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Tight fund: trouble for CSIR

Context

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is at a fix. Initially, the CSIR is provided with a 4,000 crore annual budget. Out of which, about 1,200-1,400 crore is distributed among the labs for research. But this year only about 360 crore would be available.

Reason

  • CSIR’s primary reasons of the crisis are as follows:
  1. Had to meet with increased salary outgo from recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission
  2. 1650 crore-hit towards meeting its pension requirements
  • There’s a lack of funds for new projects for the balance available for lab allocations and various new research projects (including 12th Plan leads, Mission projects etc) is only 360 crore. Of which, a sum of 158 crore has already been allocated.

Consequence

  • The government is of no help and support. Instead several scientists had to change their mindset and produce value from R&D in keeping with the CSIR mandate.
  • But ironically the fund crunch was said to be an opportunity and part of a CSIR effort to establish itself.
  • The crisis has helped to explore an array of technical underpinnings in a more strategized manner.
  • This financial incident also improved accountability of public funding.
  • In 2015, the CSIR decided that as part of a Dehradun Declaration under Science Minister, Harsh Vardhan’s leadership, to generate about 50% of its budget through external sources.

 

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