Will Science get it due in India? (Opinion)
- Science, technology, environment, agriculture & medicine (STEAM) doesn’t figures in any political party’s agenda & is a major cause of worry especially since it is now established that investment in STEAM creates large number of jobs and opportunities for employments. This despite the Scientific Advisory Council having submitted documents of the advancement and application of STEAM almost 2 years ago.
- Although this year’s candidature includes IT geniuses, medical experts and educators, none of them have initiated discussions on STEAM for national growth. Ironically, one party that stated that GM (Genetic Modification) research should be promoted and continued faced dissociation from an ally on these grounds. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see GM at least figure in debates.
- Nascent Independent India stepped on the mantle of STEAM, to usher in green revolution, get rid of small pox and polio, and make us an atomic and nuclear power. It also helped us achieve the status of an emerging economy.
- Contrastingly now, in January every year the incumbent PM inaugurates the All India Science Congress and commits to improving science and increase national level funding. The matter ends there. The State govts conduct their own annual science congresses and related events, but, of the 95% of money that comes for S&T, state govts spend only 5%.
- Central finance ministry even cut the operating budget of all science departments by almost 30%, yet science ministries and departments defaulted in their grant payments and salaries to young research students.
- Progress in science in India is largely due to the involvement of scientists and professionals in the advisory councils with sizeable support from the government. This has resulted in successful space missions, high quality IISERs, biotech products etc.
- In the light of this, it is but sensible for the parties to commit themselves to the development of STEAM and strengthen our tryst with science. The much touted demographic dividend in India, and its status of having become the new intellectual engine or knowledge society of the world rests on this.
- All India Science Congress
- 12th Plan (Science Chapter)