The State-Centre Resource Institute for Partnerships in Technology (SCRIPT), a collaborative venture involving the Union Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (KSCSTE), is set to take wings.

Envisaged as a platform for transfer of demand- driven technologies for improving the socio-economic standards and livelihood of the people of Kerala, SCRIPT will be based in Thiruvananthapuram. The State Budget has earmarked Rs.5 crore for the establishment of the institute.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of SCRIPT was signed last month in New Delhi by Akhilesh Gupta, Head, Technology Development and Transfer division, DST and V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, executive vice-president, KSCSTE.

Under the terms of the agreement, DST will support KSCSTE in technology development, upgrade, transfer, adaptation, and deployment through Central government institutions. It will also provide financial assistance for training and skill development of manpower resources and support young innovators. The infrastructure and manpower expenses will be borne by the State government.

KSCSTE has invited applications for selection of core personnel including a Special Officer for the institute. Prof. Pillai said the selection process would be completed after the elections. “We have received a good response to the notification and are hopeful of getting good hands on board,” he said.

The council has finalised a list of ready-to-adopt technologies in four sectors, namely agriculture and allied affairs; industries, building and energy; water, health, sanitation and waste management; and natural resources, environment, and forests. Each sector has been divided further into sub-sectors requiring technology inputs.

For example, some of the technologies identified in the ‘health’ subsection of sector 3 include an ‘attracticide’ for the control of mosquitoes responsible for dengue and chikungunya; low-cost digital X-Ray imaging; Prostalyn, a herbal extract for prostate enlargement; Chitosan wound dressing material; kits for antibiotic sensitivity; oral insulin tablets; and handheld ECG instrument for rural healthcare.

Eco-toilets for water logged areas; dry compost toilets and waterless urinals; plastic recycling; and bio-bins are some of the technologies identified for deployment in the sanitation and waste management sub-sector.

Alternative materials

In the ‘natural resources’ sector, the new institute will focus on alternative building materials such as treated coconut wood, bamboo and casuarina and wildlife forensic and wood identification technologies, among other things.

In disaster management, it will try to facilitate technology transfer for S-band briefcase satellite terminal and ready-to-use foods developed by DRDO.

Some of the technologies to be taken up by SCRIPT in the agriculture sector are seaweed farming, drinking water supply system for livestock, ready-to-use rice products, arecanut harvesting machine, dehydrated jackfruit products, and bio-control agents from cassava leaves.

A separate list of technologies requiring refinement has also been prepared. SCRIPT will have test beds for accelerated deployment of technologies. The test beds will serve as a platform providing an isolated environment for experimentation of potential technologies developed by research institutions.

KSCSTE has drawn up plans to prepare a technology roadmap for Kerala.

“The new institute is an attempt to address the considerable mismatch between available technologies and the requirement in Kerala,” says Prof. Pillai.

“By ensuring better access to technology and systematic application of innovations, we can improve the performance of key sectors,” he adds.

SCRIPT is the second new institute to be established under KSCSTE, the other one being the Srinivasa Ramanujan Institute for Basic Sciences, set up last year in Kottayam.

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