INDIA MARCH FOR SCIENCE

9th August 2017, in all major cities

Friends,

We are delighted to note that, on 22nd April this year, more than a million people undertook a March for Science in 600 cities across the globe, demanding robust funding for science and demanding that governmental policies be guided by scientific evidence.

We are planning to complement and supplement this global effort in India as we feel it is very relevant in the current juncture. On the one hand, scientists from India have played a commendable role in the discovery of gravitational waves and of Higgs Boson, in the interplanetary mission through Mangalyaan and in reducing foreign dependence through the development of indigenous satellite launching capability. But, on the other, science in India is facing the danger of being eclipsed by a rising wave of unscientific beliefs and religious bigotry, and scientific research is suffering serious setback due to dwindling governmental support.

We note with deep concern that financial support to even premier institutions like IITs, NITs, and IISERs has been 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 selling their inventions and from other sources.

While we can justly be inspired by the great achievements in science and technology in ancient India, we see that non-scientific ideas lacking in evidence are being propagated as science by persons in high positions, fueling a confrontational chauvinism in lieu of true patriotism that we cherish. Promoting scientific bent of mind can certainly help improve the social health of our country where incidents of witch hunting, honour killing and mob lynching are reported regularly.

We feel that the situation demands the members of scientific community to stand in defence of science and scientific attitude in an open and visible manner as done by scientists and science enthusiasts worldwide. We appeal to scientists, researchers, teachers, students, as well as all concerned citizens to organize 'India March for Science' events throughout the country, particularly in the state capitals, on 9th August 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 ideas and religious intolerance, 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 imparts only ideas that are supported by scientific evidence.
  4. 4. Enact policies based on evidence-based science.

Express interest to participate

Memorandum to be submitted to the Prime Minister