New Delhi: Upset with budget cuts for scientific research, thousands of scientists came out on streets on Wednesday from across 34 cities in the country including the national capital for “India March for Science".
Claiming that in government laboratories scientists are being asked to generate a part of their salary by selling their inventions and from other sources, the scientific community submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding a robust funding for science.
“We have demanded that at least 3% of GDP should be allocated to scientific and technological research and 10% towards scientific education. It should be ensured that the education system imparts only ideas that are supported by scientific evidence and the government should enact policies based on evidence-based science," said Vinay Kumar, Associate Professor, Zakir Hussain College, Delhi University.
In the recent past, financial support to premier institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Institute of Technology (NITs), and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) has been slashed. “Universities are facing shortage of funds to adequately support scientific research. Research funding agencies like Department of Science & Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are reportedly impacted by reduced governmental support," said M.P. Singh, a retired scientist.
The protest in India was inspired by the global March for Science on 22 April that witnessed participation of over million people across 600 cities across the globe. However, the ‘India March for Science’ has drawn flak from a group of scientific organisations named as The Vijnana Bharati, also known as VIBHA.
“This is very shocking and renowned intellectuals are not only diminishing the reputation of the government but to their community too. This march is politically motivated, left oriented and anti-government. The budgetary allocations for the ministry of science &technology and earth science have never been reduced in last 10 years. It was Rs6,275 crore in 2013-14 and in 2016-2017 it was increased to Rs8,100 Crore," said A. Jaykumar, secretary general of Vijnana Bharati.