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Annual Report 2005-2006

S&T Manpower Development

Manpower Development is an integral part of the S&T Programmes of DST. Innovative human resource development programmes were initiated/continued. In this line, it promoted many of the continuing projects and programmes like the Kishore Vaigyanik Prothsahan Yojana (KVPY), DSTJNC Summer Student Fellowships, Integrated Science Olympiad Programme etc and also encouraged programmes supporting Young Scientists to take up challenging R&D activities as a career. Training Programmes, SERC schools, PROBE for school children and Fast Track schemes for young scientists have been progressing well in terms of quantity and quality.

SERC Schools

The following SERC Schools were organized in various front line techniques and advanced areas:

  • SERC School on Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata;
  • SERC School on Nonlinear Dynamics, Pondicherry University;
  • SERC School on Biophotonics, CAT, Indore;
  • A new dimension to NMR: From molecules to human behaviour - A national level school;
  • SERC School on Texture and Micro-texture;
  • SERC School on Chronobiology, Gulbarga University;
  • SERC School on Fermentation Process Modeling, Optimization and control: experimental and simulation Methods;
  • SERC School on Colloids and Interfaces: Fundamentals and Research Challenges;
  • SERC School on Ultra-fast Studies;
  • Preparatory SERC School in Theoretical High Energy Physics, HRI, Allahabad;
  • Main SERC School in Theoretical High Energy Physics, PRL, Ahmedabad;
  • SERC School in Nuclear Physics, VECC, Kolkata;
  • SERC School in Chrono-biology, Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu;
  • SERC School on Natural Disaster Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi;
  • SERC School on Special functions with matrix arguments;
  • SERC School on Mathematical Modeling of Water Quality and Pollution;
  • SERC School on GPS Augmentation Systems and Atmospheric Corrections; and
  • SERC School on Aviation Meteorology with special reference to Thunderstorms and its Modeling.
Training Programmes/Workshops/Contact Courses
  • Brain Storming Seminar on the High Performance Computing for Weather and Climate Modelling;
  • Two training workshops on 'Applications of WP/RASS' during March, 2005 and November, 2005;
  • Advanced Training Program in Mathematics for Under Graduate Students of Eastern U.P. Region" (Christ Church College, Kanpur);
  • Workshops in Mathematics for students of Mumbai region (IIT Bombay, Mumbai);
  • Workshop on Techniques in Applied Mathematics (University of Calcutta);
  • Instructional Workshop on Convex Analysis, Optimization and Applications (IIT, Kanpur);
  • National Symposium on Scientific Computing with application to PDEs (IIT, Kanpur);
  • Training Programme on microwave remote sensing data analysis for snow cover and glacier studies at IIT, Mumbai.
  • A field oriented training programme on Hamta Glacier by Geological Survey of India;
  • Training Programme on Deltas and Offshore Sedimentary Basins- Hydrocarbon Potential;
  • Training Programme on Application of RS & GIS in Earth Sciences by GSI, Hyderabad;
  • Training Programme on Lithofacies Mapping in Sedimentary Basins GSI, Hyderabad;
  • Training Programme on Sequence Stratigraphy;
  • Training programme on GEON Cyberinfrastrucure;
  • Training programme on Isotopic Ratio Mass Spectrometry;
  • Five workshops-cum-training programmes in the emerging and frontline areas of biomedical science such as molecular diagnosis of diseases, brain and behavior, Hematology; techniques in molecular oncology, neurobiology, and advancement in drug development; and
  • Specialized training Programme in Computational Seismology at IIT, Kharagpur & Tezpur University.
DST Schools on Mathematical Modeling in Earth System Sciences

The main aim of this programme is to develop manpower in mathematical modeling and computer simulation for better understanding of processes and phenomena in Earth System Sciences (Earth , Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences), which can fill up the present and future needs of our country, through organizing various types of inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional training activities in different parts of the country.

