31 December 2015

Urban planning and development approaches set on a new course in 2015

Announcement of 20 Smart Cities early January to mark the high point of new urban sector initiatives
Urban planning and development approaches set on a new course in 2015
Over Rs.42,000 cr investment approved in basic urban infrastructure and affordable housing
Competition among cities, gap analysis based comprehensive planning, objective resource allocation introduced
            The New Year 2016 is set to be a landmark in the annuls of urban development in the country with the announcement of first batch of 20 Smart Cities early next month besides the new initiatives of the Union Government under new urban missions launched this year taking effect.
            Evaluation of Smart City Plans of 97 cities in the second stage of ‘City Challenge’ competition is already in progress and the results will be announced shortly marking a high point in promoting competition among cities for resource allocation, the first of its kind.
            The Government has reset the parameters for urban planning in the year 2015 and has approved an investment of about Rs.42,000 cr in 2015 for developing basic urban infrastructure and for affordable housing alone. This includes Rs.19,170 cr for improving infrastructure relating to water supply, sewerage networks, storm water drains, urban transport and open  spaces in 474 cities in 18 states under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), launched in June this year.
            Under another flagship programme of Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (Urban), an investment of over Rs.22,000 cr has been approved in 2015 for construction of 4.25 lakh houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in 227 cities in 11 states.
            In the pursuit of enabling urban areas as more effective engines of high rate of economic growth besides making them more livable, the Government has put an end to ad-hocism in urban planning and resource allocation under new urban sector initiatives.
            Under AMRUT, a detailed infrastructure gap analysis has been made mandatory for formulating Service Level Improvement Plans (SLIP) for each of the mission cities for allocation of central assistance from out of the five year kitty of Rs.50,000 cr. Unlike in the past, urban local bodies and state governments have been empowered to appraise and approve projects with the Ministry of Urban Development completely withdrawing from the same.
            Both the urban ministries have selected cities for allocation of central assistance based on objective criteria of total urban population and number of statutory urban local bodies besides urban poor in each state ending discretion and subjectivity, under new urban missions.
            A new beginning has also been made towards ‘bottom up’ urban planning with mandatory consultations with citizens and other stakeholders in identification of projects and formulation of development plans under new urban missions.
            While improvement of basic urban infrastructure is the objective of Atal Mission, Smart City Mission adopts ‘area based development’ for enhancing quality of living by addressing core infrastructure deficit and adoption of smart solutions.
            As against only Rs.38,000 cr provided as Central Assistance to states and urban local bodies under 10 years of JNNURM, the Government has committed itself to assist states to the tune of about Rs.4 lakh cr under AMRUT, Smart City Mission and for construction of 2 crore houses for urban poor under PMAY(Urban)

New Opportunities Unveiled in Shipping Sector

New Opportunities Unveiled in Shipping Sector
Year Ender-2015

The Ministry of Shipping has taken many proactive and progressive interventions in the areas of shipbuilding, port development, inland waterways and coastal shipping this year for the development of the maritime sector in the country. These initiatives can be summarized under the following heads:
1.             Sagarmala Project

            ‘Sagarmala- Concept and Implementation’ was approved by the Union  Cabinet on 25.03.2015.   The Project Development Consultants were appointed on 15.05.2015 to develop a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for the Sagarmala Programme. NPP is currently under preparation and would be finalized by 31.01.2016. As part of the NPP development-
a)     The draft report on Origin-Destination (OD) Study, for POL & LNG, Iron Ore & Steel, Coal, Container, Food Grains and Fertilizer is under review and the final report is being prepared based on the inputs received from the relevant stakeholders. On the Coal OD front, the Ministry of Shipping is currently monitoring key railway connectivity projects from Talcher-Paradip and discussing with Ministry of Railways to fast track the same.
b)    The draft Master Plan for Ennore has been submitted in November, 2015. The draft Master Plans for Paradip, JNPT, Kolkata, Vizag, Kandla, Haldia and Ennore will be submitted by 31.12.15. Draft Master Plan is currently under preparation for Tuticorin, Mumbai, Kochi, Mormugao and Mangalore.
c)     Finalized Techno Economic Feasibility Report (TEFR) for Sagar Port and the draft TEFR for Vadhavan Port submitted on 30.11.2015. TEFR for Paradip Outer Harbour is under preparation.
d)    Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ) Perspective Plans are also under development.
While the NPP is under development, 12 projects have been considered for part funding by Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) for implementation, DPR is under preparation for 10 projects, 55 road projects and 28 rail projects have been shared with MoRTH and Ministry of Railways respectively for their consideration.   The institutional mechanism to implement the initiative includes the National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC), Sagarmala Coordination & Steering Committee (SCSC), State Sagarmala Committees (SSC) and the Project SPVs. The SCSC and NSAC have been constituted and their first meetings were held on 01.10.2015 and 05.10.2015 respectively. West Bengal, Odisha and Puducherry have constituted their SSCs and other Maritime States have been requested to do the same. The Ministry of Shipping has also taken up development of 31 island lighthouses.
2.             Special Purpose Vehicle to provide efficient last mile rail connectivity to Major Ports
          Based on the Cabinet decision dated 25.03.2015, an SPV, to provide efficient last mile rail connectivity to Major Ports, with equity from 11 Major Ports and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd.  was incorporated under the Companies Act. This SPV ‘The Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited’ started functioning from July 2015 and since then has taken up 23 projects which are critical for last mile rail connectivity to the Major Ports. The registered office of the company is at New Delhi and corporate office is at Mumbai. The SPV would undertake the following Projects:- 
·                Last mile connectivity to Major Ports; 
·                 Modernization of evacuation infrastructure in Ports; 
·                 To operate and manage internal Port Railway system; 
·                 To raise financial resources for funding Port related Railway Projects 
3.        Incentive for Shipbuilding and ship-repair Industry 

Government has recently approved incentives to promote domestic shipbuilding industry.  These include (i) financial assistance to domestic shipyards for any vessel built by them subsequent to its delivery and (ii) relaxation of eligibility criteria for procurements or repair of vessels done by Government departments or agencies including PSUs for government purpose or for their own purpose to grant Right of First Refusal to domestic shipyards.

The Government has addressed the problem of inverted duty structure in ship manufacturing.  Inputs used in ship manufacturing and repair have been exempted from Customs and Central Excise Duties with effect from the 24th of November, 2015. Prior to this exemption, while ships could be imported at almost negligible rates of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) and nil rates of Countervailing Duty (CVD), the inputs used in ship manufacturing and repair attracted normal rates of BCD and CVD. This put the Indian shipyards, who build ships for the domestic market, at a cost disadvantage. Correction of this inverted duty structure was therefore necessary.

