Esteemed Fellows, Young Associates, Awardees and Peers of the INAE:
At the outset, let me wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023 and seek divine blessings for a joyous, prosperous, and healthy year ahead for all those we care for!
As we come to the end of yet another eventful year in the history of INAE and welcome the New Year with great expectations, it is my pleasure and privilege to pray that the new year should unfurl new opportunities for unparalleled growth and innovation of the humanity through effective engineering intervention. Through collective efforts and sagacity, we have come to terms with and even tamed the dreadful Covid-19 pandemic. Let the lesson learned make us stronger to resolve that no threat is insurmountable and the glass is always half-filled and not just half-empty. Interactions defying the barrier of distance or adversity using digital paradigm is now the new normal. Though some parts of the world are still grappling with recurrence of variants of Omicron virus but I am confident that with the scientific, medical, administrative and technological structure that our country possesses this threat, too, shall be overcome sooner than later. At this juncture, I express my deepest condolences and mark of respect to the families of our fraternity, who unfortunately suffered personal loss due to Covid-19 pandemic, and pray that such misery should never recur.
As we look forward to a new beginning, as a customary practice, please allow me to present an overview of the major initiatives and events of INAE in the calendar year that just concluded, which were conducted with excellence and aplomb, thanks to the significant contributions of the esteemed Fellows, Foreign fellows and Young Associates with continued support from the INAE Staff who went beyond the call of duties to play a very active role to ensure the success of all events and programmes. We were fortunate that this year, after a gap of almost two years many of the events of the Academy were conducted in hybrid, if not physical mode. I am delighted to note that all events organized were well attended and appreciated by the INAE Fellowship, Young Associates besides scientists, engineers, students and eminent experts from leading academic institutions, R&D and strategic organizations, industry and other engineering institutions in the country.
INAE celebrated the National Science Day 2022 on 1st March 2022 and INAE Kolkata Chapter organized online special lectures delivered by Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Former Secretary of DST, on “The Brave New World of Science Today is but the World of J. C. Bose and C.V. Raman: Coming Full Circle” and by Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, Former DG-CSIR, on “Development of S&T in post independent India”. INAE undertook a new initiative in organizing an “Online Expo of Innovations by Start-ups in India” in association with NIT Calicut from April 1-3, 2022, to commemorate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” initiative of the Government of India in line with the Prime Minister’s Start-up India initiative. INAE wishes to play an active role in catalysing the start-up culture and building a strong and inclusive ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in India. INAE intends to replicate the same initiative annually to highlight the achievements of the start-up companies in India.
INAE Foundation Day 2022 celebration entailed organizing a Distinguished Panel Discussion on “Opportunities and Challenges of Implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for Engineering Disciplines and Profession” chaired by Dr K Kasturirangan, Former Secretary, Department of Space, Former President of INAE and Chairman NEP 2020 Drafting Committee, held on April 20, 2022. This was preceded by five satellite events in five different zones steered by the present or former Directors of IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IISc Bangalore and IIT Hyderabad. The objective of this exercise was to formulate actionable recommendations on the theme for the successful implementation of NEP 2020 in realistic stages and timeline through the concerned stakeholders in the Government Agencies, Academic Institutions, Industry and R&D Organizations. This was a truly outstanding event and the recommendations were forwarded to Secretary, Department of Higher Education.
INAE has four flagship events, viz. National Frontiers of Engineering Symposium including Innovation in Manufacturing Practices, Youth Conclave, Engineers Conclave and Annual Convention. The 16th National Frontiers of Engineering (NatFoE) Symposium was organized by INAE jointly with Jadavpur University in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur on 18th and 19th June 2022 at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, which covered four themes of national importance: Field-Deployable Miniaturized Sensors, Waste Valorization and Circular Economy, Resource Constrained Translational Technologies and Nanostructured Surfaces for Functional Materials and Systems. A National Competition on Innovation in Manufacturing Practices (IMP 2022) was also organized at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, on 20th June 2022 after the NatFoE Symposium 2022 to provide a platform for engineering students and start-ups to highlight innovations in the manufacturing sector.
