New Delhi [India], February 16 (ANI): Hailing the Union Budget 2021-22 as a forward-looking budget to substantially boost support for Research and Development (R&D) in the key identified areas of national priorities, Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that there are several initiatives in the Union Budget to promote science, technology and innovation with applications in the country.
Elaborating about the Budget allocation to different schemes and initiatives for the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vardhan said that it is in line with the projections in the draft Science Technology and Innovation Policy 2021 put up for public consultations.
Vardhan said there has been a 30 per cent increase in the budget of Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences put together for the year 2021-22 compared to last year.
“The last year has been a very challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and science and technology has played a crucial role in tackling various problems caused by the COVID-19” he added.
A total allocation of Rs 50,000 crore over 5 years for the National Research Foundation, an autonomous body envisaged to support researchers working across several streams of science and technology with special focus on universities, has been made in Union Budget 2021-22, said an official release of Ministry of Science and Technology adding that “this will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with a focus on identified national-priority thrust areas.”
The budget also announced the launch of a Deep Ocean Mission with an outlay of more than Rs 4,000 crore over five years to better understand this new realm which offers exceptional opportunities in mapping, exploring and utilising oceanic resources. The mission to be coordinated by the Ministry of Earth Sciences will cover deep ocean survey, development of technologies for exploration and harnessing of ocean resources as well as projects for the conservation and bio-prospecting of deep-sea biodiversity.
The budget also declared setting up of umbrella structures in nine cities for building better synergies among R&D institutions, universities and colleges supported by the government while also retaining their internal autonomy. This will be coordinated by the Ministry of Education, and a ‘glue grant’ will be set aside for this purpose, the Ministry said.
According to the Ministry, the Department of Biotechnology is implementing the URJIT clusters (University Research Joint Industry Translation Clusters) which are being set up in 10 locations as per the Budget announcement in February 2020. These will complement the activities of the umbrella structures.
A National Language Translation Mission (NLTM) was announced, which will enable the translation of the wealth of governance- and policy-related knowledge on the internet to major Indian languages using technologies such as AI-based Machine Translation together with traditional methods, it stated.
The launch of a Hydrogen Energy Mission by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy was declared for generating hydrogen from green power sources, its storage, transport and utilisation.
“The Department of Biotechnology is developing a Biomass to Hydrogen Mission which will be important from the R&D perspective. Department of Science and Technology and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research will also be contributing to this mission,” the Ministry said. (ANI)
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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra offers prayers at Kamakhya temple in Assam
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra offered prayers at Kamakhya temple on Monday during her Assam visit.
“Today I got the good fortune of seeing mother Kamakhya. I prayed for the welfare of all the countrymen to Kamakhya,” she tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted a few verses of Sanskrit slokas for goddess Kamakhya.
The Kamakhya Temple is a Sakta temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya. It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas situated on the Nilachal Hill in the western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also visited Sant Ravidas temple on Saturday on his birth anniversary and tweeted about Sant Ravidas’s messages of equality to create an ideal society service and goodwill.
However, on Friday, the Election Commission of India announced that Assam will go to Assembly elections in three phases beginning March 27. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: “In Assam, elections shall be held in three phases. The first phase of notification is March 2 and 47 seats in 12 districts will go to the polls. The last date of nomination March 9 and the date of poll is March 27. In the second phase, 39 constituencies in 13 districts will go to the polls on April 1. Forty Assembly constituencies in 12 districts to go on polls on April 6. Votes will be counted on May 2.”(ANI)
Need to integrate India’s agri produce into global processed foods market: PM Modi
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that India of 21st century needs post-harvest or food processing revolution and for that his government is initiating steps to integrate country’s agricultural produce into the global processed foods market.
“It is the need of the hour to ensure farmers’ produce get as many options in the market as possible. We have to integrate our agricultural produce into the global processed foods market,” said PM Modi while addressing a webinar on the implementation of Budget in the agriculture sector.
Listing out the steps taken by his government for agriculture in Budget 2021-22, he said, “India of 21st century needs post-harvest or food processing revolution and value addition amid increasing agriculture production. It would have been good for the country had this been done 2-3 decades back.”
“Central government has increased agriculture credit target to Rs 16.50 lakh crore – animal husbandry, dairying, and fisheries sectors have been given priority. Rural infrastructure fundraised to Rs 40,000 crore. Micro-irrigation fund doubled,”he added.
