From producing the indelible ink that has been worn by millions of fingernails since the first general election in 1952 to the country’s first parallel supercomputer in the late 80s, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has come a long way in seven decades of its existence.
In its journey along knowledge-driven and Science and Technology-led path towards inclusive growth, CSIR has come out with technology-based solutions that have also benefitted the less privileged and vulnerable sections of the society.
CSIR has linked closely with the Indian industry, assuming the role of its partner in technology. Whether it was a Swaraj tractor or a mini tractor ‘Krishi Shakti’ for small farmers, or an anti-malarial drug, the imprint of CSIR has been there all along. In the field of medicine and health care CSIR altered the paradigm by introducing process technologies, which facilitated development of generic drugs on one hand and unraveling of human genome on the other.
CSIR has launched an anti-diabetic herbal formulation, namely, BGR-34 from a combination of natural extracts derived from six plant species mentioned in ancient Ayurveda texts.
After extensive tests, BGR-34 stands approved by the Ministry of AYUSH.
CSIR has developed a portfolio of Streptokinase technology, a vital, life-saver injectable protein cardiovascular drug. Natural and recombinant streptokinase developed by CSIR are already in the market.
It has now developed new generation of clot-busters comprising clinically beneficial thrombolytic molecules with enhanced half-lives so that lower doses can be given in a single-shot bolus as well as target (fibrin/clot) specificity.
As high levels of milk contamination came to notice, CSIR developed a system, Ksheer-Scanner which detects adulteration of milk by the use of urea, salt, detergent, liquid soap, boric acid. About 40 such systems have already been installed.
In high-end technology area, CSIR has contributed to space program as well as contributed significantly for the light combat aircraft, Tejas. CSIR has installed Drishti systems at Delhi’s busy IGI Airport for providing information to pilots on visibility for safe landing and take-off operations. In collaboration with the India Meteorological Department (IMD), CSIR will jointly produce 70 Drishti systems some of which are already deployed at the country’s five major airports.
In some cases, it has led the industry as in the leather sector while in some it has worked to create a new industry, as in civil aviation sector. At times, CSIR technology interventions helped in creating jobs as in the country’s menthol mint success story, wherein India became a global leader in menthol mint production mainly due to CSIR sustained efforts in developing high-yielding varieties. At the same time, CSIR technological interventions have helped in saving jobs – during the 1990s when the leather industry was facing a storm and the Courts had ordered 700 highly polluting tanneries to close down. CSIR stepped in and 270 closed tanneries were revived and over two lakh jobs were saved.
CSIR has always responded to the needs of the time, lending a helping hand in the ‘Green Revolution’ and laying the foundation of Indian agrochemicals industry. In the 1980s, India was starved of computer power, as the supercomputer was not sold to India. CSIR took the initiative to get the country its first supercomputing power in the form of first parallel computer built in 1986.
In the 1980 India was starved of Computer- power. Supercomputers from the west were either too expensive or not sold to India. CSIR therefore decided to connect several sequential computers in parallel to get supercomputing power. Flosolver, India’s first parallel computer was built in 1986.
Flosolver’s success triggered other successful parallel computing projects in the country such as PARAM. These Denial-driven innovations led Washington Post to remark, “And Angry India does It!!”
The Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has unveiled the fastest computer on the continent, a petaflops (PFLOPs) machine.
This is a super computer with processing speed capable of a thousand-trillion floating point operations per second. Floating point operations or flops are used in computing to calculate extremely long numbers. With over 40 000 cores, the machine is the fastest computer on the African continent owing to its speed of roughly one petaflops (1000 teraflops) which is 15 times faster than the previous system named Tsessebe (Setswana for Antelope). Tsessebe had a peak performance of 24.9 teraflops/second and became number 311 on the world’s top 500 supercomputers and was ranked number one in Africa.
Catalysts that are at the heart of a trillion dollar industry had been a fiercely protected sector till 1990s. However, CSIR successful reversed the technology transfer process, as the cheaper, safer, longer lasting catalyst technology was transferred out of India to multinationals.
CSIR, in association with the Engineers India Ltd (EIL) had won international competition when an industrial plant based on indigenously developed wax de-oiling technology was set up at Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) in the north-east. The plant was recently dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister.
Today CSIR also provides S&T based services to industry and other stakeholders, acts as custodian for primary standards of measurements, bio-resources, and traditional knowledge, is the nation’s flag bearer in intellectual property generation, and protection and builds the country’s largest S&T human resource.
Established in 1942, CSIR is an autonomous society which is presided over by the Prime Minister. An ensemble of 38 state-of-the-art institutes, today, CSIR is amongst the foremost scientific and industrial research organizations in the world. According to the latest Scimago Institutions ranking, CSIR is the only government organization to have figured among the top 100 global institutions; ranked 12th in the world among the government institutions in the world.
As it enters its 75th year of its foundation, CSIR’s year-long Platinum Jubilee celebrations would be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on September 26, 2016 in the Capital.
*This Feature has been received from CSIR (Unit for Science Dissemination), Ministry of Science & Technology, New Delhi}.