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[Answered] Describe the salient features of Indian Government’s Mission on Nanoscience and Technology and the scope of its application in the development process of the country.

Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss the salient features of Mission on Nanoscience and Technology. Mention scope of application of nanotechnology in the development process of the country. Conclusion. Way forward.

Nanotechnology primarily refers to the use and creation of particles that are smaller than 100 nanometre. The Government of India launched the Nano Mission in 2007 as an umbrella capacity-building programme. As a result of the efforts led by the Nano Mission, today, India is amongst the top five nations in the world in terms of scientific publications in nanoscience and technology. The Nano Mission has resulted in some useful products like Nano hydrogel based eye drops, pesticide removal technology for drinking water, water filters for arsenic and fluoride removal, Nano silver based antimicrobial textile coating, etc.

Salient features of Mission on Nanoscience and Technology:

  1. Capacity-building in research in nanoscience and technology: Mission focus on funding of basic research in nanotechnology by individual scientists and groups of scientists and creation of centres of excellence for pursuing studies. The mission is funding about 235 individual scientist-centric research projects on fundamental research in Nano-systems. This will lead to fundamental understanding of matter that enables control and manipulation at the nanoscale.
  2. Infrastructure Development for Nano Science & Technology Research: Mission aimed at establishing a chain of shared facilities across the country with sophisticated equipment required for Nano research. It also focuses on establishing linkages between industry and research and educational institutions and promoting public private partnerships (PPPs).
  3. Nano Applications and Technology Development Programmes: Mission aim to catalyse Applications and Technology Development Programmes that would lead to products and devices.
  4. Human Resource Development: The project aims to create a large skilled manpower base through effective education and training to researchers and professionals in diversified fields so that a genuine interdisciplinary culture for nanoscale science, engineering and technology can emerge.
  5. International Collaborations: Apart from exploratory visits of scientists, organization of joint workshops and conferences and joint research projects. It focuses on promoting foreign collaboration in nanotechnology programmes.

Scope of application of nanotechnology in the development process of the country:

  1. Agriculture: Nanotechnology can be used in agriculture and food production in the form of Nano sensors for monitoring crop growth and pest control by early identification of plant diseases. These Nano sensors can help enhance production and improve food safety. With inputs related to water use, fertiliser and pesticides delivered in nanoscale productivity and yield can be increased.
  2. Medical applications: Development of newer drug delivery systems based on nanotechnology methods is being tried for conditions like cancer, diabetes, fungal infections, and viral infections and in gene therapy. Nanotechnology has also found its use in diagnostic medicine as contrast agents, fluorescent dyes and magnetic nanoparticles.
  3. Electronics: The semiconductor industry has been able to improve the performance of electronic systems for more than four decades by downscaling silicon-based devices. Carbon nanomaterials such as one dimensional (1D) carbon nanotubes and two dimensional (2D) graphene have emerged as promising options due to their superior electrical properties which allow for fabrication of faster and more power-efficient electronics.
  4. Textiles and Clothing: Nanotechnology has shown a huge potential in the textile and clothing industry which is normally very traditional. Coating is a common technique used to apply Nano-particles onto textiles. The success of nanotechnology in textile applications lies in areas of durability, flexibility, wash ability and softness. The use of nanotechnology allows textiles to become multifunctional and produce fabrics with special functions, including antibacterial, UV-protection, easy clean, water & stain repellent and anti-odour.
  5. Energy equipment: Nanoscales and nanoporous membranes are being used to facilitate production of biomass fuel. Energy transmission could potentially be made much more efficient by using engineered nanomaterials. Throughout the renewable-energy sector, nanotechnology has the potential to increase process efficiencies and process yields, decrease costs and enable energy processes that would not be attainable any other way.

Nanotechnology has emerged as a growing and rapidly changing field. It has potential applications in many sectors and provides new opportunities. It is a rapidly expanding area of research with huge potential to revolutionise our lives and to provide technological solutions to our problems in agriculture, energy, the environment and medicine.

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