treatment that can prevent side-effects of internal bleeding caused by existing clot buster drugs, comes as a boon.
For a country where one person dies of a heart attack every 33 seconds, an affordable treatment that can prevent side-effects of internal bleeding caused by existing clot buster drugs, comes as a boon.
The Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), a laboratory under Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has taken an important step in the development of such a clot buster medicine with the recent success of phase 2 clinical trials.
With the Drug Controller General of India's ( DCGI) nod to conduct phase 2 clinical trials on second patient cohort (group) for clot specific streptokinase (CSSK), the evidence of its efficacy as a lifesaving drug for heart patients has been strengthened. Though there will be more such studies on another group of patients, the results so far have been promising.
CSSK and all its four generations of drugs were discovered in IMTECH. Two of these drugs are already commercialized and account for 50% of market space of clot busters in the country. CSIR subsequently licensed it out to Nostrum pharmaceuticals, for further clinical development.
The present set of clot busting drugs cost between Rs 15,000 and Rs 40,000. The new drug is expected to cost around Rs 3,000. "Also, it is comparatively safer as it targets the clot to dissolve it and does not contribute to the factors which otherwise can cause serious internal bleeding. Though it is not a replacement for angioplasty, it will certainly be a substitute for existing high cost thrombolytic drugs matching or exceeding their safety and efficacy at a much cheaper cost," says Dr Yatindra Prashar, director and CEO of Symmetrix Biotech, the company currently developing CSSK and is an Indian subsidiary of Nostrum pharmaceuticals.
The clot buster will be a life saver for patients, especially those belonging to poor sections who can't expensive treatment. "The latest DCGI approval is a major milestone in bringing this drug to Indian patients suffering from heart ailments," says Dr Girish Sahni, director general of CSIR in whose laboratory all the four generations of the clot busters have been discovered.
"There shall be four different doses given in different groups/cohorts of heart patients. The strength of the dose shall be increased until therapeutic dosage is reached which is safe for patients," says Dr Prashar.
According to Dr Anil Koul, director of IMTECH, progression of CSSK to next phase represents IMTECH's potential of translating its basic discovery research to medical products for patients suffering from various unmet medical conditions.
"Under the supervision of well-trained doctors, the clot buster medicine is given until the patient reaches a catheterization laboratory for stenting etc. The cost of the existing streptokinase is around Rs 15,000," says Dr Rajesh Vijayvergia, cardiologist at PGIMER.
Scientific Ballooning was started in India during the 1950's by Dr. Homi J. Bhabha under the aegis of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), an autonomous body under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and was established in the outskirts of Hyderabad in the 1970's. Since then, more than 490 balloon flights of various sizes have been conducted from this center till date. This is one of the unique facilities in the world where stratospheric zero pressure balloons are designed, fabricated with indigenous material, launched and the instruments recovered. The balloons designed and fabricated in this facility have also been exported to foreign scientific institutions and many foreign scientific missions have also been flown from the Hyderabad balloon facility.
Balloons supplied by this facility are used to measure vertical wind profiles at SDSC-SHAR before launch of satellites by ISRO and also for qualifying many instruments in near space environments before being incorporated in satellites. This facility is also involved in experimental strategic programs of the armed forces. Experiments carried out on the earth's atmosphere have also helped in rain prediction as well as pollution monitoring and control. Any scientific institution which desires to conduct scientific balloon flights can approach Balloon Facility, Hyderabad and send the proposal for conducting the scientific experiment. TIFR ensures that all the concerned agencies are kept informed about the flights, their expected trajectory and their likely recovery area.
At the time of the balloon flights, all Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) in the corridor allotted for balloon flights are kept informed by TIFR well in advance of the trajectory of the balloon flight. During the balloon flight, the ATCs are kept informed of the actual position of the balloon on minute by minute basis. The police stations in the vicinity of the expected landing of the instruments are also informed. Pamphlets regarding the instruments are attached to the instruments in various local languages and the persons to contact in case these instruments are sighted by any person, are prominently displayed. Also, an advance party of TIFR technicians is always following the balloon trajectory in a vehicle so as to reach the landed instrument in the shortest possible time. Care is taken to try and release the payload in sparsely inhabited areas of the corridor and only in broad daylight so that the instrument descending on a brightly colored parachute is easily visible to any person on the ground.
