Context: A high-level digital conference on Rebooting the Economy through Science, Technology and Research Translations titled RESTART will be organised to celebrate the National Technology Day on May 11.

More on the news: 

  • The conference will be organised by Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 
  • The conference will bring together Scientists, Technocrats, Government officials, Diplomats, WHO officials and dignitaries from national and international Industry, Research Institutions  and Academic Institutions on a single platform to share their insights on 
    • The role played by S&T in the global healthcare crisis and 
    • Find solutions that not only address the current pandemic but will also help us in facing the challenges ahead.


Technology Development Board (TDB)

  • The Government of India constituted the Technology Development Board (TDB) in September 1996, under the Technology Development Board Act, 1995, as a statutory body.
  • It was created to promote development and commercialization of indigenous technology and adaptation of imported technology for wider application. 
  • The board consists of 11 Board members and plays a pro-active role by encouraging enterprises to take up technology oriented products.
    • It provides equity capital or loans to industrial concerns and financial assistance to research and development institutions. The loan carries a simple interest rate of 5% per annum. 
  • The TDB is the first organization of its kind within the government framework with the sole objective of commercializing the fruit of indigenous research.

 Significance of celebrating the event this year:

  • In the COVID 19 crisis, technology has been at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic. 
  • As the world adjusts to its new normal, business leaders world over are rethinking and devising new strategies to harness technologies that would help drive resilience and make them emerge from the crisis stronger.
  • Keeping in mind the need of the hour to formulate a comprehensive action plan to reboot the economy, TDB is celebrating National Technology Day, focusing on technological solutions towards that end. 
  • The conference will have technical sessions on 
    • Medicines & Medical Technologies
    • Advanced Materials – New Technology Horizons
    • Advanced Manufacturing Technologies for Sustainable Future and 
    • Global Innovation & Technology Alliance for Global Economic Leadership.

Towards a carbon-free energy future:

Delivering a lecture on the day, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar made following observations

  • Correlation between Human Development Index (HDI) and Per Capita Energy Consumption: As per the statistics, countries with higher HDI where citizens enjoy high quality of life have higher per capita consumption of energy.
  • Trade off between energy security and climate security: For a developing country like India, the need of the hour is to strike a balance between enhancing the quality of human life as well as keeping a control over the climate crisis.
  • IPCC report: Report of InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change, staying below 1.5 degree increase of 2,100 will require cuts in GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions of 45?low 2010 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
    • This means we have only 10 years left to realise deep CO2 emission cuts while ensuring development aspirations of many countries across the world.
    • To achieve this, the world has to act now by leveraging available/rapidly deployable technologies. 

This is where the requirement of nuclear energy, which can easily meet the ‘zero emission’ target, arises. 

Decarbonisation with the help of nuclear energy

  • Contribution of nuclear energy:  Can reduce the cost of deep decarbonisation. Decarbonising means reducing carbon intensity, i.e. reducing the emissions per unit of electricity generated (often given in grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour).
  • Action Required: In order to control CO2 emission, different levels of consumption strategy need to be observed by different countries based on their HDI. 
    • For example, those countries with high Human Development Index, should reduce their energy consumption since it may not affect their HDI, much. 
    • And the countries with moderate HDI should focus on non-fossil electricity consumption while countries with low HDI should be able to provide subsidised sources of cleaner energy to their citizens. 

This way every country can actively contribute towards low / zero emission.

  • Best practices: 
    • Japan is a country which has seen the brunt of the negatives of nuclear energy - the cruellest nuclear bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki - still the country has drafted an energy plan, to generate 20% to 22% of their total energy consumption as nuclear energy, to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030. 
    • Countries like Germany and Japan are already planning to cut GHG emissions by 2020 and 2030 respectively which has allotted huge amounts of production of renewable energy.
  • Case of India: For a country like India, in order to decarbonise the energy consumption, a 30-fold increase in renewable energy, 30-fold increase in nuclear energy and doubling of thermal energy which would make 70% of energy carbon free is required.


Indian nuclear power at a glance

Capacity: To meet the energy requirements of the country, currently there are 66 units with the capacity of 49180 MWe (including projects that are operating, under planning, under construction and those that are approved).

Nuclear Waste: 

  • The major concern that pops up now is of how to manage the nuclear wastes that is produced during energy generation. 
  • Dr. Kakodkar said, India adopts the policy of ‘Nuclear Recycle Technology’ - where the nuclear fuel - Uranium, Plutonium etc, once used for generation of energy, is reused as a resource material by the commercial industries to be recycled. 
    • More than 99% of Nuclear waste is reused as the waste management program in India prioritises recycling.


Importance of 11th May

TDB, on behalf of the Ministry of Science & Technology, celebrates May 11 every year as National Technology Day to commemorate achievements of innovations and technological excellence in the country.

  • The celebration of Technology Day symbolizes India’s quest for scientific inquiry, technological creativity & innovations, and the integration of these developments into national socio-economic benefits and global presence.
  • Since 1999, the day has been celebrated as National Technology Day.
  • The day has a historical perspective as it was on May 11, 1998, that India achieved a major technological breakthrough by successfully carrying out nuclear tests at Pokhran
  • Further, the first indigenous aircraft "Hansa-3" was test flown at Bangalore on this day and India also performed successful test firing of the Trishul missile on the same day.
    • Trishul is a short range surface-to-air missile developed in India. It was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation as a part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.