Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has been providing the knowledge base needed for the socio-economic development. During XI plan, CSIR operationalized a programme named ‘CSIR-800', focused at bringing in desired S&T interventions for improving the quality of life of people at the base of the economic pyramid and removing drudgery.
CSIR has adopted villages to promote employment generation. It has thus catalyzed commercial cultivation of Geranium in Uttaranchal and Lavender in Jammu & Kashmir through community participation. In this end to end mission farmers have been trained not only for cultivation of Geranium and Lavender but also for extraction of oil. Likewise CSIR efforts through development of niche Mentha varieties and their propagation for mass cultivation are noteworthy. The efforts have led India acquire a world leadership position in Menthol mint oil production and export.
CSIR has set up post-harvest centres in Mizoram (Aizawl) and Arunachal Pradesh (Pashighat). These centres are focused at helping the local farmers in the region for value addition to their agricultural produce. The centres house technology for high efficiency drying and processing of ginger, cardamom, turmeric, chillies etc. the farmers are able to sell their produce at 20-25% higher price to these processing centres. The CSIR Post Harvest Technology Centres are thus generating direct employment.
CSIR efforts have led to: empowering people at Kashmir Valley through creation of aromatic industry; development of bioinoculants for enhancing plant productivity, disseminated in UP to the farmers in partnership with the State Government on a very large scale and has enhanced agriculture productivity; mushroom technology transfer and training which has benefitted rural women in North East Sates; the ethnic products promotion for economic development which has benefitted the women entrepreneurs of Manipur.
CSIR has developed indigenous substitute of Ukraine clay in granite ceramic tiles which has reduced the Ukraine clay requirement from 20% to about 1%. This has made major economic difference and benefitted small and medium scale enterprises in Gujarat.
Over the years CSIR has developed technologies for: food and food processing; building and construction; enhancing potability of water; environment and sanitation; cultivation and processing of economic plants; rural roads; farm machinery; solar rickshaw (soleckshaw), leather; pottery etc. The technologies developed have been gainfully utilized in several states benefiting villages and small towns.
CSIR is partnering with the National Innovation Council (NInC) to provide S&T interventions needed for enhancing the technological base of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). CSIR has adopted six clusters for the purpose. They are (i) Mango Cluster, Krishnagiri (ii) Brass Cluster, Moradabad (iii) Bamboo Cluster, Agartala (iv) Auto Cluster, Faridabad (v) Ayurveda Cluster, Thrissur and (vi) Life Sciences Cluster, Ahmedabad. As a part of this focused effort, CSIR has developed: protocol for enhancing the storage life of Krishnagiri mangoes from 7 days to 35 days; for Brass Cluster, Moradabad, a lacquer has been developed to give more shine to Moradabad Brass artifacts vis-à-vis Chinese Products; and for Agartala Bamboo Cluster, cheaper alternative to Jiget binding material for making Agarbatties has been developed.
CSIR has been disseminating its knowledgebase in various states of country including Andhra Pradesh during XI plan. As a result several technologies are in use in many rural areas and small towns of Andhra Pradesh. Names of few such rural areas/ small towns in Andhra Pradesh include: (i) Samadhan Kendra - A rural information technology center for farmers (Integral part of the India Development Gateway (InDG) Portal) in Nallajerla (covering 20 villages), Prattipadu (covering 20 villages), Pydiparru (covering 20 villages), and Balusumudi (covering 20 villages) of West Goavari District of Andhra Pradesh. Awareness programs conducted in Pullalapudu, Kunchenapalli, Mandapaka and Bhimavaram of Andhra Pradesh. The technology implemented in chittoor through which more than 70,000 mango farmers benefited. About 1 lakh population benefitted from each centre. (ii) Strategic Medicinal and Industrial Plants based technologies: Biovillages were set up on Citronella and Ashwagandha in dry belts AP. As a result cultivation of Aswagandha increased to 505 ha area involving 200 farmers cultivating the crop in different drought prone areas of Andhra Pradesh and cultivation of Citronella spread over 1450 ha area involving 786 farmers in Vishakhapatnam district. CSIR initiatives carried out for several other states during XI plan. .
During XII plan, CSIR has converted CSIR-800 programme into a full-fledged scheme. For XII plan, the technology focus areas under the CSIR-800 scheme are: (i) Affordable health and Nutrition; (ii) Potable Water and Sanitation; (iii) Affordable Housing; (iv) Sustainable Energy, (v) Value-added agriculture; (vi) Energy Efficiency; and (vii) Waste to Wealth.
Technologies at different level of development would be implemented. Strategic implementation of the CSIR-800 scheme is focused on CSIR's new initiative of several geographically distributed CSIR Technology-enabled Villages' (TECHVIL) to take fruits of S&T to footsteps of the rural people by integrating S&T solutions with people's needs. TECHVILs form the platforms where CSIR technologies, as needed by the village communities, are focused for economic growth and improvement in quality of life. CSIR has identified the districts that were declared backward by the Planning Commission for TECHVIL initiatives. CSIR scholars pursuing their PhD research in recently established AcSIR, have a mandatory requirement to undertake 4 Credit practical course of 8 weeks duration for addressing and solving a rural problem. Several hundreds of such scholars will act as a work force in implementation of S&T interventions on the ground for economic value addition and improvement in quality of life.
Thus CSIR scientists have been concentrating in the rural areas and small towns. These efforts will be further scaled up through TECHVILs to fulfill the desirable objectives of the CSIR-800 scheme during XII plan.