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Clean energy, water, health and astronomy: This is how India is spearheading the fight against global challenges

In 2016, a 3.6-metre optical telescope was placed at Devasthal in Nainital by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES). The telescope is the largest fully steerable telescope in Asia and can be used to observe cosmic explosive events including Gamma-Ray Bursts and Supernovae

A press release by the PIB has narrated how India has been working to establish itself as a key player in Science and Technology and is playing a major role in solving global challenges in the water, health, energy and astronomy sector.

In 2016, a 3.6-metre optical telescope was placed at Devasthal in Nainital by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES). The telescope is the largest fully steerable telescope in Asia and can be used to observe cosmic explosive events including Gamma-Ray Bursts and Supernovae. As such, it has become a facility for researchers across the globe who submit proposals for observation and machine time.

This initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) helped India establish itself as a strong player in global astronomical research. The experience gained in the development of the 3.6-metre optical telescope is proving crucial for the country in one of the key megaprojects, the Third Meter Telescope.

India’s support to clean energy and energy efficiency

India launched ‘Mission Innovation’ in 2015. The project saw global partnership between 20 countries. India funded 9 Research and Development (R & D) programmes in smart grids and 3 more programmes in affordable heating and cooling of buildings. At the same time, India has been a strong partner in Smart Grids Innovation Challenge, which seeks to accommodate 100% renewable energy sources in power grids.

Moreover, the Department of Science and Technology has supported renewable penetration, renewable energy generation and transition from conventional vehicle to electric vehicle in 9 projects along with 8 other countries. The nations include France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia. India is also making progress in thermal comfort research and building energy efficiency.

The DST has conceived a research program on comfort Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system control. In partnership with the Indian Exhibitions Industry Association (IEIA), DST is developing a comfort climate box for tropical regions. A global Cooling Prize has also been launched in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute in the USA for developing cost-effective, eco-friendly cooling technology.

India strengthens ties with the Netherlands to solve water challenges

Similarly, a programme called Dutch Indian Water Alliance for Leadership Initiative (DIWALI) has been developed in partnership with the Netherlands to resolve water challenges in India via affordable, scalable and sustainable technology. DST and Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) have come together to assess the Ganga cleanup project and study the impact of agriculture on its basins. The two sides have also funded joint research in 13 Indo-Dutch proposals.

India leads global fight against the Coronavirus pandemic

India has successfully leapt forward on the diplomatic front by supplying vaccine doses to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco and other countries. This vaccine diplomacy has not only helped save countless lives of people in other countries but has helped India emerge as a true global leader. 

At the same time, the Union Health Minister has been elected the Chair of the World Health Organisation Executive Board for 2020-21. The Indian government has disbursed ₹700 crores for Coronavirus therapeutics and ₹100 crores for non-health issues related to the Coronavirus. Besides, India’s Translational Health Science And Technology Institute (THSTI) has been recognised as a centre for centralised assessment of Coronavirus vaccines by the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness for Innovation (CEPI).

India is one of the founding members of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)’ which aims to support the human-centric and responsible development and use of Artificial Intelligence. The country is seeking to build a partnership with Germany, France Russia, Korea, Japan, the US and the UK for the development of AI technologies. With new collaborations, India is set to play a major role in the mega European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and a Thirty-meter telescope (TMT).

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