March 9, 2021 1:40:57 am
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Science and Technology, under the chairmanship of Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, on Monday observed that there has been a “drastic reduction of overall budgetary allocation” — to the tune of Rs 770 crore or 37 per cent — to the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
The committee laid its report on Demand for Grants (2021-22) for the Earth Sciences Ministry in both Houses Monday. As per the report, the Ministry has been able to spend over 86 per cent of its revised estimates (RE) 2020-21 but only 54 percent of its budget estimates (BE).
Central schemes are worst-hit, cut by Rs 686 crore or 50 per cent, according to the report.
Pointing out that the Ministry has had to deal with unprecedented challenges due to Covid which required “extraordinary management of resources available”, the committee has called the ministry’s management of resources “commendable”.
The Committee has recommended that the “absolute bare minimum (of additional) funds” of Rs 350 crore be made available to the Ministry to carry out its projects as planned — such as the deep sea mission which the committee called vital. It recommended the Ministry develop a blueprint for fund generation over the next five years, and suggested online seminars and training to save funds and divert it to research and development.
Acknowledging the strategic importance of India’s presence in the Arctic, Antarctic and Southern Indian Ocean, the committee also noted that China has invested in both scientific research and manpower in these very regions and the need for India to do the same.
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