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Scientific Communication in India

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology

  

Source: TH

 Context: The article discusses the importance of effective science communication in India, citing examples like the Chandrayaan-3 mission and COVID-19 information dissemination.

 

What is Scientific communication?

Science communication involves conveying scientific information to diverse audiences in an understandable and engaging manner. It encompasses various forms, including journalism, public talks, social media, and educational outreach. The goal is to bridge the gap between scientists and the public, promoting understanding of scientific concepts and their relevance.

 

Example: The communication of Chandrayaan-3, India’s lunar exploration mission, serves as an example of effective science communication. Through live broadcasts and updates, people across India were informed and engaged in the progress and scientific findings of the mission, contributing to widespread understanding and discourse.

 

Role of Science Communication for Society in India

RoleExample
Increasing Scientific Awareness:Publicizing achievements like India’s Mars Orbiter Mission to enhance understanding of space exploration.
Addressing Public Health Issues:Disseminating accurate information during the COVID-19 pandemic to combat misinformation and promote vaccination.
Fostering Environmental Consciousness:Campaigns explaining the importance of conservation and sustainable living for a cleaner environment.
Bridging the Gap with Researchers: Organizing public lectures, workshops, or online forums where scientists interact with the community.
Promoting Scientific Temper:Educational programs, science festivals, and initiatives promoting scientific inquiry among students.
Government Policies and Decision-Making:Advocacy for policies based on scientific research in areas like healthcare, environment, and technology.
Encouraging Innovation and Research:Publicizing breakthroughs in research to garner support and funding for further scientific exploration.
Building Trust in Scientific Institutions:Regularly sharing updates, findings, and insights from scientific institutions to build credibility.
Empowering Decision-Making:Initiatives explaining the science behind everyday choices, from healthcare to technology use.
Crisis Management and Risk Communication:Timely and accurate communication during natural disasters or health emergencies to guide the public on safety measures.

 

Government efforts:

Government-Led EffortsDetails
Publications & Information Directorate (PID)Established in 1951 under CSIR. Published national science magazines, including Vigyan Pragati (Hindi), Science Reporter (English), and Science Ki Duniya (Urdu), for disseminating scientific knowledge.
Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (1959)Established in 1959 with a focus on defining India’s scientific heritage and promoting science education.
42nd Amendment to the Constitution (1976)Introduced Article 51 A (h) in 1976, emphasizing the duty of every citizen to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of enquiry and reform.
National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC)Formed during the sixth Five Year Plan (1980-1985) with a focus on the popularization of science.
Vigyan Prasar (1989)An autonomous organization set up in 1989 by the Department of Science and Technology to popularize science.
CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR, 2021)Established in 2021, merging two previous institutions, to continue the promotion of science communication.
Active Engagement by National Science Funding Agencies and Research OrganizationsOngoing efforts by agencies and organizations to actively engage in science communication through press releases, social media campaigns, exhibitions, and lectures.

 

Other initiatives:

ProjectDescription
Indian Sign Language AstroLabEquipped with 65 pieces of equipment, including a large telescope and audiovisual aids, the AstroLab provides virtual access to educational videos in Indian sign language, promoting inclusivity and accessibility.
CSIR-NPL (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Physical Laboratory)Conducts multidisciplinary R&D for quantum standards, and technology development, and provides training under “Make in India” and “Skill India” programs.
One Week – One Lab CampaignA program by CSIR-NPL to create awareness about technologies and services, provide solutions to societal problems and develop scientific temperament among students. Over 180 schools in Delhi-NCR have been exposed to NPL labs, and more schools will be included in future interactions.
Science and Heritage Research Initiative (SHRI)This initiative can potentially increase demand for the traditional art of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI)An end-to-end plan for start-ups aimed at doubling the number of incubators and start-ups in five years.
National Start-up AwardsRecognizes and rewards outstanding start-ups and ecosystem enablers contributing to economic dynamism by stimulating innovation and competition.

 

To enhance science communication in India, key measures include:

  1. Formal Education and Training: Introduce master’s and doctoral programs in science communication to cultivate skilled communicators attuned to India’s diverse contexts.
  2. Integration with Scientific Process: Encourage scientists to actively participate in science communication, incorporating it into research and rewarding their efforts.
  3. Large-Scale Strategy: Establish a professional organization collaborating with government departments, stakeholders, and experts to create comprehensive science communication frameworks spanning various disciplines, media formats, and demographic groups.

 

Conclusion:

Science communication is crucial for advancing scientific literacy, public engagement, and informed decision-making in India. Addressing current gaps and adopting a forward-looking approach can build a robust science communication ecosystem, bridging the gap between science and society and propelling scientific progress.

 

Insta links:

 

Mains Links:

 What is India’s plan to have its own space station and how will it benefit our space programme? (UPSC 2019)

 

Prelims Links:

Q Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2016)

 The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO

  1. is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
  2. made India the second country to have a spacecraft orbit the Mars after USA
  3. made India the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit Mars in its very first attempt

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: C