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Budget 2022 gives science and technology much-needed fillip

The budget allocated to the ministry of science and technology is Rs 6,000 crore

drone rep Representational image

It is a futuristic budget with scientific vision and startup incentives, said Union Minister Jitendra Singh, whose portfolio includes all the science ministries - science and technology, earth sciences, space and atomic energy. He noted that nearly every announcement or initiative in the Union Budget 2022-23 has a strong bearing on scientific technology and innovation.

Some of these initiatives are the digital rupee, digital banking units in 75 districts, digital university and startups linked to artificial intelligence and space technology. In the agriculture sector, the emphasis on Drone Shakti, or using agricultural drones, is a step forward in bringing tech solutions into agriculture. Even the tele-mental health and digital health identities are linked to S and T.

The budget allocated to the ministry of science and technology is Rs 6,000 crore, of which the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has got Rs 2,581 crore. DBT's work came into focus during the pandemic. It coordinates the sequencing of the virus genomes. DBT has also been working on developing the DNA and nasal vaccines against Covid 19.

The budget has also begun the walk down the road towards Net Zero by 2070. Singh said that the finance minister's speech on the low-carbon development strategy was significant. The budget makes an allocation of Rs 19,500 crore for promoting solar energy towards a goal of generating 280 GW by 2030. Viral Thakkar of Deloitte India noted the emphasis on promoting sustainable business practices like transitioning towards renewable energy and promoting use of electricity vehicles will give impetus to these industries to develop smarter and more widely available resources.

The startup ecosystem has benefited from the extension of tax benefits for another year. However, Taran Chhabra, founder of Neeman's, a startup specialising in making shoes using recyclable products, said that concessions for companies promoting eco-friendly products would have helped, too.

Nawneet Vibhaw of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co said that the budget gives a boost to developing a circular economy with action plans for electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles, toxic and hazardous industrial chemicals. He said that initiatives towards sovereign green bonds and climate finance will help achieve climate change mitigation goals.