Current Context

The Indian Science Congress (ISCA), an annual event for scientists, has been postponed.


  • Department of Science and Technology (DST) discontinued support for the 2024 event.
  • The five-day event will not begin on its customary date, January 3.

Indian Science Congress

The Indian Science Congress has been held every year since 1914. 

  • Since Independence, the prime minister has been inaugurating the annual gathering of scientists.

The Science Congress is a one-of-its-kind event, which brings together scientists and researchers from not just the country’s premier institutions and laboratories, but also teachers of science from colleges and universities.

It offers them a platform to interact with students and the general public on matters relating to science.

Previous Postponement:

  • The postponement is unprecedented. With the exception of the two years following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic— 2021 and 2022. 

Last edition:

  • The 108th edition of the Congress was held in Nagpur from January 3-7, 2023, though Prime Minister Narendra Modi could only make an online appearance at the inaugural event. 


  • The crisis is the fallout of an unresolved disagreement between the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), a registered society that organises the event, and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in the Union Ministry of Science and Technology, the main funder of the congress.
  • In September 2023, the DST pulled funding support to the congress, alleging “financial irregularities”.
  • The ISCA has already lost its relevance among the scientific community and lacks professional approach in the conduct of the meeting on many fronts.

Government Dilemma

  • The ISCA is an independent body, and the government has no role to play in the selection of the panelists or speakers, the papers to be presented, or the subjects to be discussed at the Science Congress.
  • But at the same time, the ISCA runs with DST support. Besides the annual grant for the Science Congress, the government also pays the salaries of the ISCA’s permanent staff. And because the congress is inaugurated by the PM and attended by other ministers and senior officials, it is perceived as being closely associated with the government. 

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