On August 9, 2019, a march for science was organized at Delhi University by India March for Science, Delhi. The march was lead by many renowned scientists and academics. The march was peaceful and sloganeering was strictly avoided. The letter that was read in the end and was sent to the Prime Minister of India is as follows.
The Prime Minister of India
Through: The Governor of Delhi
Today scientists, professors, research scholars, educators, students, and science-loving people are marching across India in over 70 cities and towns to celebrate science, promote scientific temper and champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity.
The march upholds the genuine contributions of the Indian subcontinent to astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and philosophy dating back to several millennia and applauds the scientific achievements of India since Independence. At the same time, the march is concerned about the alarming spread of unscientific ideas, a significant part of which can be attributed to the policymakers and which is in violation of Article 51A (h) of the constitution. Such propagation of unscientific ideas has not spared even platforms like the Indian Science Congress that are meant for the exchange of evidence-based knowledge.
Further, countries that have shown consistent and commendable research output are characterized by significant governmental spending on education and R&D – about 6% of their GDP on education and 3% on science and technology research. India spends below 3% and 1% respectively. This situation has worsened over decades and successive governments have not paid heed to the concerns raised by scientists. Similarly, the concerns of the thousands of scientists, educators, and science-loving people who took part in two earlier marches in August 2017 and April 2018 were submitted in the memorandums to respective state governors for forwarding to your office. While these concerns are duly acknowledged, expectations that appropriate steps would follow are yet to be met.
In this context, this march submits the following demands, urging for positive response and action from your government.
1. Promote scientific temper and human values as per Article 51A of the constitution and stop the propagation of unscientific ideas.
2. Allocate 10% of the Central budget and 30% of the state budgets to education.
3. Ensure at least 3% of the GDP for science and technology research.
4. Ensure that the education system does not impart ideas that are not based on or contradict scientific evidence.
5. Ensure that public policies are based on scientific evidence.
We hope you fulfill the just demands of the scientific community and science-loving people at large.
Vinay Kumar (Coordinator)
India March for Science, Delhi Organising Committee
- Mritunjay Sharma finished his B.Sc (H) from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University in Chemistry. After that he went to England to study Masters in Polymer Material Science and Engineering from University of Manchester and consequently finished his PhD in Nuclear and Materials Chemistry from University of Manchester
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