Science and Technology

India’s first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle operationalised in North Antarctica

India’s first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe) was successfully operationalised for research in North Antarctica by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).

PROVe was operationalised, after it had undergone series of trials in Antarctica in the past two months since its deployment by the NIOT researchers.

It has been deployed in Priyadarshini Lake located on the Schirmacher Oasis which is a major source of water for Maitri, India’s second base in the Antarctica.

Key facts of PROVe

  • Indigenously built by NIOT under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Capable of probing the sea bed under normal temperature and capable of exploring up to 200 meters in inhospitable and tough regions like the ice clad Antarctica.
  • Operated remotely by scientists on board the ship and has inbuilt thrusters allowing it for 360-degree movement.
  • Will help researchers to study and find out details about dissolved oxygen in sea bottom, salinity and the quantity of sunlight hitting the bottom of the sea.
  • The results and outcomes will help researchers in understanding the biological activities taking place inside the sea.

Implications of its operationalisation in Antartica

  • Its breakthrough is a great leap forward in forecasting with precision the ever elusive Monsoon, a climatic phenomenon which determines India’s economy.
  • In case of forecasting Monsoon, PROVe will measure parameters like ocean currents, temperature and salinity in the Arctic.
  • It will especially help scientist to move away from present Mathematical models for forecasting the Monsoon which many times vary from initial forecasts.

Current operation will collect data for analysis in June 2015. This data will be used for analyzing hypothesis about the link between Antarctic Ocean currents and Indian monsoon system.


Union Government launches Twitter Samvad for direct communication between Government and citizens

Union Government has launched a new digital platform ‘Twitter Samvad’ in association with social networking giant Twitter.

The digital platform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 24 March 2015 during his meeting with Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo.

About Twitter Samvad

  • The service aims to boost the nation’s e-governance plans and facilitate direct communication between leaders, government agencies and citizens.
  • Twitter Samvad is based on a digital platform provided by an Indian company ZipDial which was recently acquired by Twitter.
  • Through this platform a set of curated Tweets from the Twitter handled accounts of the government and the leaders will be delivered to mobile-phone users every day across the country as text messages.
  • The service will also play important role during emergencies by helping government agencies to share live updates, even time-sensitive information on law and order or rescue.

As of now, 16 government offices are participating in Twitter Samvad. It includes Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Railways, Bengaluru Police and the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat.


Union Government launches BIRAC AcE Fund to accelerate growth of entrepreneurs in Biotechnology

Union Government on 19 March 2015 launched Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) AcE Fund to accelerate growth of entrepreneurs in Biotechnology.

It was announced by Minister of State (MoS) for Science and Technology (S&T) and Earth Sciences Y.S. Chowdary on the occasion of the third foundation day of BIRAC in New Delhi.

The BIRAC AcE Fund aims to address the pressing needs of accelerating the growth of entrepreneurs, in the field of Biotechnology.

This equity fund will be operated by BIRAC a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the aegis Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

Apart from launching the fund, MoS for S&T and Earth Sciences also inaugurated a Two day Panel discussions focused at making biotechnology as one of the drivers of the ‘Make in India’ Programme.

About Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

  • BIRAC operates as a PSU under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
  • Established: 2012.
  • Purpose: It is mandated to foster and promote innovation research in biotech industries specially start-ups and SMEs.

The theme for this year’s foundation day of BIRAC was “Accelerating Innovations: India the Next Biotech Global Hub”