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Ajay Kashyap

Ajay Kashyap, Founder, Boxx.ai.

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What the Budget would Look Like If I were the Finance Minister?

The Department of Space and Defence Research has done extremely well in past decade in making India proud and self reliant in rocket and missile technology. I would give them big boosts to encourage them and further exploit their research capabilities.

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Photo Credit : PTI,

Since the invention of gunpowder in 700 AD, the outcome of almost every major battle, competition, race between nations has been decided by superior technology.

In 20th century, with technology expanding exponentially, having a solid research base and then capitalising on it to further the advantage is imperative.

While all major powers are allocating 2-3% of their budget to science and technology, India is lagging behind in the science race with 0.8-0.9% budget allocation in last five years. I would allocate a minimum 1.5% to science and technology.

Government share of total RnD spend in India is 55% is extremely high. Meanwhile the share of Institutes of Higher education is a mere 4%. In other major economies it varies from 7-40%. I would give more funds to institutes with clear mandate to boost the research throughput by hiring more scientists and also doubling the intake of doctoral candidates. This will boost research and create a pipeline of future scientists.   

The Department of Space and Defence Research has done extremely well in past decade in making India proud and self reliant in rocket and missile technology. I would give them big boosts to encourage them and further exploit their research capabilities.

In the last budget Department of Atomic Energy was largely ignored. With clean energy the way to the future, and impending huge electricity demand when electric cars and initiatives like Make in INDIA become real, I would want high end research and expansion in Nuclear power. This year, a 25% increase is required as both capacity expansion and research have to be addressed.

Other clean energy technologies like Solar and Wind are already in limelight. More research is needed in Tidal energy as it has vast potential in India. I would commission a separate body to start research in this field with an initial budget of about 100 crore. This body in future should also look forward to use this energy to convert seawater to potable water. With impending water crisis facing the world, this can be a necessary and meaningful step.

As confessed by our Prime Minister in a recent interview, farmer distress is real. Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Department of Earth sciences  need to step up  to solve India specific problems with farm output. Food security is the top most priority of every sovereign nation. We owe not only to our farmers but also ourselves to make our farms more productive. Several goal based research programs with adequate budgetary allocations need to be launched in this regard.

The Department of Science and Technology is doing good work in promoting technology research in entrepreneurs. Upcoming fields like Artificial Intelligence are at a nascent stage the world over and India needs to keep pace with rest of the world so that it is not left behind. This in particular is also a big threat to India as it has the potential to replace millions of jobs the world over, many of which historically have been outsourced to India. Encouraging private entrepreneurship by sponsorship of investments and awards in this field is required. Hence a separate corpus of about 500 crores for investments and awards in the upcoming technologies should be created.

The private sector is India is already spending well and reaping results of their research in modern medicine.The world is sitting up and taking notice of traditional Indian health sciences like Ayurveda and Yunani medicine. A lot of knowledge in this field has been diluted as it has passed on from generation to generation without much scientific involvement. I want to start research into these medicines with proper clinical trials and other well established scientific practices to separate the wheat from chaff. An allocation of about 100 crores for this purpose  is proposed.

At the end I would like to congratulate all the scientists of India for great work they have done in 2017. From launching 100+ satellites in a single launch vehicle to building Pratyush, the world’s fourth fastest supercomputer, you really have made our country proud.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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Budget 2018

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