• Following up on the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision which visualizes the “Ashtalakshmi of North East” namely the eight states of North Eastern India as the new engine of growth for India in the near future, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER) is working to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in a sustainable manner especially that of women, unemployed youth and the poor farmers and artisans through North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) and North East Rural Livelihood (NERLP) projects.These projects are also being realigned to develop linkages with research institutions and technology providers so that technological interventions become a catalyst for fast tracking growth. The ultimate aim is to double incomes of the poor (farmers and artisans) in both farm and non-farm sector and for this to leverage appropriate technological interventions. With this in mind, MDoNER has sought close collaboration with the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India and the partnership has fructified over the last several months in the form of a new initiative called SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY INTERVENTIONS IN THE NORTH EAST REGION (STINER).
  • Since 2004, an initiative RuTAG (Rural Technology Action Group) is being supported by PSA office to develop and deliver demand driven innovative technologies to rural areas. Former secretary, Shri. Naveen Verma and Joint Secretary Shri. SN Pradhan of MDoNER attended RuTAG Review Committee meeting dated 14th February, 2017 held at IIT Delhi. During the meeting Secretary, MDoNER said that:
     
    1. RuTAG is an excellent initiative and MDONER would be willing to adopt and disseminate few RuTAG technologies like muri making, feed block making etc. to NER through different schemes/livelihood projects of the ministry.
    2. Committee suggested that RuTAG centers of IIT Guwahati, IIT Kharagpur along with NIT Shillong would be actively involved in catering to the demand driven technologies to North East Region and O/o the PSA would suitably worked out the mechanism.
  • O/o the PSA to GoI coordinated a session “Appropriate technologies” by RuTAG Coordinator and discussed Roadmap for technology Interventions in North East India during Destination North East event from 6th-8th March 2017 at Chandigarh, organized by MDoNER. Several technologies developed by CSIR, RuTAG and other S&T departments were displayed.
  • NISARGUNA technology developed by BARC offers a comprehensive solution to handling biodegradable wastes and is based on the concept of maintaining the elemental balance in nature. PSA office coordinated a presentation by Dr.Sukhendu Ghosh, during Swachchata Pakhwada’ on clean technologies for NER organised by MDoNER on 21.02.2017 at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi.
  • MDoNER has sanctioned funds to disseminate few RuTAG technologies to NER which are developed by RuTAG centres of IITs eg.: Feed block machine–(100 units), Eri-Cocoon opener-(120 units), Hank to bobbin winding machine-(120 units), Chaff Cutter- (100 units) Dryer-(200 units) by IIT-Guwahati, Potters wheel-(5 units)- IITs-Guwahati &Kharagpur, Puffed Rice making machine- (100 units)- IIT Kharagpur, Fish cage structure-(50 units)- IIT Bombay, Micro hydro States- IIT-Roorkee, Nisargruna Units (50Kg plant x 30 units and 5MT plant x 8 units) by BARC.
  • Secretary MDoNER proposed that a mechanism needs to be in place for delivering appropriate technology solutions (STINER) for NER on a sustainable basis which can be a right medium to catalyst development in NER (i) Farm; (ii) Non-farm and (iii) Others sectors with proactive support from MDoNER. The initiative would be guided by O/o PSA and STINER Core Committee would be chaired by PSA and Co-chaired by Secretary MDoNER.
  • Accordingly the first meeting “Roadmap for Implementation of Science & Technology Intervention in NER (STINER)" under the Chairmanship of PSA, was hosted by MDoNER on 20.4.2017. It was attended by Secretaries of GoI and Senior officers from S&T Departments eg. DST, ICAR, CSIR, DBT, MS&ME, M/o Textile etc. Deliberations and discussions were focused on various S&T interventions, upgraded technologies required for Textiles (non-Farm sector) and Turmeric (Farm sector), which could bring about economic development in the NER.
     