INAE-SERB Youth Conclave on Technological Self- Reliance was held as a part of “SERB-INAE Conclave on Atmanirbhar Technologies-Engineering Secured Future” and was jointly organized with IIT Jodhpur from 15-18 September 2022 at IIT Jodhpur, on specific themes of national importance, namely, Smart Infrastructure, Experiential Interface, Experiential learning, Digital Healthcare, Quantum Technology, Materials for Sustainability, Food – An emerging vista of engineering, and Sustainability of Drinking Water.
The Ninth Engineers Conclave 2022 was held jointly with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 13-15 October 2022 at Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. The two themes for Engineers Conclave 2022 were: Theme I on “Space for National Development” coordinated by ISRO, and Theme II on “Transforming India into a Global Manufacturing Hub” coordinated by INAE. The event was very well attended, and the deliberations were outstanding in merit and the success of the conclave is attributed to the sincere cooperation of Dr V Narayanan, Director, LPSC. INAE is indebted to Mr. S Somanath, Chairman, ISRO, for not only being a gracious host and patron, but also for also taking active part as a committed Fellow of the Academy.
The INAE Annual Convention 2022 was held on 14-16 December 2022 at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, in physical mode thanks to the effective contributions of Dr AK Mohanty, FNAE, Director, BARC, who had kindly consented to host the event and that too at a short notice, under the able guidance of Mr. KN Vyas, FNAE, Chairman, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. Two Compendia on “Women Engineers in India Vol. I” and “Landmark Achievements in Engineering and Technology in Independent India” prepared by INAE under the aegis of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations were released during the Inaugural Session of the Annual Convention 2022. Messages from Dr Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, and Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, featured in both the Compendia. INAE Study Report on “Housing in India – Challenges & Way Forward” was also released during the event. An enlightening Inaugural Lecture was delivered by the Chief Guest, Mr. Nadir B Godrej, FNAE, Managing Director-Godrej Industries Ltd, and Chairman, Godrej Agrovet Ltd., Mumbai, who also delivered the Keynote Address. The audience was enthralled by the uniqueness of his two addresses, both composed in impeccable verse addressing the most relevant and contemporary engineering issues in his own inimitable style and mastery.
A DAE-BRNS Theme Meeting on “Advance Technologies in Dissimilar Metal Welding (DMW-2022) & DAE Technology Awareness Meet-II” was organized and conducted jointly by Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai, INAE, Mumbai Chapter, and Power Beam Society of India (PSI) during 15-16 July 2022 at DAE Convention Centre, Mumbai. INAE in association with the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata organized the National Technology Day celebration on May 11, 2022 in hybrid mode which was addressed by several Fellows including the President of the Academy. INAE organized an online event to commemorate Engineers’ Day celebrations on 15th September 2022, wherein Dr G Satheesh Reddy, FNAE, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri, Ministry of Defense, Government of India, delivered a distinguished lecture on ‘Towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat – Role of Engineers’, which was very relevant in the present context.
The INAE -SERB Abdul Kalam Technology Innovation National Fellowship launched in 2017 is a flagship initiative of INAE, funded by SERB (DST), to recognize, encourage and support translational research by individuals working in various capacities of engineering profession in public funded institutions in the country. Altogether forty-six professionals have been conferred this fellowship so far. To our great satisfaction, the projects conducted by several of the Kalam Fellowship grantees have reached the stage of technology transfer to start-ups and strategic areas, filing or sealing of patents and setting up of new technology ventures.
We are glad that many INAE Local Chapters have become highly active in the recent past. Several of them have organized a large number of national or local level Webinars/Seminars/Memorial Lectures and INAE events during the last year. In particular, the Bangalore Local Chapter organized the Roddam Narasimha Memorial Lecture and the Local Chapters at Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, and Mumbai organized multiple events under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, which have surpassed the target number of 75 events under the initiative, which certainly is laudable.
