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India’s Ministry of Science Gives Science Correspondent National Journalism Award

Pallava Bagla Receives National Award
India's Science minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan (left) giving Science correspondent Pallava Bagla (right) his award at the Ministry of Science and Technology in New Delhi | Ashwat Bagla

In celebration of India’s annual National Science Day, the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology has awarded Science correspondent Pallava Bagla the 2015 National Award for Outstanding Efforts in Science and Technology Communication in the Electronic Medium for his body of work in new media.

The national award was presented by India’s Science minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan at the Department of Science and Technology in New Delhi on 1 March.

The awards were created in 1987 by the National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), a division of the Department of Science and Technology. Every year they recognize an individual correspondent or an institution for their efforts in the communication and promotion of science and technology through multiple mediums.

A botanist by training, Bagla has reported on agricultural research and development for over two decades and has published several books, including Reaching for the Stars: India’s Journey to Mars and Beyond.

“I’ve been a journalist for close to 25 years, but what inspires me is the desire to empower people with the right scientific information…What an award does is put more responsibility on your shoulders to do more fair and objective journalism,” said Bagla. “You can’t just rest on your laurels and say this is it.”

This is not the first time Bagla has received an award from NCSTC. In 2006 Bagla was given the same award, but for his work in print media. Last year he was also awarded the 2013 Chaudhary Charan Singh Award for Excellence in Journalism in Agricultural Research and Development for his contribution to agricultural journalism.

Bagla also received the 2010 David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union for exploring dissent among glaciologists regarding the claim by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that Himalayan glaciers would imminently disappear. 

Bagla said he is humbled by his latest NCSTC selection. He said a video debate on the future of genetically modified food crops in India (which he produced with Richard Stone, Science’s international news editor) played an important role in his selection for the award.

Most recently Bagla has reported on the radioactive element thorium as a nuclear fuel and India’s first space observatory. Aside from his work with Science magazine, Bagla is the science editor for New Delhi Television (NDTV), where he has written about India’s role in the discovery of gravitational waves and the Zika virus.