    1. It was decided that with focused deliverables, sub-groups and monitoring group would be respectively constituted under the overall coordination by MDoNER and O/o PSA, along with S&T institutions.
    2. A steering group for non-farm sector, will be formed which will be chaired by Secretary, Textiles with representatives from DST, CSIR, CSB with technology coordination by the office of PSA and Nodal Implementing Agency could be NEHHDC of MDoNER. This group will look into Bamboo Fiber Development for which CBTC could be the Nodal Implementing Agency.
    3. The NER has the best Turmeric with 13% of Curcumin (an active compound with medicinal use) and high quality ginger and CSIR was requested to test and certify the presence of active compound in each lot to increase the saleability /cost of the produce.
  • Many interactions and meetings were held to kick start STINER.
    1. Dated-12.5.2017: Sub-group meeting on Turmeric was held on 12.5.2017 under the chairmanship of Secretary, MDoNER and in this meeting, it was decided that CSIR may create quality testing facilities at the earliest.
    2. Dated-18.5.2017: Meeting related to S&T intervention (Farm Sector) was chaired by Secretary, M/o DoNER on 18th May, 2017 and was attended by PSUs and other stake holders.
    3. Dated-19.5.2017: Coordination Meeting between MDoNER, CSIR, O/o PSA at the office of DG, CSIR, New Delhi. DG, CSIR thanked the Secretary, MDoNER for piloting the STINER initiative and pointed out that the CSIR is committed to the cause of effective technology interventions in the North East under STINER initiative.
    4. Dated-10.7.2017: Meeting at RuTAG IIT Guwahati,Secretary MDoNER, alongwith his team comprising of Joint Secretary, Directors and representatives of PSUs of MDoNER attended the IIT Guwahati meeting on STINER.
    5. Dated-30.8.2017: Meeting of sub-groups (farm sector) discussing ‘Turmeric technologies (Process, Products and Avenues) for economic benefit for NER.’ arranged under the chairmanship of PSA and was attended by Director, IIT Kharagpur, Senior officials, Professors, CSIR, ICAR, BARC, IIT Kharagpur.
       
      1. It was suggested that ICAR will supply the quality seed material of Turmeric the selected areas of few states, KVKs, state Agricultural University would be actively involved.
      2. CFTRI and IIT Kharagpur would form a small sub-group in food processing involving ICAR and research institute of CSIR, DRDO. Technology of Banana tissue culture developed by BARC would be tried out at NER.
      3. The study on pregnant women/children can be conducted in NER and MDoNER would identify the target livelihood groups for the study conducted by ICMR information would be sent to and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, DG, ICMR by the O/o the PSA.
    6. Dated: 11-12.10.2017: STINER Workshop with NERLP, NERCORMP and Stakeholders: To disseminate STINER programme and to take stoke of the r equirements from NERLP, NERCORMP and NEC, a workshop was organized by Board, CSIR-NEIST, and other S&T Institutes and GoI Ministries like DST, DBT, Agriculture also participated and the State Govts also participated. The workshop has generated huge enthusiasm from the participants’ and their requirements for various technologies were also discussed.
    7. Dated 16th Dec 2018: During the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s visit to Aizawl Mizoram on 16th December 2017, STINER has put up a stall showcasing few technologies to the PM. He visited and interacted with the Scientist of PSA (Dr. KP) and other Scientists from S&T institutions.
  • An event of the ongoing Destination North East Series - ‘North East Calling’ to explore & experience enchanting North-East and also showcase the development initiatives was organized from9-10September, 2017 at India Gate lawns,New Delhi, which saw a footfall of several lakes of people. During the event in the presence of Hon’ble MoS, MDoNER, PSA,Secretary, Joint Secretary and senior officials of MDoNER, two MOU’s were signed between the concerned stakeholders to enable STINER initiatives (Umbrella MoU for setting up NISARGRUNA bio-methanation plants). This is just the beginning of a series of STINER initiatives across NER in farm, non-farm and other sectors which has the potential to make a difference on ground. The livelihood programmes of MDoNER namely NERCORMP and NERLP will be the primary conduits of this implementation drive which will be sustained through institutional partnerships with RUTAGS/IITs and other partner bodies like CSIR/ICAR etc.
  • The STINER initiative has created a very effective and purposeful platform between Government departments (both State and Union) and S&T institutions with proactive coordination by MDoNER. Concerned departments would deliver the appropriate technological solutions for selected sectors under the guidance of PSA with funding and facilitation where required by MDoNER. Sub groups for Farm sector- chaired by Director, IIT Kharagpur and Non-Farm sector at IIT Guwahati are formed to ensure proposed deliveries. It has integrated the existing mechanisms of developing and delivering the technologies benefitting people economically and generating value added products.

THE WAY FORWARD

PSA office in partnership with MDoNER plans to take this initiative forward in a strong way to provide optimal benefit to the people of NER. For this ICT will be used in a big way including leveraging or expanding the NKN reach. As the Hon’ble Prime Minister had identified during his visit to Guwahati earlier, the Panchatattva - (the 5 Ways namely Railways, Highways, Waterways, Airways and iWays) - of which STINER will proactively leverage the iWays for achieving its reach across NER in collaboration with MDoNER which is in case also supporting the development of the four other dimensions. Together, the two entities while teaming up with scientific bodies and departments like CSIR, ICAR, DBT, DST, Agriculture & Textiles Ministry, Central Silk Board, Spices Board etc will strive to make a difference on ground by using the lab to land approach in strengthening ground level development across NER.