The Ministry of Science & Technology has received an allocation of ₹16,361.42 crore in the Union Budget, a nominal increase of 15% from the previous budget estimate. Between 2021-22 and 2022-23, the Ministry had received a 3.9% decrease.
The bulk of the hike has gone to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), which has received ₹7,931.05 crore, up 32.1% from last year.
The Ministry of Science & Technology had an important part to play during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially supporting research and innovation on vaccines, medical devices, and drugs.
Apart from the DST, it includes the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), which received ₹2,683.86 crore, a nominal hike of 3.9%, and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), which received ₹5,746.51 crore (1.9%).
Most of the DST’s increase comes from a ₹2,000 crore allocation to the National Research Foundation. The government announced this entity in 2021 with an outlay of ₹50,000 crore over five years to “strengthen the governance structure of the research-related institutions and [to] improve linkages between R&D, academia, and industry”.
The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) under the DBT, an implementing body under the government’s ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’ in 2020 to develop COVID-19 vaccines and augment vaccine manufacturing, has received a 40% cut.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences has received ₹3,319.88 crore, a hike of 25.11%. While high, this is relatively lower than the previous hike of 40%.
These Ministries and departments are together responsible for promoting, supporting, and translating research in the country and its applications in various sectors.
India’s gross expenditure on research and development (GERD), which includes State government and private-sector investments, has been steadily declining since 2009-2010, making higher public sector investment in R&D a longstanding demand of the national research community.