National Awards in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation

The Government of India has come out with a new set of National Awards in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation known as “Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar’’.

The objective of the Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar (RVP) is to recognize the notable and inspiring contribution made by the scientists, technologists, and innovators individually or in teams in various fields of science, technology and technology­ led innovation.

The Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar shall be one of the highest recognitions in the field of science, technology, and innovation in India. Scientists/ technologists/innovators working in government, private sector organizations or any individual working outside any organization, who have made distinguished contributions in terms of path-breaking research or innovation or discovery in any field of science, technology, or technology- led innovation shall be eligible for the awards. People of Indian Origin staying abroad with exceptional contributions benefiting the Indian communities or society shall also be eligible for the awards. The awards shall be given in following four categories:-

  1. Vigyan Ratna (VR) award will recognize lifetime achievements & contributions made in any field of science and technology.
  2. Vigyan Shri (VS) award will recognize distinguished contributions in any field of science and technology.
  3. Vigyan Yuva-Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (VY-SSB) award will recognize & encourage young scientists up to the age of 45 years who made an exceptional contribution in any field of science and technology.
  4.      Vigyan Team (VT) award to be given to a team comprising of three or more scientists/researchers/innovators who have made an exceptional contribution working in a team in any field of science and technology.

Scientists, technologists, and innovators working in any field of science in government or private organizations who have contributed or carried out a path breaking research, technology led innovation or discovery in any field of science or development of innovative technologies/products having significant societal impact shall be eligible for the award.

Scientists, technologists, and innovators of Indian origin abroad with exceptional contributions benefitting the Indian communities or society at large shall also be eligible.

The Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar shall be given in the 13 domains, namely Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Mathematics & Computer Science, Earth Science, Medicine, Engineering Sciences, Agricultural Science, Environmental Science, Technology & Innovation, Atomic Energy, Space Science and Technology, and Others. The representation from each domain/field, including gender parity will be ensured.

All nominations received for the Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar awards shall be placed before the Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar Committee (RVPC) to be headed by the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to Government of India and comprising Secretaries of Science Departments, members of Science and Engineering Academies and some distinguished scientists and technologists from different fields of science and technology.

The nominations for this bouquet of awards will be invited every year on 14th January which would remain open till 28th February (National Science Day) every year. These awards shall be announced on 11thMay (National Technology Day) every year. The Award Ceremony for all categories of awards will be held on 23rd August (National Space Day). All Awards will have a Sanad& a medal.

These new National Awards is a transformative step in recognizing achievements of Scientific community at the highest level by the Government of India. With transparency and fairness in the entire selection process, work done by all sections of Scientific Innovators and Technologists will be awarded providing at par status with other National Awards



Starting from the 2024-25 academic session, all medical colleges in the country, both private and public, will mandatorily be rated and ranked. The move follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the National Medical Commission (NMC) with the Quality Council of India (QCI) to rate medical institutions.

An MoU between the NMC, the medical education regulator, and the QCI was signed recently to this effect

Industry Update

Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2023

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India has published a notification in the Gazette of India announcing the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2023. The Rules came into force on the day of publication in the Gazette and are an amendment to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 previously amended by the Plastic Waste Management (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022.

In rule 10, which states “Protocols for compostable plastic material” in the sub- rule (5), in the provision, for the figures “2023” occurring at both places, the figures “2024” shall respectively be substituted.

In Rule 11 which states “Marking or Labeling” in sub-rule (1), in clause (a), after sub-clause (iii)  the following clause shall be inserted, namely:-   “ for rigid plastic packaging “

In Rule 13,-

  • in sub-rule (2), the words “or for renewal of registration” shall be omitted;
  • for sub-rule (9), the following sub-rule shall be substituted, namely :-
    • “9(a) The registration granted under this rule shall be changed only on the request of Producers, Importers & Brand owners, under the existing Extended Producer Responsibility registration ,
    • (b) The registration granted under this rule shall be valid for a period of one year, unless revoked, suspended or cancelled and shall subsequently be granted for three years.”

In Schedule II, Paragraph in paragraph 6 for clause (6.6), the following clause shall be substituted, namely :-

While registering, the entities shall have to provide PAN Number, GST Number, CIN Number in case of company, and the entities may provide Aadhar Number, and shall provide PAN Number of authorized person or representative and any other necessary information as required

The last date for the filing of annual returns is 31st October 2023 (for producers, importers and brand owners of plastic packaging) and 31st July 2023 (for plastic waste processors, recyclers and other waste processors including industrial composting facilities) for the financial year 2022-2023

BIS for mandatory hallmarking of gold bullion from July 1

BIS for mandatory hallmarking of gold bullion from July 1

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has proposed making hallmarking of gold bullion mandatory for approved refiners from July 1, as part of efforts to ensure that consumers don’t face quality issues.

It has also said that all other refiners (those not registered with BIS) manufacturing bullion should compulsorily hallmark their products from January 1, 2024.

India has 44 BIS-approved bullion refineries. They refine “dore” (impure) gold and scrap gold and produce bullion, which is used to manufacture gold jewellery, bars and coins.

The BIS letter says, “Gold bullion is used as raw material for manufacturing jewellery and its purity is paramount for ensuring the desired fineness (995/999) of hallmarked gold jewellery. Hallmarked gold bullion will help in ensuring the desired purity of gold jewellery being manufactured. As such a need has been felt to bring it under mandatory certification.”

Fineness is an indicator of the quantity of pure gold in the gold alloy in parts per thousand. A fineness of 995 indicates 995 parts of gold and five parts of another metal. The highest quality is 999.99.

An advisory committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Pramod Kumar Tiwari, Director general of BIS, to work out the modalities of implementation of hallmarking at the refinery level.

A senior gold industry executive said the BIS’ move to introduce hallmarking at the refinery level is a step towards making gold an asset class in the country.

Consumers, who buy gold bars and coins will benefit from the move. Of India’s total annual gold consumption of 850 tonnes, nearly 20% is in the form of bars and coins. In 2022, the demand for gold coins and bars was 173 tonnes