4.       Jal Marg Vikas Project

          In the Budget Speech for 2014-15, it was announced that a project on the river Ganga called ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ (National Waterways-I) would be developed between Allahabad and Haldia to cover a distance of 1,620 kms, which would enable commercial navigation of at least 1,500 tonne vessels and that the project would be completed over a period of six years at an estimated cost of Rs.4,200 crore. The Project’s objective is to provide an environment friendly, fuel efficient and cost-effective alternative mode of transportation, especially for bulk goods, hazardous goods, captive cargo and over dimensional cargo. 

          Government has commissioned three expert studies to assess the interventions required to achieve greater clarity on the entire project and its impacts. These studies are (i) Detailed Feasibility Study on NW-1 and Detailed Engineering for its Ancillary Works; (ii) Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Environmental Mitigation Plan (EMP) and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP); and (iii) IWT Sector Development Strategy and Market Development Study. In addition, Inland Waterways Authority of India, which is the implementing agency of the project, has conducted comprehensive stakeholder meetings at Kolkata, Varanasi, Patna, Delhi and Farakka, wherein valuable feedback of environmentalists, industry, academics and the wider society was obtained. The projects include construction of terminals, jetties, river training and conservancy works, modern automated information system, navigation aids, etc. The construction of the projects is expected to commence from March, 2016 and the last projects to be taken up may extend up to five years.

5.         Customs and Excise Duty Exempted on the Use of Bunker Fuels for coastal transportation of EXIM and empty container and for domestic containers transported alongwith EXIM and empty containers.

This tax incentive for transportation along the coast will go a long way in enhancing Indian tonnage as well as in promoting development of transportation hubs in India. 

6.         Cabotage Relaxed for Special Vessels

The Government has relaxed cabotage for special vessels such as Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro), Hybrid Roll-On Roll-Off (Hybrid Ro-Ro), Roll-On Roll-Off cum Passenger (Ro-Pax), Pure Car Carriers, Pure Car and Truck Carriers, LNG vessels and Over-Dimensional cargo or Project Cargo Carriers for a period of five years w.e.f 02-09-2015. With this relaxation, vessel operators will be allowed to bring foreign flagged vessels of this category to ply on the coastal routes. Such special vessels are in short supply in the country but since they cater to specific class of cargo, their availability will make it possible to shift cargo movement for these commodities from road and rail to coastal shipping. 
7.       Developing 78 lighthouses as tourism centers
          The Ministry of Shipping, along with the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) has drawn up an ambitious programme to develop 78 lighthouses in the country as centres of tourism in the first phase under Public Private Partnership (PPP). The identified lighthouses are in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

          This has been at the core of the efforts of the Ministry during the year. Focus has beenonsimplifying procedures by removing irritants that make it cumbersome to carry on business smoothly. The major highlights in this regard are:
1.                  Obsolete Rules under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 weeded out

The Ministry of Shipping has decided to rescind 13 Rules under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (as amended), having found them to be obsolete and unnecessary.  Out of the 13 Rules, 6 has been rescinded and 7 have been pre-published before rescindments. 

2.                  Ship Repair Units no longer required to register with DG Shipping

The Ministry simplified the procedure and eliminated the requirement of registration of Ship Repair Units (SRUs) with Directorate General (Shipping). Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce & Industry have been informed to extend concessions and facilities to SRUs without insisting on the requirement of registration with DG (Shipping). 

3.                  Re Rolled Steel from Ship Breaking allowed for Shipbuilding

To meet the growing demand for steel by ship and barge builders, the Ministry decided that re-rolled steel obtained from re-cycling yards/ship breaking units would be certified for use in construction of inland barges, river sea vessels (RSV Types 1 & 2) and port and harbour crafts, after ascertaining its sourcing and processing. This will help in bringing down the cost of constructions of barges, river sea vessels and port and harbour crafts.

4.                  E-governance initiatives
    Initiatives of Directorate General of Shipping
The following services have now been made online -
·         registration of ships.
·         application and seat booking for written and oral examinations.
·         application  and processing of Continuous Discharge Certificates (CDCs), renewal and replacement/duplicate CDCs.  
·         application processing and issuance of Certificate of Competencies (CoCs), dangerous cargo, GMDSS, Cookery certificates.
·         application, processing and issuance of chartering permission.
·         issue of registration certificate to transport operators.
·         Master checker for seafarers.

     Initiative of Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL)

·         Online Collection of Light Dues 

          Many initiatives have been taken up in the area of ship building and manufacture of dredgers, promoting the objectives of Make in India
1.                  Product Diversification by Cochin Shipyard Ltd(CSL)
·                     CSL has received license from GTT of France of Mark III Flex technology for making cargo containment systems for LNG carriers.

·                     CSL has entered into a technology tie up with Samsung Heavy Industry of Republic of Korea for manufacture of LNG vessels. With the above two initiatives CSL becomes the first port in India to manufacture LNG carrying vessels.

·                     CSL has manufactured six Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard and one Platform Supply Vessel

·                     CSL has undertaken a project to build a passenger ship of 1200 capacity for Andaman & Nicobar Islands

·                     CSL has entered into a technology tie up with IHC Holland BV for manufacturing dredgers.

·                     CSL has constructed a state of the art Buoy Tender Vessel for Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships

2.       Initial Public Offer of Cochin Shipyard Limited 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has accorded approval for issue of an Initial Public Offer (IPO) of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). The approval is for issue of an IPO to the public consisting of 3,39,84,000 equity shares of Rs. 10 each amounting to an equity capital of Rs. 33.984 crore of CSL consisting of fresh issue of 2,26,56,000 equity shares and sale of Government of India's stake in CSL worth 1,13,28,000 equity shares of Rs. 10, through a public offering in the domestic market according to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) rules and regulations. 
          The proceeds of the IPO will be used to set up new Dry Dock in Cochin Shipyard and International Ship Repair Facility at Cochin Port.
1.             Performance of ports improves

          After a fall in their performance during 2008-14, the performance of major ports showed improvement in 2015. The focus of the present government is on modernization of Major Ports and increasing their operational efficiency. With new initiatives, Major Ports have shown an improvement in their performance with the volume of cargo handled increasing by 4.6% and revenue increasing by 8.7% in 2015.

2.      Benchmarking performance of Indian Ports to International Standards

          A study to benchmark performance of major Indian Ports to comparable international ports has been completed and the recommendations of the study are being implemented.
3.             Mechanisation of East Quay (EQ) Berths-1, 2 and 3 at Paradip Port

          The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), approved  the project of Mechanisation of East Quay (EQ) Berths-1, 2 and 3 at Paradip Port on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode' for handling thermal coal exports. The estimated cost of the project is Rs.1437.76 crore of which Rs. 1412.76 crore will be spent by the concessionaire. The remaining Rs.25 crore will be spent by the Paradip Port Trust on dredging. The project envisages mechanization of EQ 1, 2 and 3 Berths to increase their capacity from the existing 7.85 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes. The project is scheduled to be completed within three years from the date of award of concession. After completion of the project, the total thermal coal export handling capacity at Paradip Port will reach 50 million tonnes.

