Initiatives by the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI)
during the Pandemic era of COVID-19
 Submitted by

The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI)

(The oldest Science Academy of India; financially supported as a professional body by the DST; and recognized as SIRO by the DSIR, GoI)

Summary of the events organized by the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sept. – Dec. 2020

The National Academy of Science India (NASI) is the oldest Science Academy established in 1930 by a very eminent Scientist – Prof. Meghnad Saha. The mandate given to the academy by his founder is Science and Society.

Several Programmes of S&T Interventions have been organized by NASI all over the country for reaching every strata of the Society.

 As soon as the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, launched Poshan Mah in September 2020 and Jagrukta Abhiyan(Awareness Programme) for COVID-19, NASI Immediately launched a series of webinars on the two subjects as per the directive of Hon’ble Prime Minister.

Commemoration of the POSHAN Mah

Seven programmes initiated in – Lucknow, Dehradun and three in New Delhi; one in collaboration with INSA and One programme in Mahendragarh, Haryana.

Jagrukta Abhiyan for COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Nine Programms have been organized in different regions of the country:- Praygraj, Kolkata(2), Mumbai(2-One International), Dehradun, Manipur, Shilong (Meghalya), Jaipur(Rajasthan).
  • In each programme very eminent Scientists, Public health workers and Doctors from Universities, Medical colleges and Research Institutions have participated. They talked about research, development of drugs, therapeutics, Vaccines and Masks. Large number of Students, Scientists and Academicians participated and joined the Webinar. They appreciated each and every lecture. The webinars had very stimulating interactive sessions and the queries of the students were responded by the experts.
  • The programmes for the month of December, 2020 have been planned.
  • This effort of NASI will continue in 2021 also.
  • One prominent feature is that two long term programmes, one by HESCO Dehradun and the other by BHU Varanasi have been launched for combating the malnutrition amongst children and women, especially for the tribal population. BHU, Varanasi has selected three villages- 1. Jayapura (adopted village of our PM), 2.Bhawanipur and 3.Paniyara village of Varanasi District adopted by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Two more institutions are being identified, one in Tirupati and one in Chennai or Odisha.

                                                                                                        (Manju Sharma)

Initiatives by the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI)

during the Pandemic era of COVID-19

A Report


    The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), the oldest Science Academy of this country established (in 1930) by Prof. Meghnad Saha, a very renowned scientist, visionary and a social reformer, has a mandate ‘Science & Society’. Withits meager resources and man power it has been implementing several scientific programmes on popularization of science, awareness and capacity-building and other areas of national relevance for urban as well as the rural masses since its inception.     

    The prime focus is on women, children and ST/tribal population who need most attention in terms of health, education and employment. Therefore, NASI has initiated many programmes for improving their socio-economic and health status nationwide. Programmes on Science Communication (30 years ago), as well as Technological Empowerment of Women (by organizing 32 events all across the country) and for Tribal Welfare (by implementing several projects in different regions of the country and establishing 23 Tribal Welfare Centres under the DST’s Tribal Sub Plan Support), have shown significant impact. Dr. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Chairperson, NASI-New Initiatives has been guiding these activities; Prof. G. Padmanaban, President NASI has participated in all and has been extremely supportive of the efforts.

    As desired by Hon’ble Minister S&T, Dr. Harsh Vardhan Ji, a MEGA EVENT on ‘Technological Empowerment of  Women’ was organized on  March 8-9, 2018 to commemorate the International Women’s Day. Very eminent Scientists and Technologists from India and abroad participated.

All the programmes are well received and appreciated by the masses including the students, research scholars, young women scientists, rural and tribal women and entrepreneurs all across the country and the Academy has collaborated with other Science Academies, Govt. Departments/Agencies for further implementation of its initiatives.

The Genesis:

    During the pandemic of COVID-19 and consequently, the nationwide lockdown in the country, NASI implemented two major nationwide programmes as announced by Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji:

  1. ‘POSHAN’ A focus on children and their education, immunity against COVID-19 to observe the month of September, 2020 as POSHAN MAH or Nutrition Month.     
  • ‘An Awareness Campaign for COVID-19 Pandemic’ as launched in PM’s Address to Nation on 20th October, 2020 for the COVID Appropriate Behaviour to prevent the spread of the disease,sensitize and educate the society on this pertinent issue

Our Hon’ble Prime Minister in his address to the nation said, “It’s time to make nutrition a people’s movement”.

