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LEVERAGING THE POWER OF SCIENCE

9th April, 2022

PERSPECTIVE – LEVERAGING THE POWER OF SCIENCE

Why in news?

  • In major industries, the government intends to improve and grow science and technology infrastructure.
  • Big Data, Cyber-Physical Systems, Advanced Manufacturing, and Waste Processing have all been highlighted as prospective platforms with a strong focus on R&D.

 

Backgrounder

India has achieved great progress in science and technology throughout the years, with the most recent successes visible in the fight against the Covid epidemic. India's development as a knowledge superpower is largely due to its human resource in science and technology. India has risen in the Global Innovation Index during the last few years, from 81st place in 2015 to 46th place in 2021. The Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) has been steadily expanding over the previous decade, with India's GERD increasing by three times in gross terms.

 

What is Global Innovation Index?

  • Professor Soumitra Dutta, while at INSEAD, launched the Global Innovation Index (GII) project in 2007.
  • The purpose was to develop and determine measures and proceduresthat might convey a comprehensive picture of innovation in society.
  • WIPO began working with the GII in 2011 and began co-publishing the publication in 2012.
  • Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPOcontinued to co-publish the GII until 2020.
  • WIPO, in collaboration with the Portulans Institute, several business and academic network partners, and the GII Advisory Board, will publish the GII in 2021.
  • Institutions, Human Capital and Research, Infrastructure, Credit, Investment, Linkages, Knowledge generation, Adsorption and Diffusion and creative outputs are all covered by WIPO’s innovation criteria.

Measures calculated:

  • Innovation Input Sub-Index: The economy’s five input pillars capture elements that permit and support creative activities.
  • Innovation Output Sub-Index: The outputs of inventive activity in the economy are known as innovation outputs. The Output Sub-Index has the same weight as the Input Sub-Index in determining the overall GII scores, although having only two pillars.
  • Overall GII Score: The average of the Input and Output sub-indices yields the overall GII score, which is then used to generate the GII economy rankings.

Reasons for India’s growth:

  • The enormous intellectual capital, the active start-up environment, and the great work done by public and private research groups are all contributing to the GII ranking's steady development.
  • Scientific departments such as the Department of Atomic Energy, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Space have all contributed to the National Innovation Ecosystem’s enrichment.
  • NITI Aayog has been working relentlessly to guarantee that national initiatives to introduce policy led innovation in sectors like electric vehicles, biotechnology, bio space, alternative energy sources and others are optimised.
  • The India Innovation Index, whose most recent edition was released last year by the NITI Aayog, has been generally hailed as a significant step toward decentralising innovation across India's states.
  • The NITI Aayog, which includes the GII, has maintained a steady focus on monitoring and reviewing India's place in worldwide rankings.

Challenges to Innovation in India:

  • Institute – Industry gap:
  • Steps like the Atal Innovation Mission and collaboration with institutions in Switzerland and the United Kingdom are helping but we still have a long way to go before we can close the gap fully.
  • Growth necessitates a significant shift in the Indian educational system.
  • Top Indian universities are still mostly focused on education.
  • Universities conduct research that is unrelated to industry or real-world challenges.
  • Focus on R&D:
  • India produces most engineers in the world but the number of innovations and start-ups does not reflect this.
  • Interdisciplinary and multinational interactions are essential to achieve optimum impact and outcomes.
  • Another area where India lags is research and development spending.
  • Investments in research are made on trust, with a modest level of risk.
  • Building up Infrastructure:
  • This is an area where India lags behind the rest of the world.
  • The organisers can only provide good and efficient infrastructure if they are aware of the needs of the innovators and scientists.

What is the WIPO?

  • It is the world's largest gathering place for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information, and collaboration.
  • It is a United Nations self-funding institution with 193 member nations.
  • The objective is to drive the creation of a fair and effective international intellectual property system that promotes innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.
  • The WIPO Convention which was founded in 1967 lays forth its mandate governing bodies and procedures.

How is this Index relevant to India today?

  • Modern scientists have benefitted from their contributions to astronomy, mathematics, medicine, metallurgy and chemistry.
  • It is undeniable that India has made enormous advances in science and technology
  • India has achieved remarkable progress in science and technology frontier sectors such as space exploration and atomic energy.

 

What is the role of S&T in preventing disaster?

  • Adopting Spatial Technologies:
    • Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, meteorological satellites, and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) all play important roles in reducing disaster risk
    • These space technologies can provide information about damaged buildings and hazardous sites that are extremely vulnerable to secondary disasters in vast urban areas.
    • Land use/land cover patterns can also be determined using space technology, as well as weather data, crop monitoring, global rainfall monitoring, fire hotspot monitoring, haze monitoring, and drought mitigation measures.
  • GIS and remote sensing technologies:
    • For both scientific and policy-oriented management, GIS provides a tool for effective and efficient storage and manipulation of remotely sensed data and other spatial and non-spatial data types.
    • This can be used to simplify the measuring, mapping, monitoring, and modelling of a wide range of data types relevant to natural phenomena.
    • Tropical cyclone threat maps are used by meteorological authorities to increase the quality of tropical storm warning services and swiftly communicate the danger to those who are likely to be affected by the disaster. They can be built for cities, districts or even the entire country.
    • GIS can be used to more effectively carry out search and rescue operations by identifying disaster-prone locations and zoning them according to risk magnitudes.
  • Electronic Communication:
    • The internet provides a useful platform for disaster mitigation messaging in today's era of electronic communication.
    • It offers a novel and potentially revolutionary method for disseminating disaster information quickly, automatically, and globally
    • Numerous individuals and organisations including several national meteorological services are experimenting with the internet to disseminate weather observations, predictions and satellite data in real-time.
  • Early warning signs:
    • The Area Cyclone Warning Centres (ACWCs) of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) give cyclone warnings.
    • It has created the requisite infrastructure to generate and disseminate cyclone alerts at the relevant periods.
    • The utilisation of satellite data obtained by the National Remote Sensing Agency has substantially aided long-term drought-proofing programmes on the district’s natural resources.
    • The drought assessment is based on the National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Management System's comparative evaluation of satellite observed green vegetation cover (both area and greenness) of a district over a given period (NADAMS).
    • The Central Water Commission (CWC), Ministry of Water Resources issues flood forecasts and alerts.
    • These are used to warn the public about the flood dangers and for concerned administrative and state engineering entities to take proper flood-prevention measures.

 

Conclusion

It is undeniable that India has made enormous advances in science and technology. In the country, many novel methods, products, and higher-quality goods have been developed. India has achieved remarkable progress in science and technology frontier sectors such as space exploration and atomic energy. The country currently has a strong foundation in modem technology. It also has the world's third-largest scientific and technical workforce.

Mains Question:

Q.) Discuss how Innovation can help in mitigating Disasters and also cite examples adapted in different countries.

 

Sources:

https://sansadtv.nic.in/episode/perspective-leveraging-the-power-of-science-05-march-2022

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/building-a-vibrant-science-ecosystem-7143793/

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/sti-policy-science-technology-innovation-policy-atmanirbhar-bharat-5th-national-sti-policy-7135888/

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/strengthening-public-health-capacities-in-disasters/article33069278.ece

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/Needed-Scientific-flood-management/article59782412.ece

 

 

 

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