(I) An Introduction
Evolution: The National Academy of Sciences, India (initially called “The Academy of Sciences of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh”) was founded in the year 1930, with the objectives to provide a national forum for the publication of research work carried out by Indian scientists and to provide opportunities for exchange of views among them.
The Memorandum of Association was signed by seven distinguished and patriotic scientists namely Prof. Meghnad Saha, Prof. K.N. Bahl, Prof. D.R. Bhattacharya, Prof. P.C. MacMohan, Prof. A.C. Banerji, Prof. Ch. Wali Mohammad and Prof. N.R. Dhar. Of these, the Academy had the good fortune of having the continued association of Prof. N.R. Dhar until very lately when he expired on December 5, 1986 at the age of 96 years. Apart from being one of the founders of the Academy and taking continued interest in its welfare, Prof. Dhar also donated the piece of land on which the Academy building stands today.
Prof. M.N. Saha
The Rules and Regulations of the Academy were based on those of the Royal Society of England and the Asiatic Society of Bengal. These have since been revised and updated to meet the emerging challenges. Prof. Meghnad Saha was elected its first President. In the Inaugural address, Prof. Saha Said : “…..But the main function of the Academy should be towards cultural improvement by contribution to human knowledge”. Since then, the Academy has crossed many milestones, successfully serving the “Science & Society”. In its Silver Jubilee Session in 1955, Prof. Saha, further emphasized the role of the Academies in developing human scientific resources. Similarly, during the Golden Jubilee Session of the Academy in 1980, Shrimati Indira Gandhi, Prime Minster of India stressed that the need of hour was to ensure that science does not remain confined to laboratories. The address delivered by His Excellency Sri R. Venkataraman, President of India, during the Diamond Jubilee Session (1990-91) was a timely reminder of the vision of late Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to integrate science with the lives of the people; and the Academy left no stone unturned in pursuing its aim and objectives, which was appreciated by His Excellency Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, in his address during the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the Academy in 2005. Dr. Kalam praised the role of the Academy in boosting the zeal of the budding scientists, who could do better in future with such support and endeavour.
The Academy undertakes several “science-society” programs under the guidance of its President, Past Presidents and Fellows. Prof. Ajoy K. Ghatak steered the programmes as the President in the year 2021-22. As its Past Presidents, very distinguished scientists like Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Prof. Manju Sharma, Prof. P.N. Tandon, Prof. Jai Pal Mittal, Prof. V.P. Kamboj, Prof. Ashok Misra, Prof. Asis Datta, Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Prof. Akhilesh K. Tyagi, Prof. Anil Kakodkar and Prof. G. Padmanaban are keenly associated with the Academy and enormously contributing to its development. It is worth mentioning that a few other Past Presidents (unfortunately who are not with us now), as Prof. M.G.K. Menon, Dr. V.P. Sharma, Prof. A.K. Sharma, Dr. T.N. Khoshoo, Prof. U.S. Srivastava, Dr. A.P. Mitra, Dr. S.Z. Qasim and Prof. S.K. Joshi, also contributed a lot to the development of science in general and the Academy in particular, in the recent past.
The Academy while starting with 57 ordinary Members and 19 Fellows, has now 1944 Members and 1959 Fellows from all parts of the country; including 15 Honorary Fellows and 113 Foreign Fellows from various disciplines of Science and Technology. The Academy is financially supported by the Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India; and it is also recognized as the Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation by the DSIR, Govt. of India.
NASI – envisions the cultivation and promotion of Science & Technology in all its branches through –
(a) promoting scientific and technological research related to the problems of societal welfare;
(b) publication of proceedings, journals, memoirs, transactions and other works as may be considered desirable;
(c) organising meetings and hold discussions on scientific and technological problems;
(d) undertaking, through properly constituted committees and bodies, the scientific work(s) of technological or public importance.
(e) co-operating with other organizations in India and abroad, having similar objects, and to appoint representatives of the Academy to act on national and international bodies;
(f) securing and managing funds and endowments for the promotion of science and technology;
(g) organising a Science Library;
(h) performing all other acts, matters and things that may assist in, conduce to, or be necessary for the fulfillment of the above mentioned aims and objects of the Academy;
(i) creating an adequate impact of the Academy all over the country, by opening Chapters of the Academy in other cities in the country, where reasonable number of Fellows and Members are available.