“We have made reforms and started Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes worth Rs 11,000 crore which will help the agro-industries. Ready to eat, ready to cook, seafood, and several other items are being promoted,” he said.
Highlighting the need for the participating by the private sector, he said, “It is time the private sector increases its participation in Research and Development in the agriculture sector. It should not be limited to just seeds, but a holistic scientific ecosystem associated with one crop, the entire cycle.”
Ensuring the profit for the smallest farmers, he added that with food processing, “We must also focus on helping the smallest farmers with modern technology.” (ANI)
Man held for stalking, molesting woman in Delhi
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): A 40-year-old man, identified as Shivram, was arrested by Police near the INA circle in Delhi on Sunday for stalking and molesting a woman.
As per the police, the victim had registered a complaint on February 27 and alleged therein that Shivram abused, molested, and misbehaved with her, threatened her with dire consequences and forced her to meet him.
After receiving the complaint, the police staff rushed to a spot near the INA circle where Shivram had allegedly called the victim.
On seeing the police Shivram tried to run away and jumped into a drain. Constable Nehru chased him and also jumped in the drain. Shivram hit him with a brick on his forehead but in spite of being injured, the constable overpowered him. People who were there also helped overpower Shivram.
Police said, “During the investigation, it was revealed that the accused Shivram used to work in *Civil Defence* and he was harassing and stalking the complainant with intent to outrage her modesty and used abusive and filthy language, threatening her with dire consequences.”
The constable who sustained an injury on his head was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Further investigation is in progress. (ANI)
One terror associate held by security forces in J-K’s Pulwama; hand grenade seized
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 1 (ANI): One terror associate Muzamil Qadir Bhat, was arrested by Jammu and Kashmir Police along with 42 Rashtriya Rifles and 180 battalions of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from Lorow Jagir Tral village in Pulwama on Monday.
The forces seized incriminating material of Jaish-e-Mohammad and a hand grenade from the accused.
Bhat is a resident of Lorow Jagir Tral, a village in Pulwama.
A case has been registered against the accused. (ANI)
PM Modi wishes Nitish Kumar on his birthday
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday wished Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on his birthday and praised him for undertaking numerous measures for the development of the state.
“Best wishes to Bihar CM @NitishKumar Ji on his birthday. Under his leadership, the NDA Government in Bihar is undertaking numerous measures for developing the state. Praying for his long and healthy life,” PM Modi tweeted.
Janata Dal (United) workers are celebrating Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s 70th birthday as ‘Vikas Diwas’ across the state.
According to the sources, Nitish Kumar may take the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on his birthday at 1 pm.
The party workers also distributed laddus (sweets), notebooks, pencils and milk among the poor in Patna. (ANI)
CM Palaniswami doesn’t represent State, he represents what Centre wants him to do: Rahul Gandhi
Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI):Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday took aim at Chief Minister and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) while campaigning in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi, saying Palaniswami has been acting on the directions of the Centre and dosen’t represent the state.
“He (CM) must not let Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) insult Tamil culture. Modi says ‘1 nation, 1 culture, 1 history’. Is Tamil not an Indian language? Is Tamil history not Indian or is Tamil culture not Indian? As an Indian, it’s my duty to protect Tamil culture, said Rahul Gandhi on the second day of his visit to poll-bound Tamil Nadu.
“Government in Delhi doesn’t respect Tamil culture. They have a Chief Minister who does everything they say. CM (E.K. Palaniswami) doesn’t represent State, he represents what Modi wants him to do. A person who bows before only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t represent Tamil Nadu,” said Rahul Gandhi at a roadshow in Kanyakumari, during a roadshow in Kanyakumari as a part of his campaign for the April 6 assembly elections.
Earlier, the Congress leader recalled former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kumaraswami Kamaraj for his leadership quality and said that when it came to implementing the mid-day meal in the state, the leader did not care about the economists’ opinion that it would be a bad idea he only listened to the people and introduced the scheme.
Cornering the Central government, the Wayanad MP alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government does not respect the people of Tamil Nadu, their culture and language.
He further said the Congress party looks forward to a government in Tamil Nadu that looks after the interest of farmers, small businesses and labourers.
On Saturday, Gandhi had slammed the Union Government, stating that the Centre thinks they can control the people of Tamil Nadu. He even targeted Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and alleged that he is a corrupt leader.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Friday.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other. (ANI)
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