Budget 2021

Budget 2020 | Cheer for science as key departments get a raise

The Department of Biotechnology posted the largest increase by 17 percentage.   | Photo Credit: iStockphoto

There is cheer for science in the Budget, with key scientific departments receiving an across-the-board increase of 10% or more.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) posted the largest increase, with an outlay of ₹2,786 crore, a 17% increase from the ₹2,381 crore it spent last year.

The Department of Science and Technology got a 14% hike, at ₹6,301 crore, over its expenditure last year, the Earth Sciences Ministry posted a 14% hike at ₹2,070 crore and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research got a 10% hike at ₹5,385 crore.

Watch | Highlights of Union Budget 2020-21

Overall, the science Ministries received ₹16,542 crore, 13% more than what was spent last year.

The civilian science Ministries work on budgets that are much lower than, say, the Department of Atomic Energy that got ₹18,228 crore and the Department of Space that got ₹13,479 crore.

In previous years, science departments generally posted percentage hikes that were in the single digits, and this is the first time in at least three years that all departments have posted double digit percentage hikes.

“Generally, the hikes revolve round 7%, but this time there’s been a significant signal of the government’s encouragement to scientific endeavours,” said Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, “The genomics initiatives as well as encouragement to set up knowledge transfer clusters are among the key sectors that have got a boost.”

image/svg+xmlUrban Union Transport169,637 TransfertoStates200,447 TaxAdministration152,962SocialRuralDevelopment144,817Pension210,682Others84,256 ITandTelecom Interest708,203 HomeA airs114,387 Health67,484Foodsubsidy115,570Finance Fertilisersubsidy71,309 Education99,312 Defence323,053 AgricultureandAlliedActivities154,775

The DBT has embarked on projects to map the genes of Indians as well the genetic structure of every plant variety. Another official said the government’s expenditure on science had nearly doubled since 2014.

‘Fluctuations present’

“There are fluctuations within the year...the Finance Minister has stressed on quantum technologies,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.

“This will be largely led by the Department of Science and Technology, though those allocations are not reflected in this Budget.”

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 10:42:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2020-cheer-for-science-as-key-departments-get-a-raise/article30715689.ece

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