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The Union Budget 2021 accorded much-needed importance to the Research and Innovation ecosystem of India. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, discussed ‘Innovation and R&D’ as one of the six important pillars of the Budget.

With respect to R&D and Innovation, following announcements from the Budget are noteworthy:

  • The National Research Foundation has been allocated a budget of INR 50,000 crores to be spent over a period of 5 years. It will ensure that the overall research ecosystem of the country is strengthened with focus on identified national-priority thrust areas.
  • The Budget also announced a National Language Translation Mission (NTLM) which will enable the wealth of governance-and-policy related knowledge on the Internet being made available in major Indian languages.
  • A Deep Ocean Mission with a budget outlay of more than INR 4,000 crores, over five years has been announced. This Mission will cover deep ocean survey exploration and projects for the conservation of deep sea bio-diversity.
  • Many of the cities in India have various research institutions, universities, and colleges supported by the Government of India. In 9 such cities, formal umbrella structures have been proposed in order to ensure that these institutions can have better synergy, while also retaining their internal autonomy. A Glue Grant will be set aside for this purpose.
  • The Natural Language Translation Mission and Deep Ocean Mission are the national missions and the City Research and Innovation Clusters Project have been initiated from the Prime Minister’s Science Technology Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI , Prof K VijayRaghavan.

As the ‘Innovation and R&D’ ecosystem can only be improved with a regular supply of educated and highly skilled workforce, the Budget also has provisions to strengthen the education and skilling environment. 

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Union Budget