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DST APPROVES 110 CRORES TO IIT ROPAR

DST has approved INR 110 crores to set up "Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) in the domain of Agriculture & Water” at IIT Ropar in the state of Punjab. Pioneering and unique, this setup is part of the framework of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (NM-ICPS). ∙ Under this scheme, scientists at IIT Ropar will develop state-of-the-art solutions to make agriculture more sustainable and profitable for farmers. ∙ Some of technologies that will be developed at the hub are: Water and Soil Quality Assessment, Water Treatment and Management, Agriculture Automation and Information Systems, Stubble Management Systems and Urban Farming, mapping of hazardous substances in water/soil and their treatment, deployment of IoT technologies in farming fields and in agricultural commodities management. ∙ This hub will support startups, graduate and undergraduate research students, new companies in the domain of agriculture and water.

Ropar: 8th August 2020: In an exemplary decision, The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, has approved a sum of Rs. 110 crores to set up a Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) in the domain of Agriculture and Water. Abbreviated as AWaDH (Agriculture & Water Technology Development Hub), this is to bring solutions for stubble management, water quality improvement, mapping of hazardous substances in water/soil and their treatment, deployment of IoT based Cyber-Physical System (CPS) technologies in farming fields. The prime objective of this trailblazing hub is to make agriculture a profitable industry with highly optimized resource intake.

As part of an agrarian state, it has been one of the mandates of IIT Ropar to take up research aimed at addressing Water-Agriculture related issues. AWaDH is aimed to carry out translational research and work with line departments to develop prototypes, finish products, and their implementation in the fields. It will provide a national platform for researchers and technologists to develop technologies and practices which can improve the overall landscape of the country in the domain of agriculture & water.

“In a world increasingly propelled by technology, Cyber-Physical System is an integrated system involving Sensors, Communication, Actuators, Control, interconnected computing networks and data analytics, which will help in developing solutions and technical support for scientific breakthroughs and Innovations related to issues of Agriculture and Water in the country. This novel mission by the Government of India will help the Agriculture and Water sector in the country by exposing it to cutting edge research”, said Prof. Sarit K Das, Director IIT Ropar.

The hub core team comprises of Dr. Prabir Sarkar (Stubble Management and Environment), Dr. Neeraj Goel (AI in Agriculture), Dr. Neelkanth Nirmalkar (Water Quality Management), Dr. Suman Kumar (IoTs and IoEs in Agriculture), Dr. L. Vijay Anand (Water and Soil Quality Management), Dr. Pushpendra P. Singh (Water/Soil Mapping-Hazardous substances) and Dr. Mukesh Kumar (AI based farm Surveillance).  When asked about the Agriculture and Water Hub initiative at IIT Ropar, the Hub Coordinator

Dr. Pushpendra P. Singh recalled what Dr. M. S. Swaminathan– the Father of Green Revolution in India– said: “If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in the country.”

Unfortunately, along with the success of the green revolution in India, the quality of soil and water and the overall agricultural environment suffered degradation due to the excessive use of fertilizers, water and pesticides, used to grow more per hectare. At AWaDH, the main aim is to rectify this trend. IIT Ropar team will develop technologies and agricultural practices which can improve the yield and minimize the hazardous substances reaching to the mouth of people. To achieve the goal of the hub, the team will connect with the farmers, listen to their problems and come up with viable, technology-based economic solutions.

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