The Union budget has not delivered what everyone was expecting for Indian science. The expectations primarily stemmed from upbeat statistics of past years’ allocations for science as also Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s repeated promise,  to increase funding from 1% of the GDP to 2% by the year 2017.
However, last week’s budget presented by the country’s finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has not proved happy for most scientific research bodies. A news piece in Nature captures the mood in the top-notch science research bodies of the country after the budget.
On the face of it, the science and technology allocations have gone up — from Rs.2,349 crore last year to Rs.2,873 crore this year, making for a jump of 14%. This jump is lesser than the last couple of years which saw almost 25% hike in allocations. The allocation will primarily cover six major areas: policy formulation, strengthening human and institutional capacities, technology development programmes, partnerships and alliances and societal interventions.
Global recession blues had not hit Indian allocations to science and technology thus far. This was a proud anecdote shared by Indian scientists in post-seminar lunches across the world. Looks like the hard truth has finally hit home. Or will India’s five-year plan due next month make amends by announcing some more allocations for science and technology? We’ll have to wait and watch.