The hazardous effects of pollutants from conventional fuel vehicles have caused the scientific world to move towards environmentally friendly energy sources. Though we have various renewable energy sources, the perfect one to use as an energy source for vehicles is hydrogen. Hydrogen fuel cell technology represents one of the alternative solutions for future clean energy systems. Recently, The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified standards for the safety evaluation of hydrogen fuel cell-based vehicles. The move is primarily aimed at a significant push for hydrogen vehicles in the country.
Recently, The Union Cabinet approved the formation of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe). The move marks the first leap in opening up the space sector to the private players after the Finance Minister declared government’s intentions to open up in her declaration of Atmanirbhar Package.
Science is an important means by which societal empowerment is achieved. The scientific development reflects national development. Nowadays, Experts believe connecting science with societal needs will create multiplier effects. In light of this line of thought, the government may soon come up with a policy on Scientific social responsibility. The draft Scientific Social Responsibility Policy is already in the public domain for discussions.
Continuing its efforts in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, Atal Innovation Mission has engaged in contributing to the society in these times of pandemic through an inter-ministerial working group. Let us understand the working and program of Atal Innovation Mission in this article.
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic needed an all-around approach. Propagating credible information which is easily available is of critical importance in the times of crisis and confusion. Especially, the novelty of Coronavirus made proper information management important as it was new and for a long time, there was an air of confusion regarding its nature, spread, and response. In an attempt to manage information tracking and propagation, Government of India launched Aarogya Setu App.
The Government of India is currently using its powers under the Indian Telegraph Act to get information from telecom service providers in order to track COVID-19 cases across the country through its COVID-19 Quarantine Alert System (CQAS) application. This is not the only application that is used to track and monitor COVID-19 cases. States and research institutes are developing numerous apps mainly for quarantine enforcement and contact tracing. Geofencing is currently playing a critical role through these apps to ensure the enforcement of quarantine and tracing of infected or suspected COVID-19 cases. However, the lack of definite privacy and data protection laws within India and the apps’ technical limitations makes them risky to be implemented during these trying times.
The Supreme Court, on March 2020, had struck down RBI’s controversial circular that prohibited any central bank regulated entities from providing banking services to anyone dealing with virtual or cryptocurrencies. This ruling allows banks to handle cryptocurrency transactions. Though this may threaten the country’s financial system, it does provide an opportunity for the government and the central bank to form regulatory frameworks and laws that, while allowing the use of cryptocurrencies, can ensure preventive measures that can counter private cryptocurrencies.
Recently, the Union Ministry of Science and Technology has informed about the progress of the National Supercomputing Mission. India has produced just three supercomputers since 2015, less than one per year on average, under the National Supercomputing Mission. This is in stark contrast to China, which in the last six months had added 8 more supercomputers, increasing the number to 227. The Indian Government is planning to install three more supercomputers by April 2020 and 11 new systems will likely be set up in different IITs, NITs, National Labs and IISERs across the country by December this year. The main reason behind India’s slow progress is the lack of funds during the initial years. Now, the project has gathered momentum due to the government’s support and its realisation of the technology’s potential in addressing problems faced by mankind.
FASTag is made mandatory for all vehicles, private and commercial, from January 15, 2020. According to the FASTag transactions data released on January 1, 2020, by National Payments Corporation of India, about 6.4 crore FASTag transactions, worth Rs.1,256 crore, were processed in December against 3.4 crore transactions worth Rs.774 crore in November. Paytm Payments Bank issued over 40% of all FASTags in December. Currently, the government is taking the necessary steps to promote it.