Allocation of funds for the science and technology sector in the Union Budget for 2012-13 appears far from adequate, considering that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had just over two months ago emphasised the need for a major increase in investment in research and development.

Inaugurating the 99{+t}{+h}annual session of the Indian Science Congress on January 3, he had lamented that the current spending on R&D was “too low and stagnant” at about one per cent of the GDP.

Dr. Singh had a set a target of increasing it to at least two per cent by the end of the 12th Plan period.

While the three departments under the Ministry of Science and Technology — Science and Technology, Scientific and Industrial Research and Biotechnology — have each got a hike of just about 10 per cent over the revised estimates or the actual expenditures during the current financial year, the Department of Atomic Energy has been given a hike of about 18 per cent.

The Department of Space and the Ministry of Earth Sciences which is in charge of the India Meteorological Department and polar and ocean-related research and development, have, however, got a substantial increase of about 64 per cent and about 50 per cent respectively.

Overall, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the three departments under the Ministry of Science and Technology and the two autonomous departments of Atomic Energy and Space have together got an average hike of about 25 per cent.

But this hike itself is only with regard to the revised estimates for the current year.

The revised estimates are lower than the estimate available when the Budget was presented to Parliament in February last year.

If one were to compare the allocation for the coming year with the original estimate for the current year, the increase is only around 8.5 per cent.

The Budget estimate for the coming year for the Department of Space is Rs. 5,615 crore, as against the Budget estimate of Rs. 5,700 crore and revised estimate of Rs. 3,432 crore for the current fiscal.

The corresponding figures for the Department of Atomic Energy is Rs. 11,673 crore, 10,012 crore and Rs. 9,895 crore; Ministry of Earth Sciences Rs. 1,281 crore, Rs. 1,220 crore and Rs. 855 crore; Department of Biotechnology 1,485 crore, Rs. 1,400 crore and Rs. 1,350 crore; Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Rs. 2,013 crore, Rs. 1,930 crore and Rs. 1,830 crore; and Department of Science and Technology Rs. 2,477 crore, Rs. 2,349 crore and Rs. 2,252 crore.


  • The three departments under S&T Ministry have each got about 10 per cent hike

  • The Department of Atomic Energy has been given a hike of about 18 per cent