Our Prime Minister has also recently in his address to the nation on October 20th gave a call to start a Jagrukta Abhiyhan COVID-19 –  Jan Andolan with the key messages, viz. ‘wear mask’, ‘follow physical distancing’ and ‘maintain hand hygiene’.        

  NASI has made an endeavour towards propagating these messages through a series of webinars in different regions of the country for the effective outreach of programmes to prevent the spread of disease.  

  The Implementation:  

   Commemorating the POSHAN MAH

  1.  POSHAN Programme:  A focus on children and their education, immunity against COVID-19  

     NASI has addressed the problem of malnutrition several times; and also successfully executed Projects at Allahabad (U.P.), Hyderabad (Telangana State) and Vadodara (Gujarat) to combat such problem among       women and children in joint collaboration with NIN-ICMR, Hyderabad.

     Following the call by Hon’ble PM, NASI initiated a nationwide awareness programme on POSHAN as part of its Science & Society endeavour (in the month of September, 2020) to educate the masses, the students in particular on the role and importance of nutrition, especially during the times of the pandemic. It started with the help of Dr. Manju Sharma, and several fellows of the Academy. 

NASI started a series of webinars and successfully organized a few events in joint collaboration with other institutions/ centres of excellence to commemorate the Poshan Mah and addressed the problem of malnutrition in India as well as the role of nutrition in enhancing one’s immune function, especially in the fight against the pandemic.            

 The events were addressed by many distinguished scientists from all across   the country who shared their expertise to enlighten the masses, especially the

students to cope with the problems during the pandemic. Several faculty members, researchers, women, college and school students enthusiastically participated in the events and also interacted with the speakers.

The speakers shared their views on the subjects including role of nutrition in enhancing immunity, approaches for combating dietary M-N deficiency/ hidden hunger, bio-fortification, promoting urban agriculture/ home gardens, challenges of food security including educating the community, nutritional challenges of the economically weaker sections,  role of wild and medicinal plants in nutritional security of the unprivileged during pandemic, plant-based nutrition during the pandemic, holistic approach for a healthy well-being in times of COVID-19 pandemic in India’, local food and nutrition, research preparedness for COVID-19/future direction etc.

Seven webinars were organized in different part of the country.

     Major Recommendations:

  The following recommendations emerged from the aforementioned events (programmes enclosed):

  • Some good modules on nutrition like ICDS need to be developed.
  • Documentary film/ CD on local language revealing the need and importance of local/ medicinal plants and other nutritional aspects to be prepared and displayed for spreading awareness, especially for rural/tribal women and children and comprising training and awareness modules to be developed for display/ dissemination in rural areas.         
  • Plant-based (fortified/ value added) products need to be endorsed as these could be a good source to combat malnutrition, especially for the rural, pregnant and lactating women.    
  • Small Home Gardens in the families including green vegetables (e.g. spinach, carrots, tomatoes etc.) rich in MN should be promoted.  Nutrition gardens to be established in villages especially near Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs).
  • Education is the key to awareness. NASI is trying to reach every strata of society through its nationwide campaigns/ awareness programmes including the programmes for the welfare of scheduled tribes; therefore, the tribal women (pregnant and lactating women) need to be made more aware on nutritional aspects.     
  • One section of scientists of NIPGR may take up awareness programmes, relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campaign on ‘COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour – Jagrukta Abhiyan’ by NASI

The NASI HQ launched nationwide programmes for spreading awareness on COVID Appropriate Behaviour as part of its Science & Society endeavour through a webinar held on Oct 31, 2020, Chaired by Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Chairperson, NASI New initiatives and presided over by Prof. G. Padmanaban, President NASI.

Several distinguished fellows, members and the local Chapters of NASI as well as students from the research institutes ardently participated in the events. The experts addressed related issues on the pandemic and suggested ways to cope with the problem in the most effective/persuasive manner.

The event was inaugurated by Prof. Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR; & Secretary, DHR, Govt. of India. Prof. Bhargava in his Inaugural Address referred to the earlier pandemics viz. SARS, MERS, Ebola Virus diseases etc. stating that COVID-19 is getting more complex due to ecological change, population and frequent travel by the community. He portrayed some statistics on the number of cases, testing and mortality in India; and also mentioned about setting up of more laboratories in India; augmented plan to fast track testing-ICMR is testing 12 lacs cases per day (as on Oct 30, 2020) with emphasis on isolation and tracking of COVID cases. He also mentioned about COVID KAWACH ‘ELISA’ the India’s first indigenous antibody  testing kit, developed by The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, to combat COVID-19. Prof. Bhargava further elucidated ICMR’s efforts in vaccine development with reference to ICMR and BHARAT biotech-development of COVAXIN; and also referred to some studies regarding testing of the virus and development of vaccine/drugs. Methodology adopted for the Sero-survey, conducted by ICMR was also explained with the reference to the emergence of reinfection of the disease in India.   

