Union Minister for Science, Technology & Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched three Department of Science and Technology's (DST) Mission Centres on Solar Energy and Water Treatment at Indian Institute of Technology Madras. These centres, which have been established at a collective investment of Rs 50 Crores, have the mission of providing state-of-art research led innovative technological solutions for prevalent and emerging water and energy challenges facing the country.
Delivering the Presidential Address, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “I urge Scientists and technocrats, to aspire to achieve breakthroughs through cutting edge research which could position India at the frontiers of global innovations. Development and application of advanced tools and techniques by leading Indian institutions for water and energy is of utmost importance to address the critical scientific challenges involved. The current endeavours are few such steps in this direction.”
The Minister emphasised the commitment of the Government to harness science and technology for the societal challenges through roping in extra ordinary capabilities of scientists and scientific institution under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi. The national missions namely ‘Namami Gange,’ ‘Swachch Bharat,’ ‘Solar Mission’ and ‘Swastha Bharat’ are directed towards sustainable solutions.
Harsh Vardhan also spoke about the dependence of rural and peri-urban India on unprotected surface or groundwater for drinking purpose and need for proper wastewater management to avoid contamination of emerging pollutants like pharmaceuticals and personnel care products into water sources. The need for minimising loss of water in distribution systems, harnessing storm water and greater water use efficiency for water intensive industries like textile and tanneries was also highlighted. He added that these complex and formidable challenges in water sector can be addressed only through concerted and holistic inter-disciplinary research.
Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “IIT Madras is honoured that the Hon’ble Minister for Science, Technology, and Earth Sciences, and Environment, Forests and Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan is launching three important DST Technology Mission Centres at its campus today. The Centres are focussed on critical technologies for sustainability - harnessing of solar energy in myriad ways, and scientific recycling and conservation of water. IIT Madras is grateful to the Department of Science and Technology for its generous support to establish these world-class Centres of Excellence and is committed to deliver new knowledge and solutions to address India’s sustainable development goals.”