Proposed National Research Foundation Gets Rs 2,000 Crore Budget Allocation

Proposed National Research Foundation Gets Rs 2,000 Crore Budget Allocation

NEW DELHI: The allocation of Rs 2,000 crore in the Union Budget for the proposed National Research Foundation, a new funding agency to bolster India’s research competence, has raised expectations among various quarters for it to take wings soon. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the allocation to National Research Foundation (NRF) as a component of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and not as an agency independent of the government.

However, government officials pointed out that the allocations to the NRF were earmarked in the outlay for the DST as the funding agency was yet to receive approval from the Union Cabinet. “It is a new scheme of the government to fund cutting-edge science, especially for the state universities,” DST Secretary Srivari Chandrasekhar told PTI.

The Union Cabinet was expected to approve the proposal of setting up NRF very soon, he said. Chandrasekhar said the initiative to set up the NRF was driven by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government and it was also part of the National Education Policy. The Ministry of Science and Technology had received an allocation of Rs 16,361.42 crore in the Union Budget, with the DST receiving Rs 7,931.05 crore.

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“This includes provision for NRF to address the pressing need for a professional and comprehensive research framework that directs human and material resources towards carrying out well-coordinated research across disciplines and all types of institutions,” an official said. He said the overarching goal of the NRF will be to seed, grow and promote research and development at the same time foster a culture of research and innovation throughout Indian universities, colleges, and research institutions.

Besides the DST, the Ministry of Science and Technology includes the Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, which have received Rs 2,683.86 crore and Rs 5,746.51 crore respectively. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first mooted setting up the NRF in his address to the Indian Science Congress in January 2019 and it found a mention in the Union Budget that year.

In 2021, the finance minister proposed an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore over a period of five years for the NRF. India has 255 researchers per million which is much less than that of the US, which had 4,245 researchers per million, South Korea (7,498), the UK (4,341) and Japan (5,304).

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)

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