Esteemed Fellows, Young Associates, Awardees and Peers of the INAE:
As we prepare to end an annual cycle and welcome the next one with high hopes and expectations, it is my pleasure and privilege first to convey my most earnest wishes to the esteemed Fellows, Young Associates, Awardees of INAE and their families and friends for a truly happy period ahead that will bring unqualified joy and prosperity all around, allow new opportunities for growth and innovation, and enable collective wisdom and enterprise of humanity to triumph once again over the threat and apprehension of the worst kind. Though light at the end of the tunnel is imminent, the danger and devastation of Covid 19 pandemic is not yet over and hence any misadventure or inadvertence can only jeopardize the hard earned reprieve so far.
As a customary practice, please allow me present a summary of the major initiatives and event of INAE in the calendar year that just concluded.
As per the prevailing protocol to counter the global pandemic, most of the meetings and events during the year 2021 were held online using an appropriate digital platform with ease of connectivity, significant saving of travel time and complete digital recording of the proceedings for better documentation and dissemination. I express my deepest gratitude to all those including the Fellows and Staff of INAE who made this seamless transition possible to demonstrate how collective efforts can make completely unexplored charter possible with ready adaptation and improvisation.
National Science Day in India is celebrated on 28 February every year to commemorate the invention of the Raman Effect by Bharatratna Sir C. V. Raman. On this occasion, the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) organized the Science Day Lecture delivered by Professor David J. Wineland, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2012, University of Oregon. Prof. Wineland talked on “Individual Atoms as Clocks and Bits”. Apart from the scientific innovations made by him and his contemporary scientist, Prof. Wineland also shared his personal life which was truly motivating and inspiring to the young minds. This Science Day event was attended by more than 100 young researchers, engineers and Fellows from different Colleges, Institutes, and Universities all over India.
With the launch of the 75-week celebration of India’s 75th Year or Diamond Jubilee of Independence (Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav) by Government of India on 12th March 2021 to be concluded with grand finale on 15th August 2022, INAE constituted a Task Force to design and monitor the specific programs that INAE would pursue in the next 75 weeks in different locations and occasions to mark the occasion and play an appropriate role on behalf of the engineering community of the country. Accordingly, INAE has since initiated a number of important events and activities to commemorate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”. Two of the most important initiatives in this direction are the two proposed compendium being published on “Landmark Achievements in Engineering and Technology in Independent India” steered by a Task Force headed by Prof Prem Krishna and and the other on “Woman Engineers of India” being brought out by the Editorial Committee chaired by Prof Purnendu Ghosh.
INAE celebrated its 35th Foundation Day coinciding with inauguration of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav series of events on 20th April 2021. Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST address the event as the Chief Guest and flagged off the year-long functions of INAE planned to commemorate Azadi@75 celebrations. The subsequent thematic session comprised special lectures by Shri KN Vyas, Secretary, DAE & Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, Mumbai; Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO; Shri S Somanath, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram and Dr Shekhar C Mande, Secretary, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research and Director-General, CSIR, New Delhi.
The 15th National Frontiers of Engineering Symposium was organized jointly by INAE with IIT Hyderabad on July 9-10, 2021 as a virtual event. There were four themes for the Symposium viz Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning; Advances in Materials & Manufacturing Technology; Infrastructure & Unconventional Energy and Rural Entrepreneurship. A Special Session on Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav was also held. The National Competition on Innovation in Manufacturing Practices (IMP) for UG & PG engineering students and entrepreneurs was dovetailed with this event.
The 4th INAE Youth Conclave 2021 was organized by INAE jointly with IIT Bombay; NITIE, Mumbai and ICT, Mumbai (online, for the first time) on September 24, 2021, which was attended by 190 delegates including INAE Fellows, Young Associates and Engineering Students from across the country. The five themes of national importance deliberated in the Conclave were: Waste to Wealth; Digitization and Revolution in Logistics; Engineering Intervention and Healthcare Management to fight against COVID-19 and Healthcare Management; Teaching and Learning in Pandemic Period; and Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. As a part of the Conclave, several competitions were held on various themes and the winners of the competition were invited to share their views through presentation and demonstration.
Some landmark events of the Academy in the last one year, brought the Academy acclaim and increased its outreach in the engineering community. Like all other flagship events of INAE, Engineers Conclave 2021 (EC-2021) was also organized online for the first time in collaboration with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on October 26-27, 2021. The two themes of EC-2021 were “Engineering challenges for de-carbonizing the Indian Economy” coordinated by ISA and “Achievements of Indian Engineering – Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” coordinated by INAE. Both the online events were very well attended. It is envisaged that the actionable recommendations emanating from the deliberations shall be pursued with active participation from the concerned Government Departments and Agencies for fruitful implementation.