In addition, for every flight window season, the Balloon Facility communicates with the Chief Secretary of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Police Wireless of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra for awareness of balloon drift and instrument recovery. In the case of balloon flights conducted for Government funded and private institutions, the cost is recovered from the institution concerned. With regard to in-house experiments and research and with regard to improving balloon design and efficiency and for procuring equipment for safely conducting balloon flights, funding from the Government (DAE) in terms of Plan Funds is about Rupees One crore per year.
This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.
Keep action plans ready, say Met department and NDMA.
Even as the country braces for a scorching summer and temperatures in several States going up over the past week, the India Meteorological Department, along with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), is exhorting the States to implement Heat Wave Action Plans.
These describe step-by-step procedures the States ought to implement - from communication and ensuring first aid to imposing early summer vacations in schools and ensuring that labourers employed in MGNREGA schemes aren't assigned work during certain times of the day - in case of heatwave like conditions.
So far Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Odisha and Maharashtra have committed themselves to action plans, which are implemented in varying degrees in their districts.
Advice to U.P., Rajasthan
"This year we're talking to Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to have such a plan," Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, told The Hindu.
Several IMD officials from various States as well as representatives from municipal corporations are attending here a two-day workshop, meant to nudge more States into having a State-specific plan.
Cut in casualties
At a presentation, NDMA's Anup Srivastava said heatwaves killed 22,562 between 1992 and 2015.
"In 2016, the number of casualties came down drastically to 1,111 from 2,040 in 2015," he said in a paper. It was from 2016 that the IMD began giving heatwave forecasts and the States began considering plans.
In 2015, Andhra Pradesh had 1,422 heat-related deaths. This came down to 723 the next year.
While there are nuances and region specific differences, the IMD broadly defines a heatwave as when a place's temperature is 5-6°C above normal.
It already forecasts heatwaves on its website but a proper plan would mean that the States and district administrations would get warnings on the likelihood of temperatures rising to heatwave limits.
"For instance, a State like Gujarat would like to know when temperatures would hit 41-42°C and we give them a forecast," said S.C. Bhan, IMD meteorologist associated with the programme.
On February 28, the IMD forecast "above normal" temperatures this summer in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana.
The summer forecast is in line with a generally warm trend over previous months; 2016 was the warmest year in a century, according to the IMD, with the country 0.91°C warmer than the 1961-1990 average. The summer months of March-May last year were 1.36°C higher than the historical average, making it the second warmest since 1901. The higher temperatures coincide with three, consecutive years of weak monsoons.
On Tuesday, the IMD said that "prevailing winds & clear sky conditions over northwest & adjoining central India" has led to heat wave conditions in West Rajasthan & Gujarat and at isolated places over West Madhya Pradesh. Delhi was already 7°C hotter than what's normal for the last week of March.
'India's temperature rose by 0.60 degree over last 110 years'
March 27, 2017 (New Delhi)
According to IMD, all India mean temperatures have risen nearly 0.60 degree over the last 110 yrs
Further IMD studies have highlighted that extreme events like heat waves have risen in the last 30 yrs
Similarly, trends in extreme rainfall events in last century showed significant positive trend
India's temperature has risen by nearly 0.60 degree celsius over the last 110 years and extreme events like heat waves have increased in the last 30 years, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), in line with rising temperatures across the globe, all India mean temperatures have risen nearly 0.60 degree Celsius over the last 110 years. Further IMD studies have highlighted that extreme events like heat waves have risen in the last 30 years.
"Similarly, trends in extreme rainfall events in last century showed significant positive trend over the west coast and northwestern parts of peninsula," Environment minister Anil Madhav Dave said in a written reply.
He said as per the fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2014, globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature has risen by 0.85 degree Celsius over the period 1880 to 2012.
Many extreme weather and climate events like heat waves, heavy precipitation and tropical cyclones have been observed since about 1950, he said.
The government has launched the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) in June, 2008 to deal with climate change and related issues.
NAPCC comprises of eight missions in specific areas of solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, habitat, water, sustaining Himalayan ecosystems, forestry, agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.
These missions address the issues relating to mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change on environment, forests, habitat, water resources and agriculture, he said.
"All states and UTs have also been requested to prepare State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) in line with the objectives of the NAPCC highlighting state-specific issues relating to climate change. So far, 32 states and UTs have prepared their SAPCC," the minister said.
CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology, Itanagar branch organised a skill development programme on "post training intervention for initial financial assistance and business link-up" under the CSIR-800 programme at the institute premises, Naharlagun on Tuesday.
CSIR-NEIST took upon itself the onerous task of developing a few simple technologies suitable for the micro-scale sector of the industry which are simple, easy to operate with low skill and minimum land, labour and capital, and are meant for the unskilled or semi-skilled entrepreneurs.
Accordingly, the institute had completed four awareness cum training programmes on mushroom spawn production and cultivation technology, vermicomposting, banana fibre extraction and products, solid and liquid deodorant, wood care, mosquito repellent incense sticks and candles, and cultivation of aromatic plants and distillation technology during February and March this year.
The basic objective of the programme of the post training intervention programme for the beneficiaries, entrepreneurs and farmers was to set up a business link-up and initial financial assistance to start or implement the CSIR technologies.
Around 60 farmers, villagers, and beneficiaries from different parts of Arunachal Pradesh and North Lakhimpur, Assam attended the day-long programme.
Dr Pinaki Sengupta, Chief Scientist, CSIR-NEIST Jorhat, while giving a brief introduction of the institute, urged all to come forward and take the advantages of technologies developed by CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat and Itanagar branch for societal benefit.
State Council for Science & Technology Chairman, Bamang Mangha appreciated the activities of the institute on skill development for the benefits of the entrepreneurs and socio-economic upliftment of the state with its latest technologies. He assured for help and cooperation from the State Council of Science & Technology to the entrepreneurs. He also talked about joint action programme in collaboration with state Council of Science & Technology, NEIST and the concerned departments of the Government of India.
Itanagar-Capital Complex ADM & CEO, Talo Potom assured to help maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the institute for scientific development to benefit the state. He also said that the unemployed youths can take the benefit by using its technologies and also to improve lifestyle.
He requested the authorities of NEIST to inform of its rural, micro and small scale technologies to the state Chief Minister and Chief Secretary in a meaningful way for implementation.
India to have 2nd largest road network by end FY16; CSIR-CRRI to prepare path-map for pedestrians
March 28, 2017 (New Delhi)
India, with 5,472,144 kilometres, had the second largest road network in the world by the end of FY16. Though the country has done remarkably well on road construction, some of it has happened with little planning.
India, with 5,472,144 kilometres, had the second largest road network in the world by the end of FY16. Though the country has done remarkably well on road construction, some of it has happened with little planning. There are many examples of lax planning that one can find across India-lack of pedestrian paths across the country and Bus Rapid Transit System in Delhi are a few cases. But, a Times of India report highlights that India may soon be moving towards a workable solution. A constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), is going to embark on a plan to create a mapping and planning structure for roads in India. Basically the manual, which is in the draft stage, will lay down the characteristics of types of road, carrying capacity and augmentation plan, which will help build better roads, intersections and pathways.
While this is not the first attempt at creating an indigenous road plan- Indian Roads Congress had laid down rules in 1990 for mapping of roads and planning of intersections-these were seldom considered. Moreover, being directly substituted from Western countries, they were not regarded by experts as apt for Indian conditions. With growing urban population and the number of cars expected to increase-India sells approximately 2.8 million cars each year and this is expected to double to 5 million by 2020, making the country fourth largest automobile market-the country would require a well planned infrastructure. Just more roads, flyover and highways would not do the job, there is a need for a complete roadmap.
IISER student all set to meet Nobel laureates in Germany
March 29, 2017 (Pune)
In a few months, as Abhishek Swarnkar makes his way to meet 30 Nobel laureates in Lindau, Germany, people from his hometown in Jharkhand will have to hold on to their questions on school science projects. He may be pursuing an integrated PhD, but to folks back home he is still the first point of reference for anything science-related.
Swarnkar is the only student from Pune who has been selected to meet the Nobel laureates during the 67th annual meeting to be held between June 25 and 30. He hails from Dhanbad and joined the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in 2012. Swarnkar also holds the distinction of getting his paper on solar cells published in the journal Science in 2016.
Swarnkar shared that his family understands little of the research he does but they know he is a scientist and that explains the calls from his village.
He recalled, "I cleared IISER after my graduating in Science and soon started working for Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy (BASE) Fellowship Program. I was sent to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in America. In October last year, my paper was selected to be published in the weekly journal Science from among 10,000 research students from across the country."
