MARCH FOR SCIENCE

April 14, 2018, in all major cities

Friends,

On April 22 last year, more than a million scientists, technologists, teachers, scientific workers, and supporters of scientific thought marched in more than 600 cities worldwide in a unique collective effort to defend science and scientific outlook against the onslaught from unscientific forces powered by important politicians as well as fundamentalists of various shades. Scientists in the United States initiated the effort because their government was about to pull out of the Paris Accord ignoring scientific evidence. The response of scientists of most countries indicated that almost everywhere science is under attack, with the political leadership pursuing policies ignoring scientific evidence and in general reducing financial support for scientific research.

The situation has not improved much in the last one year, and the international scientific community is again organizing a March for Science to be held worldwide on April 14, 2018. "The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity," says the mission statement of the March. "We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest."

In India the concerted efforts by some interest groups to undermine science continues unabated. Unscientific ideas and superstitious beliefs are being propagated with accelerated pace. Ridiculous claims are being made about an imaginary glorious past ignoring the true contributions based on historical evidence. These are acting against the propagation of scientific temper among the people. Opposing them is a responsibility of all citizens as per Article 51A of the Indian Constitution.

Support for education in general and for scientific research in particular remains unbelievably low in India. While most countries spend over 6% of their GDP on education and 3% of their GDP on scientific and technological research, in India the figures are below 3% and 0.85% respectively. As a result, a large section of the country's population has remained illiterate or semi-literate even after 70 years of independence. Our college and university system is reeling under acute shortages of infrastructure, teaching and non-teaching staff, and funds for carrying out research. Science-funding agencies like CSIR and DST, pushed into acute fund crisis, are unable to disburse even committed support to students and research projects.

To address these problems the scientific community of India staged an `India March for Science' on August 9, 2017 with the following demands:

  1. 1. Allocate at least 3% of GDP to scientific and technological research and 10% towards education
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. Ensure that the education system does not impart ideas that contradict scientific evidence.
  4. 4. Enact policies based on scientific evidence.

Since then, the situation has not improved. The forces acting against science have become more active, and the funding for education and science remains dismally low.

In this situation we, from the scientific community of India, have decided to participate in the March for Science on April 14, 2018 called by the world body of scientists. We appeal to every individual who is concerned about science and scientific temper to join the March. It is a march not just for science but to save the future.

Express interest to participate