New farm laws brought by PM Modi has all ingredients to make India self reliant: Prof Pasupalak

Bhubaneswar: The Press Information Bureau (PIB) Bhubaneswar has organised a webinar on the theme “Science and Atmanirhbar Bharat”on Saturday. The webinar was organised ahead of the mega India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020, which will be held virtually between December 22 and 25 in New Delhi.

The webinar was attended by Shri SK Malviya, Additional Director General, PIB Bhubaneswar, Prof Suddhasatwa Basu, Director, CSIR-Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (CSIR-IMMT) Bhubaneswar,  Prof Surendranath Pasupalak, Chairman, SAC ICAR-Patna, former Vice Chancellor of OUAT Bhubaneswar and  Dr Sarat Chandra Sahu, Director Department of Civil Engineering, ITER, SoA Deemed to be University and former Director of Regional Meteorological Centre Bhubaneswar.

Beginning the webinar, Shri Malviya said that the theme of the webinar, “Science and Aatmanirbhar Bharat” is apt for the moment as the country is marching ahead to become self-reliant. “The comfort we are having today is simply because of science. Science and technology has contributed a lot to make India Aatmanirbhar,” said Shri Malviya.

Addressing in the webinar, Prof Suddhasatwa Basu highlighted the research and development work going on at CSIR-IMMT Bhubaneswar and also talked about both essential and critical minerals and materials.  He said that research is going on to lessen the import of different kinds of essential and critical minerals. He also informed that their institute has created an incubation centre to provide hands-on training to the homegrown startups and promote entrepreneurship.

Talking about critical materials, Prof Basu said that as the country is slowly moving to adopt the e-vehicle system in the coming years, India will be in need of a great amount of lithium and cobalt to make batteries. “Currently we import the raw materials for making the batteries from Australia or Central America. The cost of the batteries go up due to the import practice. We are working on developing a technology to produce batteries in the country itself,” Prof Basu said.

Talking about the role of science in the development of agriculture, Prof Surendranath Pasupalak said that the journey of Aatmanirbhar Krishi began in the late 70s and by the 80s, the country had started to become self-reliant in agriculture. “Constant use of science and technology has made agriculture self-reliant now,” Prof Pasupalak said.

He said that scientists across different research institutes are now issuing farmers bulletin and weather forecasts, which have helped farmers to get ready for any unprecedented situation. “Agricultural scientists contribute a lot from production of the goods to its storage to its supply. The new farm laws brought by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji has all the ingredients in itself to make use of science in agriculture and make India self-reliant,” Prof Pasupalak said.

Dr Sarat Chandra Sahu highlighted the growing involvement of science and technology in the meteorology that has helped mitigate natural disasters. “There was a time when we were depending on manual systems, but thanks to scientific evolution, we are now being able to make an early forecast of natural disasters. We can’t prevent the calamities, but with the help of science and technology, we will be able to prepare for it,” Dr Sahu said.

Stressing on the need to change lifestyle, Dr Sahu said that the calamities are happening because of environmental change. “Science and technology will be available to help. It will further improve in the coming time, but the people need to bring a change in their lifestyle. Instead of personal vehicles, we can use public transport. We need to lessen our electric consumption too,” Dr Sahu opined.

The webinar was ended with the concluding remarks of Shri Malviya. It was conducted by Pradeep Kumar Choudhry, Media and Communication Officer, PIB Bhubaneswar.