Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - May 7, 2018

Department of Science & Technology

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)

  • The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), known for its cutting edge R&D knowledge base in diverse Science &Technology areas, is a contemporary Research & Development (R&D) organization.
  • Having pan-India presence, CSIR has a dynamic network of 38 national laboratories, 39 Outreach Centres, 3 Innovation Complexes and 5 units. CSIR’s R&D expertise and experience is embodied in about 4600 active scientists supported by about 8000 scientific and technical personnel.
  • On an average CSIR files about 200 Indian patents and 250 foreign patents per year.
  • About 13.86% of CSIR patents are licensed - a number which is above the global average.

CSIR has put in place CSIR@80: Vision & Strategy 2022 – New CSIR for New India.

  • CSIR’s mission is “to build a new CSIR for a new India” and CSIR’s vision is to “Pursue science which strives for global impact, technology that enables innovation-driven industry and nurture trans-disciplinary leadership thereby catalysing inclusive economic development for the people of India”.
  • CSIR is ranked at 84th among 4851 institutions worldwide and is the only Indian organization among the top 100 global institutions, according to the Scimago Institutions Ranking World Report 2014.
  • CSIR holds the 17th rank in Asia and leads the country at the first position.
  • CSIR at the Ninth Position Worldwide - SCImago Institutions Ranking World Report 2017
  • CSIR has been ranked 9th in the world amongst the 1207 government institutions, with an overall global ranking of 75 in the world, covering 5250 institutions. In the Asiatic region, it ranks at 14 overall out of 1431 entities, and at No 3 among 284 Government-funded research bodies, with only Chinese Academy of Sciences and Japan Science and Technology Agency ahead of the Council.
  • CSIR is the only Indian Organization among the Top 100 global institutions.
  • According to the Nature Innovation Index 2017, CSIR is ranked at 162 and IITs at 185 in the Top 200 institutions world-wide. Among Top 50 global institutions by normalized WIPO patent families, CSIR is at 16, and is the only Indian organization in this top 50 list.

CSIR Aroma Mission

  • CSIR has contributed significantly in the development, nurturing and positioning of essential oil-based aroma industry in the country.
  • This has led to creation of an ecosystem benefitting the industry, farmers and next generation entrepreneurs.
  • The effort has had been aimed at socio-economic development on one hand and creation of desired capability and capacity on the other.
  • In doing so, several CSIR laboratories have developed and deployed desired technologies in the domain.

CSIR Phytopharmaceuticals Mission

  • The CSIR Mission on phytopharmaceuticals aims to improve the availability (through cultivation) of such medicinal plants which are in high demand by global and domestic industry involved in the preparation of medicines of Indian traditional systems.
  • Under this mission it is proposed to prevent exhaustion of medicinal plants from their native locations by identifying the elite germplasm and conserving it by cultivation and in gene banks.
  • Improved varieties along with their agrotechnologies will be developed to increase productivity and profitability per unit land area, and to make use of such areas which are affected by abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity, flood, shade etc.

The verticals are:

  • Captive cultivation of medicinal plants;
  • Conservation and revival of engendered and threatened medicinal plant species;
  • Technology Packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts; Phytopharmaceutical development from important medicinal plants;
  • Intellectual Property generation, valuation and management;
  • Design & Development of Digital Library of Indian Medicinal Plants & Natural Products; and
  • Showcasing CSIR technologies / products / services with appropriate interface.

CSIR Mission on Sickle Cell Anemia

  • Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) is the most common blood related disorder in India with a high prevalence among ethnic groups that have a socio-economic disadvantage, such as tribal populations.
  • Every year approximately 5,00,000 children are born with SCA worldwide with India accounting for nearly 50% of the cases.
  • SCA is a genetic disease caused by a point mutation in the sixth codon of the β-globin expressing gene resulting in the replacement of glutamic acid by valine, which under deoxygenation state oligomerizes with α-globin and gives rise to a type of haemoglobin named as HbS (Haemoglobin sickle).
  • The mutated valine favours the hydrophobic interactions between the β subunits of the hemoglobin tetramers leading to the HbS polymerization and formation of long hemoglobin fibers.
  • These fibers deform the disc shaped RBCs to sickle shaped cells.
  • The sickle shaped cells lose flexibility with reduced oxygen carrying capacity and induce dehydration in the cells.
  • Due to irregular shape of these cells, they are prone to physical stress leading to hemolysis and capillary occlusion.
  • Individuals suffering from sickle cell disease show symptoms such as body pain, clotting, dyspnea, anaemia, jaundice, pneumonia, repeated infection etc.
  • CSIR has developed a Mission Mode Project on Sickle Cell Anaemia through brainstorming and domain expert group discussions.

The CSIR Mission on Sickle Cell Anaemia aims at:

  • Managing Genetic Burden of Sickle Cell Anaemia and Understanding Genetic Basis of Differential Response to Hydroxyurea Therapy;
  • Drug discovery and development for management of SCA;
  • Genome editing and stem cell research approach for the treatment of SCA; and
  • Development and on-ground implementation of an affordable, accurate and accelerated diagnostic kit.