INAE has embarked on an ambitious but necessary endeavour to author a White Paper (policy document) on “Technological Preparedness for Dealing with National Disruptions” encompassing all possible major disruptions, their implications and logical prepared to prevent or minimize possible disruptions or devastations. A special committee headed by Dr PS Goel and comprising top most experts, scientists and technologists of the country (mostly senior officials from IMD, NDMA, NITI Aayog, DST, CSIR, ICMR, DAE, ISRO, DRDO, DBT and Indian Coast Guard), who are largely Fellows of INAE is tasked to identify the gaps and recommend the areas for further scientific research and evolve technological solutions. The report is under preparation and shall be published shortly. Once completed, the document will be landmark contribution of INAE for framing national policy and engineering and technology (E&T).
The Workshop on “What’s next in Aerospace Engineering and Materials” was held virtually on June 14-15, 2021 with NAEK, Korea as the 4th in the series of INAE-NAEK bilateral international collaboration. The workshop focused broadly on the three themes: Aerospace Engineering Systems and Aerodynamics; Innovation for Materials in Aerospace Industry; and Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace industry. This INAE-NAEK joint initiative is one of the most productive collaborations among all such initiatives with foreign academies.
The Bangalore Chapter of INAE has taken a laudable initiative to institute the Roddam Narasimha Memorial Lecture as a mark of respect to Late Professor R Narsimha, the doyen of aerodynamics and aviation research in India. The 1st lecture in this series was held on July 20, 2021 through a digital platform and was delivered by Prof. K R Sreenivasan, Distinguished University Professor, New York University USA. Over 100 fellows and participants from all over the world participated in this lecture.
The Annual Convention of INAE, the most important event in its calendar was held using a similar digital platform on December 16-18, 2021 which was attended by Fellows, Foreign Fellows, Young Associates, Awardees and Invitees. The Inaugural Function was held on Dec 16, 2021 in which, Mr NR Narayana Murthy, Former Chairman Emeritus, Infosys Ltd. delivered the inaugural address as the Chief Guest talk on the topic “Creating a culture to solve grand engineering challenges of India”. In the same function, a book titled “Making of a Satellite Centre: The Genesis of ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Centre” authored by Dr PS Goel, former President, INAE was released The Grand Award Function and Award Lectures were held on December 16, 2021; Annual General Meeting and Special General Meeting of Fellows on December 17, 2021 and December 18, 2021 featured the Induction Ceremony of Fellows & Young Associates and Pre-recorded Technical Presentations by awardees. This hybrid event was an outstanding success and appreciated by all the participants.
Engineers’ Day is celebrated in India on September 15 every year to commemorate one of India’s finest engineers, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. M Visvesvaraya who is considered one of the foremost nation-builders, creating marvels upon which modern India was built. INAE celebrated Engineers’ Day on 15th September 2021 wherein interesting events were organized. The Panel Discussion on “Closing Research-Entrepreneurship Gaps” was held on September 15, 2021 wherein Dr Anil Kakodkar, Member, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission, Govt. of Maharashtra; Former President, INAE; delivered a Key-note Address on “Closing Research-Entrepreneurship Gaps”.The Panellists included five bright young entrepreneurs from engineering fraternity who have sparked off their journey in entrepreneurship through innovative research in engineering. The Panellists shared their experiences and highlighted the challenges and successes in their career paths. The INAE Kolkata Chapter honoured the contributions of engineers by hosting the Engineer’s Day on September 15, 2021 in virtual mode. It was also a part of the continuing Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav program. On this occasion, IEEE President and CEO, Ms Susan Kathy Land delivered the Engineer’s Day Lecture on “My Personal Journey with IEEE”. INAE Bangalore Chapter presented two Lectures on the occasion of the Engineer’s Day on September 15, 2021 by Prof. Anath Ramaswamy, Chair, Department of Civil Engineering, IISc, Bangalore on ” Achievements in civil structures and engineering in India”, and by Dr V K Aatre, Chairman, INAE Bangalore Chapter, and Former SA to RM, DRDO on “India becoming a technology powerhouse “.
You may kindly recall that subsequent to the INAE Workshop on “Frugal Innovations in Rural Technologies” jointly organized with National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) and Vijnana Bharathi in July 2017 at NIRDPR, Hyderabad, a Frugal Innovation Nurturing Programme (FINP) was launched with the objective of nurturing prospective frugal innovations which have reached prototype stage to scale up and commercialize them for greater exploitation. An Innovation Promotion Committee has been set up with Dr V Bhujanga Rao, FNAE as chairman for implementation of FINP.An MoU has been signed with National Innovation Foundation (NIF) to progress this initiative. Several meetings have taken place and innovation(s) have been shortlisted to scale up the TRL. Paddy Planter has been accepted for production and marketing.
