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India needs more women in science, says president

President Ram Nath Kovind dedicates a device to detect milk adulteration and a cost -effective way of treating toxic effluents from the tannery industry, on the occasion of CSIR’s 76th foundation day.

science Updated: Sep 26, 2017 18:44 IST
President Ram Nath Kovind with Union Minister for Science & Technology & Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan admires a device to check milk adulteration invented by CSIR .
President Ram Nath Kovind with Union Minister for Science & Technology & Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan admires a device to check milk adulteration invented by CSIR .(AP)

New Delhi: On the occasion of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s 76th foundation day, President Ram Nath Kovind dedicated two technologies developed by the premier research institute to the country, and took the opportunity to highlight the invisibility of women in India’s scientific community.

“He (the prime minister) asked us to work on 100 new technologies one year ago,” Harsh Vardhan, science minister who holds the additional charge of the environment ministry, said, “We are working on atleast 250 new technologies that are extremely people-centric.”

“None of our developmental goals has any meaning without any gender parity. The CSIR as a body and India as a society has made enormous progress and yet the participation of women in science in our country is distressingly small,” Kovind said.

The president noted that less than two out of every 10 scientific researchers in India were women and of those who joined an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), only about 10 % were women. “These numbers are simply not acceptable,” he said at the function.

One of the technologies unveiled was a milk adulteration device, Ksheer, which detects contaminants like urea, salt, detergent, liquid soap, boric acid, caustic soda, soda and hydrogen peroxide in milk. According to some estimates almost 60% of milk samples in the country are contaminated including from unsafe water.

The other technology was aimed at significantly reduces the cost of treating highly toxic effluents from the leather tannery industry. The industry, which has a cluster in Kanpur, has faced growing censure because of its role in polluting the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.

The science minister highlighted the improvement in the standing of CSIR, which ranked ninth among 1,207 government-aided research institutions, in the Scimago Institutions ranking World Report 2017. It was ranked 12th in 2016.

CSIR young scientist awards were also handed out to under three categories: Dr Sakya Singha Sen from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (Chemical sciences), Dr Prosenjit Das from CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute and Dr Sathravada Balaji from CSIR-Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (Engineering sciences) and Dr Amit Laddi from CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (Physical sciences).