I have planned many activities with the help of the Council and the advisors to promote the activities of the Indian Chemical Society which was established much before any of the Science Academies in India where only the fellows were members of the Society. How prudent is would be in today’s context with so many professional bodies around. I want to present to you my dreams which can be fulfilled with your co- operation. There are many deserving teachers in colleges as well as practicing chemists who do not have a strong background in research to be Fellows but should be brought under the aegis of the Society. Now this has been changed and the following five categories have been created and approved by the AGM:
Each of the category is well defined and the Society would like to increase membership across all. The criteria for getting elected to the Fellowship are well defined now and are given the fellowship section. ICS could be the first professional body where ORCID will be used in the individual membership form as well as on the certificate. Those who cannot qualify for Fellowship will be enrolled for Life Membership. In fact, some renowned persons whose work compliments the aims and objectives of the Society will be invited as Honorary Fellows. This list will include Nobel Laureates, Padma awardees and industrialists of great repute.
Opening of Student Chapters
I personally believe that the torchbearers of promotion of chemical sciences are the colleges and the young students who must be enticed to promote the message of the Society. It is my appeal to all Directors/Principals/Heads to open a Students Chapter in their colleges/institutes/universities and join the Society as institutional members. In fact, it will go a long was in their quest for better NAAC/NBA scores and NIRF ranking. One of the senior faculty members can be the Coordinator of the Chapter with a Council member from the region as the advisor. The institutional members can organize webinars on a thematic topic or continuing education on Saturdays from 2-5 pm for which eminent scholars from different parts of the globe can be invited. Only one institutional membership is required for any number of Chemistry departments in the institute. Every institutional member can arrange such programmes individually or collectively. The ICS will recognize such colleges in the Annual Convention.
Journal of the Indian Chemical Society (JInCS)
The Society started its Journal in 1924, which will be published by Elsevier(https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-the-indian-chemical-society/) from January 2021 and it will be part of ScienceDirect (https://www.sciencedirect.com) bringing it visibility across the globe. Indeed, the Society was longing to do it for the past few decades. The Editorial Manager software will be used Elsevier for the online submission of articles. Plagiarism check will be done for all articles automatically and thus authors are advised to check their manuscripts for similarity with the published articles including their own. One of the popular software packages is iThenticate. All back issues will also be available free to the members. I am delighted that a generous donor has agreed to support the process of digitization and uploading the archives on the web. A new Editorial Board is appointed with 53 experts from 21 countries. Renowned researchers from major institutes from India and abroad are members of the International Advisory Board. Now the journal will have 6 sections instead of the three sections before and are as follows:
- 1. Organic and Biochemistry
- 2. Inorganic and Material Chemistry
- 3. Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- 4. Analytical and Environmental Chemistry
- 5. Industrial and Applied Chemistry
- 6. Engineering Chemistry and Green Technology
The inaugural issue of the Journal under Elsevier will contain articles by invitation. Special issues will be published from time to time in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief. The Council has given me the dual duty of being the Editor-in-Chief.
All the Fellows and Life Members are required to subscribe to the e-journal as our commitment to promote the journal. In fact, all new fellows and members are required to subscribe to the journal at the time of admission to the Society with a concessional charge of Rs 3000 in addition to the membership fee. The current members are also requested to make an annual payment of Rs 800 or Rs. 3000 for a period of 5 years.
Collaboration with RSC and ACS
In the interest of the profession and to meet the objectives of the Society, it is important to collaborate with foreign societies from time to time. Conferences, career melas such as ChemCareers can also be organized collectively. We can also give publicity in respective news bulletins of these societies.
The Society will publish a Bulletin called Chemical Warta. Dr Gourisankar Roy-Mahapatra and Professor Nibedita Chakrabarti are appointed as the Co-Editors. The e-issues will be part of the webpage.
