Ministry of Science and Technology Current Affairs

Fact Box: India’s Contribution to Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) Project

Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT)  is the world’s biggest telescope which would facilitate astronomers to observe the intricacies of the universe from earth.

Salient Facts

Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) is a multi- million dollar project being developed by an international consortium of Five countries including India. The other four countries are Canada, China, Japan and the U.S. In July 2013, five countries participating in the project had inked Master Partnership Agreement (MPA) for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

The ambitious next-generation telescope would be built at a cost of USD 1.47 billion. India will spend Rs 1,300 crore on the project. India’s contribution to the project will be more in terms of hardware than money.

The telescope which was expected to be started at Mauna Kea, Hawaii was stalled following protests by locals. The project site is still being finalised by the consortium of countries involved in the project. Hanle in Ladakh is one among the new sites that are being explored for the construction of the telescope.

The telescope is expected to be ready by 2020. The telescope when ready would offer astronomers with unparalleled power to observe the universe.

India has a 10% partner in the telescope project. Indian astronomers will get observational time in proportion to India’s share in the total project cost.

On the Indian side, the project will be handled by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Department of Atomic Energy. The project would be led by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, with the help of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.

TMT will be the first ground-based telescope to incorporate the technology of Adaptive Optics (AO) as an integral component of the telescope. India’s contributions will include fabrication of edge sensors, which sense relative displacement of segments due to gravity and temperature while tracking objects in the sky. India also has the responsibility to build the entire actuator system to provide the best possible image of objects in the sky.


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”