The volunteers of Neuroscience Research Lab of PGI and Annals of Neurosciences (Indian Academy of Neurosciences) have won the Bharat Nirman Award at the massive science event organised by Ministry of Science and Technology and Environment and Vigyan Bharti at the recently concluded 3rd India International Science Festival, Chennai. This award was given in the category ‘ Behavioral change’ under the National competitions “Ideas for Nav Bharat Nirman” held at National Institute of Ocean Technology on Oct 15, coinciding with birthday of Late President Abdul Kalam. National competition was conceptualised to increase the understanding of common masses towards Science and Technology and its applications. There were 217 entries from among scientific Institutions in the country and 21 teams were invited to make presentations in front of 4 members of Jury. The Jury consisting of eminent scientists were impressed to notice the role modeling and regularity of PGI’s faculty and students in spearheading the Swacch Bharat program exactly as desired by Honorable PM in his speech of Oct 2, 2014.
The Jury appreciated that this team, led by Prof Akshay Anand (Editor of Annals of Neurosciences and Professor of Neuroscience at PGI) continued to role model @2 hrs every week without break for 153 weeks, completing 3 years of uninterrupted voluntary litter pick up campaign, impacting the defecation in the front gate, sensitising the Institute sanitation staff and cultivating nationalistic spirit among research scholars. The efforts of the team has earlier been recognised by the Honorable PM, QCI( for social outreach and quality research) Sh Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh Shauchalya and SKOCH organisation. Besides, they have been invited to write a review on its experience by the lead Journal, Frontiers in Public Health. The research team have also published a comic for education of kids “Magical Broom” visible in the website www.annalsofneurosciences.org, based on which Amar Chitra Katha is believed to have been given the project to bring out additional comics on the subject. All the activities have been uploaded to mygov.in and YouTube as desired by the PM in his Oct 2, 2017 speech when Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan was launched.
The other two teams who won the recognition showcased their technology in toilets and menstrual waste respectively. PGI has earlier bagged the first Kayakap Award by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi
The Science Festival at Chennai was a mega Govt enterprise that saw assembly of over 19000 scholars, citizens and teachers, and included science film festival, teacher’s workshop, minister’s conclave, make in india program, mass communication, Industry mega exhibition and start up india programs besides women entrepreneurship programs which was attended to full strength. The festival was attended by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Harshwardhan and all his secretaries who stayed put in Chennai during the entire duration of Festival.
The Nav Bharat Nirman award was received on behalf of volunteers of Neuroscience research lab cum Annals of Neurosciences office by the project staff, Saurabh Kumar, Abha Tiwari, Jyoti Saini and Vinod Bhatt (in the picture)
The faculty and students still continue to devote 2 hr every week by going out to campus every Friday after 5 pm and have so far engaged over 7000 individuals, educating them about hand hygiene, methods of coughing, need for clean PGI campus and its link with the household economic burden emphasising the need to use toilets and bring behavioural change. They have also challenged over 1164 individuals which include bureaucrats, intellectuals, Teachers and Law makers and have been joined by eminent Neuroscientists like Rob Friedland, IAN members, and other faculty members in the litter pick up campaign.