CSIR hosts Atal Incubation Centre - Support for Start-Up India

  • CSIR constituent laboratory, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has been identified as one of the ten organisations in the country to host a Atal Incubation Centre to be supported by NITI Aayog.
  • The initiative is part of the Atal Innovation Mission set up by Union government to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • CSIR-CCMB would offer its scientific expertise, infrastructure and business management to the start-ups.

CSIR’s Integrated Skill Development Initiative

  • CSIR has launched an Integrated Skill Development Initiative for gainful utilization of its state-of-the-art infrastructure and human resources through specific industry oriented skilling programmes.
  • The plan is for expanding the present 30 programmes to 75 in diverse areas with varying duration (8 weeks to 52 weeks) by end of the year.
  • Recently CSIR and Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Caste Co-operative Finance Corporation Ltd. (APSCCFC) have signed an Agreement for Skill training and Entrepreneurship in Leather Sector.

JIGYASA: Inculcating Scientific Temper in Youth through Vibrant Scientists-Students Interactions

  • CSIR has launched a program named JIGYASA in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • The focus is on connecting school students and scientists so as to extend the classroom learning of students with experiential education based on a very well planned research laboratory environment.
  • The Programme is expected to connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR targeting 100,000 students and nearly 1000 teachers annually.

CSIR’s Jammu Kashmir Arogya Gram Yojana: Value Addition to Farmer Income and Better Land Utilization through Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

  • CSIR’s ‘Jammu Kashmir Arogya Gram Yojana’ was launched in July 2015 as an effort for handholding of farmers to enable value added agriculture of aromatic and medicinal plants.
  • 10 Districts (Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, Samba, Poonch, Jammu and Rajouri) comprising kandi land/rainfed/ wasteland/unutilized land/snow bound areas are covered under this initiative.
  • CSIR has also developed agri-implements such as Krishi-Shakti (tractor for small land holdings), Air-Assisted Electrostatic Sprayer for Crops, Inter-row rotary cultivator for wide-row crops, Digital Grain Moisture Analyser, etc. for enhancing productivity and reducing drudgery of farmers.
  • Recently, CSIR has launched two Mission programmes – Aroma and Phytopharmaceuticals - with significant stakeholder focus, targeting niche yet cost effective agri- and value-add technologies for high national impact.

CSIR Developed Improved Samba Mahsuri: A Diabetic Friendly Rice

  • Samba Mahsuri (SM) is one of India’s most popular and highly prized rice varieties because of its high yield and excellent cooking quality.
  • It is cultivated in more than 2 million hectares of land in the country. However, SM is highly susceptible to many pests and diseases including the serious bacterial blight (BB) disease. This disease is a particular problem because effective chemicals for managing the disease are not available.
  • Recognizing the seriousness of the problem of BB, CSIR-CCMB and ICAR-IIRR jointly developed BB resistant derivatives of SM and one of the breeding lines was released as a new variety under the name, Improved Samba Mahsuri (ISM) in the year 2008.
  • The BB resistant lines of SM, when evaluated across the country through multi-location trials, exhibited high yield and grain quality similar to the original parent, SM and also showed excellent resistance to BB in disease in locations prone to BB infection.
  • ISM matures 7-10 days earlier than Samba Mahsuri and farmers in East Godavari attested that it is more tolerant to lodging than other popular varieties.
  • ISM has another unique feature of low glycemic index (i.e. a value of 50.99), which is amongst the lowest value for several rice varieties tested.
  • Foods with glycemic index (GI) value below 55, like ISM, are considered highly suitable for consumption by patients suffering from diabetes as consumption of foods with low GI results in slow release of glucose into the bloodstream, thus reducing the ill effects of the diabete
  • Popularization of ISM amongst rice farmers was supported by CSIR through its CSIR-800 program.

CSIR Developed Handheld GPS-Enabled ‘Ksheer Tester’ – System for Detection of Adulteration in Milk to Reduce Public Health Risk

  • Detects contaminants in just 40-45 seconds. The system is useful for on-the-spot milk testing by food inspectors.
  • Recently, a new handheld GPS-enabled ‘Ksheer Tester’, a variant of the benchtop system, Ksheer-Scanner, has been developed by CSIR for checking adulteration in milk.
  • The device would enable any person to track the location of the tested sample of milk and receive the test results through SMS on the device.
  • The handheld milk adulteration tester, with system capabilities comparable to those of Ksheer Scanner which was meant for dairy-level inspection, is aimed for domestic usage.
  • User friendly salient features include single button operation, fast measurement time (less than 60 Seconds) and the ability to detect contaminants like urea, salt, detergent, soap, boric acid and hydrogen peroxide.