4.             Deepening Draft to Handle Large Vessels

          Major ports are undertaking studies to deepen the draft to 18 meters to handle large and modern vessels.Projects for deepening have been started at Mormugao Port and New Mangalore Port.

5.             Establishment of Dry Ports

          The purpose of dry ports is to reduce congestion at ports by processing and completing bulk of the formalities relating to cargo here so that ships can set sail without delay at the sea ports. Dry ports are proposed to be set up at Jalna and Wardha to service JNPT

6.             Financial Assistance to Ports for Pollution Response  Equipment 

          The Governmenthas formulated a new central sector scheme for providing financial assistance to all Major Ports and 26 oil handling non-major ports under State Maritime Boards/State Governments. The scheme would help them procure Pollution Response (PR) equipment/materials necessary for combating Tier-I oil spills in their waters. 

          Under the scheme, the ports have been put into categories A, B and C based on the risk of oil spill, in consultation with Indian Coast Guard. Financial assistance up to 50% of the cost of the equipment/materials, necessary to mitigate pollution due to oil spills, is provided to the ports. 

7.   Financial support to Major/ Non Major Ports to promote movement of cargo/ passengers by sea/ maritime waters

          A new central sector scheme has been formulated to provide financial support by way of grant to Major Ports/ Non-Major Ports for construction/ up-gradation of exclusive coastal berths for coastal cargo, berths/jetties for passenger ferries and construction of platforms/ jetties for hovercrafts/ seaplanes in port waters.

8.  Dredging at Major Port - Guidelines

          Comprehensive guidelines on dredging at Major Port have been finalised and issued for implementation in October, 2015. 
1.             Bill To  Declare 106 Additional Inland Waterways As National Waterways

          Lok Sabha has passed the National Waterways Bill, 2015, for declaration of 106 inland waterways as National Waterways. After the inclusion of 106 additional inland waterways to the existing five national waterways, the total number of national waterways will go upto 111. The aim is to create cost-effective and eco friendly waterways to ease the burden on roads and railways.
2.             MoU Signed For Logistic Hubs With Rail Connectivity 

          A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) for creation of logistic hubs with rail connectivity at Varanasi and other places on National Waterways. This is expected to lead to convergence of inland waterways with rail and road connectivity and provide a seamless, efficient and cost effective cargo transportation solution

i.               India accedes to the Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) Convention 2001 of International Maritime Organization (IMO)
          The Indian instrument of accession was deposited with the IMO on 24.4.2015 and the convention entered into force in India on 24.7.2015

ii.             India ratifies Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 of International Labour Organization (ILO)

          This Convention is considered as the 'Bill of Rights' for the seafarers across the world.   India has the second largest number of seafarers after the Philippines and by  ratifying the MLC, has ensured improvement in the working and living conditions, and employment rights of Indian national seafarers. The Indian Instrument of Ratification was deposited with ILO on 09.10.2015 and the Convention will enter into force in India on 09.10.2016.

iii.           The Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill 2015 to incorporate the provisions of the three IMO Conventions, namely, Bunker Convention, Nairobi Convention and Salvage Convention introduced in Parliament.
1.             Development of Chahbahar Port in Iran

          India signed an MoU with Iran for developing Chahbahar Port. An SPV, Indian Ports Global Ltd has been formed with equity participation from Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Kandla Port to execute the project.

2.             Vision for coastal shipping, tourism and regional development

Ministry of Shipping has prepared a vision for coastal shipping, tourism and regional development to increase the share of coastal/IWT mode from 7% to 10% by 2019-20.  An action plan to achieve the objective has also been prepared and is being implemented.  The key elements of the initiative include development of coastal shipping as an end-to-end supply chain, integration of IWT and coastal route, development of regional centers to generate cargo for coastal traffic, development of domestic cruise industry and promotion of lighthouse tourism.  

3.             MoU with Republic of Korea on Maritime Transport

          An MoU was signed with Republic of Korea to promote bilateral cooperationin maritime transport.

4.             Coastal Shipping Agreement with Bangladesh

          India signed an agreement on coastal shipping with Bangladesh.  This agreement would allow River Sea Vessels (RSV) to carry cargo between the two neighbours. In terms of berthing charges and light dues, both the countries would extend national treatment to one another. The commencement of coastal shipping between the two countries would give a boost to Exim trade between India and Bangladesh. The two countries also signed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to operationalize the “Agreement on Coastal Shipping.

5.             India and Bangladesh Initial a Draft MoU on Passenger and Cruise Services on Coastal and Protocol Route 

6.             India and Bangladesh Agree on Extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade
          India and Bangladesh have agreed on the extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) with the provision of automatic renewal in line with the proposed amendment to the Bangladesh-India trade agreement during a Secretary-level talk between the two countries.

7.             MoU between India and Spain on cooperation in Port matters

          The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Spain on cooperation in Port matters.
8.             Agreement between India and Jordan on maritime transport

          The Union Cabinet has approved signing of a shipping agreement between India and Jordan. Recognizing the significant mutual benefit that can be derived from cooperation in the area of shipping between the two countries, it has been decided to sign the agreement with a view to strengthening cooperation and to provide sustained mutual assistance and advice on merchant shipping and other related maritime matters.

9.             Agreement between India and Egypt on Maritime Transport 

          The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of an agreement between India and Egypt on Maritime Transport. Recognizing the significant mutual benefit that can be derived from-cooperation in the area of shipping between the two countries, it has been decided to sign the Agreement with a view to strengthening cooperation and to render sustained mutual assistance and advice on merchant shipping and other related maritime matters

H.           SECURITY
1.             Ratification of International Labour Organisation Convention No. 185 on the Seafarers Identity Document

          The Union Cabinet has approved the Ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 185 on the Seafarers Identity Document (SID). A biometric based seafarer's identity document will be developed, mainly, to ensure a foolproof security system to ward off the potential risk of breach of security and possible terrorist attacks. India's ratification of this Convention will benefit Indian seafarers, who may otherwise find a threat to their job opportunities, in the near future, in the global maritime sector if India doesn't ratify the Convention.

2.             Re-Drawal of the High Risk Area in the Indian Ocean

          International bodies have agreed to India’s efforts to push back the High Risk Area (HRA) from 78 degrees East longitude to the 65 degrees East longitude. This will result in huge savings for India’s EXIM trade and consumers on account of reduced insurance premium and consequently freight costs. This will be a major gain for India on global maritime stage, resulting in a saving of about Rs. 1500 crore per annum for merchant ships.