So far , during the period of the report , eight DST advanced Training Courses / programme were organized and about 230 candidates (Students, Research Scholars , Scientists and Teachers ,etc ) in the different field of Earth System Sciences from all over India (including outside of India) were participated under the programme . In addition to the above , six lecture notes volume were published and around 120 resource persons (delivered lectures and conducted practical classes, etc) in the different fields and different parts of our country were also attended the programmed . Overall details of the organized courses / training, etc, are as below:

  • Application of GIS/ GPS and Digital Cartography by University of Rajasthan,Jaipur
  • Mathematical Modelling of Groundwater in Mining areas by CMRI, Dhanbad
  • Application of GIS/ GPS and Remote Sensing in Development of Planning and Management by Udai Pratap Autonomous P.G. College, Varanasi
  • Mathematical Modelling in Hydrogeology : Numerical Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Solute Transport by Anna University, Chennai
  • Numerical Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Mass Transport for the Effective Management of Aquifers by CESS, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Groundwater Flow and Mass Transport Modelling for the Assessment and Management of Aquifers by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore
  • Mathematical Models in Hydro-geochemistry : Assessment of Ground-water Quality and Management by JNU, New Delhi
  • Role of Mathematical Modelling in ground water flow and transport by Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
Manpower Development in Nano-Science & Technology

Towards manpower development in nano-science & technology, the recently introduced scheme 'Postdoctoral Fellowships in Nanoscience & Technology' has been progressing well. Second Advanced school on Nanoscience & Technology was held at S.N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata. The school aimed at 'Science of size reduction, different routes of preparation and characterization of Nano-materials and applications' had received overwhelming response from nano researchers. A national conference on Nano Science & Technology was organized in NCL, Pune. The proceedings of the conference have come out as a special volume of 'Pramana'. The second International Conference on Nano Science & Technology (ICONSAT 2006) will be organized in Delhi during March 2006.
PROBE- Introducing Meteorology in Schools

Department of Science & Technology under its IS-STAC programme has taken an initiative to launch the scheme on Participation of youth in Real-time/ field Observations for the Benefit of Education (PROBE). The primary objective in the PROBE project initiated in the States of Uttranchal, Tamil Nadu, National Capital Region of Delhi and North-East is to train students in taking meteorological observations for understanding day-to-day environment.

U-PROBE

The pilot project U-PROBE Programme is being implemented in the State of Uttaranchal in collaboration with State Education Directorate, Uttranchal. Under the project U-PROBE Meteorological Laboratories are being introduced in 100 Senior Secondary Schools/ Government Inter Colleges of the hilly state. Physical parameters such as Temperature, Wind Speed, Wind Direction, Rainfall, Wet and Dry bulb temperatures are measured by school children and entered in computers. Data are being stored in PROBE database for future use. Annual U-PROBE Data Books are being brought out as hard copy for the benefit of researchers and planners.

Other programme achievements and highlights are

  • Six Technical Resource Centres (TRCs) have been supported in the Academic Institutions of the State namely; Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee; GBPIHED, Almorah; GBPUAT, Pant Nagar; Kumaun University, Nainital; HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, and DARL, Pithoragarh. The scientists from these are actively involved in guiding the schools in implementation.
  • Data i.e. temperature (min. max., dry bulb & wet bulb), humidity, dew point, wind speed (km/ hour), wind direction, rainfall and cloud were recorded from 1 November 2003 to 31 January, 2005 in schools, GIC, Roorkee; GGIC, Jwalapur; GIC Uttarkashi; GIC, Kotdwar; R.N Bhargava College, Mussoori; GIC, Ukhimath; GIC, Srinagar; GIC Narendranagar; GIC, Khetikhan; GIC, Lohaghat; GIC, Shantipuri GIC, Tanakpur; GIC, Pati ; GIC, Nainital; GIC, Okhalkhanda; GIC Didihat; GIC Gurangchand GIC, Pithoragarh; GIC, Almora; GIC Kasauni have been computerized.
  • Under the programme, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi held meetings to discuss development of Protocols for the programme and for training of Master Trainers. Second Master Trainer's workshop for school teacher of the Uttranchal on U-PROBE program was organized from 5-17th September, 2005 at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. In this workshop, 30 teachers from GICs participated.


