Daily Current Affairs 28 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 28 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. India Unveils Gaganyaan Mission Astronauts: ISRO Gets Ready for First-Ever Crewed Space Flight

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Achievements of Indian S&T; Indigenization of technology
In light of India’s space technology advancements and its preparations for the Gaganyaan mission, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– The astronauts-designate for India’s first crewed space mission, Gaganyaan, are Group Captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander Shubhanshu Shukla, according to a statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
– Acknowledged for their vast experience as test pilots, these Indian Air Force (IAF) officers are presently undergoing mission-specific training.
– They are the embodiment of India’s hopes and aspirations, according to Modi.

More about the news:

Human Readiness Testing and Mission Timeline:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested the cryogenic engine’s human readiness for the Gaganyaan mission vehicles, and then made the announcement at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
  • By the end of 2024, the first mission flight, Gaganyaan-1, an unmanned test flight to assess technological readiness, is anticipated.
  • A three-person crew will be launched into a low Earth orbit on the next manned mission, which is scheduled to return after three days.

Human Rating and Crew Module Development for Launch Vehicles:

  • For the Gaganyaan missions, ISRO has readied its LVM3 rocket, formerly known as GSLV-MkIII.
  • The rocket has been redesigned with a liquid, solid, and cryogenic stage to comply with human rating requirements.
  • Cryogenic engine and other component tests have been completed and approved for use in space missions involving human spaceflight.

Preparations for Human Space Flight:

  • Aspects of crew management, emergency escape plans, and life support system development are all part of the preparations for the human space flight.
  • Prior to the manned mission, unmanned precursor missions such as Gaganyaan-1 will showcase the state of technological readiness.
  • The crew module on Gaganyaan-1 will test safe re-entry and module orientation but will not have an environment control or life support system.

Training of Astronauts:

  • Between February 2020 and March 2021, the four astronauts underwent general training at Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.
  • At ISRO’s astronaut training facility in Bengaluru, they are presently receiving continuous training with an emphasis on subsystem functioning and design development.
  • Two essential components of their preparation are psychological counselling and physical fitness.

Collaboration with International Agencies:

  • NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated that one of the astronauts will likely receive training from the agency when he was in New Delhi in 2023.
  • This partnership demonstrates India’s attempts to take advantage of global knowledge to train its astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission.

Significance of the Gaganyan Mission
The human spaceflight programme offers numerous advantages, both material and immaterial, as it presents opportunities for scientific investigation and progress.The scientific community worldwide as a whole as well as India may gain greatly from these breakthroughs and research in science.

– To develop future technological capabilities: It is anticipated that the Gaganyaan project’s success will spur more reasonably priced human spaceflight initiatives to investigate the solar system and beyond, sample return missions, and other scientific research.
– An exceptional chance to motivate young people: Anticipated achievements of Gaganyaan will encourage students to pursue careers in science and technology, especially in demanding roles that foster creativity and innovation in the field of space science.
– Strong instrument for foreign policy: It will create avenues for diplomatic cooperation with other spacefaring countries, fostering international partnerships by clearing the path for cooperative missions, knowledge sharing, and international space exploration cooperation.
– Scientific breakthrough: Gaganyaan’s assistance in setting up scientific experiments in microgravity can result in ground-breaking findings in a variety of disciplines, including biology, material science, and medicine.
– Economic expansion and job creation: The Gaganyaan mission has the potential to boost India’s economy by fostering the growth of space-related industries, technology spin-offs, and job creation.

PYQ: With reference to India’s satellite launch vehicles, consider the following statements: (2018)

1) While GSLVs are primarily intended to launch communication satellites, PSLVs launch satellites that are helpful for monitoring Earth’s resources.
2) From a specific point on Earth, satellites launched by PSLV seem to stay fixed in the same spot in the sky indefinitely.
3) The GSLV Mk III is a four-stage launch vehicle that uses liquid rocket engines for its second and fourth stages and solid rocket motors for its first and third stages.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 2
(d) 3 only

Ans: (a)
Practice Question: Talk about India’s plans for the Gaganyaan mission, its importance for the country’s space exploration goals, and the difficulties and technological developments related to crewed space missions. (15 m/250 words)

2. Genie: AI Model Creates Interactive Video Games Based on Text or Image Prompts is Revealed by DeepMind

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Development & their applications 
Given that Genie is a notable development in artificial intelligence technology, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Genie, a ground-breaking generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) model that can create interactive video games purely from text or image prompts, was unveiled by Google’s AI venture DeepMind.
– Genie is a major advance in AI technology because it can create these games without the need for prior training on game mechanics, unlike previous models.

