India’s shrinking pot in an expanding universe

Source: The post is based on an article “India’s shrinking pot in an expanding universe” published in the Live Mint on 15th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology; Space Sector

Relevance: India’s Space Sector

News: In recent days, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has sent back its first stunning images of a small spot of the cosmos as it was 13.5 billion years ago, a time period just ‘a bit later’ than our estimate of the Big Bang—about 3 million centuries prior.

About the James Webb Space Telescope

It was launched in Dec, 2021. It was a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency. It is expected to cost around $9.7 billion over its lifetime.

Furthermore, it comprises a 21-foot-wide mirror, a sun-shield of the size of a tennis court and a quarter of a million tiny shutters, each smaller than a grain of sand.

How is India still behind the western countries?

The West has stormed ahead of India in recent centuries. It is because the science and tech innovations have been led by governments through state/public funding. However, India’s state spending on science and technology languishes, despite 75 years of freedom or Independence.

The budget of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) was cut by more than 3% this fiscal year.

There is an environment promoting the study of ‘Vedic science’ in India Further the young Indian women aiming to pursue a career in science, face an “almost hostile environment”.

Way Forward

In order to take the Indian space sector a leap forward, the government has opened the sector for private participation.

For real progress, in addition to academia and national laboratories, India’s ministries should also work with a scientific temper.

The Constitution of India has given us a “free and democratic nation”, where all brothers and sisters get the same constitutional rights.

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