Scientists to march for science on Aug 9

Thiruvananthapuram: Scientists and science activists will take out a ‘March for Science’ in states including Kerala on August 9. The march is being organized in protest against the Centre’s move to slash funds for science and technology research institutes. The scientists are demanding that at least three percent of the country’s GDP be set apart for scientific growth and for government policy to promote scientific research instead of promoting superstitious beliefs.

Ahead of the march, a reception committee of ‘India March for Science’ will be constituted at the Library hall of Kerala State Science and Technology Museum here on July 14, said Rajeevan P P, faculty, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and secretariat member of Breakthrough Science Society (BSS). The march is being organized on the lines of the previous March for Science taken out in 160 cities across the world on April 22 this year.

“Science in India is facing the danger of being eclipsed by a rising wave of unscientific beliefs and religious bigotry. Scientific research is suffering serious setback due to dwindling governmental support,” Rajeevan said. This is despite the fact that scientists from India have played a commendable role in developing science.

The organizers said financial support to even premier institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Institute of Technology, and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISERs) were slashed. Universities are facing shortage of funds to adequately support scientific research. Research funding agencies like DST, DBT and CSIR are reportedly impacted by reduced governmental support. Scientists in government laboratories are being asked to generate a part of their salary by commercialising their scientific output and from other sources.

IISER Kolkata faculty Soumitra Banerjee said after the march on August 9, a delegation of scientists and science faculties will submit memorandums to state governors. The governors would forward them to the Union minister for science and technology, he said.

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