Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan along with officials during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo/ANI)
Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan along with officials during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (Photo/ANI)

Schemes in budget 2021-22 would boost science, technology ecosystem, says Harsh Vardhan

ANI | Updated: Feb 16, 2021 03:05 IST

New Delhi [India], February 16 (ANI): Hailing the Union Budget 2021-22 as a forward-looking budget to substantially boost support for Research and Development (R&D) in the key identified areas of national priorities, Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that there are several initiatives in the Union Budget to promote science, technology and innovation with applications in the country.
Elaborating about the Budget allocation to different schemes and initiatives for the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vardhan said that it is in line with the projections in the draft Science Technology and Innovation Policy 2021 put up for public consultations.
Vardhan said there has been a 30 per cent increase in the budget of Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences put together for the year 2021-22 compared to last year.
"The last year has been a very challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and science and technology has played a crucial role in tackling various problems caused by the COVID-19" he added.
A total allocation of Rs 50,000 crore over 5 years for the National Research Foundation, an autonomous body envisaged to support researchers working across several streams of science and technology with special focus on universities, has been made in Union Budget 2021-22, said an official release of Ministry of Science and Technology adding that "this will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with a focus on identified national-priority thrust areas."
The budget also announced the launch of a Deep Ocean Mission with an outlay of more than Rs 4,000 crore over five years to better understand this new realm which offers exceptional opportunities in mapping, exploring and utilising oceanic resources. The mission to be coordinated by the Ministry of Earth Sciences will cover deep ocean survey, development of technologies for exploration and harnessing of ocean resources as well as projects for the conservation and bio-prospecting of deep-sea biodiversity.
The budget also declared setting up of umbrella structures in nine cities for building better synergies among R&D institutions, universities and colleges supported by the government while also retaining their internal autonomy. This will be coordinated by the Ministry of Education, and a 'glue grant' will be set aside for this purpose, the Ministry said.
According to the Ministry, the Department of Biotechnology is implementing the URJIT clusters (University Research Joint Industry Translation Clusters) which are being set up in 10 locations as per the Budget announcement in February 2020. These will complement the activities of the umbrella structures.
A National Language Translation Mission (NLTM) was announced, which will enable the translation of the wealth of governance- and policy-related knowledge on the internet to major Indian languages using technologies such as AI-based Machine Translation together with traditional methods, it stated.
The launch of a Hydrogen Energy Mission by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy was declared for generating hydrogen from green power sources, its storage, transport and utilisation.
"The Department of Biotechnology is developing a Biomass to Hydrogen Mission which will be important from the R&D perspective. Department of Science and Technology and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research will also be contributing to this mission," the Ministry said. (ANI)