Media is not merely the 4th pillar of democracy, but also a watchdog towards the working of the State. However, the politicization of the media, sensationalization of news due to the TRP race, numerous elections leading to the media becoming involved continuously in elections mode lead to the neglect of some core issues which are important for public purposes, information dissemination, discussion and debate.
The article covers some important events around science, technology and medicine of 2017 that were not given the coverage they deserved.
Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) reached a new peak when in January a US woman died from an infection that was resistant to all 26 available antibiotics, raising new concerns about rise of dangerous superbugs. The bacterium found was Klebsiella pneumonia that contained the enzyme called as New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) in its gene. The AMR spread if not curtailed would render present treatment useless within decades.
Besides, the Prime Minister advocated for scientific social responsibility (SSR) on the lines of corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the 104th Indian Science Congress. This was an innovative idea as SSR shall include encouraging innovation and applying scientific models for the benefit of society.
Then, in January again, astronomers studied an Exoplanet called Wolf 1061c and found that this celestial body could be habitable in the future as it lies within habitable zone (the Goldilocks zone) of its star. This study is crucial to the future of mankind and needs greater global attention.
Furthermore, a new human organ has been classified by Irish scientists, known as the Mesentery. It’s a double fold of peritoneum – the lining of the abdominal cavity – that attaches our intestine to the wall of our abdomen and keeps everything locked in place.
This new organ is found in our digestive systems, and earlier thought to be made up of fragmented, separate structures. But recent research has shown that it’s actually one continuous organ. It carries blood and lymphatic fluid between the intestine and the rest of the body. It also maintains the position of the intestine so that it’s connected with the abdominal wall without being in direct contact. Its reclassification will help in better understanding about what kind of role does it play in abdominal and digestive diseases which could further lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs.
Additionally, in a major push to the fourth Industrial Revolution and Make in India initiative, TAL Manufacturing Solutions Ltd, a subsidiary of TATA Motors Ltd. has unveiled India’s first ever industrial robot called ‘BRABO’, short for “Bravo Robot”.
Also, the Prime Minister proposed a law for generic medicines that would make it mandatory for the doctors to write the salt names of the medicines on the prescription. This would help in reducing the out-of-pocket expenditure of patients and is a useful public relief measure needing greater awareness.
Likewise, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) capped coronary stents. It also capped the prices of knee implants, to reduce them by 69%.
Moreover, GSLV MK III D1 rocket (GSAT 19) was launched successfully from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This is one of the biggest achievements of ISRO as it will help in sending astronauts to space within the next decade and help in carrying a greater load to space.
China, South Korea and Japan have adopted the use of bitcoins with regulations. India has so far been reluctant to identify the use of bitcoins but the global acceptance of the cryptocurrency will enable greater debate on its efficacy in India.
Further, the Union Government has set up a high-level forum to evaluate roadmaps and formulate a strategy to adopt 5G in the country by 2020. Using the deployment of 5G technology, the government aims to have 100% coverage of 10 Gbps broadband across urban India and 1Gbps across rural India. This move will enable India to reach next levels of technological prowess, however, the current stress in telecom sector could get further aggravated if the current problems are not muted out till 2020.