National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020

National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020
The National Biotechnology Development Strategy -2015-2020 was unveiled by the Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi today.  The Strategy aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub.   It intends to launch a major mission, backed with significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products, create a strong infrastructure for R&D and commercialization, and empower India’s human resources scientifically and technologically.
The envisaged mission is:
      Provide impetus to utilising the knowledge and tools to the advantage of Humanity
      Launch a major well directed mission backed with significant investment for generation of new Biotech Products
      Empower scientifically and technologically India’s incomparable Human Resource
      Create a strong Infrastructure for R&D and Commercialisation
      Establish India as a world class Bio-manufacturing Hub
The Key elements of the Strategy are:
      Building a Skilled Workforce and  Leadership
      Revitalizing the knowledge environment at par with the growing bio-economy
      Enhance Research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary sciences
      Encourage use-inspired discovery research
      Focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
      Nurturing innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
      Ensuring a transparent,  efficient and globally best Regulatory system and communication strategy
      Biotechnology cooperation- Fostering global and national alliances
      Strengthen Institutional Capacity with redesigned governance models
      Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as outcome
The key elements would be implemented in collaboration and partnership with Other Ministries, Departments, State Governments and international agencies towards achieving:
      Making India ready to meet the challenge of  achieving US$100bn by 2025
      Launching Four Major Missions – Healthcare, Food and Nutrition, Clean Energy and Education
      Creating a Technology Development and Translation  network across the country with global partnership-5 new clusters, 40 Biotech incubators, 150 TTOs, 20 Bio-connect centres
      Strategic and focussed investment in building the Human Capital by creating a Life Sciences and Biotechnology Education Council

Achievements of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research of 2014-15

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)
Achievements of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research of 2014-15
Year –end Review 2015

·         The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been continuously striving to address the unmet needs through its unique S&T interventions. CSIR through its New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) has been successful in developing a reflectance confocal microscope with super continuum light source. The development has paved way for India’s presence in global photonics research. This is a World Class ‘Made in India’ High-end Product.
·         CSIR also made great headway in developing niche aerospace technologies. CSIR and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) are jointly producing the Drishti system, a visibility measuring system that provides information to pilots on visibility for safe landing and take-off operations, so as to enable the deployment of 70 such systems at Indian airports. The system has already been installed in 5 major Indian airports.
·         CSIR has been a consistent comrade of the ISRO and DAE. Its unstinting strong R&D support to the strategic sector has been most beneficial to the country. Gyrotron, a device used in nuclear fusion process, is currently imported in the country. Countries that manufacture gyrotrons namely the United States, Russia, Japan, and European Union do not disclose their designs and associated technology. Through focused efforts, CSIR with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has developed the first Indian gyrotron which is ready to be tested at the Institute for Plasma Research (DAE), Gandhinagar, which is a partner institute on this project. CSIR has also been providing support in the development, production and supply of neodymium doped phosphate laser glass to the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (DAE).‘DHVANI’, the Detection and Hit Visualization using Acoustic N-wave Identification system developed by CSIR for perfecting marksmanship skills by accurately determining the location of bullet impact and providing real-time feedback, has been approved for induction into the Indian Army.
·         CSIR’s endeavours in the domain of traditional knowledge for providing affordable healthcare have been praiseworthy. An anti-diabetic herbal formulation BGR-34, from a combination of natural extracts derived from six plant species mentioned in ancient Ayurveda texts has been developed. The drug which was approved by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) is an adjuvant to existing diabetes treatment, to help maintain normal blood glucose levels and also in improving the immune system. The herbal drug has been launched by industry in parts of North India.
·         Further, a national cGMP facility for extraction, formulation and packaging of traditional herbal medicines has been set up at CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM), Jammu. It has been created as per WHO guidelines. The facility will also be made available to R&D institutions and industry. The facility will target preparation of extracts and formulations for conducting clinical trials, process development, scale-up & optimization of lab- processes and converting them into commercially viable technologies besides generation of authentic and accurate clinically acceptable data. This facility will transform quality herbal drug production in India and its export to US and European markets.
·         The farmers are the backbone of our country. CSIR has developed and released to farmers a new improved high yielding variety of Ashwagandha, NMITLI-101 which is rich in several bioactive compounds. The average root yield from NMITLI-101 crop is about 25 quintal/hectare and the seed production from the variety is up to 3 quintal/ha, under optimum conditions. The estimated economic return from cultivation of this variety is about Rs. 2.5 Lakh/hectare per crop.
·         CSIR has also launched the JK Aroma Arogya Gram (JAAG) project which targets job and wealth creation through intensive cultivation of CSIR agri-technology of high value, low volume medicinal and aromatic crops. The benefits of the JAAG project include handholding of the farmers by CSIR for cultivation of medicinal plants, besides providing unemployed youth an opportunity to set up ventures in cultivation of medicinal plants. Awareness camps for farmers of the area besides demonstrations of Mobile Distillation Unit for extraction of essential oils are conducted. Started in July 2015, so far, seventy three farmers in 14 villages of Kathua district (J&K) have been distributed slips of lemongrass, Java citronella and vetiver for cultivation in 17.47 hectares area under the JAAG project.
·         Also focusing at ‘Reaching to the Unreached’, CSIR’s Centre for High Altitude Biology (CSIR-CeHAB) in Lahaul and Spitiis providing deployable knowledgebase to local communities for inclusive growth. The CSIR knowhow related to food & agri-processing was showcased at the Tribal Fair at Keylong for the benefit of the local farmers in making novel products from major crops of the region such as Buckwheat and also brining of the peas and cauliflower.
·         As part of efforts towards developing sustainable energy solutions, CSIR under the CSIR-NMITLI, has successfully developed indigenous know-how to make technology components and the process for building Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) multi-cell stack of desired power output. CSIR has taken existing technology know-how from stack-to-system level higher by scaling-up the power produced to 3.5 kW and validating it for a commercial application such as telecom tower power backup. For this, a modular test bed has been designed, built and commissioned with in-house knowhow at Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Patalganga site. The fuel cell facility commissioned now, is expected to provide plenty of useful data for testing and developing indigenous fuel cells at low costs for commercial applications.

1. India International Science Festival  (IISF) 2015
IISF (2015) was organised in IIT, Delhi during 4th Dec. to 8th Dec. 2015 with the objective of exposing the fruits of Science & Technology to the masses; building strategy to instill scientific temper among the masses; showcasing Indian contributions in the field of S&T over the years; providing platform to young scientists for exchange of knowledge and ideas; and supporting flagship programmes like Make in India, Digital India, Start-ups, Smart Villages, Smart Cities, etc. Approximately 10,000 delegates from all over the country participated in the following components of the festival – young scientists’ conference, techno-industrial expo, science film festival, national level exhibition and project competition showcasing innovative models under INSPIRE programme of Department of Science & Technology, industry academia conclave, largest practical science laboratory demo and interactive workshops and informative sessions.
Largest Practical Science Session with 2000 students, on 7th Dec. 2015, working in small teams to complete experiments as part of the lesson that focused on catalysts has found the entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
2. National Supercomputing Mission
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the launch of the National Supercomputing Mission on 25th March 2015. This is a visionary program to enable India to leapfrog to the league of world class computing power nations. The Mission would be implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) at an estimated cost of Rs.4500 crore over a period of seven years.