Commemoration of Acharya P.C. Ray Birth Anniversary
August 2 is the Birthday of the Founder President. We celebrate it every year with an international seminar over two days. Due to the prevalent pandemic, the ICS had organized a month-long International webinar on Recent Advances in Chemistry & Material Sciences 2020 to commemorate the 159th Birth Anniversary of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray on August 02, 03, 08, 15, 22 and 29. The event was attended by about 400 participants from different parts of the country and abroad. In organizing the International Webinar, we had received sincere co-operation from all concerned persons under the able guidance of Professor Chittaranjan Sinha, the Hon. Secretary, and Dr Gourisankar Roy-Mahapatra including several leading academicians. The event was widely acclaimed and was very successful.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation had allotted land within the City in 1967 for the construction of the building of the Society. Unfortunately, the construction could not take place due to several reasons such as lack of resources and encroachment on the access road to the allotted plot. Despite the sanction of Rs 2.00 Cr for the building, about 4 years ago, by the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, construction could not begin. Prof. D.C. Mukherjee and Prof. S.K. Das and I met Hon’ble Shri Moloy Ghatak, the Minister of Industries and Law, Govt. of West Bengal on 14th January 2020. He has assured complete support. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the lockdown, nothing has happened so far, but it will be my endevaour to accomplish this long-cherished goal of the Society. We need generous donors from industry to complete the building with modern amenities. CSR funds can be certainly used. We intend to use it for continuing education, seminars, refresher courses, training of students for Chemistry Olympiad apart from regular office and guest house with modern facilities.
Donation to the Society
The Society needs to increase its corpus for various activities including and increasing the award money for all 37 endowment awards to a decent level. The current office in the premises of the Calcutta University has been in the possession since the very beginning and is very old and unattractive. We need to renovate it meanwhile. Some of the Council Members volunteered to donate Rs. 10,000 during the meeting held on 14th January. A resolution was passed that the Council Members and Advisors should donate Rs. 10,000 and beyond. The President himself donated Rs. 30,000. All existing fellows of the Society are requested to donate voluntarily and generously, to support many activities. The ICS has acquired income tax benefit certificate under Section 80G of the IT Act by which 50% tax benefit is available to the donor. A major fund drive will be taken to buttress all existing awards which will get a dual name when donation is received. (For instance, XYZ Company’s ABC award for Research). Companies can use their CSR funds for such purposes.
- (a) Council members should donate Rs. 10,000.
- (b) Donors with donation of Rs 10,000/- will be given free access to the Journal for 10 years.
- (c)Donors with donation of Rs 20,000/- and above will be given free access to the journal as subscriber for life.
- (d) The institutional subscription with one single account will be Rs 1000/- per year if they are not members in the Freedom Subscription of Elsevier.
- (e) If the institution becomes the organizational member, the institutional subscription with one single account will be Rs 2000/- per year if they are not members in the Freedom Subscription of Elsevier. Otherwise it will be Rs 6000/- per year with 3 accounts.
Industry Branch of the Society
The AGM has approved establishment of a new branch of the Society where person working in industry as Life Fellows or Life Members will elect their 3 members on the Council. Accordingly, the following 3 have been inducted recently.
- 1. Dr S.S.V. Ramakumar, Director (R & D), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd
- 2. Dr. S.S. Katti, Director General, ONGC Energy Centre
- 3. Dr. Sapan Kumar Ghosh, Nova Surface-Care Centre Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
It is my appeal to this branch to attract corporate members and deserving practitioners to the Society as fellows or members.
Annual Convention 2020
To bring consistency as well as to make it a successful event with participation of foreign delegates, the Council has decided that the Annual Convention was held during December 26-29 for a period of 4 days. There were 7 sections which were so nicely organized by the Scientists-in-Charge and Convenors. It was inaugurated by Nobel Laureate Professor Ryoji Noyori on 26th December, 2020 and the valedictory function was addressed by Nobel Laureate Professor Jean-Marie Lehn on 29th December, 2020. A separate report is available on the website.
I would like to share a great news that 5 Nobel Laureates have become Honorary Fellows of the Society:
Professor Ryoji Noyori (2001), Professor Jean Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn (1987), Sir Richard Roberts (1993), Professor Robert Grubbs (2005), Sir Venki Ramakrishanan (2015), and Professor Sir J. Fraser Stodardt (2016). Besides, Professor Colin Suckling (Strathclyde University) and Professor Eric Jacobson (Harvard University), Padma Vibhushan Professor M.M. Sharma, Padma Vibhushan Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, Padmashri Professor K. VijayRaghavan (Principal Scientic Advisor, GOI), Professor Ashutosh Sharma (Secretary DST), Dr. S. Banerjee (Former Chairman, DAE) , Dr. Renu Swarup (Secretary DBT), Dr. Mukesh D. Ambani (CMD, Reliance Industries Ltd), and Shri Rajjubhai D. Shroff (Chairman, UPL) have accepted the Honorary Fellowship.
I will continue to update my column from time to time. Please do make suggestions which will take the ICS to a higher echelon.
Professor G.D. Yadav