Today, Nuclear scientist and technocrat Kailash Chandra Purohit took over as the new chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) today. The 58-year-old succeeds acting NPCIL CMD S. A. Bharadwaj following the retirement of Dr. S.K. Jain as the CMD last month. An electrical engineer from my home town, Kanpur, Purohit graduated from the 1973 batch of Bhabha Atomic Research Center. He started his career at the nuclear plants in Rawatbhata in his native state Rajasthan.
According to his official biography, Purohit was assigned responsibilities related to Heavy Water Management in 1990. He was entrusted the responsibility of Outage Management & Planning in 1995 and was responsible for planning the activities related to En-mass Coolant Channel Replacement and Upgrade Works” for RAPS-2. In 2005, he became Station Director and Project Director at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.
Prior to his elevation as CEO this week, Purohit was Director (Projects) and his responsibilities related to implementation of activities for setting up of Nuclear Power Plants being taken up by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited with foreign collaborations such as French Technologies, Russian Technologies and US Technologies.
June 26, 2012 No Comments
A six-pound satellite, designed and built by a team of 50 students at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur was placed into orbit on October 12th by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C18 (PSLV-C18) of the India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO). Named Jugnu (firefly), the satellite is just about four inches long.
Jugnu’s ejection system, which separates the satellite from the launch vehicle and places it in a precise orbit, will be the subject of a patent to be filed by IIT Kanpur via ISRO. Jugnu cast such a spell on students that some of them shunned tempting job offers just to stay with the project, recalls Project Leader and Mechanical Engineering Professor Nalinaksh S. Vyas.
Shashank Chintalagiri, a physics major, elaborating on his experiences as a project member, told NDTV ” We were initially torn between ISRO’s ‘right way’ of doing things and a more practical approach that we could fit in our small size and weight. “Eventually, we decided to go ahead and design our system, taking cues from other nanosatellites built around the world. …We were able to combine technology used in daily life . . . with the design principles of space technology,” Chintalagiri added.
The 3.5 watt orbiter will conduct remote sensing to map land use and cover, agriculture, soils, forestry, city planning, archaeological investigations and is expected to have a useful life of one year.
October 27, 2011 No Comments
An engineer from my undergraduate school IIT Kanpur who also went to the University of Florida has invented a lantern-cum-stove that lights up a small room while cooking food, an intriguing application of “frugal innovation” for the 600 million rural Indians, many of whom don’t have access to reliable electric power.
The creator, Anil Rajvanshi, who heads the Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (Nari) in Phaltan, Satara, India says that the Lanstove runs on kerosene and produces illumination equivalent to that of a 300-watt lightbulb. The flame is lit with the flip of a valve-swittch and the unit includes a pressure cooker based on the heat pipe principle. Without smoke (that plagues village huts using firewood) or the smell of kerosene (in cruder devices) ,the Lanstove provides light and cooks a complete meal for a family of five in about 2 hours. The cooker can be used for cooking rice, lentils and vegetables, which are typical staples in an Indian rural diet.
India’s DNA newspaper reports that the Lanstove runs for six hours on a liter of kerosene. “Our tests confirmed that the carbon dioxide level generated while using Lanstove is very low as compared to that produced by chulhas (traditional wood-fired stoves).” Village resident Sunita Mohite told the paper, “While I cooked on Lanstove, children complete their homework. Otherwise they never touched the books after 6 pm.” Rajvanshi’s organization has applied for funds from India’s ministry of science and technology for manufacturing 100 units of Lanstove. “If manufactured on a commercial scale, the device could cost under Rs3,000 ($60) and villagers could pay in installments,” he said.
Major multinationals such as Shell, BP and Philips have also attempted to address these needs in India and elsewhere but no breakthrough device has yet emerged.
Takeaway: There is a huge need for innovation specific to the needs of the Indian population. While commercial success take a lot more than an invention or a working prototype, it is heartening to see engineering talent being applied to the bottom of the pyramid. Your engineers may already have a core technology or approach that is not relevant in the West but solves a major need in India; or they could readily develop something for the India market.
February 24, 2011 No Comments
The city where I was raised is now home to the largest circulating newspaper in the world. The “Daily Awakening” or Dainik Jagran is a Hindi language newspaper whose circulation is buoyed by India rising literacy level, rising incomes and rising population. Equally newspaper circulation is buoyed by the prestige factor (reading a newspaper for a poor person is an inexpensive of declaring that they have begun the unshackle themselves from India’s past).
The Economist has a great story this week where is says, ” ..the number of paid-for Indian daily newspaper titles has surged by 44% to 2,700. That gives India more paid-for newspapers than any other country.” Additionally Indian papers are generally profitable, which is more than most Western newspapers can say today.
This phenomenon has significant implications for advertiser and marketers of any kind as they seek to expand their presence or sales in India. It creates an interesting dynamic as the lower socio-economic strata in India experience change in every aspect of their lives on an accelerated basis (cell phones. FM radio, television, you name it).
September 26, 2010 No Comments