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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 4 February 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 4 February 2023


Contents

  1. Lessons from India’s G20 presidency for international markets  
  2. On Budget Allocation for the Ministry of Science and Technology

Lessons from India’s G20 presidency for international markets


Context

The first truly global energy crisis has begun in 2022, with erratic markets and sudden price increases posing challenges for individuals, organisations, and governments. India has been less affected by the crisis than many other nations, but it has nonetheless been impacted.

Relevance

GS Paper-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Mains Question

LiFE shouldn’t be restricted to India and emerging markets, by any means. Its lessons are transferable to all countries and may have the biggest impact in developed economies. Take a close look at the assertion. (250 Words)


Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE)

  • India’s new Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative is a significant platform that could aid in reducing energy costs, carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, and disparities in energy consumption.
  • By promoting sustainable lifestyles and consumption patterns around the world, LiFE shows India’s leadership on international issues and has the potential to move both developing and advanced economies toward more sustainable economic practises.
    • The programme was introduced in October 2022 to encourage both individual and group environmental protection efforts.
  • This includes making wise personal decisions, such as increasing the use of public transportation, purchasing electric vehicles rather than gasoline or diesel ones, implementing energy-efficient appliances in homes, and many other things.
    • India’s initiative is effective because it combines personal responsibility with governmental action.
    • Criticism: Although LiFE’s core objective is to use energy more efficiently, the programme doesn’t eliminate the need for strong policies to hasten the adoption of clean energy technologies like solar, wind, and hydrogen.

G20 Group of Countries

  • The G20, or Group of Twenty, is an intergovernmental organisation that brings together the major industrialised and developing nations of the world.
    • Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States are among the 19 nations that make up the G20.
  • For the summit in 2023, India has invited Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain, and the UAE as guests.
    • The G20 is the most important forum for global economic cooperation because it represents two-thirds of the world’s population, 75% of the world’s trade, and about 85% of the world’s GDP.
  • Major global economic issues like international financial stability, climate change, and sustainable development are also addressed.

IEA (International Energy Agency)  Analysis:

  • According to new IEA analysis, if all nations adopted the kinds of policies advised by LiFE, global carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by more than 2 billion tonnes by 2030.
  • This would be sufficient to reduce emissions by about one-fifth of what is required for the world to reach net zero emissions this decade.
  • Additionally, the measures would reduce annual energy costs for consumers worldwide by $440 billion.
  • According to the IEA’s analysis, as people work to raise their standard of living, the demand for energy in developing economies will continue to rise.
  • Evidence suggests that the global energy crisis is reviving interest in energy efficiency and behaviour change, particularly in advanced economies that have been severely impacted.
  • For instance, in response to the crisis, the European Union set a goal to cut its natural gas consumption by 15%.
  • With the gas demand in buildings declining by about 17% in 2022 despite an expanding economy, it ultimately exceeded expectations.
  • Even though the situation is extreme, it demonstrates that consumers are willing to accept responsibility for the energy they use in the interest of the greater good.

Agni Tattva campaign:

  • The Ministry of Power recently unveiled Agni Tattva under LiFE – Lifestyle for Environment.
  • The purpose is to raise awareness of the central idea of Agni Tattva, one of the five elements of Panchmahabhoot and a symbol of energy.

Way Forward

  • The way forward is to tackle the environmental issues facing the world while ensuring that everyone has access to reliable and affordable energy.
    • More Traditional Policies: The recommendations from LiFE can be an excellent addition to more conventional policies.
  • For example, by adopting strategies that use energy and other resources more effectively, hard-to-decarbonize industries like steel and cement can learn from LiFE.
  • Increasing the amount of recycled steel can cut down on the need to decarbonize steel production.
    • Offer the necessary resources, incentives, or information.
  • We all need to choose wisely when it comes to sustainability and the environment, but frequently these decisions are not supported by the right infrastructure, incentives, or information.
  • For instance, public transportation needs to be more effective and accessible in many cities to persuade people to leave their cars at home.
  • Urban planning needs to be improved so people can live closer to their places of employment and to conveniences that shorten commute times and promote walking and bicycling.
  • Policies are crucial in this situation because they actively provide alternatives, enabling sustainable choices. A good example is India’s Ujala scheme, which offers ultra-affordable LED bulbs.