Prof. G Padmanaban, Hon’ble President, NASI; Former Director, IISc, Bangalore,in his Presidential Address, appreciated NASI’s endeavour to spread awareness on such important issues of national relevance and pursuing its mandate the prolific way. While underlining the three key components/ messages of Jan Andolan, viz. mask wearing, maintaining physical distancing and self-hygiene, he divulged the rigidity of attitude/ mindset of the Indian society with ingrained beliefs, traditions and social norms towards adoption of preventive measures/ COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour. He further referred to the 174 studies carried out on SARS, MERS and COVID viruses and stressed on reinforcing the relevance of such behavioural practices and the right information in containment of the infection.

Nine webinars have been organized on the above subject as enclosed.

A total numbers of 20,000 participants including students, scientists and other academicians attended the events and benefitted. Some photographs are also enclosed. NASI has planned many more events for 2021.





Webinar on ‘Nutrition in the times of pandemic’

jointly organized by NASI & INSA

Date: September 22, 2020


Opening Remarks (10:00 am) : Dr. Shelley Praveen (Convener)

                                              Head, Division of Biochemistry,
                                            Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

Brief remarks (10:05 am)       : Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma (Chair)

                                              Former Secretary to the Govt. of India
                                        Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi
                                       Distinguished Women Scientist Chair, NASI, Allahabad

Brief remarks (10:10 am)     : Dr. Chandrima Shaha

                                            President, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi                                

                                            Professor of Eminence; & Former Director,

                                            National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi 

Key-note address (10:20 am): Dr. Mahtab Bamji

                                             INSA  Emeritus, Scientist  

                                            Dangoria Charitable Trust, Hyderabad

Title: COVID 19, a new whammy to add to the country’s resistant burden of malnutrition

Lecture-1(10:45 am)            : Meeting Nutritional Challenges of the EWS

Speaker                               : Prof. Paramjit Khurana

                                            Head, Department of Plant Molecular   Biology,

                                           University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi;

                                           General Secretary (OS), NASI

11:10 am:     10 minutes break

    Lecture- 2(11:20 am)         : Role of plants in nutritional security of the       

                                              underprivileged during COVID-19 pandemic

    Speaker                            : Prof. Madhoolika Agrawal

                                              Department of Botany, BHU, Varanasi

    Lecture- 3(11:45 am)        : Plant-based nutrition during pandemic

   Speaker                            : Prof. Akhilesh Tyagi

                                             Past President, NASI; Formerly Director, NIPGR;

                                             Department of Plant Molecular Biology,

                                             University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi

Lecture-4 (12:15 pm)         :  Holistic approach for a healthy well-being in times of      

                                           COVID-19 epidemic in India

Speaker                            : Dr. Namrata Singh

                                          Dietitian, Department of Gastroenterology & Human Nutrition,       

                                          All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi   

Summary by the Chair 

Vote of thanks                 : Prof. Ajoy Ghatak

                                        MN Saha Distinguished Chair Professor, NASI

                                        Formerly Professor at IIT, Delhi  Chairman, NASI Delhi Chapter

YouTube link for live streaming


Kuposhan Mukt Bharat : A collective Effort

September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

11:00 AMWelcome Address/About WebinarDr Rakesh Kumar,Senior Scentist,HESCO
11:15About NASI’s Scheme on NutritionNASI representative
11:30 AMInaugural AddressPadam Bhushan, Padam shree Dr Anil P Joshi, Environmentalist, Founder HESCO
11:45 AMLocal food and NutritionDr. Neelima Bhatt, Executive coordinator,AMAN Organisation, Almora
12:10 PMMalnutrition in UttarakhandJagdamba Prasad, Aagas Federation
12:20PMNutrition and wild fruitsDr. Manju Sundriyal, Scientist,USERC,Uttarakhand
12:30PMGender and NutritionDr. Kusum Ghildiyal, Secretary,SEED organisation
12:40Malnutrition and Government SchemesDr.Yashoda, ICDS
12:50 PMWater and MalnutritionDr. Bhautosh Sharma,Scientist,USERC,Uttarakhand
01:00 PMVote of ThanksDr.  Kiran Negi, HESCO

Webinar on ‘Nutrition: A weapon to combat COVID-19’

(jointly organized by NASI & NIPGR)

