In its endeavour to encourage scientists by recognising their contribution to the society through their research, the Haryana government on Wednesday awarded two eminent scientists — Prof KC Bansal and Dr Satish Kumar Gupta — the prestigious Haryana Vigyan Ratna Award.
This is the second time that the current BJP government in the state has conferred the award to the scientists in the last two years. The last award ceremony was held in 2015 to give out the awards for the year 2011-12. Now, the Haryana government has cleared the awards till financial year 2016-17. In the process, while Prof Bansal was awarded for the year 2012-13, Dr Gupta was picked for the prestigious award for the year 2013-14.
The HVRA, instituted in 2008-09, can be awarded to two scientists per year for their achievements in their respective fields. However, the state government could not find enough suitable candidates to award them for all the years. To date, only seven scientists have been conferred with this award.
The previous Congress government in the state led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda had not been able to confer these awards on a regular basis. State government officials cited lack of nominations as a key reason behind it, but added that even when the nominations were received by the government, the applicants were not found suitable for the award.
In a ceremony organised at Haryana Raj Bhavan on Wednesday, Prof Bansal and Dr Gupta were honoured with the HVRA, while nine other young scientists were also honoured with Haryana Yuva Vigyan Ratna Award. The awards were given out by Governor Prof Kaptan Singh Solanki.
Prof Bansal, a former Director of National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR), Pusa, New Delhi was honoured for his notable contributions in the field of plant biotechnology. Dr Gupta, Emeritus Scientist, J C Bose Fellow and former Deputy Director, Reproductive Cell Biology Laboratory, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, was honoured for producing the first pregnancy detection kit sold for public use in the country.While HVRA recipients were awarded with Rs 2 lakh, a trophy and a shawl each, the recipients of HVYRA received Rs 1 lakh prize money, a trophy and a shawl each.
On the occasion, CM Manohar Lal Khattar announced that from next year, the prize money for HVRA will be Rs 4 lakh to encourage more scientists. He added that from next year the award will be given on National Science Day (February 28).
Haryana Science and Technology Minister Anil Vij admitted that only two scientists were found suitable for these awards. Addressing the function, Principal Secretary Ashok Khemka said, “The awards were not being conferred every year, because of which scientists lost interest in filing nominations. We shall make more efforts to encourage scientists to come forward and apply for the award.”
Scientists who have a domicile of Haryana or are currently working in the state are eligible for the award. If the research or work done by the scientist is beneficial for public at large or the scientist’s work has been recognised globally in international repute journals/ publications, such scientists are eligible to apply for the award. Vij, meanwhile, said that the students’ interest towards science has decreased. “Central and Haryana government are making concerted efforts to develop scientific temper among the youth and promote the use of science and technology. Our government is organising various programmes, exhibitions and seminars in schools and colleges to capture attention of the youth. It is also offering scholarships and awards as incentives,” Vij said.