Important Highlights of Major Programmes/Activities (in past few years):
The Academy (NASI) organized various activities under the Presidentship of Prof. Akhilesh K. Tyagi, Prof. Anil Kakodkar, Professor G. Padmanaban and Prof. Ajoy Ghatak, during the past few years. The Past Presidents, namely Professor M.S. Swaminathan, Professor (Mrs.) Manju Sharma, Professor Ashok Misra, Professor Asis Datta, Dr V. P. Kamboj, Professor J.P. Mittal, and Dr. K. Kasturirangan also took keen interest in the dissemination of science in general and the development of the Academy, in particular. The noteworthy accomplishments with the kind cooperation of its Fellows and Members, and major (financial) support of the DST, New Delhi, are as follows:
NASI published the Proceedings of NASI, Sec. A & B, each in IV parts and National Academy Science Letters in VI parts, in collaboration with the Springer Nature, every year.
National Academy Science Letters received Impact Factor (IF) as 0.778 in 2020 from Thomson Reuters; about 200 papers were received from thirty countries/regions every year.
PNASI, Sec. A received Impact Factor (IF) as 01.80 in 2020-21 from Thomson Reuters; and about 150 papers were received from twenty five countries/regions every year.
The PNASI, Sec. B received Cite Score as 1.7 in 2020 from Scopus; and about 120 papers were received from thirty seven countries/regions every year.
Two special publications were released on 5th Oct. 2019 at New Delhi on the occasion of the “Closing Ceremony of the Anniversary Celebrations of ‘Ba & Bapu’ and Prof. Meghnad Saha”. These were the collection of the Lectures delivered (in the memory of these three great personalities of the world) by the distinguished persons in different parts of the country.
An important book on “Vector Biology and Control” was also published in 2020.
Science Education/Communication Activities:
NASI-HQ and it’s 22 Chapters spread across India, are organising several science education/communication activities (presently on WEB) in and around their respective regions. More than two dozen Institutes/Laboratories/Educational Institutions (as IITs, NCSM, Medical Colleges, Universities, CBSE, DNA Clubs etc.) are associated with NASI in organising these programmes. It is expected that more than one lac students and teachers would be benefitted from these activities/webinars focused on ‘Poshan (Nutrition)’, COVID Appropriate behaviour, Entrepreneurship development for Atmanirbhar Bharat (in consonance with the recent national programmes announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India), and so.
Activities under Joint Women Panel of three National Science Academies:
NASI is heading this joint panel of three National Science Academies under the leadership of Prof. Manju Sharma, Past President, NASI & former Secretary to the GoI. A Mega Event (graced by the Hon’ble Minister for Sc. & Tech., GoI; Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST; Prof. M S Swaminathan, Prof. Anil Kakodkar and about 1000 women scientists) was organised in 2018 after successfully organising several programmes in about 17 states of our country for the welfare of women scientists and the rural women by the scientific intervention. The programme is going on with full vigour and hopefully 3-4 national workshops will be organised in the year 2022.
Research Projects being undertaken by the NASI-Chairs & Senior Scientists:
NASI has undertaken several important research works/projects led by its Distinguished Chairs and the Senior/Hony. Scientists (as Prof. G. Padmanaban, former Director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Prof. V. M. Katoch, former DG, ICMR; Prof. Ashok Misra, former Director, IIT Bombay, Prof. Amit Ghosh, former Director, CSIR-IMTECH; Prof. Satya Deo, former Vice-Chancellor & Emeritus Scientist, HRI, and many others), aimed towards the development of science in general and the society, in particular. Due to their noteworthy contributions, the NASI has been recognised as SIRO by the DSIR, Ministry of Science & Technology, GoI. The detailed reports have been sent to the DST (as a part of the Annual Reports of NASI); and also available on the website of NASI- www.nasi.nic.in
S&T Entrepreneurship development
Training programs for entrepreneurs – To inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship in the youth and in line with the National Mission Programmes of Skill Development and Start Up India, NASI organised programmes with ‘Hands-on training’ at Lucknow, Chitrakoot, Mahendragarh and other places.
Awareness and Training – on Nutrition, Safe drinking water, Health & hygiene etc. A mixed participation of rural and urban population was ensured. This was included in the spirit of “Swasth Bharat Mission”.