Ten nominees were selected during this year under the Abdul Kalam Technology Innovation National Fellowship launched by INAE-DST and administered through SERB to recognize, encourage and support translational research in engineering by Indian Nationals working in public funded institutions in the country. This is a flagship initiative of the Academy to encourage translational research in engineering and take the technology development opportunities by the eminent engineers to logical conclusion. INAE has recently undertaken another initiative with SERB to promote more such platforms. In the recently concluded meeting between Prof Indranil Manna and Prof Sandeep Verma, Secretary, SERB, it was proposed that INAE and SERB would collaborate in the following four specific directions: SERB-INAE Conclaves on Atmanirbhar Technologies – Engineering Secured Future; SERB-INAE Woman Engineers Program; SERB-INAE Outreach Programs for NE, J&K and Ladakh and SERB-INAE Innovation Hackathon so as to increase the outreach of the technical activities.
As you are aware, INAE has made a mark in the policy domain and has constituted Joint Consultative Committees with Office of PSA, DST, CSIR and DRDO to identify topics of mutual interest to undertake technical activities with a view to arrive at actionable recommendations to be progressed further. Further to the four such exiting committees, recently the ISRO-INAE Consultative Committee had been constituted with the initiative taken by Dr BN Suresh, former President, INAE. The first meeting of the ISRO-INAE Consultative Committee was held on July 1, 2021. During the meeting, it was decided to plan collaborative activities in specific areas between INAE and ISRO which are of national and social interest.
You may recall that INAE took the maiden initiative towards the development of the Regional Civil Aircraft (RTA) in the country in the year 2016, by organizing discussions in a round table meet with concerned stakeholders and Engineers Conclave 2017 leading to actionable recommendations, particularly setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for undertaking the development of RTA in the Country. The recommendations were taken up for discussion at NITI Aayog and have been accepted for follow-up actions. The PSA to Govt. of India is progressing this initiative along with INAE and DG, CSIR. A meeting with Cabinet Secretary to explore the possibility for the way forward for development of Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) was held on February 4, 2021. Subsequently, a meeting with Dr Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Science and Technology & Earth Sciences was held on August 25, 2021 with INAE delegation. Meeting were also held with select industries and the initiative is under progress.
A Digital Platform for INAE was created to facilitate INAE Fellows submitting nominations online for Fellowship, schemes and awards. This is the second year that the nominations were invited online for Fellowship which received an overwhelming response. The entire process of scrutiny of nominations was done through the Digital Platform. The Fellowship module was successfully deployed for the second time to facilitate the online submission, review and scrutiny of nominations. A Gender Parity Advisory Committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of Dr BN Suresh to ensure gender parity in INAE through affirmative policy for selection of women Fellows and awardees. INAE launched a Webinar Series in the year 2020, on topics encompassing all sectors and disciplines of engineering and technology. Several Webinars have been organized by INAE Local Chapters which have been well attended. Many interesting webinars were conducted by INAE Local Chapters and which were well attended.
INAE is a Member-Academy of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) and participates in its programmes/convocations of global concern for benefits at national/international levels. This year, the CAETS 2021 Annual Meetings and Technical Discussion on ‘The Future of Energy’ was hosted online by Academia Nacional de Ingenieria (ANI), Argentina (Argentina’s Academy of Engineering) in September 2021 at Buenos Aires. INAE delegates participated in various Technical Sessions.
Another highlight of the year 2021 was that INAE has been provided an office space at the DST Complex, Technology Bhawan, New Delhi and INAE office has since been operational from the DST Complex from August 2, 2021 onwards. The new office of INAE at DST Complex was formally inaugurated by Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, the then Secretary, DST on August 25, 2021 on the side-lines of the DST-INAE Consultative Committee meeting held on that day.
INAE is committed to honour maintain highest standards in initiatives and activities in engineering and technology primarily replying upon the expertise, involvement and contributions by the Fellows, Young Associates and Awardees. On behalf of INAE, I express my sincere thanks for their exemplary contributions. The outstanding advice and counsel from the Former Presidents, Governing Council Members, Office Bearers, and Committee Members is simply ingratiating and overwhelming. I record my deepest gratitude and respect to each one of them. I sincerely hope that the pandemic situation will soon significantly abate and we will be able to resume conduct of meetings and events in physical mode.
Finally, I congratulate the newly elected Fellows, Foreign Fellows and Young Associates, welcome them into the peer and premier body of INAE and look forward to receiving their whole hearted support and contributions in the future activities and programmes of the Academy. I once again wish all good health and success.
Professor Indranil Manna
January 1, 2022