Research assistants at work in a lab in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur in Kharagpur
Research assistants at work in a lab in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur | Representational image | Photo: Sumit Dayal | Bloomberg
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Bengaluru: K. VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the government of India, put out a series of tweets Wednesday, talking about forming consultative groups of scientists to aid the government with research and its impact in the country.

The PSA’s office hopes to have at least 100 researchers and scientists from all kinds of institutions as well as NGOs, from both India and abroad. A third of these researchers will change each year within the group.

“These are part of the decisions taken just before the elections were announced, and the view was that they should be considered and implemented by the new government. We are now going ahead with those,” VijayRaghavan told ThePrint.

Asked about the origins of this initiative, VijayRaghavan said: “This is Prime Minister Modi’s explicit ask. The idea came entirely from him.”

He added that President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to Parliament in July will outline the government’s overall direction, including in science and technology.

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Including social scientists

VijayRaghavan also stressed on the importance of including social scientists and economists in this consultative group. A prominent criticism of Indian science, and indeed science the world over, is its exclusion of humanities and lack of perspective for negative social implications of major research.

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The traditional STEM grouping — Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics — is now increasingly referred to as STEAM, including Arts in the wake of economic disparity and the extreme amount of influence tech wields on everyday life.

The PSA’s tweets indicated that consultants from humanities will act as a sounding-board for how to deal with the present and the future.



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