Date: October 01, 2020

Time: 10:30 am-1:00 pm


Welcome Address         : Dr. Subhra Chakraborty (Coordinator)

                                      Director, NIPGR, New Delhi

Inaugural Address        : Prof. G Padmanabhan

                                     Hon’ble President, NASI

Presidential Address   : Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma (Chair)

                                     Former Secretary to the Govt. of India
                                     Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi
                                     Distinguished Women Scientist Chair, NASI

 Keynote Address         : Dr. Renu Swarup

                                      Secretary, Department of Biotechnology,

                                     New Delhi

Lecture-1               : Meeting Nutritional Challenges for a Healthy  Lifestyle

Speaker                   : Prof. Paramjit Khurana

                                Head, Department of Plant Molecular   Biology,

                                University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi;

                               General Secretary (OS), NASI

Lecture- 2                :  What is Healthy Nutrition and its Effect on Immunity?                                            

Speaker                    : Prof. Pramod Garg

                                Department of Gastro Enterology, AIIMS, New Delhi                         

            Summary by the Chair 

           Vote of thanks      : Dr. Naveen Bisht

                                        Scientist, NIPGR, New Delhi

Webinar on   ‘Bioresources for combating COVID-19’

(jointly organized by NASI & NASI Lucknow Chapter under NASI New Initiatives)

Date: October 16, 2020

Time: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Welcome Address                Prof. Pramod Tandon

                                        CEO, Biotech Park, Lucknow;

                                         Chairman, NASI Lucknow Chapter

About NASI’s                       Ms Archna Pant

POSHAN Programmes           Young Woman Scientist, NASI

Role of Local Chapters         Dr. Suchitra Banerjee   (Coordinator)

with reference to                NASI Senior Scientist, CSIR – CIMAP, Lucknow;

Luchnow Chapter                Secretary, NASI Lucknow Chapter                                

Opening Remarks                Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma  

                                          Former Secretary to the Govt. of India
                                          Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi;
                                          Chairperson, NASI New Initiatives

Inaugural address               Prof. G. Padmanaban

                                        Hon’ble President, NASI;

                                         Former Director, IISc, Bangalore

Lecture Session                   Prof.  Veena Tandon

Presided over by                 NASI Senior Scientist, Biotech Park, Lucknow

Lecture: 1                         Ashwagandha-Human Health and Covid19       

Speaker                             Prof. Madhu Dikshit

                                         National Chair – THISTI, Faridabad;

                                         Former Director, CSIR – CDRI, Lucknow

Lecture: 2                         Potential of essential oils and plant ingredients in     

                                         preventing the spread of COVID – 19

Speaker                             Prof. Anil Kumar Tripathi

                                         Director, Institute of Science, BHU, Varanasi;

                                         Former Director, CSIR – CIMAP, Lucknow

Lecture : 3                        Musculoskeletal health in the times of COVID

Speaker                             Dr. Ritu Trivedi

                                         Principal Scientist,

                                         CSIR – Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow

Summing up                      Prof. Paramjit Khurana

                                         Head, Department of Plant Molecular Biology,

                                         University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi;

                                         General Secretary (OS), NASI

Vote of Thanks                  Dr. Niraj Kumar

                                         Executive Secretary, NASI





The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI)

cordially invites you to kindly attend a


on the occasion of

Chairperson: Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Past President, NASI

 Inaugural Address: Prof. Balram Bhargava, Secretary, ICMR, Govt. of India

Presidential Address: Prof. G Padmanaban, Hon’ble President, NASI


by NASI HQ under NASI New Initiatives

Date: October 31, 2020

Time: 11:30 am to 1:30 pm


Welcome Address                Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma  

                                          Former Secretary to the Govt. of India
                                          Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi;
                                          Chairperson, NASI New Initiatives

Inaugural address               Prof. Balram Bhargava

                                          Director General, ICMR;

                                          & Secretary, DHR, Govt. of India

Title                                  COVID-19 Pandemic 

   Opening Remarks                Prof. Ajoy Ghatak

                                         MN Saha Distinguished Chair Professor, NASI

                                         Formerly Professor at IIT, Delhi

                                         Chairman, NASI Delhi Chapter

Title                    Distance Learning: A Great Concept Used during COVID- 19

Presidential address          Prof. G. Padmanaban

                                        Hon’ble President, NASI;

                                        Former Director, IISc, Bangalore

         Speaker-1                          Dr. V.M. Katoch

                                    NASI-ICMR Chair on Public Health Research at RUHS, Jaipur;