Figure 7.1: U-PROBE Meteorological Laboratory in Uttaranchal

  • School Teachers are being given incentives/ leave compensation for participating in the programme. Teachers from U-PROBE schools and representatives from other TRC and U-PROBE State Level Cell in Uttranchal were invited to participate in the International Conference on Hydrology Perspectives for Sustainable Development held from February 23-26 at IIT Roorkee. A software demonstration meeting was also organized by TRC Almorah with Mr. Deepak Goel NIC for teachers of different schools.
  • A number of eminent scientists' and expert's lectures were organized on topics related to impact of Weather and Climate in different U-PROBE schools.
  • In addition, U-PROBE UPDATE was brought out in 2005 giving the progress made by each of the six technical resource centers, data collected by school students and its analysis as well as the specific research activities of the various technical resources centers. National Informatics Center (NIC) has updated the U-PROBE website.
  • The U-PROBE project is proving important not only in creating awareness among school children about weather, climate and climate change, but also in enriching of meteorological data for Uttranchal State.
  • The U-PROBE Programme Advisory and Monitoring Committee (UPAMC) met on 2nd March 2005 under the Chairmanship of Prof. V.R.Gowarikar, Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi S&T Commission, Government of Maharashtra, Pune.

NCR-PROBE

The NCR-PROBE program has been launched in the 50 schools of the National Capital Region of Delhi. PROBE Meteorological Laboratories are set up in six Defence schools of Delhi. First NCRPROBE Workshop on Meteorological and Environmental Education was organized on 27th Oct 2005 at India International Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. In this workshop about 100 students and teachers from the Defence Schools and Principals from Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan Schools, officers from DST, Education Department, IMD, members of the NCR-PROBE Expert Committee participated.

Honb'le Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Science & Technology and Ocean Development, inaugurated the Workshop. On this occasion, two brochures on Protocols for PROBE Measurements on Weather and Climate and Meteorological and Environmental Education for Schools were released. In addition the website on NCR-PROBE were also launched. A Video Clipping on Weather Around Us and technical presentations on NCR-PROBE Programme in Defence Schools in Delhi, Role of India Metrological Department in PROBE, NCR-PROBE Programme for School Education, Disaster Management and Need for Training of Master Trainers were made by Adviser DST, Acting Directing General IMD, Additional Director General (Retd.) IMD, Chairman, Expert Committee on NCRPROBE and ISRO Visiting Professor, Professor, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT, Delhi and others. Students from Air Force Bal Bharati School, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, and Army Public School, Noida presented their experiences in participation under NCR-PROBE.

Figure 7.2: Students participating
in observations of wind speed
Figure 7.3: Students learning to measure rainfall using rain gauge

Children would be encouraged to get hand-on experience, conduct scientific experiments, learn about meteorology and enter the data into computers. For facilitating implementation of the programme, training of Master trainers/ school teachers and generation of meteorological database, Technical Resource Centres (TRCs) are being supported in Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi College of Engineering, Bawana. and Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, Dwarka and others.

TN-PROBE

The PROBE program has also been launched in the southern coastal parts of Tamilnadu. The Aditnar College of Arts & Science, Virapandianpatnam, Trichendur District, Tamilnadu is acting as a Technical Resource Centre. About 15 schools will be covered in the coastal districts of Kanyakumari, Triunelvelli and Thoothukkudi in the first phase. These schools will be equipped with computers and meteorological instruments for introducing meteorological laboratories. The project is supported by DST and will implemented in collaboration with the State Department of Education through the Directorate of School Education, District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA) and the Fisheries Department of Government of Tamil Nadu at the beginning and later with the involvement of village communities, NGO's and Parent-Teachers Association of various schools. Hundreds of accidents occur every year in the sea of this area resulting in the loss of human lives and also properties. The accidents occur due to the unpredictable sea conditions caused primarily by water-currents and wind. The project would create a scientific temper among the students of the schools and also help fishing folks.

