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Scientific Literacy in India

  • IASbaba
  • August 25, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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What is the issue?

  • India has failed to propagate scientific literacy not only among the public, but also among scientists themselves.
  • While politicians, writers, artists, actors, and other celebrities have been given their due, science and scientists seem to have been largely ignored.
  • The general apathy towards science, and the lack of scientific temper among the public and politicians, is a poor commentary on the Indian sensibility.

What is the status of scientific advancement in India?

  • A solid foundation for modern science was built by scientists in the 1950s and 1960s, facilitated by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • India has made significant scientific advances in fields such as molecular biology, agricultural/pharmaceutical science, solid-state chemistry, space, nuclear science, and information technology.

What is the case of scientific literacy in India?

  • Parliament underscored our commitment to propagate scientific temper by including it as a duty in Article 51A of the Constitution through the 42nd Amendment.
  • Article 51A says, “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.”
  • Lack of scientific temper– Although India has made some significant scientific advances in research fields, it has failed to propagate scientific literacy in India.
    • Scientific temper has not really percolated into society paving the way for retrogressive religion-based politics at the expense of constitutionally guaranteed secular values.
    • The bulk of scientists in the country were themselves not committed to scientific temper which calls for rationality, reason, and lack of belief in dogma and superstition.
    • India had not produced any Nobel Prize winner in science since 1930 largely because of the lack of a scientific environment in the country, of which scientific temper would be an important component.
  • Pseudoscience- Pseudoscience is everywhere, whether in denying the science of climate change or the evolution theory.
    • There is official backing of the theory that cow excreta has therapeutic properties despite no scientific validation of this.
    • Official circulars quote ancient texts to support the curative properties of cow urine for ailments.
    • Disinformation weakens human rights and many elements of democracy.
    • Dissemination of fake news is faster and reaches millions of consumers in seconds thanks to Information Technology.

What is the need of the hour?

  • It is the job of the science academies to chip in and inspire the country to attain greater science literacy among the public.
  • There is a need to develop a knack for critical thinking using the time-tested and highly successful methodologies followed in science.
  • Revamping of National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy.on
  • Increasing fund allocation to R&D Institutes.
  • Collaboration between various stakeholders – academic institutes, research organisation and industries.

Source: The Hindu

 

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