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Science Communication in India

Why is it in the news?

  • The coverage of Chandrayaan-3 exemplified effective public communication of advanced scientific endeavors.

More about the news

  • Science communication involves the dissemination of information related to science, scientific work, outcomes, ethical considerations, and societal impacts.
  • It includes interactions with scientists, discussions on the political and ethical aspects of scientific endeavours, institutional outreach, and public engagement with science.
  • Governments and experts played a crucial role in communicating scientific and healthcare-related information during the pandemic.
  • Aimed at promoting public compliance with pandemic-related guidelines such as physical distancing, masking, and vaccination.
  • Serves to integrate scientific cultures into India’s diverse society, fostering scientific thinking and awareness.
  • It acts as an effective tool for extending scientific boundaries.
  • Gains public support for essential research and development activities that are indispensable for societal development.
Government Initiatives

Establishment of Publications & Information Directorate (PID):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 In 1951, the government established the PID under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Published national science magazines like Vigyan Pragati (Hindi), Science Reporter (English), and Science Ki Duniya (Urdu).

Constitutional Amendment (1976):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The 42nd amendment to the Constitution in 1976 included Article 51 A(h), emphasizing the duty of every citizen to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry.

National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Established during the sixth Five Year Plan (1980-1985) to popularize science and nurture scientific thinking in India.

Vigyan Prasar (1989):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Set up by the Department of Science and Technology as an autonomous organization to popularize science at large.

Modern Scenario (2021):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 The government established the CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR) by merging two previous institutions.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 National science funding agencies have dedicated science communication divisions for press releases, social media campaigns, exhibitions, and popular lectures.

Improving Science Communication in India

  • Scientists should be provided training in the art of science communication.
  • Journalists must be oriented towards at least a basic understanding of sciences and its methodology.
  • Expanding science communication degree programs in India at master’s and doctoral levels could support training and research in the field. This would lead to a trained cadre of science communicators with an informed understanding of the needs, perspectives, and consequences of their work in diverse educational, linguistic, and cultural contexts in the country.
  • Scientists should be rewarded for their efforts in communicating science to the public.
  • Nourishing public engagement and translating research papers into regional languages can be encouraged and acknowledged.
  • Establishing more platforms for scientists and media practitioners to have close dialogues on issues related to scientific developments.
  • A professional organization with experts from various fields should work closely with government-level science departments and offices.
  • Frameworks should cut across disciplines, involving science, medicine, disaster management, national security, diplomacy groups, and various media formats.

Way Forward

  • Given the role of scientific solutions in addressing national challenges, India needs a large-scale science communication strategy.
  • Effective communication between journalists and the scientific community can create a mutual understanding, yielding positive outcomes.
  • More seriously planned agenda and policies for science communication in a transparent manner are prerequisites to engage and speed up science communication.

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