The Union Budget earmarks Rs 13,971.41 crore (USD 2.1 billion) for the Department of Atomic Energy, which is mandated to generate nuclear power in India. The allocation is 5.76 per cent more than what was allocated to the DAE in the previous Budget.
The DAE also runs a chain of cancer hospitals and several research institutes such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.
The government proposed to hike the budget for science ministries and departments between 5 and 17 per cent, with the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Space placed on the opposite extremes of the allocation chain.
The Department of Space, which administers the Indian space programme and has won accolades for its recent feats, saw an increase of 17.78 per cent in budgetary allocation, the highest for any science department or ministry.
The budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology, which focuses on core scientific research, was proposed to be hiked by 6.11 per cent – from Rs 11,612.11 crore in the previous Budget to Rs 12,322.28 crore in the Budget 2018-19.
The ministry has three arms focusing on different areas of research – the Department of Science & Technology, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the Department of Biotechnology.
The DST has been allocated Rs 5,114.78 crore, an increase of 8.21 per cent, against Rs 4,726.71 crore given last year.
In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government would invest in research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and Internet of Things. The DST will launch a Mission on Cyber Physical Systems to support establishment of centres of excellence.
The CSIR saw a meagre hike of 3.59 per cent.
The Budget allocates Rs 1,800 crore to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, which is an increase of 12.66 per cent compared to the previous Budget.
The MoES oversees several crucial institutions such as the India Meteorological Department (IMD).