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  • Context (TH): Recently, science communication in India was in news.
  • Last year, ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 mission and COVID-19 information dissemination showcased diverse aspects of science communication in India. E.g,
    • The live telecast of the Chandrayaan-3 lander’s soft landing was a significant demonstration.
    • The manual on homemade masks issued by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor was crucial in promoting reusable and affordable masks.
  • Despite these efforts, India’s pandemic revealed significant gaps in reliable scientific information communication.
    • Issues included inaccurate data reporting, vaccine hesitancy, and predicting the resurgence of infections.

What is science communication?

  • Science communication refers to sharing scientific information, knowledge, and discoveries with various audiences (public, policymakers, and other stakeholders).
  • The goal of science communication is to make scientific concepts accessible, understandable, and relevant to non-experts.
  • Effective science communication helps promote scientific literacy and build public trust in scientific institutions.

Steps Taken in India to Promote Science Communication

  • Establishment of Publications & Information Directorate (PID) under CSIR it published science magazines like Vigyan Pragati, Science Reporter, and Science Ki Duniya.
  • Setting up the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in Calcutta (1959) for promoting science education.
  • 42nd Amendment to the Constitution (1976): Parliament passed Article 51 A(h), emphasizing the duty of every citizen to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-1985): It focused on popularising science and nurturing scientific thinking, leading to the establishment of the National Council for Science and Technology Communication.
  • Vigyan Prasar (1989): The Department of Science and Technology set up Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation dedicated to popularising science on a broader scale.

Challenges/issues

  • Lack of formal education and training in science communication.
  • Despite achievements, the closure of Vigyan Prasar in 2023 indicated existing challenges.

Way Forward

  • Expanding master’s and doctoral programs in the field.
  • Involving students, scientists, and institutions in the communication process.
  • Recognizing and rewarding scientists for effective communication.
  • Establishing a large-scale science communication strategy for national challenges.
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