Safe drinking water and pollution abatement – especially for the rural areas and municipal workers. This was included in the spirit of “Swachh Bharat Mission”. Vth Brain Storming on Safe Water & Sanitation was organised at MPCOST Bhopal in Sept. 2019; a large number of scientists, municipal workers, researchers and others attended the brainstorming sessions.
Activities under Scheduled Tribe Sub-Plan Programmes:
A Mega Event on the ‘Science & Technology Intervention for the Tribal Welfare’ was held at ILS, Bhubaneswar on Feb. 24-25, 2020, in which about 300 participants attended from all across the country representing 22 Tribal Welfare Centres established by NASI.
Annual Session/Symposia/Seminars & Scientific Discussions
Every year the Annual Session is organised; also other symposia/seminars are organised on the current scientific topics of societal interest. The 89th Annual Session of NASI and a Symposium on ‘Science and Technology based Entrepreneurship Development’, was held at NAARM, Hyderabad. More than 600 researchers and scientists participated in each of these events. Other seminars/symposia were also organised by NASI, as the Birth Centenary celebration of Prof. Vikram A. Sarabhai at I.I.Sc., Bangalore on 16th Nov. 2019, attended by Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman, Space Commission, India; and 4 former Chairmen of the Sace Commission, as well as several other distinguished scientists. The 90th Annual Session of the NASI, was organised on WEB (due to COVID-19 pandemic), on Feb. 25-27, 2021, which was attended by more than 300 dignitaries and the participants; a symposium on ‘Towards a New Healthcare regime for the Nation’, was also held during the session. Several scientific papers were presented in the session. The 91st Annual Session was organized on Dec. 4-6, 2021; and a Symposium was held on ‘Interface between Biological and Physical Sciences towards Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The recommendations are being finalized. Recently on Dec. 4-6, 2022, the 92nd Annual Session and the Symposium on ‘Science & Technology – a vehicle for social transformation’ was very successfully organised at NASI, Prayagraj, attended by more than 225 distinguished scientists and the researchers/teachers.
Fellowship / Membership
To recognize the outstanding scientific contributions of the scientists, the Academy awards every year the prestigious Fellowship/Membership to some of them. More than 100 scientists working in different areas of Science & Technology were selected from all across the country every year. It also awarded a few Foreign Fellowships to scientists who are working in different countries and have collaborated with scientists from India.
Science Education Programmes in joint collaboration with National Science Academies
NASI, together with other two Science Academies – Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore jointly sponsors the Summer/Winter Research Fellowship under the joint Science Education Panel to provide opportunities to bright UG and PG students and teachers to usefully spend their summer/winter vacations.
Recognition and Awards- Several awards were given in past few years, just to name a few:
- NASI-Reliance Industries Platinum Jubilee Awards for the Application Oriented Innovations covering both Physical and Biological Sciences to five distinguished scientists;
- NASI-Young Scientist Platinum Jubilee Awards to about twenty young scientists/researchers in the fields of Biological/Physical/ Chemical Sciences;
- NASI-Senior Scientist Platinum Jubilee Fellowships;
- Professor M. G. K. Menon Memorial Award
- NASI – Swarna Jayanti Puruskars for Best Paper Presentation to about four young scientists/researchers, during the Annual Sessions;
- Memorial Lecture Awards to about 15 eminent scientists every year;
- NASI – Science and Maths Teacher Awards by NASI HQ & Chapters to many teachers.
Major Accomplishments (in past few years):
Apart from the aforementioned activities/accomplishments, the Academy also created two galleries (other than the Ganga-gallery at Prayagraj) on the rivers Brahmaputra and Cauvery respectively at Guwahati (with the partial support of the Govt. of Assam) and Mysuru (with total support of the Govt. of Karnataka), during the years of the report. NASI also undertook several projects on water; and scientifically rejuvenated the baolies (step-wells of about 200 years ago) at Bundelkhand area of MP with the scientific support of MPCOST, Bhopal and the BARC, Mumbai. All these facilities have been dedicated to the Nation.
Major and Unique National Facilities created (in past few years):
Apart from the aforesaid national facilities (as mentioned in Major Accomplishments), the Academy (NASI) also has a well-equipped auditorium of 200 persons capacity; a committee room with all WEB facilities for holding webinars; a rich library and a Council Room for holding meetings.
Important collaborations (national and global) established (in past few years):
The NASI together with other two Science Academies – Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore is jointly sponsoring the Summer Research Fellowship under the joint Science Education Panel
Continuing its established collaboration with the Reliance Industries, SCOPUS and Springer, for recognizing the talent in scientific research.