INAE routinely conducts survey and thematic discussions on areas of emerging or futuristic engineering importance to create technology forecasting and strategic policy documents. The report pertaining to INAE White Paper on “Technological Preparedness for dealing with National Disruptions” concerning national level possible natural or man-made exigencies is now under finalization after lengthy deliberations and studies by domain experts. This volume will present an authentic report to identify the technology gaps in dealing with natural and other types of disasters and disruptions and recommend the level of preparedness necessary to deal, mitigate or prevent them. As you are aware, INAE has undertaken a number of similar initiatives in the past to develop policy documents under the aegis of the Joint Consultative Committees with the Office of PSA, DST, CSIR, AICTE, ISRO, DAE, DRDO and SERB on topics of mutual interest with a view to arrive at actionable recommendations in areas of engineering relevance to the country.
I am happy to inform that INAE jointly with SERB has recently conducted four specific national level schemes under the SERB-INAE Collaborative Initiative in Engineering. These four initiatives under its aegis are SERB-INAE Conclaves on Atmanirbhar Technologies – Engineering Secured Future; SERB-INAE Woman Engineers Program; SERB-INAE Outreach Programs for the North Easten States, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and SERB-INAE Innovation Hackathon. A large number of events have been organized under these initiatives and several others shall be conducted by March 2023. Some of the major events organized under this collaborative initiative are SERB-INAE Conclave held on 5-6 November 2022 at IIT Kanpur under the aegis of SERB-INAE Conclaves on Atmanirbhar Technologies. To encourage Women engineers in the country to undertake research and seek funding for their research proposals, a Workshop on Writing R&D Grant Proposal for Women Engineers was organized on 10-11 November 2022 at IIT Tirupati under the SERB-INAE Woman Engineers Program. Under the aegis of the SERB-INAE Outreach Programs for NE, J&K and Ladakh, an Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Start-up for Young Workshop was organized at NIT Mizoram on 26-30 September 2022; an Innovation Contest and Showcasing 2022 event was held at NIT Arunachal Pradesh during 4-5 November 2022, and Workshop on Skill development for an idea to Prototype was organized at NIT Nagaland on 26-30 November 2022. Under the aegis of the SERB-INAE Innovation Hackathon initiative, the Hackathon 2022 was held on 3-4 September 2022 at Jadavpur University, Kolkata and a Gaming JAM was conducted on 15-18 September 2022 at IIT Jodhpur. All these events were resounding successes with overwhelming participation and unprecedented enthusiasm. Each event was well appreciated by all the stakeholders from Academic institutions, R&D Organization and Industry. We strongly believe that the success of these initiatives shall lead to conduct of several such programs in the future each on a specific theme of engineering importance to the nation producing unique impact and meaningful outcome.
The SERB-INAE Online and Digital Gaming Research Initiative was launched to leverage Digital Gaming Research and promote such Industry in India. A conclave was organized on 20th July 2022 in physical mode in New Delhi to brainstorm on the present scenario of Digital Gaming Research in India and to get recommendations based on which “Call for R&D Proposals” can be launched. Under this initiative, well-defined proposals on the three thematic areas concerning online and digital games were invited and are expected to be selected for funding by March 2023.
INAE has also been very active on the international front. Joint collaborative activities are routinely held with foreign CAETS Member Academies. The 5th INAE-NAEK Workshop on “Advanced Materials for Sustainable Development” was organized on 25-26 August 2022 in Kolkata in hybrid mode with the Indian delegates assembling and joining online in Kolkata and the Korean delegates from Seoul, South Korea. The Workshop conducted over two days had two sub-themes: Materials for Quantum Computing and Machine Learning for development of Advanced Materials. Enthused by the success of the event, NAEK (Korea) has expressed keen interest to sustain this joint event annually with INAE anticipating meaningful outcome of interest to both the nations.
