Thursday, January 28, 2021
Home Opinions Ram Guha claims Modi govt has done a surgical strike on science and scholarship,...

Ram Guha claims Modi govt has done a surgical strike on science and scholarship, data says otherwise

In a nutshell, Mr Guha’s contention that Modi has systematically undermined the institutions of higher learning seems to be disingenuous and does not pass the smell test

I consciously avoid following twitter feed of Nehruvian intellectuals. But I was amused to find an opinion piece by Ram Guha, titled “Surgical strike against science and scholarship” published in The Telegraph on my Twitter timeline. There are two components to the article making a case that the Modi government has carried out a successful surgical strike on scholarship in social studies as well as natural sciences. I would leave his bogus claims about the social studies to be rebutted by someone in that field.

However, his claims about Modi’s surgical strike on natural sciences has zero scientific basis. His main complaints about the Modi’s war on Science are solely based on his assumption that India before Nehru was just a land of snake charmers and naked sadhus and hence any mention of ancient Indian scientific achievements by any member of Modi’s cabinet (including Modi) is considered regressive. We can certainly keep debating about whether surgery existed in ancient India much before the west until cows come home and despite the preponderance of evidence people like Ram Guha would continue to live in their make-believe world and continue to deny every such work as Sanghi propaganda. However, the following four points are more than enough to burst the bubble that the Modi government has been on war with science:

Research and Development Expenditure: As shown in the charts below, total R&D expenditure has increased not only in actual numbers but also as a percentage of GDP (data taken from the latest Economic Survey). It can be seen that the total R&D expenditure has increased from 0.6% to 0.7% of the GDP. Needless to say that this level of R&D expenditure is extremely low compared to other similar economies and a case can certainly be made to double the investment in R&D in next five years if India wants to emerge as a leader in this field. But the point here is that the contention made by Ram Guha that the Modi government has conducted a surgical strike on science is on very slippery ground.

Source: Economic Survey

The number of research papers published: A simple PubMed search of NCBI (The National Center for Biotechnology Information) database for the papers (Largely restricted to fields in Biomedical and Natural Sciences) published from India shown a steady increase of scientific output from Indian institutions. As shown in the following figure, the average annual number of publications coming out of institutions has significantly increased during the NDA-2 era as compared to UPA-2 era. Yet another measure of scientific morale (that Ram Guha claims to have deteriorated during Modi government) is returning of scientists from abroad to carry out their scientific research in India.

In response to a question asked in Rajya Sabha by Shri Narayan Lal Panchariya, the Government replied that the number of returning scientists has jumped significantly (see figure below). I don’t know where Guha measured the falling morale of the scientific community; the data says a different story. Other than these data points, I was recently in India (Feb 2019) attending a conference and had opportunity to talk to hundreds of scientists, and most of them were upbeat about the current scientific environment.

IITs: Since Ram Guha talked about the virtue of IITs, I looked at the establishment of IITs as a criterion for the government to science and tech development. A cursory look at available data again leads to a diametrically opposite conclusion. As shown in the following figure, whereas UPA-2 established 3 new IITs, NDA-2 has managed to establish 7 new IITs. Not only IITs but Modi government is miles ahead in establishing new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). Compared to 7 new AIIMS established by UPA-2, NDA-2 has managed to establish 15 new AIIMS. If these figures are indicative of a surgical strike on science and Scholarship to Guha, I am glad they refuse the actual surgical strikes.

Number of IITs and AIIMS established

Budgetary support to Flagship Research Institutes: Since Ram Guha brought up National Center for Biological Sciences in his article, I quickly looked at the total expenditure of NCBS (Data extracted from the annual report of NCBS). As you can see in this infographic that the total expenditure at NCBS has again increased during the Modi Government compared to UPA-2. Guha has also brought up the case of IISc (Indian Institute of Sciences, Bengaluru) and there also the morale of scientists is probably on an all-time high as it has been consistently ranked number one in the country. My friends at IISc all seem to be doing great and none have complained about the anti-scientific temper of Modi government.

Total budget and expenditure at NCBS

So, in a nutshell, Guha’s contention that Modi has systematically undermined the institutions of higher learning seems to be disingenuous and does not pass the smell test. However, in the end, I must say that Guha’s piece is entitled an opinion and he is certainly entitled to his opinions howsoever ludicrous they might be.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

singhrakeshk
Born in Utaar Pradesh. Studied at Allahabad University (B.Sc.) and Banaras Hindu University (M.Sc. Biotechnology, Gold Medalist). Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Mumbai University. Worked at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre as Scientific Officer for 10 years. Moved to Florida State University in 2006 as a postdoctoral research fellow. Working as a Research Faculty since 2013 with primary interest in mass spectrometry and proteomics.

