National Technology Day was celebrated at CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) on 13th May 2019. Prof. Swapan Kumar Datta, DBT-Distinguished Biotechnology Research Professor, University of Calcutta & Former Vice-Chancellor, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan was the Chief Guest on this occasion.
Dr. Hemant Purohit, Senior Most Scientist, Dr. J.S. Pandey, Chief Scientist & Head, Climate Change and Skilling Division and Prakash Kumbhare, Sr. Principal Scientist were also present on the dais.
While delivering the National Technology Day Lecture on â€˜Impact of Science & Technology for Sustainable Environment & Food Securityâ€™, Prof. Datta said that degrading environment is the biggest challenge which can be overcome through application of science and technology.
He further informed that now the concept of vertical farms has been evolved to produce more food using a fraction of the resources that traditional farms consume. He predicted that in future, cities could grow most of their food inside city limits by protecting hectares of arable land.
Modern agriculture is a major cause of environmental pollution, including large-scale nitrogen- and phosphorus-induced environmental change, he added.
Prof. Datta stated that trans-boundary plant pests is a major issue, approximately one-third of global crop production is lost every year due to plant insects which spread to a number of countries and can reach epidemic proportions in which control and management require cooperation between those countries.
He mentioned that the Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) content has come down to 0.2 – 0.4 per cent in the country, which is a major concern, we need to enhance it. He said that the SOC should be between 1 to 1.5 per cent. But it had been coming down rapidly because of increasing atmospheric temperature, over exploitation, extensive mining of soil fertility, soil degradation, inappropriate soil tillage, poor crop management, indiscriminate use of fertiliser, and accelerated soil erosion.
There was a need to reduce over dependency on pesticides, fertilizers and bio-fertilisation should be promoted instead of synthetic fertilizers, he added. Prof. Datta said that certain genes of plants can be switched on to make them tolerant to extreme temperature, salinity, drought, water logging, etc. he informed that genome editing, next generation genetics, precision agriculture, artificial photosynthesis are some modern techniques through which environmental and food security can be ensured.
Earlier, while delivering the welcome address, Dr. Hemant Purohit, Senior Most Scientist, CSIR-NEERI highlighted the importance of National Technology Day. He emphasised on industry collaboration to extend technical capability leading to new products. Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) and Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs) play a key role in technology assessment and management, he added.Â Dr. J.S. Pandey, Chief Scientist & Head, Climate Change and Skilling Division introduced the Chief Guest and said that the technology developed should not harm our environment or any living being. Prakash Kumbhare proposed the vote of thanks. Ms. Samruddhi and Ms. Mahak conducted the proceedings. The members of Center for Creativity and Innovation (CCI) also attended the lecture and visited various laboratories of the Institute on this occasion.