The Mission envisages empowering our national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities. These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network. Academic and R&D institutions as well as key user departments/ministries would participate by using these facilities and develop applications of national relevance. The Mission also includes development of highly professional High Performance Computing (HPC) aware human resource for meeting challenges of development of these applications.
3. DST-MHRD Collaboration in Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) Project: Department of Science & Technology (DST) is working with Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to evolve a mechanism for joint implementation of IMPRINT projects which was launched on 5th Nov. 2015 by the Hon'ble President of India.  Preliminary meetings with MHRD have already taken place and detailed modalities  are being  worked out with MHRD.  IMPRINT projects will address major societal and developmental needs such as healthcare, information and communication technology, energy, sustainable habitat, nano technology, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, security and defence, and environment and climate.
4. DST-Ministry of Railways (MoR)  Joint R&D Initiative : Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Ministry of Railways (MoR) are shaping a joint R&D initiative to address research problems of immediate and direct relevance to MoR by taking up suitable projects within time span of 3-5  years with well defined deliverables. Collaboration between MoR and DST are in the area of fuel efficiency and emission control technologies, alternate fuels, fuel conservation in diesel traction etc. and to derive synergy based on mutual strengths. As an outcome of these efforts, scope of programme support has been finalized  in the meeting of 8th September, 2015
5. Science and  Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)
DST has launched a new programme “Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM)” in 2015-16 to rejuvenate research in yoga and meditation. Given the ever increasing prevalence of physical and mental health problems, the holistic approach of Yoga and Meditation is believed to have the potential to find beneficial treatment that is relatively safer and more cost-effective. Cutting-edge research under SATYAM will seek to identify related issues and challenges and address these to enhance human well-being. Another objective of SATYAM is to also harness knowledge obtained in academic institutions and other related agencies for finding S&T-led solutions that would enable us to cope with stress and strain associated with fast changing social, economic, environmental and professional circumstances. The programme will encourage research in two major thematic areas: (1) investigations on the effect of Yoga and Meditation on physical and mental health, and (2) investigations on the effect of Yoga & Meditation on the body, brain, and mind in terms of basic processes.
6. Scheme for funding Industry-relevant R&D
The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) recognizes the need to facilitate increased Public Private Partnerships in its funding mechanism, and has recently approved a scheme that provides an opportunity for collaborative research between academic institutions and industry. This scheme aims to bridge the gap between public funded research and industrial R&D. The new scheme seeks to target solution driven research to address industry specific problems. Project will be jointly designed and implemented by the academic partner and industry, and the cost will be shared between SERB and Industry with industry share not less than 50 % of the total budget. All industries (including Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) & industrial R&D Centres) are welcome to participate in this scheme.

7. Scheme for funding High Risk-High Reward Research
Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has approved a new and significant initiative to support proposals that are conceptually new and risky, and if successful, expected to have a paradigm-shifting influence on the S&T landscape. Outcome could be new and significant theoretical or experimental advances, formulation of new hypotheses, or breakthrough science which will lead to new technologies. Proposals that address scientific issues leading to “incremental” knowledge will not be supported.
8. Early Career Research Award
A new scheme viz.  Early Career Research Award (ECRA) has been launched to provide quick research support to the researchers who are in their early career for pursuing exciting and innovative research in frontier areas of science and engineering. The Award carries a research grant up to Rs. 50 lakhs for a period of three years. More than 600 young scientists have responded in November 2015 for the Award.
9. National Post-doctoral Fellowship (N-PDF) scheme
In order to attract and retain young scientists and discourage brain drain in academic/R&D institutions, a National Postdoctoral Fellowship (N-PDF) scheme has been launched. It aims to identify motivated young researchers and provide them support for doing research in frontier areas of science and engineering. The Fellow will work under a Mentor, and it is expected that the training will provide him/her a platform to develop as an independent researcher. The Fellow will be provided a fellowship of Rs. 55,000/ pm for a period of 2 years with a research grant of Rs. 2.0 lakh per annum.

10. Technical Research Centres - Five Technical Research Centres (TRCs) in the existing autonomous institutions of the Department of Science & Technology are being set up.  A detailed road-map has been prepared by the Department for setting-up of these centres. TRCs are expected to further enhance translational research being carried out by these autonomous institutions. Final financial approval of TRCs is expected by end of December 2015.
11. Technology Applications by Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), Mohali

(A)     Waste Water Treatment:  Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institution of DST, is working towards the development of low cost filter for waste water treatment. They have developed low cost novel nano-adsorbent for removal of toxic metal ions as well as organic pollutant. For this, the water purification trials for removal of lanthanides, transition metal ions, arsenic and organic dyes at laboratory level have been done. The initial trial have been done on purification of real domestic waste. The following are proposed future plans :

(a) Setting up the metal adsorbent pads at the bottom of the boats :
INST is fabricating trapping pads for metal ions and organic pollutant removal. This will be a portable pad which can be fixed to the wall of boats and hence clean river. 
(b) Domestic waste treatment:
In this area INST is planning to make small cartridge (low cost) which can be put at the exhaust of the sink or washing machine and then exhausted clean water will be recharged by clean water.  This is kept in river cleaning concept because the most of the river waste is from waste generated from the people of the country. And if we can address these waste at the source level then we can definitely protect our river to get contaminated form human generated waste.
(c) Industrial waste treatment:
Since the adsorbent made by INST’s scientist are very efficient in trapping high concentration of metal ions, the  idea is to put a cartridge at the exhaust of the industry and trap the waste product and for different industries, specific cartridge will be made.
(d) Plans for urban and rural areas:
 For urban cities, it is planned to do the real time detection and removal of water impurities and its implementation in real life. It is also planned to make low cost water testing strips for rural people and small portable ca cartridge for instant water purification.
(B) Development of Clinical Biomarkers: Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institution of DST is developing cost effective biosensing platforms for clinical biomarkers like Cardiac serum markers (Myoglobin, Troponin I, BNP, FABP etc.) and Prostate cancer markers along with environmental pollutants such as food/water pathogens (E. coli and other enteric pathogens) and new generation pesticides. INST’s aim is to design and develop its own optical/fluorescence/electrochemical based sensors using nanotechnology approach to minimize the size of the sensor as it can be suitably used for rapid and field applications. INST is attempting to increase the specificity of our biosensor by generating our own bio-receptors (antibodies/aptamers) and immobilizing them onto nanostructured platforms in order to have enhanced sensitivity (upto sub picomolar range). The developed sensors will be highly versatile and can be used for other target analyses depending upon the kind of bio-receptor used on the sensor surface.

12. Revamping and Reorientation of Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Scheme
The INSPIRE Award component which is meant for school children from class 6th  to 10th is being reoriented  to align it with the national agenda of the Government and observations made by the Hon'ble Prime Minister. The programme is being modified to encourage children to visualise/analyse needs of the nation; develop critical thinking about national issues and problems pertaining to everyday life, as well as, create awareness and inspire them to devise innovative ideas to address them. Follow-up mechanism to further fine tune the best creative ideas/concepts is being put in place.