Also organized many science communication/popularization activities in collaboration with the Indian Universities/Institutes/CSIR Laboratories/ NCSM and other prestigious institutions.
Elected Officers and Members of the Council for the year 2023
1. Prof. Balram Bhargava, MBBS, MD, DM, FNASc, FACC, FAHA, FAMS, Former Secretary, GoI, Department of Health Research & DG, ICMR; Professor of cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi – 211029
2. Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ghatak, PhD(Cornell), FNASc, Formerly MN Saha Distinguished Chair Professor, NASI, Prayagraj; Formerly Professor of Physics at IIT Delhi; Res. D-42, Hauz Khas, New Delhi-110016
3. Prof. Manju Sharma, PhD, FNASc, FNAAS, FTWAS, FIAWS, Former Secretary, DBT, GoI; NASI-DST Distinguished Woman Scientist Chair Professor, B9/6476 (FF), Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070
4. Prof. Madhu Dikshit, PhD, FNASc, FNA, FASc, FAMS, JC Bose National Fellow, THSTI National Chair; C-95, Sector M, Aliganj, Lucknow – 226024
5. Prof. Amit Roy, PhD, FNASc, Former Director, IUAC; Flat 1A, Xenon Cooperative Housing Society, J 383 BP Township, Kolkata – 700094
6. Prof. U.C. Srivastava, D.Phil., Doctor of Neurophysiology (Pisa), FNASc, FIAN, formerly Emeritus Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj – 211002
7. Prof. Vinod Kumar Singh, PhD, DSc, FNASc, FNA, FASc, FTWAS, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur – 208016
8. Prof. Jayesh R. Bellare, PhD, FNASc, FNAE, FEMSI, FMAS, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Powai, Mumbai- 400076
9. Prof. Madhoolika Agrawal, PhD, FNASc, FNA, FNAAS, J C Bose National Fellow, Dean, Faculty of Science, BHU; and Professor & Head, Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi – 221005
10. Prof. Anil Bhardwaj, PhD, FNASc, FNA, FASc, JC Bose National Fellow, Director, Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad – 380009
11. Prof. Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, PhD, FNASc, FASc, FWAScT, Vice Chancellor, Sister Nivedita University Kolkata, New Town, Kolkata – 700156
12. Prof. Srinivasa Rao Cherukumalli, PhD, FNASc, FNASI, FNAAS, FISSS, FISPRD, Director, ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad – 500030, Telangana
13. Prof. Pramod Kumar Garg, MBBS, MD, DM, FNASc, FNA, FASc, FMAS, FRCP(Glasg), Executive Director, THSTI; 1273, B-1, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
14. Prof. Anup Kumar Ghosh, PhD, FNASc, Professor, Centre for Polymer Science & Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi – 110016
15. Prof. Vimal Kumar Jain, PhD, FNASc, former Director, UM-DAE Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Nalanda Building, University of Mumbai, Kalina Campus, Santa Cruz (E), Mumbai- 400098
16. Prof. Arun Kumar Pandey, PhD, FNASc, FBS, FIAAT, FEHSST, Vice Chancellor, Mansarovar Global University, Kolar Road, Bhopal – 462042
17. Prof. Anirban Pathak, PhD, FNASc, FIETE, Professor, Department of Physics and Materials Science & Engineering, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, Noida – 201309
18. Prof. Sheo Mohan Prasad, PhD, FNASc, Professor, Ranjan Plant Physiology & Biochemistry Lab, Department of Botany, University of Allahabad, Prayagraj – 211002
19. Prof. Latha Rangan, PhD, FNASc, FNABS, Professor, Department of Biosciences & Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati – 781039
20. Prof. Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, PhD, FNASc, FASc, FNA, FTWAS, FAMS, Director, Center for Brain Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012
21. Prof. Rohit Srivastava, PhD, FNASc, FRSC(London), FRSB(London), Professor & Head, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai – 400076;
22. Prof. Nikhil Tandon, PhD(Cantab.), FNASc, FRCP(London), FAMS, FASc, Professor, Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Ansari Nagar, New Delhi- 110029
23. Prof. Seikh Mohammad Yusuf, PhD, FNA, FNASc, FASc, FMASc,Director,
Physics Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai –400085
24. Secretary DST Nominee