ORISSA-PROBE

ORISSA-PROBE has been initiated with the premise that almost three-quarters of all national disasters - flood, tropical cyclone and drought forest-fire and epidemics are weather or climatic related in this region. Their impact is particularly severe herein the sub-continent because of inscrutable monsoon.

A two-day workshop was organized in Bhubaneswar, Orissa in November, 2005. During the workshop, nature of participation of various holders was discussed. State Education Department, MET Department, RRL, Bhubaneswar, Orissa - DST Orissa - State Disaster Mitigation authority were the main participants. In addition, participants representing State Universities, teachers, NGOs and independent authorities participated in the Workshop.

NE-PROBE

During the year, NE-PROBE program has also being initiated in North Eastern Himalayas in Darjeeling (West Bengal). Twenty schools are being identified for establishing meteorological laboratories and participation in this program. Bose Institute, Kolkata has been supported to facilitate implementation in the schools and act as Technical Resource Center. The project was formally inaugurated by Hon'ble Governor of West Bengal on 3rd November, 2005.
Himalayan School Observatory Programme in Earthquakes

  • The programme is being implemented by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Manipur University for NW Himalaya & NE Himalaya respectively.
  • In NW Himalaya, all the 50 locations have been identified and site preparation work is in progress and it is planned to complete the installation work in the Current Financial Year.
  • A workshop was orgaanised during September 29-October 6,2005 at WHIG to impart necessary training to school teachers. The training was very well received and 48 teachers out of 50 schools attended it.
  • In NE Himalaya, 40 sites have been identified & 23 sites have already been prepared for Installation of Seismograph. The work on remaining 17 sites has also been initiated.
Fast Track Scheme for Young Scientists

Realizing the importance of development of Scientific Manpower for taking up research in challenging areas of S&T, the Department in its 10th plan has decided to focus upon the schemes that are facilitate encouraging, supporting and nurturing Science students and Young Scientists in a coordinated manner. The Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), Department of Science & Technology, in order to provide quick research support to young scientists below the age of 35 years, has introduced a new fast track mechanism since 2000-2001.

During the current year, sanctions have been issued for about 180 new projects and 230 ongoing projects in various disciplines. Several interesting and significant results were reported from ongoing projects. 49 proposals have been funded in different areas of Chemical Science.

Significant results in the ongoing projects are as follows:

  • A series of methodologies (Ferrier rearrangement for O- and C- glycosidation, acetylation of carbohydrates over solid catalyst, preparation of glycofuranosides from acyclic glycosyl dithioacetal, one pot reaction protocol for the preparation of thioglycosides directly from unprotected reducing sugars) useful to synthetic organic chemistry have been developed.
  • An efficient method has been developed for Mukaiyama aldol reaction of silyl enol ethers and silyl ketene acetal with aldehydes, ketones and acetals catalysed by iodine. Yield of the product was found to be 68-87% with preferential anti-selectivity. A new route for the synthesis of homoallylic amines has also been developed using iodine as catalyst.
  • A series of novel surfactants where supramolecular chirality could be tuned very efficiently and explored in stereoselective ketone reduction haves been developed. The importance of the rigidity imposed at the micellar interface by surfactant head group towards controlling the enantioselectivity has been established for the first time.
  • Au-MPM and Au-TC electrodes have been found to oxidize NADH selectively in presence of interferants in a wide range of concentration. The ethanol biosensor has been fabricated by immobilizing ADH using a polymer PAA on the SAM-modified electrodes.
  • Innovative screening methods for isolating oil degrading or oil utilizing microbial strains and for tapping protease secreting strains from the environment have been evolved. These methods have led to the isolation of 9 protease secreting strains, 9 oil utilization strains and two other metal tolerant strains.
  • A first ever attempt has been made to isolate and characterize the protein from goat. The work for complete sequencing of the protein is under way. The results were published in reputed international journals.
  • DNA sequencing of MSP-1 and AMA-1 clones from few of the isolates were done. Out of these 3 variants were obtained for expression analysis. Present study has led to the identification of one more allele, which is seen worldwide but could not be seen in the previous analysis, is found to be present in Indian isolates. With respect to AMA-1 also, there is allelic variations as seen from this study, though the isolates were too less in number.
  • Neuro protective effect of 4 - amino-1,8-napthalimide (4-ANI), a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor was investigated in middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) - induced focal ischemia in rat model.
Better Opportunities for Young Scientists in Chosen Areas of Science & Technology (BOYSCAST)

