NEW DELHI—Scientists in India's government laboratories, unhappy over receiving proportionately less money than other civil servants, are calling for salary increases and more perks.

Leading the drive are the associations of scientific workers of India's autonomous research councils: the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The extent of the dissatisfaction became evident earlier this spring when, for the first time in the history of independent India, government scientists took to the streets in protest. About 800 scientists, many of them women, carried placards and wore black armbands as they marched in silence through New Delhi streets on March 26 to draw attention to their cause.

Science careers require intensive study, and India's science curriculum is open only to the brighter students. "In Delhi, a candidate still has to have over 90 percent marks to get admission to...

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