Sonam Wangchuk and Bharat Vaswani won the Ramon Magsaysay Award
Two of out the six winners of Ramon Magsaysay Award, famously dubbed the Nobel Prize of Asia, this year were Indian. Bharat Vaswani, a psychiatrist, was given this prestigious award for his work towards mentally-ill street people. Whereas Sonam Wangchuk, the inspiration behind Aamir Khan’s character in 3 Idiots, was awarded for using science to help improve the lives of the youth of Ladakh.
India get its first ever all-female SWAT team
In August, India’s first all-female commando team was formally inducted into the Delhi Police by Union Minister Rajnath Singh. The 36 women went through 15-months of rigorous training where they were taught to handle weapons, counter terrorism and learnt Krav Maga. This team made a mark in India’s history because they were the first ones to break the male hold on the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the country.
Indian Air Force gets its first woman fighter pilot
In February, 24-year-old Avani Chaturvedi became the first woman in India to fly a fighter jet alone. The flying officer flew a MiG-21 Bison, which possesses the highest take off and landing speed in the world. Her maiden solo training lasted 30 minutes and put India on a global list of countries like USA, Israel and the UK were women play an active combat role.
An Indian-origin engineer won an Oscar
In March, Vikas Sathaye, a Pune-born engineer, was a part of the team that won an Oscar for Science and Technology. Sathaye and his team’s innovation — the Shotover K1 — has been recognised as an important breakthrough in filming mid-air sequences and was used in movies such as Dunkirk and Guardians of the Galaxy among others.
World’s first thermal battery plant was built in Andhra Pradesh
And finally, in August, the world’s first-ever battery plant was unveiled in Andhra Pradesh. It has been manufactured by Bharat Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Private Limited, and is aimed at increasing energy production by the means of renewable resources. This battery will use the energy created by temperature difference. This technology can be used effectively in remote areas, like hills or islands. It can also be used to store energy for telecommunication, commercial establishments, electric grids and more, while maintaining a low carbon footprint.