The BOYSCAST programme provides opportunities to young Indian scientists/technologists below the age of 35 years, who hold regular positions in recognized S&T institutes in India to visit reputed institutions abroad, interact with scientists/technologists there, get exposure to latest research techniques and participate and contribute to the latest developments in specially chosen areas of Science & Technology. During the year, fellowships have been awarded to 46 scientists/technologists for conducting research/undergoing specialized training in overseas research laboratories/institutes in the following broad areas: Atmospheric & Earth sciences, Chemical sciences, Engineering sciences, Life sciences, Mathematical sciences and Physical sciences.
Swarnajayanti Fellowships Programme

Swarnajayanti Fellowships programme was launched with the objective to encourage young scientists to undertake basic research in frontier areas of science and technology and achieve standards of excellence, which are comparable with the best in the world. The fellowships are open to Indian young scientists, in the age group of 30-40 years, with a proven track record. The selected candidates are given attractive fellowship besides project grants. A research programme is considered in the frontier areas of science, engineering or medicine for a maximum period of five years. The support under the project covers grants for equipment, manpower, contingencies, consumables, travel including international travel and administrative and infrastructure support.

During 2004-05, the eight young scientists/engineers viz. Dr. Sandeep Verma (Chemical Sciences); Dr. Nimish A. Shah (Mathematical Sciences); Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale (Life Sciences); Dr. P.K. Panigrahi and Dr. Navakanta Bhat (Engineering Sciences); and Dr. Gautam I Menon, Dr. Vasant Natarajan & Dr. Tanusri Saha Das Gupta (Physical Sciences) were selected for the award of Swarnajayanti Fellowships.
Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY)

About 80 students were selected this year under this scheme. For the students continuing in the Scheme, summer training programmes were again organized this year in a number of institutions across the country. Based on their scholastic performance in their respective courses of study and their performance in the summer training programme, the scholarship was renewed.
Science Olympiad Programme

The Indian teams again performed very well in the International Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology Olympiads. The medal tally this year was as follows: in Mathematics : 1 silver, 1 bronze and 3 Honourable Mentions; in Physics : 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze; in Chemistry : 3 Silver and 1 Bronze; and, in Biology : 1 Gold and 3 bronze medals.

Assistance For Participation In Conferences Abroad(PFA)

The objective of the scheme is to provide partial travel assistance to the Indian Scientists to participate in the International Conference/workshop, training Programme etc. to provide an opportunity to the Indian Scientist to interact with their foreign counterparts which enables them to update their knowledge and also present their research findings at an International level for a better peer reviewing.

During the current year, 1172 candidates supported out of total number of 2175 applications received up to 31st December, 2005. Out of this, about 434 young scientists were supported towards travel grants to participate in International Conferences/Workshops, Training Programmes etc. Some of the young outstanding scientists were given 100% travel grants also. Some of the important conferences were IUFRO World Congress, International Conference on Carbon, Materials for Advanced Technologies, International Conference on Computational Methods & Function Theory, International Conference on Plasma Science, International Conference on Green & Sustainable Chemistry, International Chemical Conference etc.
Scheme for Committed Young Professionals (YSP)

Action research projects are granted to young scientists (upper age limit of 35 years for men, 40 years for women) with the objective of (a) attempting a field implementation of an idea, or (b) developing new techniques for solving problems, which do not have clear solutions at present. Young scientists' are encouraged to pursue innovative research ideas, which have direct bearing on social problems through selected voluntary organizations, academic institutions or research laboratories.