This year, the Annual Meetings and Conference of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) was hosted by the National Academy of Technologies of France (NATF) in Versailles, France, during 27-28 September 2022. The INAE delegation led by the undersigned participated in the International Conference on “Engineering a better world: Breakthrough Technologies for Healthcare”. Three other Fellows (Prof Susmita Mitra, Prof GK Ananthasuresh and Dr Sharmila Mande) addressed various symposia under this conference. Prof Jayanta Mukhopadhyay, FNAE, IIT Kharagpur, was selected for the “CAETS Communication prizes 2022 in the Category “High Potential Innovations”. The next CAETS event will be held in Croatia and INAE has been drafted to chair a major committee on Engineering Education.
INAE participated in the India International Trade Fair (IITF 2022) held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, during 14-27 November 2022 under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. This event allowed INAE to effectively share its mission, vision and objectives along with various initiatives undertaken by INAE with the visitors to the exhibition. This event also facilitated closer interaction among the various Autonomous Institutes under DST.
A special volume on “Future Landscape of Structural Materials in India” published by Springer has recently been brought out with well researched articles contributed by the domain experts addressing specific thematic areas to serve as a ready reference for developing advanced structural materials encompassing metals and alloys, ceramics, polymers, composites, and hybrids. You will be glad to learn that the “Transactions of Indian National Academy of Engineering – An International Journal of Engineering and Technology” is now a full-fledged peer reviewed journal with international readership and improved impact factor. I request all esteemed Fellows and Young Associates, especially those elected this year, to kindly contribute research papers for publication in the journal, as well as popularizing the journal in their respective organizations.
As you are aware, The Department of Science and Technology, as desired by the Department of Expenditure, Government of India, intimated INAE that the financial support that INAE used to receive since 1996 would cease from FY 2025-26. INAE has since made all effort to impress upon various quarters of the Government to reconsider and reverse the decision, but in vain. As it stands now, while INAE will continue to serve the nation by offering its proactive support to all initiatives of the Government of India and beyond concerning engineering and technology, INAE is left with no other option than embarking on a serious effort of making itself financially autonomous by raising an adequate financial corpus. Though I made several attempts to reach out to, consult with and seek advice from the Former Presidents and Peers, Governing Council Members, Local Chapters, Industry Leaders and individual Fellows and well-wishers, I shall soon write to the entire Fellowship about a concrete action plan to realize the twin objective stated above. I sincerely hope that each one associated with INAE will enthusiastically come forward and participate whole-heartedly to tide over the crisis.
INAE is committed to honour and maintain the highest standard in all its initiatives and activities concerning the engineering and technology profession primarily relying upon the expertise, involvement and contributions by the Fellows, Young Associates, Awardees and Peers. On behalf of the Academy, I express my sincere thanks for their most valuable and exemplary contributions. The outstanding advice and counsel received from the Former Presidents, Governing Council Members, Office Bearers, and Committee Members is priceless and ingratiating. All the Local Chapters are not only active but also are making very useful contributions in furthering the core agenda of INAE. I record my deepest gratitude and respect to each one of them.
I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected Fellows, Foreign Fellows, and Young Associates, and embrace them most eagerly into the fold of the only Engineering Academy of the country. We eagerly look forward to receiving their whole-hearted participation and contribution in the future activities and programmes of the Academy.
Finally, I must express my most sincere gratitude to the Former Presidents and Governing Council of INAE for reposing faith in me to steer INAE for another term of two years as the President (2023 and 2024) of INAE. Needless to mention that I feel overwhelmed, ingratiated, and honoured to the core and pledge to dedicate myself to the assignment with utmost sincerity and dedication. This period will be of unprecedented importance as INAE will have to tread through the most difficult waters mired with its own existential crisis. No challenge is insurmountable if honest effort, firm resolution and collective wisdom fortify our zeal and endeavour for the sake of the nation and profession.
I once again wish you all good health, prosperity, and outstanding success in all your professional and personal endeavours.
January 1, 2023