The second component of the INSPIRE scheme deals with  organizing Science Camps for science students of Class 11th based on their performance at the Class 10th Board examination. Through the Science Camps, these students are provided an opportunity and exposure for interaction with scientists and academicians including Nobel Laureates. Now, “Innovative Idea Writing" has been introduced on themes specific like Water, Energy, Security etc. in keeping with the current initiatives of the Government like Make in India, Swachch Bharat etc. In each Camp, the ideas are being screened for finding the 3 best innovative ideas.
13. New Initiatives in Water and Clean Energy
(a) Recognizing that Water is of fundamental importance for human development,  the, Water Advanced Research and Innovation (WARI) Fellowship Program- a dynamic and transformative program has been launched on 21 September 2015 to foster long term Indo-American  Science and Technology partnerships. A programme for natural water treatment and waste water treatment has also been initiated with French collaboration.

(b) In the area of clean energy following new initiatives have been taken :
-       A new research track on energy storage and smart grids have been agreed for Indo-US collaboration during Energy Dialogue co- Chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Power and US Secretary of Energy on 21st September 2015. A new programme on Clean Coal Research is also on the anvil.
-       Considering the importance of capacity building in energy efficiency for built environments, a fellowship programme for Indian researchers have been launched to expose them to world class research facilities in US.
-       An Indo–UK Virtual Centre for Clean Energy has been initiated to explore integrated solution for remote and rural locations using distributed solar energy generation,  storage and off grid/ grid interaction following an India-UK discussion meeting on 10-11 June 2015.
-       In order to improve energy security of the country, a roadmap for Methanol Economy as a promising alternate energy source has been initiated in partnership with NITI AAYOG following brainstorming with stakeholders on 11th September 2015 steered by Dr VK Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog and Secretary DST.

14. Waste Management Technology Development

With the objective to contribute towards Swachch Bharat, a new programme under the Technology Development Scheme has been initiated to come up with technological solutions for the problems faced by the country in waste management. Areas under this include hospital waste, plastic waste, e-waste, etc. First call for proposals has received an overwhelming response.

15. Advanced Manufacturing

Aligning with the Make in India agenda of the Government, the Department has initiated a programme to promote development of advance manufacturing technologies in the country. The areas include robotics and automation, nano-materials, precision manufacturing, etc. Call for proposals has already been given.

16. Development of Bio-medical Devices

The Department is planning to initiate stakeholder consultation to identify bio-medical devices to be taken up for indigenous development. The programme is being evolved to align with the objective of Swasth Bharat of Government of India.

A Technical Research Centre at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram is being established to give a big push to the development and commercialization of biomedical technologies in this institution which has an enviable record in this domain.

17. Scheme for Promoting Innovations, Creativity and Entrepreneurship among ITI Students (SPICE ITI)

As suggested by the Hon'ble Prime Minister during the meeting with Science Secretaries on 29th July 2015, a separate scheme is being worked out by the National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad for promoting innovations, creativity and entrepreneurship among Industrial Training Institute (ITI) students.

18. North Eastern Centre for Ethno Medical Research:

 DST has recently approved establishment of “Ethno Medicinal Research Centre” at FEEDS, Manipur with budgetary support of approx. Rs 6.00 crores. This Centre aims to undertake ethno phyto-chemical research of wild herbs available in the NE region that have unique medicinal and aromatic properties, particularly in our traditional systems.  The Centre will not only give scientific validation of traditional herbs but aims to improve quality of life and economic status of local community through product development and better livelihood.

19. Revamping of Science Express

As suggested by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Department has initiated action to strengthen outreach activities along the route of the 8th Phase of the Science Express.  The Department  intends to approach NCSTC-Network (a conglomeration of 83 NGOs), National Council for Science Museum (NCSM), Vigyan Prasar (VP), National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Centre for Environmental Education (CEE), Vikram Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), academic and research institutions at 65 destinations of Science Express etc. for providing additional S&T activities to the children visiting Science Express.
The CEE has been advised to exhibit interactive models graphic interfaces and animations to make it more interesting.  In addition to this, several platform activities for children are being planned to make the Science Express experience more meaningful for children.

20. Recent Developments through International S&T Cooperation
(a) A new programme with Russian Science Foundation was concluded by DST for cooperation in Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Biology (Medical and Agriculture), Mathematics) during  8th Session of  India - Russia Working Group on Science & Technology            in Moscow on September 3, 2015.

(b) A joint declaration of extension of Indo-German Science & Technology Centre was signed on 5th Oct. 2015 .

(c) A Letter of Intent (LoI) for Indian participation in annual meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students was signed on 5th Oct. 2015.

(d) The Indo-US fellowship programme on Climate Research is being launched this year.

(e) Collaboration with USA on Women in Science has been strengthened with 20 Indo-US Women Fellowship in S&T; training programme on leadership and career development; and Silicon Valley visitation programme for women entrepreneurs.

(f) Under support of US-India Endowment Fund, prototypes of several innovative technologies on affordable healthcare and food security have been developed with a potetial for societal impact and commercial application. Through the five calls, the United States-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund is currently supporting and funding 17 joint U.S.-India entrepreneurial projects in the area of Healthy Individual (affordable biomedical devices, diagnostic/preventive/curative measures, or food and nutrition products to improve health) and Empowering Citizens (information and communication technologies, water, agriculture, financial inclusion, and education etc.) with a grant size of up to Rs. 2.50 crores or approximately $ 400,000. The joint entrepreneurial teams are working together on co-developing innovative product or technologies that are beyond the idea stage with high societal impact and significant potential to commercialize with 2-3 years. In addition to this, 3 project proposals are under the review process of evaluation. In the recent call of Sixth round of July 2015, 19 bi-national teams have been shortlisted by the joint U.S.-India expert panel for Stage II: detailed business plan and presentation at USA . Out of 19 companies, 5 have been shortlisted in November 2015 by the joint panel for further due diligence before award of the grant.

21. Showcasing of Indian Innovators in Silicon Valley during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister.
Under the India Innovation Growth Programme jointly supported by DST and Lockheed Martin Corporation, 10 Innovators participated in the Start-up Connect Programme and displayed their innovations.  It would be worthwhile to mention that out of the 34 innovations showcased at Silicon Valley; approximately 50% were supported in one way or the other by DST.  The innovators have attracted a lot of attention from the Venture Capitalists (VCs) in Silicon Valley and many of them have stayed back to explore further deals and investments.

