The Ministry of Science & Technology has been allocated Rs 16,361 crore in the budget 2023-24 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Wednesday. The allocation is over Rs 2000 crore more than what the ministry received in the previous budget.
The new figures were released by the Finance Ministry as part of its budget estimates for the new financial year. The ministry received Rs 14,217.46 crore for the Financial Year 2022-23. The jump in allocation to the ministry comes on the back of several big plans, including setting up new centers of excellence for Artificial Intelligence.
The allocation is divided among three departments in the Ministry: the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology, and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Sitharaman allocated Rs 7931.05 to the Department of Science and Technology along with Rs 2683.86 to the Department of Biotechnology. Meanwhile, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research has been given Rs 5746.51.
BUDGET SLICED FOR DEPT OF SPACE AMID MISSION DELAYS
While the Ministry of Science & Technology saw a significant jump in its annual allocation, the budget for the Department of Space has been slashed by Rs 1100 crore from the last financial year. The Centre allocated Rs 12543.91 crore to the department of space, which is responsible for India’s space program, as opposed to Rs 13,700 crore in budget 2022-23.
The Department of Space, headed by Isro chief S Somnath, has said that the Indian space agency will be attempting some of the biggest missions in its history, including sending the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon and the Aditya L-1 mission to observe the Sun. While Isro is known for conducting cost-effective missions globally, a significant reduction in its budget could further delay some of its missions, including the Gaganyaan mission.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change received Rs 3079.40 in the budget 2023, as India pushes to reach its net-zero goals. The finance minister in her budget speech announced that the National Green Hydrogen Mission, which has an allocation of Rs 19,700 crore, will facilitate the transition of the economy into a low-carbon intensity and green economy. The target for the hydrogen mission will be to reach annual production of 5 MMT by 2030.