Friday, March 6, 2015

Budget for Science in India - 2015-16 Central Budget

Government has not increased the allocations for Science and Technology in line with inflation for the year 2015-16. The Ministry of Earth Sciences has had its plan budget cut by seven per cent and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research's allocation was cut by Rs.24 crore.

The Budget for the Department of Space has remained flat at Rs.6,000 crore. Mr. Modi had announced a SAARC satellit, for e which Rs.2 crore was allocated.  Modest allocations have been made for India’s second mission to the moon Chandrayaan-2. For the human space flight programme, Rs.21 crore has been allocated. ISRO asked for Rs.12,500. The fourth satellite of India, which will be launched in  a few weeks, has been allocated Rs.120 crore.

A collaborative effort with the U.S. called the ‘NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission’ (NISAR), likely to be launched by 2021, got an allocation of  Rs.50 crore.

Department of Atomic Energy was given  a 12.6 per cent increase in its budget and the plan outlay was Rs.15,108 crore.

India’s ultra-modern 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor, which is powered in part by plutonium, being made at Kalpakkam has got an allocation of over Rs.1,600 crore. It is likely to become operational very soon. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is constructing four indigenously made 700 MW domestic reactors and it was given  Rs.9,095 crore. The second 1,000 MW unit of the Russian- made Kudankulam nuclear power plant will become operational in this fiscal year.

The Department of Science and Technology was given only 4.1 per cent increase in its budget. But an  allocation of Rs.84 crore was made for a super computing facility. This is an  almost fivefold increase from the last fiscal  showing that the project is in full swing. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research's  budget is Rs.1,855 crore.

The amount allocated for disbursal of fellowships has been increased only by Rs.18 crore this year. There are 71,000 research fellows linked to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Department of Biotechnology was given an  increase of Rs.107 crore.

The plan budget for the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has been slashed by over 50 per cent this fiscal. We have to watch the progress of the project over the year.

If  ‘Make in India’ plan has to succeed, Indian science sector also has to be expanded by the Government of India and budget provides an indication of it. If not in this budget, Government has to ask its Research and Development agencies to come out with new proposals and fund them in the next budget.

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