22. UV Imaging Telescope

UV Imaging Telescope developed by Indian Institute of Astrophysics is one of the payloads on ASTROSAT which has been recently launched by ISRO. Telescope has started giving images and calibration is being done by ISRO.   
23. Big Data Initiative

A proposal to initiate a new scheme viz. Big Data Initiative has been prepared and is under consideration of the Department. The scheme is aligned with the Government's Digital India initiative.
24. Policy on Conflict of Interest

In a significant move, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has given its nod to go ahead with the much awaited policy on Conflict of Interest for grant applicants (including collaborators), reviewers and  committee members and officers dealing with various programs. The Board felt that issues of conflicts of interest and ethics in scientific research and research management have assumed greater prominence in the new era of knowledge economy. All the stakeholders are required to sign an undertaking to adhere to the policy on conflict of interest. The approved policy aims to bring more transparency and increased accountability in funding mechanisms and provide assurance to the general public that processes followed in award of grants are fair and non-discriminatory.

Department of Biotechnology
Success Stories – 2014-15
I.  Healthcare
(1) India is today a leading Vaccine Manufacturing Hub:
The Vaccine Grand Challenge Programme is under implementation to encourage novel and innovative vaccine related discoveries, accelerated development of candidate vaccines for which earlier leads are available, research of basic & applied nature to improvise current understanding of vaccine science and to strengthen the scientific basis for future vaccine design. R&D projects supported through VGCP are focusing on Development of candidate vaccines &  Development of vaccine related technologies. Some major initiatives are:
(i) Rotavirus vaccine launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister : The first indigenously developed and manufactured Rotavirus vaccine 'Rotavac.' from an Indian strain 116E was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 9th March, 2015. The indigenously developed vaccine will boost efforts to combat infant mortality due to diarrhoea. ROTAVAC developed in collaboration with Bharat Biotech under the Public-Private Partnership mode is efficacious in preventing severe rotavirus diarrhoea in low-resource settings in India. ROTAVAC significantly reduced severe rotavirus diarrhoea by more than half - 56 percent during the first year of life, with protection continuing into the second year of life. Moreover, the vaccine also showed impact against severe diarrhoea of any cause. The developed Rotavirus Vaccine at $1 per dose has been cleared for market license. Potential to prevent >500K childhood diarrheal deaths. The NTAGI of M/o Health & FW has approved introduction of  the vaccine in EPI in a pilot mode.
(ii) Malaria Vaccine: To promote the development of vaccines against P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria, Department has provided continued support to MVDP (Malaria Vaccine Development programme)- A consortium of DBT, ICGEB, Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), PATH, EMVI and WHO-TDR. Currently MVDP is involved with developmental of malaria vaccine JAIVAC1 & JAIVAC 2 at ICGEB.
(iii) Dengue Vaccine: Department is supporting the group at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) for developing a safe, efficacious and inexpensive tetravalent dengue vaccine. The recombinant EDIII-based sub-unit dengue vaccine candidate is being developed in the form of VLPs using the yeast P. pastoris as an expression host.
 (2)       DBT has significantly augmented the infrastructure for diagnosis & treatment of human genetic disorders in India
- 21 Genetic Diagnosis cum Counseling Units established
o   >5 lakh affected families and >1 lakh tribal families benefited
- DNA typing of 25 autosomal markers in 53 ethnic groups (tribal, caste and religious communities) completed
o   Revealed evidence of human migration from India to SE Asia.
(3)        A major flagship programme on International Cancer Genome (ICG) specific to Oral Cancer is under implementation.
(4) India Bio-design makes new advances
Technologies developed:  - 5
o   Ostomy Management device;
o   Emergency medical alert device;
o   A breathable  and customized cast for immobilization of the fractured limb;
o   Fluid extraction device;
o   Posture support device
Technologies Transferred: - 2
o   Technology for Fetomaternal Parameter Monitoring System transferred to M/s. Brun Health Private Limited, Telangana, startup Company formed by Fellows 2013 Batch.
o   Technology for ‘A Portable Hand Sanitization device’ transferred to M/s. Observe Design Private Limited, New Delhi.
o   Fecal Incontinence device technology received USFDA 510 approval for their device.
Patents, Trademark, Industrial Design Filing:
o   6 Indian patents and 6 PCT applications filed;  6 trademark applications filed; and    One design registration filed for the Accufeed Invention.
o   Patents have been granted  in 4 countries namely Singapore, Japan, USA and Europe for the device for collecting fecal discharge in incontinent patients
New initiatives:
o   i-Fellowship program initiated with Australia as a new international partner
o   BMJ Innovations launched.

(5)        Major New Effort on Pre-Term Birth

Multi-institutional National Programme on pre-term birth launched
Pre-term Birth Program is the first inter-institutional program on maternal infant health and spontaneous pre-term birth sciences in India funded by the Department under Grand Challenge Program at a total cost of the project is Rs. 48.85 crore for a period of 5 years. It envisages a multidisciplinary research effort to predict & diagnose Preterm Birth (PTB) by enhancing the knowledge of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. It is expected that the clinically relevant research outputs from the study will aid characterization of biological, clinical and epidemiological risk factors to achieve appropriate risk stratification of mothers who may deliver before term. These in turn would provide a basis for discovery of novel therapeutic agents & determine appropriate timing for their clinical application. Together, it would strengthen the commitment of the Department of Biotechnology to health equity, contributing significantly to reduction in infant and maternal mortality.

II. Agriculture and Industrial:
(i)         Rice variety Samba Mahsuri: With the support of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Scientists at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Directorate of Rice Research (DRR) have jointly developed bacterial blight resistant Rice variety “Samba Mahsuri’ through Marker Assisted Selection and Backcross Breeding. The variety has so far spread to an area of 90,000 ha in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
 http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2015/dec/i2015123005.jpg  http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2015/dec/i2015123002.png  http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2015/dec/i2015123003.png 

(ii) Decoding the Wheat Genome: A strong partnership in Decoding the Wheat Genome has been built. 15 countries joined hands to complete this huge task of decoding 17,000 million bases. Indian Scientists participated in Decoding Chromosome 2A.
(iii) Maize hybrid (Vivek 9) with High Quality Protein and Increased Provitamin A was developed and released.
(iv) High zinc rice has been developed for the first time which has 22-24 ppm zinc and named as CGZR-1 and after all India trials would be available to farmers in another two years.
(v) 12 popular rice varieties to be grown in the rain fed agri-eco systems have been developed by incorporating major quantitative trait loci (QTL) or genes for flood, drought and salt tolerance. 
(vi) Bread wheat and durum wheat genotypes with high yield and high micronutrient concentration in optimum soil zinc have been developed.
(vii) First indigenous technology developed for commercial production of Ethanol from lignocellulosic waste: DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences established at Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai has developed Cellulosic ethanol technology.  Based on this indigenous technology a demo/pilot plant designed by an Industry, India Glycol Limited with financial support from DBT-BIRAC with a capacity of 10 tonnes lignocellulosic biomass per day to produce 3000 L ethanol/day on a continuous basis.  It is expected that the commercial plants based on the technology will be built in 2016, which is not far behind the technologies being implemented in the USA. 
(viii) Under a Mission programme on microbial prospecting: ‘Drugs from Microbes’ Involving nine institutes and an industrial partner in a public-private partnership model, 2.50 lakhs microbes were screened for four activities i.e. anti cancer, anti diabetic, anti inflammation and anti infective activities. A total of 16123 three stars hits were obtained- Anti-infective- 5286; anti cancer-518; anti inflammation-3643; anti diabetic-6676. One New Chemical Entity with anticancer and anti-inflammatory activity and 12 probable new use of compound were identified. Efforts are being made to explore the strategies for moving some of the active molecules obtained in the current program from discovery to Pre- Investigational New Drug (IND) studies, thereby creating a path of development of molecules. The Country’s largest Microbial Culture Collection Centre was set up at NCCS, Pune will 2,00,000 culture.