Highlights of some of the projects sanctioned during the year under reference are given below:

  • Everybody's Mobile Hand Operated Washing Machine: A cost effective Hand Operated Washing Machine has been designed applying the old principles of the motion of human hand on the washboard, by using a lever to move one curved surface over another and rubbing cloths between two ribbed surfaces. It has a cylindrical stainless steel unit of dimensions 80 centimeters length and 40 centimeters width. On the sides, a gear system is placed to increase RPM and a fibreglass wheel is attached inside the smaller gear through a shaft. There is a system to drain out the used water. The system rests on a stand with wheels. Most of the energy used by a washing machine (electrical) comes from heating the water. To provide heat naturally, the outside portion of the washing drum is painted mat black. By placing the unit with water in sunlight, the water gets warmed up. Operating mechanism: About 5 kg. Clothes along with 100 gms of soap is placed in the drum. Water is filled in the drum. The handle is rotated for 15 minutes in the clockwise direction and the other handle is rotated for another 15 minutes, in the anti - clockwise direction. Before this operation, the clothes are kept in wet condition for an hour so that the soap gets soaked into the clothes. The soap water after washing is drained out. Again water is filled and the operation repeated for 5 minutes each. After that the clothes are removed, rinsed in a bucket of water and sun dried.
  • Papaya tissue culture and standardization of its micro propagation method: Papaya plantations are always established from seedlings. Sex cannot be determined until the mid developmental stage. Plant multiplication by tissue culture method is a suitable proposition to supply the farmers the required number of healthy male, female or hermaphrodite plants. Pusa Nanha, Pusa dwarf, Co1, Co2, Honey Dew & Ranchi were collected. Because of its complex genetic makeup, there are few, if any, true cultivars of papaya, which are uniform in horticultural characteristics. Papaya plants show significant variation in yield, fruit quality and disease susceptibility within the cultivated population. All three systems were employed for the in-vitro culture of papaya, namely, proliferation of apical and/or auxiliary buds in culture, nodal culture (Figure 7.4) and in-vitro multiplication through callus induction and organogenesis/embryogenesis.


Figure 7.4: Growth of the nodal culture of papaya

  • In another project, a kiln has been designed and fabricated to make low cost charcoal from bio - mass. The design consists of cylindrical drums with channel to accommodate water and a lid with 1" (inch) chimney. The apparatus is placed in a pit, so that the entire charge is below ground level. The inverted funnel is aboveground level, so that it can be placed easily after lighting the charge. It has been made in the form of a stand that is placed after the inverted funnel. . A hollow cylinder, made of two halves, has been placed around the vessel. The valve for controlling primary air is at ground level. During the experiment, wine gauze must be stuffed into the stem. The bottom of the vessel must be 1 foot above the top the stem, so that the tar gets burnt before it comes into contact with the vessel. The inner drum is provided with eyes so that the whole drum can be lifted out of the pit using a bar, for emptying its contents. The charcoal drum can be easily lifted up without having any physical problems. Volatiles are used for heating water. Field testing of the model is being carried out in various silk production units.

Completed Projects

During the year, 5 projects were completed successfully. Some of the achievements emerging out of these projects are as follows:

  • Standardized technologies for carbonated fruit juice drinks.
  • Bio-control agents and fungicides have been developed for Fusarium corn rot of saffron.
  • Standardized techniques of using Trichogramma chilonis - a bio control agent for combating the early seedling borer of Sugarcane, Chilo infuscatellus.
 
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