CSIR Developed Waterless Chrome Tanning Technology – Enabling the Indian Leather Industry for Global Competitiveness at Reduced Environmental Impact

  • Chromium, a toxic element with significant adverse environmental and public health impact, is widely used as part of tanning agents with about 2.0 billion sq. ft. of leather being made in India.
  • About 20 thousand tons of chrome tanning agent is discharged in the consequent wastewater.
  • CSIR has developed a “Waterless tanning technology” that a) completely eliminates two processes before and after tanning, b) eliminates the use of water in tanning, c) reduces the total dissolved solids in wastewater from this process by 20% and d) brings down the usage of chromium by 15-20%, resulting in material saving.

CSIR Developed Cost-effective technology to treat Tannery Effluents – Towards Swachh Bharat

  • A technology that separates sodium chloride and sodium sulphate found in waste in common effluent treatment plants (CETP) has been developed by CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSIR-CSMCRI), Bhavnagar.
  • Once separated, the salts can be reused in preserving hides and in tanning process. The technology will drastically cut down the cost of treating effluents from tanneries.

CSIR Developed Divya Nayan – Portable Reading Machine for Visually Impaired and Low-literacy Populations

  • Portable Reading Machine (PRM) is an assistive device for visually impaired that helps them reading printed documents, e-books, or recorded speech.
  • It is based on the principle of contact scanning of a printed document and converting it into speech.
  • The device is stand-alone, portable, wireless and uses open source hardware and software.
  • The device can analyze a multi-column document and provide seamless reading.
  • It is capable of page, sentence and word level navigation while reading.
  • It helps visually impaired to read print media as well as electronic files such as eBooks.
  • It has support for speaking Hindi, English and is further compatible for other Indian languages such as Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, etc.
  • The device may also be readily configured for major foreign languages, and find application extensions in low-literacy populations for improved understanding of written documents.

CSIR Developed Integrated Drishti-Aviation Weather Monitoring System (D-AWMS)

  • The first Indigenous Aviation automatic Weather Monitoring System has become functional at the Mangalore International Airport w.e.f. 25th June 2017.
  • This integrated Weather Monitoring system has been developed and deployed jointly by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL) and India Meteorological Department.
  • The main feature of this system is that it measures Wind Speed, Wind Direction, Pressure, Temperature and Relative Humidity along with Visibility which are critical for aviation safety.
  • A mandatory system required for Airport operations has been developed, as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements. In view of indigenous efforts, saving of foreign exchange to the country also accomplished.
  • Timescale of ISRO’s GPS ‘NavIC’ gets synchronized to the Indian Standard Time (IST) generated by the “Primary Atomic Clocks” of CSIR-NPL

MoU between CSIR and ISRO for Time and Frequency Traceability

  • CSIR-NPL is the custodian of Indian Standard Time (IST) and has the national responsibility for realization, establishment, maintenance and its dissemination.
  • As a ‘National Metrology Institute’, CSIR-NPL has the mandate to maintain ‘Indian Standard Time’ (IST) using the most up-to-date technologies.
  • The National Time Scale is contributing to the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) maintained by International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and has uncertainty of 20 nano-second.
  • A MoU was signed between CSIR and ISRO on August 04, 2017 under which CSIR will provide time and frequency traceability to ISRO.

Enlighten about the satellite navigation

  • In satellite based navigation systems, the spatial resolution is decided by precise synchronization of the clocks embedded in the end user’s device with clocks in the satellites.
  • The accuracy of satellite navigation systems depends on the proper synchronization of on-board clocks.
  • For navigation purpose atleast four satellites are needed to know someone’s position accurately.
  • The time have to be incredibly accurate as light travels 30 centimetres in one nanosecond (or 300 million metres in one second) so that any tiny error in the time signal could put a defined activity by a very long way.

Lithium Ion Battery: India’s First Fabrication Facility by CSIR

  • CSIR has developed the following technologies in this area: High performance kish graphite anode materials for Li-ion batteries; High performance lithium transition metal oxides cathode materials for Li-ion batteries; Advanced polymer separators for Li-ion batteries; Magnesium-Organic Battery Technology (6V / 200 Ah); Ni-MH battery for EV applications (12V/50Ah); and Ni-Fe battery for EV applications (12V/60 Ah).
  • India’s first lithium ion battery fabrication facility based on indigenous novel materials for making 4.0 V/14 h standard cells has been established. The so developed technology on the Li-ion batteries is to be commercialized soon.

CSIR’s Certification for Coal used in Power Plants

  • CSIR entered into an MoU with Coal Supplying Companies and Power Utilities for quality analysis of coal being supplied to power utilities by coal supplying companies.
  • This collaboration will enhance efficiency of use of coal by power sector. As a part of the MoU, CSIR-CIMFR would make use of its knowledgebase support in maintaining the quality of coal at national level for the entire power sector.
  • The CSIR effort will result in improvement in performance of power plants, besides leveraging benefits to the consumer in particular and society as a whole as a result of more efficient power generation and less pollutants at generation stage.

Sources – PIB, CSIR official site, Govt websites