The Beginings : The need for a Geological Society devoted to the task for promoting the cause of advanced study and research in all branches of Indian Geology, prompted a small group of geologists led by Professor L. Rama Rao, to start an organisation for achieving such an objective. After drawing a draft Memorandum and Articles of the proposed Society, with the active participation of eminent geologists in India and after securing a wide measure of approval from all over the country, the Geological Society of India was formally founded in Bangalore on the 28th May 1958. The Society was fortunate in having Dr. D.N. Wadia, the then Geological Adviser, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and the doyen of Indian geologists, as the first President and Professor L. Rama Rao as the first Editor. The Society owes a great deal to these veteran Earth Scientist for their initial guidance and leadership.
The Society was formally inaugurated at New Delhi on January 23, 1959 by Shri. K.D. Malaviya, the then Union Minister for Mines and Oil, Government of India. Inaugurating the Society Shri Malaviya stated .I need hardly tell you how indispensable geologists have become for the various developments that are taking place in the world to make mankind happy and prosperous. No engineering work or industrial project worth the name can be conceived today without the basic help of a geologist; and the more we advance in this modern age, the more we realise how fundamental knowledge in the science of geology can help us to solve many problems of humanity. Continuing, Shri. Malaviya said that a right step had been taken to form the Geological Society of India to maintain a correct standard of efficiency both for academic as well as for professional geologists. He exhorted the Society to provide a forum for the cooperation, communication and publication of the results of scientific work in the fields of Earth Science and act as a catalyst for development.
Aims and Objectives : The following are the cardinal aims and objectives of the Geological Society of India as contained in the Memorandum and Constitution:
1. To promote the cause of advance study and research in all branches of Geology connected with India.
2. To cooperate with the existing Academics, Societies and Institutions having similar objects for the advancement of Science in India and with such other associations when founded.
3. To promote the cause of geological research in India by the publication of a Journal.
4. To publish monographs, memoirs, transactions etc. dealing with special problems of Indian Geology.
5. To organise meetings and conferences for the discussion of subjects of geological interest and importance.
6. To represent internationally the scientific work of India in the field of geology.
7. To secure grants, funds and endowments and administer the same for the furtherance of geological study and research in India.
8. To undertake and execute all other acts which shall promote the aims and objectives of the Society.
The benefits of the Society were made open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
From the beginning the Society clearly laid the policy that it shall be a non-profit organisation and the funds and the income of the Society shall be solely utilised towards the achievement of the objectives and no portion of it would be utilised for payment to members by way of profit, interest, bonus and dividend.
The Society accepts grants, donations, and subventions from Central and State Governments, Universities, Industrial Organisations and Individuals. These funds will be utilised for any specific purpose for which they may be earmarked by the donors in furtherance of the aims and objectives of the Society.
Membership : The Society has three classes of membership: (1) Fellows, (2) Honorary Fellows and (3) Corporate Members.
Fellows :Every candidate for Fellowship is duly proposed and seconded by two Fellows of the Society and further supported by at least one other Fellow. The Council of the Society is the final authority for admitting new Fellows. There is an option for becoming Life Fellows.
Honarory Fellows :Persons who have made distinguished and outstanding contributions in any field of geology shall be eligible for election as Honorary Fellows. The number of such Honorary Fellows shall be limited to 12.
Corporate Members :The Society has the power to admit Institutions and Organisations as Corporate Members on such conditions as laid down by the Council.
Society Journal :
The activities of the Society have been vastly expanded. Its function immediately after it was founded was to secure its most important objective of promoting the cause of geological study and research by bringing out a Journal called the Journal of the Geological Society of India, containing results of the latest researches and investigations in any branch of geology. Professor L. Rama Rao, the founder editor had envisaged that the most effective way of achieving the objectives of the Society was by bringing out a Journal containing the best work done in the country in geology and related fields. The first issue was brought out in 1959.Since then, it has not missed a single issue or the time schedule of its publication. The Society has also been very active in the publication field and has brought out bulletins, monographs, and memoirs. Symposia and workshops on topics of current geological interest are held frequently to provide a common platform for the leading workers to review and discuss the latest advances in the concerned field, with special reference to India.
The Journal, the main mouthpiece of the Society, appeared at a time when the publication of research reports in the field of earth science in India was sluggish for lack of a regular medium. That was also the time when those seeking knowledge were on the increase but the source from which they could draw sustenance had gone dry. The Journal thus helped to fill a gap and provided a great fillip to the growth of earth science studies in India. Thanks to the untiring efforts of Professor L. Rama Rao, his sense of duty and his watchfulness in maintaining high standards, the Journal of the Geological Society of India has come to be ranked as one of the leading Earth Science Journals.
During the first five years of its inception the Society brought out only one volume of the Journal every year. In July 1964, a Quarterly Bulletin was added with a view to provide a quick outlet for the publication of Short Communications. From 1968 the Journal became a half-yearly publication and from 1970 quarterly. This necessitated the discontinuing of the Bulletin in 1969. A spurt of research activity in the country necessitated making the Journal a monthly publication since 1977. This has helped to great extent in providing a forum for the publication of research work and in securing for the young workers much needed publicity and recognition.
Future Outlook : The Society has a long list of topics for action. It includes focussing on excellence in earth science, preserving integrity in science, promoting wider dissemination of scientific information, establishing communication with fellow scientists of the world and working towards building up a stronger edifice for earth science in India, so that the benefits accruing reach the common man. For achieving these objectives of the Society, there is need for sustained cooperation of the scientific community, greater involvement of younger scientists, better understanding by the administrators and a larger participation of Indian entrepreneurs and corporate giants in the building of a strong scientific base.
The Society intends to broad-base its membership in the coming years. Greater emphasis is to be given to resource mobilization. The natural resources of the country are plentiful but inadequately explored and utilised. There is far too much emphasis on export of minerals in the raw state rather than finished products. There is an urgent need for providing a common platform where academics of university departments and researchers of institutions can meet managers of the industry and discuss problems of mutual interest. The Society, therefore, extends its invitation to University Departments teaching earth science, Research Institutes and Mining, Mineral and Metallurgical Units in the public as well as private sector to enroll as Corporate Members and extend their moral and financial support to the Society in building up the resource potential of the country.
Popularisation of science by making people mineral conscious will receive increasing attention. Protection of the environment and educating our people on this aspect will be our main concern. The minds of the young children at school level need to be exposed to geology. This is very essential for making them appreciate the importance of natural resources in the development of the country. The Society intends to take up the matter at high level to see that the subject of geology is taught in our schools. It proposes to take action in providing the required reading material and maps.
The Society is also concerned with conservations and scientific exploitation of mineral resources of the country without degrading environment and balanced utilisation of groundwater with particular attention to its recharge and better ways of utilising both surface and groundwater resources for the benefit of all. The Society is also keen to convey its views and play its role in matters of national mineral policy, publication and availability of geological maps and reports by various Central and State organisations, thrust in gold exploration, strong earth science data base, research in earth science and aspects of secondary and higher education in earth science.
It is our fervent hope that all individuals and organisations who have been associated with research in earth science and all those who have been greatly benefited by the exploitation of mineral resources of the country, for the discovery of which earth scientists have laboured hard, will respond to our call for moral and financial support so that the Geological Society of India can remain an effective instrument for advancement of knowledge about the earth, the augmentation of its natural resource and protection of its environment, so vital for the survival of mankind on this planet.