New Delhi: The President, Ram Nath Kovind, announced three key initiatives for gender advancement and equality in academic and research institutions on the occasion of National Science Day in a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi today. This year the theme for the National Science Day is ‘Women in Science’.
The President said that Vigyan Jyoti is an initiative that will create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education. He informed that Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) will develop a comprehensive charter and a framework for assessing gender inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
An online portal for science and technology resources for women will provide e-resources related to all women-specific government schemes, scholarships, fellowships, career counselling with details of subject area experts from various disciplines in science and technology, President Kovind highlighted.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences, applauded the theme ‘Women in Science’ and marked it as a conscious paradigm shift from earlier days. He said that innovation and gender parity underpin the entire development process. Vardhan said that we must move from tokenism to totalism, especially when it comes to creating a gender parity culture in Indian science. The recent special focus on women empowerment by the government has resulted in various special schemes to attract women in science and to provide employment opportunities as well, he added.
Vardhan said that as per a recent National Science Foundation (USA) report, India has already climbed to the third spot in the number of science and engineering publications. It is a matter of pride for all that one of our institutes, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore is judged 7th in the quality of research by Nature Index, he added.
Stating that the new India would bring newer challenges, Harsh Vardhan called upon scientists to join the national endeavour to find sci-tech led solutions to the problems to meet the challenges of 21st Century.
President Kovind also conferred national awards for science communication and popularization including women excellence awards for meritorious women scientists. The awards included National Science and Technology Communication Awards, Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) Awards, SERB Women Excellence Awards, and National Award for Young Woman Showing Excellence through Application of Technology for Societal Benefits.
Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) highlighted the necessity of embarking on disruptive and new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), quantum technology and also emphasized the need for scientific social responsibility in all endeavours.
National Science Day is celebrated every year on 28th February to commemorate the announcement of the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’ by Sir C.V. Raman for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930. Government of India designated 28 February as National Science Day (NSD) in 1986. Since then, theme-based science communication activities are carried out all over the country on this occasion.
DST also instituted National Awards for Science Popularization in 1987 to stimulate, encourage and recognize outstanding efforts in the area of science and technology communication and popularization as well as inculcating scientific temper among masses. These awards are presented every year on National Science Day.
Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Dr Shekhar Mande, DG, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and award winners were among those present on the occasion.
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