'India March for Science' draws flak from VIBHA

March for Science March for Science India Science Scientific research Policy based on science India news Indian express

Other than demanding the general promotion of science and technology the rally organisers said that they specifically wanted the government to increase the budget for scientific and technological research to at least three percent of the GDP, a far higher amount than the 0.8 percent of the GDP that India generally spends on research and development according to data reports released by the World Bank.

India's March for Science has drawn its inspiration from the global scientific march that took place on Earth Day in April. Dr Deepak Modi, a cellular and molecular biologist who was also at the march, spoke passionately about how irksome it is for scientists to face pseudo-scientific ideas that are gaining popularity.Shubojit Sen, a fellow at the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (CBS) added that social media was partly responsible for this.

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In Delhi, some 400-500 scientists, researchers, students and others took part in the rally from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. The protesters demanded an increase in the Centre's budget allocation for science education to a minimum of 3 per cent and research, which is now only 0.85 per cent.

Vinay Kumar, a mathematics professor at the Zakir Hussain College here and a part of the Delhi Organising Committee, said a memorandum with a set of demands had been submitted to the Prime Minister's Office. "India March for Science" placed four demands before the government- allocate three per cent of the GDP for scientific and technological research and 10 per cent for education; develop scientific temper and stop propagation of obscurantist ideas; ensure the educational system imparts only ideas which have a scientific basis and enact policies based on evidence-based science.

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To help the cause of "indigenous" sciences, some groups also promote research into the beneficial effects of "Panchagavya", the five elements of a ritual concoction comprising cow dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee. The panel will shortlist projects for research. Modi had emphasised the importance of scientific research and had personally stated at the Indian Science Congress that "If we want science to deliver, we must not constrain it".

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