Bhopal: Sainath highlights importance and need for promoting scientific temper, rationality

The AIPSC was inaugurated by K K Shailaja, former Health Minister, Kerala. Other speakers included Dr Sabyasachi Chatterjee, President AIPSN, Indumathi D and Rajesh Joshi, writer and poet.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, June 07, 2022, 01:16 PM IST
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BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Do we build a Republic of Reason or an ocean of irrationality? This was the question posed by veteran journalist P Sainath in his keynote address at the 17th All India People’s Science Congress (AIPSC)

The event, which began here on Monday, will continue till June 9. The theme of the event is The Idea of India @75.

Cautioning against the rapid consolidation of fundamentalist corporate state in India, Sainath emphasized the importance and need for promoting scientific temper and rationality, and the necessity of fighting against the gaping inequality that India is confronting – in education, health, and wealth.

The AIPSC was inaugurated by K K Shailaja, former Health Minister, Kerala. Other speakers included Dr Sabyasachi Chatterjee, President AIPSN, Indumathi D and Rajesh Joshi, writer and poet.

The 4-day AIPSC will have the participation of about 1000 scientists, academicians, and activists from across 25 states of India. The AIPSC will be divided into 5 sub-plenaries and more than 10 workshops.

Sainath, pointing to the increase in the number of dollar billionaires in India during the COVID-19 pandemic by about 60 – from 102 in 2019 to 166 – cautioned against the increasing corporate hold over media, education, and also the health sector. During the pandemic, while the Indian economy shrunk by 7.7%, the wealth of these billionaires increased by 95%.

K.K. Shailaja discussed the Kerala model and highlighted how a scientific approach and teamwork helped in tackling the pandemic in Kerala. She highlighted that in Kerala no person died due to lack of oxygen or non-availability of a hospital bed.

Prof. Indumathi D., Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai spoke about the need to address the divide between Centres of Scientific Excellence on the one hand the Universities and Colleges which have a vast pool of students. She highlighted that for higher education a paltry 0.6% of GDP is allocated by the central government.

The Inaugural day programme also saw cultural performances by groups from Bihar, Bhopal and Northeast India.

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