III. Human Resource Development
(i)         DBT has undertaken multiple initiatives for teaching & training in biotech education…
o   Star College Program
¾    92 colleges supported
¾    10 colleges accorded star status
o   >1600 personnel trained under UG, PG training courses
o   >2000 candidates provided training in biotech industries under BITP
(ii)        The Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship was conceived with the idea of encouraging Indian scientists working outside the country (Indian Nationals), and who would like to come back home and pursue their research interests in life sciences and biotechnology and other related areas. During the last six years 247 overseas scientists were selected and 173 have already returned and joined various research institutes/ universities 27 scientists are likely to join in next six months.  50 scientists are selected every year. This has enriched the scientific pool of the country.
IV. Societal Impact
“Women’s health, hygiene & nutrition” is the current focus under DBT’s women’s societal upliftment programme of DBT. The Department has supported major programme on cervical cancer screening, genetic disorder & counseling, pregnancy-related complications, breast cancer screening & post-operative care. While education on menstrual hygiene, cervical cancer & preventive measures were conducted in several villages involving more than 2,000 women, including school girls, around 5,000 women were offered cervical cancer screening services through village based camps. A network programme on Breast Cancer Screening was implemented in 4 districts of North-East, namely Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura with the help of Cancer Foundation of India, Kolkata.
A project for awareness, counseling, screening & education to prevent genetic and congenital disorder has been implemented in West Bengal and a web based portal (www.genomegyan.com) on genetics has been developed to popularize it as a subject among medical students and physicians.
(V) Biotech Based Developments in North Eastern Region (NER) of India
The North Eastern Region (NER) of India comprises of eight ‘sister’ states. The region is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions of Asia and the home for more than 150 tribes. In order to give focused attention for the North Eastern Region, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has allocated 10% of its annual budget for promoting/strengthening biotechnology driven activities in North Eastern States of India. A dedicated cell, North Eastern Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC) has been established by DBT in the year 2009-2010 and the cell is assisting DBT to evolve, implement and monitoring of various programmes for the benefit of NER states.
Some of the major flagship programmes/schemes implemented and created impact on biotech based developments in North Eastern States during the last one year are as follows:
·         Twinning Programme
The goal of this programme is to strengthen R&D activity in the North East India through joint collaborations. Financial assistance is provided to competitive R&D projects from scientists in the North Eastern States in collaboration with Scientists from National Institutions from other parts of the country.
The programme has supported nearly 400 R&D projects, leading to more than 200 papers published in peer reviewed journals, and more than 450 young scientists of NER trained in advanced biotechnology. Every year approximately 70-80 projects under this flagship programme are being supported to NER.
·         Setting up of “DBT-NER Centre for Advanced Animal Diagnostics and Services on Animal Health and Diseases (ADSAHD)” involving stake holders from all NER States including national laboratories from Bhopal, Bangalore and Hissar.
http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2015/dec/i2015123006.jpgThe North Eastern Region of India, owing to its unique geographical location sharing five international borders, bears constant threat of exotic trans-boundary diseases of our valuable livestock. This programme is aimed at strengthening regional infrastructure and capabilities for developing latest diagnostics and organizing rigorous surveillance for the highly contagious and ravaging diseases so that forecasting model on disease outbreaks in the region can be developed for a formidable defense to guard the territories. The programme envisages establishing three core laboratories across the NER for carrying out research and training activities in trans-boundary and endemic animal diseases. It aims to impart training to the State veterinary personnel in disease reporting, sample collection techniques and fostering public-public partnership module for effectively handling the animal-man-environment continuum chain.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, has launched this programme in NER on February 17, 2015.
·         Establishment of Unit of Excellence in Biotechnology (U-Excel)
With a view to recognize promising mid-career scientists in NER, a programme of awarding Unit of Excellence grant to them has been initiated so as to enable them to pursue their innovative research in frontier areas of biotechnology. So far, 12 Units of Excellence have been established during the year.
·         Overseas Associate ship for NER Scientists
This scheme aims to promote capacity building in cutting edge areas of biotechnology and life sciences. The Award promotes and supports scientists of merit in their pursuit of skill enhancement in scientific research/training in overseas laboratories for short term as well as long term. So far, 130 scientists have been awarded the Associate-ship. As of now more than 110 scientists have availed this Associate ship. This overseas associate ship has resulted in more than 20 research papers in peer reviewed journals and has also enabled more than 15 laureates in getting extra-mural funding for their R&D projects besieging training in house scientific human resource of NER.
(VI) Enhanced Innovation Ecosystem:
Under the DBT, for a well-defined Innovation Ecosystem for product development - a Public Sector undertaking, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has been set-up, supporting nearly 300 companies and 100 young entrepreneurs for innovation, research and product development. Further, the Biotechnology Translational research and industry academia partnership has promoted through 3 Biotech clusters, 8 Biotech Parks and 13 Bioincubators. Also, 16 Centers of Excellences have been created as a flexible model of long-term support for highly innovative, basic and translational research to create high quality state-of-the-art facilities for R&D.
Taking Science and Technology to Industry
Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council

·         The biotech startup scenario in India was transformed by one of BIRAC’s flagship scheme called BIG (Biotechnology Ignition Grant). BIG has supported 140 entrepreneurial ideas over 5 calls at pre-proof-of-concept stage. 22 new startups were created (in 18 months) and the total number of employment generated is 231.
·         Providing access to high end infrastructural requirement to the biotech community in India. BIRAC through its bioincubation scheme (BISS) has supported 15 bioincubation centres across the nation and has created 124,000sq.ft of incubation space. Within these incubators, around 199 biotech start-ups are being provided support. In each of the bioincubator, BIRAC has supported a common pool of high end instrumentation that is being used by incubate and other SMEs for R&D.
·         17 Products, 11 Technologies, 16 Early Stage-Technologies. 2 Process Innovations, 23 IP Generated/Facilitated.
·         322 Start-Ups, SME, and Entrepreneurs Supported.
·         BIRAC Ace Fund – An Equity Fund for Accelerating Entrepreneurs was announced by Hon’ble Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences during BIRAC Foundation Function.
·         Products Launched/Developed: Malaria Antigen Detection Kit, Quality Wine Produced By Enzymatic Maceration of Mango Pulp, Indigenous Production of Dextranase using Ssf Technique.

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