 

Related Articles

Trending now

US-based ‘Human Rights Lawyer’ Arjun Sethi gives a call to oust the Modi government, spreads falsehoods on farmer protests

A chronic PM Modi hater, Arjun Sethi has ceaselessly whined over the Citizenship Amendment Act since its passage in December 2019

Post-mortem of protestor killed during tractor rally confirms he died of antemortem injuries, busts left-liberal propaganda of being shot

Left-liberals had tried to blame Delhi Police for the death, spreading the fake news that the protestor was shot dead by Police.

‘Tiranga ka apman, nehi sahega Hindustan’: Angry villages in Rewari issue ultimatum to ‘farmer’ protestors to vacate Highway blockade in 24 hours

The villagers said that due to blockade on the highway, the region remains jammed with vehicles, which have created difficulties for them

Farmer bodies withdraw their support from ‘farmer’ protest, blame Rakesh Tikait for violence on Republic Day

AIKSCC's VM Singh said he does not want to be part of protests led by Rakesh Tikait.

Red Fort attack: Dear ‘liberals’, here is how a little understanding of physics can help you

The underlying message of holding a parallel parade on Republic Day was always clear. They wanted to showcase a parallel power center on the streets, a republic of mob rule.

Recently Popular

Tractor rally: Rioting mob vandalised Ram Mandir and Kedarnath tableaux from Republic Day parade

Rioting mob on Tuesday not only desecrated the Red Fort and tried to kill the Delhi Police personnel but also vandalised the tableau from the Republic Day parade.

Rajdeep Sardesai lies twice, says ‘farmer’ was killed because the police shot him in the head: Here is the truth

In this way, those who had shared the fake news once would live under the false impression that it was indeed a case of police firing.

‘Flag of Khalistan is waving on Red Fort,’ ‘Historic Moment’: All Pakistan Muslim League celebrates “Black Day” for India

The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) is celebrating the hoisting of the 'Khalistan Flag' at Red Fort on Republic Day.

Conspiracy theorist Subramanian Swamy floats a new theory, toes ‘liberals’ line to claim Red Fort siege was a PMO plot

Subramanian Swamy has furthered the left propaganda that Red Fort siege was carried out at the behest of the PMO

‘Tiranga ka apman, nehi sahega Hindustan’: Angry villages in Rewari issue ultimatum to ‘farmer’ protestors to vacate Highway blockade in 24 hours

The villagers said that due to blockade on the highway, the region remains jammed with vehicles, which have created difficulties for them

Here is how Congress and trolls tried to paint a Khalistani accused of spearheading the Red Fort siege as a ‘sanghi’

Deep Sidhu is accused of being responsible for the hoisting of the Sikh flag at Red Fort on Republic Day.
- Advertisement -

 

US-based ‘Human Rights Lawyer’ Arjun Sethi gives a call to oust the Modi government, spreads falsehoods on farmer protests

A chronic PM Modi hater, Arjun Sethi has ceaselessly whined over the Citizenship Amendment Act since its passage in December 2019

‘Not taking the vaccine is a bigger laughing matter’, doctor responds after video of him scolded by wife during live broadcast goes viral

A video of Dr KK Agarwal getting berated by his wife for getting vaccinated alone is doing the rounds on the internet

Watch: Elderly man tries to cross protest site to see doctor, protesting ‘farmers’ issue him life threat

The elderly man said that he was trying to cross the protest site as he had an appointment with a doctor at Panth Hospital

Reflections on Republic Day insurrection: The government’s dilemma, a blast from the past and ghost of Operation Blue Star

Tractor Rally Protesters stormed the national capital and eventually managed to breach the premises of the Red Fort on Republic Day.

Robert Vadra posts distorted map of India on social media, shows PoK and Aksai Chin not part of India

Robert Vadra used a distorted map of India on Twitter and Instagram while demanding probe for Republic Day violence in Delhi

Post-mortem of protestor killed during tractor rally confirms he died of antemortem injuries, busts left-liberal propaganda of being shot

Left-liberals had tried to blame Delhi Police for the death, spreading the fake news that the protestor was shot dead by Police.

Farmer protests: Twitter suspends 550 accounts for inciting violence, abuse, and threats

Delhi Police had claimed that hundreds of Twitter accounts were created to sow confusion about the tractor rally proposed by the 'farmers'.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh blames Delhi Police for Republic Day violence by ‘farmer’ protestors

While it was already known that barricades will be removed after Republic Day parade is over, Digvijay Singh blamed police barricades for riots

‘You cannot hurt religious sentiments’: SC rejects anticipatory bail pleas of ‘Tandav’ makers

"Freedom of speech was not absolute. You cannot hurt anyone's religious sentiments", Supreme Court of India said to makers of 'Tandav'.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
496,912FollowersFollow
23,000SubscribersSubscribe