Scientists protest Centre’s apathy towards science, education, research

Scientists and researchers during a protest in Delhi to demand a conducive environment for research

Researchers and scientists have demanded that the government must spend 3% of the GDP for science, spend 10% of GDP to educate the next generation and end the spread of unscientific beliefs

In a first, scientists and researchers organised a protest in Delhi to demand a conducive environment for research. They held a ‘March for Science’ rally in Delhi on April 14 and marched from Mandi House to Parliament Street to register their disappointment against the government’s apathy towards science, research and higher education.

During the protest they demanded a hike in research budgets, budgetary allocation for education, research and technological advances in publicly-funded institutes and organisations and an increase in science-based education options.

The researchers and scientists had specific demands—spend 3% of GDP for science, spend 10% of GDP to educate the next generation and end the spread of unscientific beliefs.

Scientists, professors, teachers, research scholars and students from llT, lGlB, DU, JNU, Ashoka University, Ambedkar University and different science-based institutions took part in the march.

“The tall claims which the government had made about enriching higher education, research-based education and advising scientists about innovating new technology is just a gimmick. How can scientists do it all without infrastructure, funds and higher education?”, said Prof Joyshree Sengupta of AllMS

Speaking to Ten News, researcher, scholar and professor of JNU, Dhruv Raina said, “The government is trying to mix mythology with science. The environment of science-based education is vanishing. No science-based topics are being introduced in the text books.”

While Prof Joyshree Sengupta of AllMS said, “The tall claims which the government had made about enriching higher education, research-based education and advising scientists about innovating new technology is just a gimmick. How can scientists do it all without infrastructure, funds and higher education?”

“Ever since it came into power, this government has been targeting higher education institutes and has been trimming down the Ph.D seats, axing budgets and propagating mythology as science,” she asserted.

Later, a memorandum with the following demands was submitted to the Prime Minister:

  1. Stop propagation of unscientific, obscurantist outdated ideas and develop scientific temper, human values and spirit of inquiry in conformance with Article 51A of the Constitution.
  2. Ensure that the education system does not impart ideas that contradict scientific evidence.
  3. Enact policies based on scientific evidence.
  4. Increase budgetary allocation for education, research and technological advances in publicly funded institutes and organisations.

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