Gabriel Roy, associate director, Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global, Singapore, speaks about advances in India’s science and technology education and research in the past decade during a global innovation webinar series held at ONR. Photo: John F. Williams/Flickr Commons
New Delhi: The Ministry of Education’s guidelines asking universities to seek prior permission for conducting international webinars of conferences on certain subjects which are “sensitive” or “related to India’s internal matters” have been objected by two science academies which want the restrictions to be withdrawn.
In an official order on January 15, the ministry had said that clearance from the external affairs ministry will be required for holding international conference, seminar, workshop or training on security of state, border, Northeast states, union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh or any other issues which are clearly related to India’s internal matters.
The Indian Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Academy of Sciences have written to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal seeking withdrawal of the restrictions saying the rules could halt all scientific discussion.
According to the guidelines, when giving permission to hold the online event, the government will ensure the subject matter is not related to the listed subjects.
“Events having foreign funding and sponsorship and events involving sensitive subjects (political, scientific, technical, commercial, personal) with provisions of sharing date in any form, will also need clearance from MEA.
“For participation of Union, state Ministers, constitutional functionaries and government officials, scientists, doctors of Joint Secretary rank and above, in the said conferences and seminars, MEA clearance will be required,” the guidelines said.
The guidelines also noted that appropriated level of scrutiny shall be exercised to identify the nature and sensitivity of data, contents of presentation and information to be shared by the Indian delegation in the event.
“Due care should be taken to ensure that India’s flag, map, emblem etc. are correctly and rightly displayed,” it said.