T.V. Jayan's assessment of the recent Indian Science Congress, which appeared on the Down to Earth website and was linked to from your own website (see The disappointing state of India's science congress), should not surprise any scientist who has attended such meetings over the past three or four decades.

A scientific gerontocracy and bureaucracy still retains the stranglehold on Indian science that it has exerted for the past 50 years. But nothing seems to be done about it. Those who have been lucky enough to obtain employment in Indian laboratories have preferred to suffer in silence for fear of getting into the bad books of their bosses.

The main problem is a lack of accountability. Many scientists complain in private, but are reluctant to try to challenge things, as they fear that this could hurt their career prospects and job security. What is needed is a complete overhaul of the system with merit reigning supreme. Without that, creativity and originality will never flourish on a large scale.