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Science Monitor: 20 February 2021

Science Monitor: 20 February 2021


1. NEW Geo-spatial guidelines


Accurate Geo-spatial data and map survey are important not only for development of infrastructure but also for the management of our natural resources especially in today’s digital era, there is a great need of more efficient and robust mapping. In view of this GoI has announced liberalisation of policies governing the acquisition and production of Geo-spatial data.

India Geospatial Guidelines 2021 - Geospatial World

About the guidelines:

  • Digital mapping and Geo-spatial data are useful not only for our daily queries or locations but also for building digital level infrastructure like the linking of rivers, creating industrial corridors, deploying smart power system, urban transport, agriculture and mining. Mapping is crucial for creating a roadmap of all the development projects needed for the progress of a country.

  • Therefore, to further its development agenda, the GOI is now simplifying policies for the use and production of maps and Geo-spatial data. This will enable everyone including government and private establishment to use Geo-spatial data without restrictions.

  • Before this policy revision, the creation of maps and their dissemination required the acquisition of a government license which involved a complex mechanism. While this information has always been readily available globally, the new policy will now help Indian companies overcome the hurdles for its use in India.

  • Corporations and innovators will now not required prior approvals to collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, publish and update digital geospatial data and maps within the Indian territory. Self-certification will be used to convey adherence to these guidelines.

  • The liberalisation of the geospatial data and mapping policy will give impetus to Aatmnirbhar Bharat. It will also promote the development of Indian geospatial innovations that take advantage of the latest map making technologies, thereby, boosting digital India.

2. Women excellence award 2021


11th February is celebrated every year as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to encourage gender equality in fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Celebrating this day in India, Women Excellence Award 2021 were announced by the Science, Engineering and Research Board, under which 4 women scientist were awarded for excelling in science and engineering.

About the day:

  • According to UNESCO, the participation of women in higher education in STEM has just been about 30 percent. To bridge the gap, UNESCO instituted the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th Feb, 2015.

  • The aim was to encourage women and bring them forward thus promoting gender equality in science related field. On 11th Feb, 2021, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was celebrated under the theme “Women scientists at the forefront of the war against covid-19”.

  • India has been continuously involved in the process to promote women in science. There is an increasing emphasis on women participation in every field of science from academic institutions to research as well as policy making. Last year, on the lines of DST STEM portal, a separate single window online portal for women was created for scholarship and carrier counselling of women.

  • Schemes like Vigyan Jyoti, at the school level, Gender Advancement Transforming Institutions (GATI) were also launched. Furthering this effort, the Department of Science and Technology’s Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) announced the Women Excellence Award 2021 on Feb 11th.

  • The awardees will each receive a grant of Rs 15 lakh for a period of 3 years to pursue their research ideas. It is a onetime award given to women scientists who are below the age of 40 and have received recognitions like young scientist medal from anyone of the national academy.

3. First geological evidences of Sadiya Earthquake


Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) have found the first geological evidence of a 17th Century earthquake that occurred in the eastern Himalayas. This discovery can contribute significantly to the seismic hazard map of the region to facilitate better construction and planning.

Scientists find geological evidence of eastern Himalaya earthquak

About the discovery:

  • Scientists at the Dehradun based WIHG, an autonomous institute under Department of Science and Technology have succeeded in finding the first geological evidence of the sadiya earthquake that occurred in 1697. The scientist found the evidence during the mega trench excavation at Himebasti village in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam.

  • According to report of past earthquakes, the 1697 earthquake devastated the town of Sadiya in Assam. Geologists have now found large tree branches and other evidence buried in the delta region of the Subansiri region. It may be noted that the town of Sadiya is located about 145 km to the southeast of this river.

  • The earthquake and tremors that followed for several months deposited many layers of debris in the river to raise its level. This discovery can be helpful in creating a seismic hazard map of the region to plan better infrastructure.

  • The region has evidence of thrust fault in the form of exposed deposits near river and streams and the scientists have dated 21 radio carbon samples from the trench exposure published in the journal Scientific Report. This study adds an important site to the seismic hazard assessment of the eastern Himalayan.


1. Prime Minister Modi opens IIT-Madras satellite campus:

PM Modi inaugurates Discovery Campus of IIT-Madras to meet research  infrastructure demands

  • Another state of the art research facility campus will soon start functioning in the country. On 14th Feb, PM Modi laid the foundation stage for IIT Madras project discovery campus. This satellite campus being built on about 163 acres in Thaiyur near Chennai will catered to the future needs of science and technology sector.

  • Various large standalone centres are being built on the campus. India’s largest shallow water basin centre will be established here under the already functioning National Technology Centre for ports, waterways and coasts. The second research centre will DRDO funded solid propellant combustion modelling facility.

  2. Indian Astronomers Detect Huge Optical Flare From Super Massive Black Hole:

Indian astronomers detect huge optical flare in one of the oldest  astronomic objects | Department Of Science & Technology

  • Indian astronomers have succeeded in detecting a huge optical flare from a feeding super massive black hole or blazer known as BL lacerate. The team has been studying this blazer since October 2020 as part of an Interntional observational campaign. The team detected an exceptionally high brightness from this blazer on 16th Jan, 2021. For this purpose, the Sampurnanand Telescope and 1.3 meter Devasthal fast Optical Telescope at Nainital were used.

  • The data obtained from this flare will help calculate the mass of the black hole, the size of the emission region and the system of the emission from the one of the oldest celestial body. This will also open the path for unearthing information about the origin and evolution of the universe.

3. Archaeologists discover 12th-century soot and pottery from caves in eastern Ladakh:Centuries-old thickened soot, pottery discovered from caves in eastern  Ladakh | India News,The Indian Express

  • A century’s old layers of soot and pottery have been found in the cave of eastern Ladakh. The discovery indicates that travellers must have used this cave to cook food to take shelter. In a joint study conducted by the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences and the University of Lucknow researchers found that human activity such as lodging and cooking in many caves along the Leh-Manali route have created a thick layer of soot. It is estimated that these remains may be dated back to the 11th and 12th Century.


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