"My aim is to make a product that will be used by the masses," added Swarnkar.
The researcher is among 400 young scientists from around the globe, who have been offered the opportunity to experience the scientific ambience of the Lindau Nobel laureate Meetings. From India, Swarnkar will accompany 22 students and young researchers selected by the Department of Science and Technology.
Do ayurvedic drugs help treat cancer? While proponents of the alternative therapy claim they do, the scientific community denies the same, citing lack of evidence. To clear this confusion, AIIMS will collaborate with experts from the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences and the All India Institute of Ayurveda to study and validate the efficacy of ayurvedic drugs used for treating cancer of the breast, cervix, and oral cancer, among others.
G K Rath, who heads the cancer division at AIIMS, told TOI that the large-scale project follows pilot studies conducted at the institute that showed better recovery on the administration of coded ayurvedic drugs, in addition to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, in cancer patients. However, it did not have any role in curing the disease. "One of our pilot studies involving breast lot studies involving breast cancer patients confirms that the ayurvedic drug helped in reducing side-effects like hair fall, nausea and fall in vital blood parameters," Dr Rath said.
AIIMS doctors say many people in India believe and take to alternative therapies, and, in some cases, positive outcomes have been observed. However, evidence generation has remained elusive as most practitioners do not share the ingredients used. "Our aim is to validate the medicines prescribed as alternative therapy. This will help standardise and exploit the potential of this therapy. Allopathic treatment has its limitations and it is often associated with side-effects while alternative therapies are considered safer," Abhishek Shankar, nodal officer for the collaborative project, said.
The AIIMS project will also look into claims that cannabis helps in maintaining quality of life in cancer patients post-treatment and mitigates acute and chronic radiation and chemotherapy toxicities. "Many practitioners of the alternative therapy give herbo-minerals (bhashm, for example) for treating cancer. There are some studies suggesting it benefits the patient but no one knows in what quantity. Different practitioners give away the herbo-mineral in different quantities, sometimes leading to deterioration in kidney function also," Dr Shankar said.
Ayurvedic medicine can include advice on diet and special diets, specific medications, massage, meditation, yoga, breathing and relaxa tion techniques and bowel cleansing, among others. Research shows that ayurvedic treatment can help relieve cancer symptoms and improve the quality of life, according to a UK-based charity foundation that raises funds for research and awareness in the field.
"For example, massage can lower stress and help you to relax. Meditation can reduce anxiety , lower blood pressure, and boost general wellbeing," it says. Studies have shown that yoga helps lymphoma patients sleep better, and reduces stress in people with breast or prostate cancer, say experts.
Noted psychiatrist Karri Rama Reddy on Tuesday received the prestigious Dr. B.C. Roy National Award for 2014 from President Pranab Mukherjee. Dr. Reddy was the only one from A.P. to receive the award being administered by the MCI. The award was given in recognition of his outstanding service in providing socio-medical relief. He was also selected for the Dr. D.L.N. Murthy Rao award, the highest given every year by Indian Psychiatric Society.
EU body moots suspension of 300 drugs tested by Chennai firm
March 26, 2017 (Chennai)
The European drug regulator has recommended suspension of around 300 medicines on which bio-equivalence studies were conducted by the Chennai-based Micro Therapeutic Research Labs (MTRL), citing unreliability of data.
Bio-equivalence studies are the basis for approval of generic medicines.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the suspension has been ordered for all drugs for which the bio-equivalence studies were conducted by MTRL at two sites in India.
'Data can't be accepted'
"The review, by the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), concluded that the data from studies conducted at the [two] sites between June 2012 and June 2016 are unreliable and cannot be accepted as a basis for marketing authorisation in the European Union," the EMA said in a statement.
It, however, said there is no evidence of harm or lack of effectiveness of medicines authorised and being evaluated in the EU on the basis of the studies at the sites.
Aurobindo Pharma, Zydus, Sandoz, Sanofi and Mylan are among the major firms that will be affected by the suspension.
MTRL is a contract research organisation which conducts analytical and clinical parts of bio-equivalence studies, some of which are used to support marketing authorisation applications of medicines in the EU, it added. MTRL was not available for comment.
The regulator also recommended that medicines not yet authorised but which are being evaluated on the basis of the studies from the two sites should not be authorised until bio-equivalence is demonstrated with alternative data.