Conclusion:

  • LiFE’s lessons are applicable globally and could have the biggest impact in advanced economies, so it is clear that it shouldn’t be viewed as only being relevant to India and developing economies.
  • The G20 Presidency of India presents a special opportunity to expand the LiFE initiative globally by giving other top economies a forum for exchanging knowledge and realising the potential of LiFE’s recommendations in the fight against climate change, air pollution, and prohibitively high energy costs.
  • Since the G20 accounts for almost 80% of the world’s energy demand, significant changes made by its members can have a significant impact.

On Budget Allocation for the Ministry of Science and Technology


Context

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology will receive Rs 16,361 crore from the Center, which represents just 0.36 percent of the total Union Budget for 2022–23.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources; Government Budgeting; Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life

Mains Question

What are the main issues with regard to India’s research and development. Also, offer solutions to these problems. (150 Words)


Important Points: 

  • The Ministry of Science and Technology’s funding allocation has seen a slight increase.
    • The funding for research and development is insufficient given inflation.
  • The National Research Foundation will receive Rs 2,000 crore from the Union Budget 2023–2034. (NRF).
    • The revised NRF allocation for 2022–2023 was just Rs. 1 lakh ($0.01 crore).

Figures: R&D funding in India

  • This year’s budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology is 16,361 crore, a 15% increase over the previous projection.
  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST), which received $7,931.05 crore, received the majority of the increase.
  • The Department of Biotechnology received 2,683.86 crore, while the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research received 5,746.51 crore (DSIR).
  • Significantly higher raises than in previous years were given to the National Research Foundation and the Deep Ocean mission, indicating that they are the Center’s current priorities.

Concerns with the Research & Development in India

  • There were several references in the Budget Speech to funding for dedicated centres for excellence in “Artificial intelligence” research, initiatives to scale up technology to produce laboratory-made diamonds, and a centre for research on sickle cell anaemia. However, there was less focus on basic research.
  • Despite the fact that all of these initiatives could be distributed among several government departments, none of the budgetary allocations indicate a significant expansion of basic research.
  • Technology cannot advance if basic science is not supported.
    • Low Research and Development Allocation
  • In general, developed and technologically advanced nations invest more than 2% of their GDP in R&D.
  • The World Bank claims that the allocation is insignificant in comparison to Korea’s allocation of 4.8% of GDP to science and technology.
  • Spending in the US is 3.45% and in China is 2.4%, respectively.
  • Despite being one of the top producers of scientific literature worldwide, India’s share of global innovation continues to be around 0.7% (according to the Global Innovation Index 2022).
  • As a result, just like previous administrations, this one has failed to push the proportion of GDP spent on research and development above 1%.
    • Limited Absorptive Capacity of Scientific Institutions o While lack of funding is not the only obstacle to research and development in India, the absence of significant departmental raises demonstrates that the country’s scientific institutions have a low capacity for absorption.
    • Unnecessary delay o Research scholars’ continued inability to receive promised funds on time and their ongoing struggle to obtain the high-quality equipment they need to conduct their work are two major challenges.
    • Lack of Interest in Research and Development o According to the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) report, less than 0.5% of Indian students pursue a PhD or a degree of a comparable level.
  • In terms of researchers per lakh of the population, the country currently lags far behind China, the US, and other much smaller countries like Israel.

Nation Research Foundation

  • About
  • The NRF is envisioned as an independent umbrella organisation that will strengthen connections between R&D, academia, and industry.
  • Over the course of five years, the National Research Foundation is proposing to spend a total of Rs 50,000 crore.
  • Key Details
  • The National Research Foundation (NRF) will finance, organise, and support national research.
  • The NRF will incorporate the research grants that are awarded by various ministries separately.
  • The NRF will make sure that the nation’s overall research ecosystem is strengthened, putting a special emphasis on areas that have been identified as being pertinent to our national priorities and toward basic science without duplicating effort and spending.
  • The NRF will incorporate the funds available to all ministries.
  • This would be sufficiently augmented by additional funding.

Way forward:

  • India has made significant advancements in science and technology, including the fields of defence and space.
  • But experts think that the budgetary support for science is insufficient.
  • The government continues to fund the majority of research, and private sector involvement has only gradually increased.
  • As a result, efforts to involve the private sector should be supported.
  • To make the best use of the funding available, the government must expand the funding pie and simplify the processes.

Conclusion

The establishment of scientific infrastructure and the allocation of a sizeable portion of the funds are necessary.


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