The Center government has decided to reduce the number of prizes awarded to medical scientists and researchers on the grounds that they are restricted only to “really deserving candidates”. Research scholars in the field of science across India are upset that prizes awarded in recognition of achievement in science are being withdrawn.
These decisions were made at a meeting organized by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla with senior officials from the country’s science departments on September 16 to “review the transformation of the awards”.
Govt cancelled 100 awards
According to the minutes of the meeting, Bhalla stressed that the number of prizes and winners must be very restrictive and the selection process must be transparent to recognize “really deserving candidates.” The Home Office has already issued proper guidelines, he said.
Bhalla also suggested that a “Nobel Prize”, potentially called a “Vigyan Ratna”, could be instituted for scientists in consultation with the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser. It will be open to all scientific disciplines, he said.
“No #SSB prizes are announced today on the occasion of @CSIR_IND foundation day. Most of the awards are also being scraped as per the MoM circulated by Home Ministry (attached). Govt. however wants a new award like @NobelPrize. Disclaimer: I am not an applicant for SSB 2022,” tweeted Professor Chandra Shekhar Sharma, Dean (R&D), IIT Hyderabad.
- Science research scholars across India are upset that awards given in recognition of achievement are being withdrawn.
- Academics fear that this will discourage many from pursuing careers in scientific research.
- On September 26, The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards, India’s highest recognition for scientific achievement, are declared.
- This year, the day passed without any announcement. Instead, the government issued a notice saying that around 100 awards and several scholarships in the field of science would be suspended.
- According to the notice, “All private endowment awards may be discontinued. All scholarship/scholarship-based awards may be discontinued.
- Internal awards may be discontinued and, where necessary, these awards may be merged into the proposed scholars/scholarship schemes mentioned above.”
A new fellowship/fellowship program with reasonable fees, full justification, and comprehensive criteria has been applied to the Department of Science and Technology, and internal rewards will also be incorporated into the new effort.
The Indian Space Research Organization said it did not award prizes except for three interns. These too should be removed and replaced with a nationwide “very tall stature” award, the meeting concluded.
The meeting concluded that the SSB was a “senior award” and could be maintained, but the recipients’ 20-year monthly allowance would only be paid for 15 of those years. The six more prizes awarded by the CSIR would end.
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