                                         Former DG, ICMR; & Secretary, DHR, Govt. of India

Title                 COVID-19 Pandemic: Opportunity for Socio Behavioural


Speaker-2                         Dr. Sanjeev Sinha

                                  Department of Medicine

                                  AIIMS, New Delhi

Title                              COVID-19 Management               

        Speaker-3                         Prof. H.N. Verma

                                Vice Chancellor, JNU Jaipur;

                                Chairman, NASI Jaipur Chapter

          Title                                     COVID-19 Pandemic – Some Facts

        Speaker-4                        Dr. Ashish Tandon

                               Senior Medical Doctor (Chest Specialist)


        Title                               Preventions and Precautions in COVID-19

        Vote of Thanks               Dr. Niraj Kumar

                                    Executive Secretary,

                                    The National Academy of Sciences, India, Prayagraj

Webinar on

Science & Technology based solution to combat the Covid-19 Pandemic

Jagrukta Abhiyan

                                                          Jointly organized by

 NASI , NASI Uttarakhand Chapter & UCOST

Date: 5th December 2020

 TimeLecture TopicName of the Expert/ Resource Person
11:00 AM – 11:15 AMWelcome Address & About The ChapterDr Rajendra Dobhal Director General, UCOST & Secretary, NASI UK Chapter
11:15 AM – 11:30 AM  About NASI’s POSHAN Program  Ms Archana Pant Young Women Scientist NASI
11:30 AM – 11:45 AMOpening RemarksProf (Dr) Manju Sharma Former Secretary to Govt of India Dept. of Biotechnology, New Delhi Chairperson, NASI New Initiatives
11:45 AM – 12:25 PMInaugural AddressProf G Padmanaban Hon’ble President, NASI Former Director, IISc Banglore
    12:25 PM – 12:30 PMLecture Session Presided byDr Kalachand Sain Director Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun
Lecture Session Co-Presided byDr G S Rawat Former Director Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
12:30 PM – 12:50 PMSpecial Address Space Observations on Air Quality during COVID 19 induced AnthropauseDr Prakash Chauhan Director Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun
12:50 PM – 01:10 PMNutrition Related to COVID 19Prof U C Srivastav Formerly Emeritus Professor, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj & NASI, Prayagraj Chapter                
01:10 PM – 01:30 PMRole of public health interventions in managing COVID-19Dr Ranjeeta Kumari Associate Professor Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Rishikesh
01:30 PM – 01:50 PMBio-informatics approach for the identification of novel compound against SARS-COV-2Dr M A RamaKrishnan Principal Scientist ICAR- Indian Veterinary Research Institute Bangalore
01:50 PM – 02:10 PMPreventive measures for Covid 19Dr M S Pant Doon Medical College, Dehradun
02:10 PM – 02:30 PMSumming UpDr B.R Arora Former Director Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology
02:30 PM – 02:35 PMVote of ThanksDr Niraj Kumar Executive Secretary The National Academy of Science (India), Prayagraj
Program Coordination By Dr D.P Uniyal, Joint Director & Coordinator, NASI UK Chapter


by NASI NER CHAPTER under NASI New Initiatives

                                     Date: December 15, 2020

    Time: 11:00 am to 1:30 pm


Welcome Address         Prof. Anupam Chatterjee

                                   Chairman, NASI NER Chapter

Opening Remarks         Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma

                                   Former Secretary to the Govt. of India    

                                   Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi;       

                                   Chairperson, NASI New Initiatives

Inaugural address          Prof. G. Padmanaban

                                   Hon’ble President, NASI,

                                   Former Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Speaker-1                   Dr. Pramod Garg , AIIMS, New Delhi

Moderator                  Dr Niraj Nischal, AIIMS, New Delhi

          Title An overview on COVID-19


Speaker-2                  Dr. A.C. Phukan, Dean, Academics     

                                North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health               

                                 and  Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong 

         Title                         COVID-19 Pandemic: Northeast India Perspective

          Speaker-3 Prof. H.N. Verma,

                        Vice-Chancellor, JNU, Jaipur   

         Title                         Coronavirus: The student`s need to know            

     Gen Secy remarks Prof. Paramjit Khurana

                       JC Bose National Fellow

                       Department of Plant Molecular Biology,

                       University of Delhi

         NASI’s Efforts  Dr. Niraj Kumar

                                 Executive Secretary,

                                The National Academy of Sciences, India, Prayagraj

       Closing remarks         Prof. (Mrs.) Manju Sharma

                                Chairperson, NASI New Initiatives

      Vote of thanks            Prof. S.R. Joshi

                                Secretary, NASI NER Chapter    

Glimpses of the events