More about the news:Understanding Genie’s Functionality:

  • Genie is a foundation world model that can generate text, images, and other types of output from one or two inputs. It was trained on unlabeled videos from the Internet.
  • With synthetic images, photos, and sketches, this creative AI can create a vast array of playable worlds, including action-controllable environments.

Capabilities and Significance:

  • Genie is the first generative interactive environment to be trained unsupervisedly from unlabeled Internet videos, claims a research paper titled “Genie: Generative Interactive Environments.”
  • It allows users to create and enter generated worlds that resemble simulated environments created by humans.
  • Genie stands out from earlier models primarily because it can replicate and learn controls for in-game characters only from online videos. This is because earlier models lacked labels for the actions or areas of the image that needed to be controlled.

Implications and Future Prospects:

  • Genie’s unique feature is its ability to build an entire interactive environment based on a single image prompt. This opens up new avenues for virtual world exploration and creative content creation.
  • Furthermore, Genie is a big step towards the creation of general AI agents—AI programmes that use sensory perception to interact with their surroundings on their own.
  • This development has the potential to completely transform a number of industries, including virtual reality, gaming, and AI research.

PYQ: With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020) 
1) Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units
2) Create meaningful short stories and songs
3) Disease diagnosis
4) Text-to-Speech Conversion
5) Wireless transmission of electrical energy 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 
(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 4 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 

Ans: (b)
Practice Question: Talk about the significance of DeepMind’s Genie in light of the developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and the possible ramifications for governance and society. (10 m / 150 words)

3. Notification of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) Implementation Rules is Soon

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors 
Knowing the facts about the process of passing laws like the CAA and the subsequent announcement of implementation rules makes this topic pertinent for both Prelims and Mains.

– According to sources within the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), announcements regarding the regulations governing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which was approved by Parliament in December 2019, should come in the next two weeks.
– Prior to the Model Code of Conduct’s (MCC) implementation, the notification is anticipated to take place, most likely in conjunction with the announcement of the Lok Sabha election dates.

More about the news:Delayed Implementation and Proposed Rules:

  • The non-notification of rules has caused delays in the implementation of the CAA, even though it was enacted four years ago.
  • It is expected that the upcoming regulations will outline the proof that will be needed for candidates to demonstrate their qualifications and eligibility for citizenship under the new legislation.

Key Provisions and Criteria:

  • Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Jain, and Buddhist immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are allowed by the CAA to apply for Indian citizenship through the naturalisation process.
  • The law is predicated on the idea that these communities in these three Islamic nations experienced religious persecution.
  • The requirements for proving an applicant’s religion and place of origin prior to December 31, 2014, will be covered in the rules.

Acceptable Evidence and Time-bound Application:

  • Evidence of an applicant’s eligibility may come from a variety of government documents, including Aadhaar, school enrollment records, or any type of government document stating religion.
  • In order to allay Assamese concerns about the legislation’s potential effects in the state, it is also possible to implement a three-month application deadline under the CAA.

Presumption of Persecution:

  • Presuming that individuals who migrated to India did so because they were either persecuted or feared persecution in their home countries, it is unlikely that the regulations will demand proof of religious persecution.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019
The Act aims to change what constitutes an illegal immigrant for immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, who have lived in India without proper documentation. These immigrants include Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians (but not Muslims).

– In five years, they will receive fast-track Indian citizenship (11 years earlier).
– The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) registration may be cancelled under the Act (which amends the Citizenship Act of 1955) if the holder of the OCI card has broken any law currently in effect or any provision of the Act.

Who is eligible?
– Those who were compelled to seek refuge in India as a result of religious persecution are covered by the CAA 2019. Its goal is to shield these individuals from the consequences of illegal immigration.
– The applicant must have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, in order to be eligible for citizenship.
– The sixth schedule of the Constitution, which addresses autonomous tribal-dominated regions in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram, will not be affected by the act.
– Furthermore, the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram—which have inner-line permit regimes—will not be covered by the act.

Practice Question: Examine the Citizenship (Amendment) Act’s (CAA) upcoming notification of implementation rules critically, and consider the act’s importance in relation to Indian politics and governance. (15 m/250 words)

4. The Genome India Initiative Unveils a Comprehensive Genetic Map and Sequences 10,000 Genomes, Reaching a Milestone.

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Developing New Technology; Biotechnology
Given the importance of genomic research and its applications in biotechnology and medicine, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Researchers successfully sequenced 10,000 healthy genomes representing 99 distinct populations across the nation, marking a major milestone for the Genome India initiative.
– With this achievement, a thorough genetic map of India has been created, which presents significant opportunities for researchers and clinicians.

More about the news:Technological Advancements and Significance:

  • The Department of Biotechnology’s Secretary, Rajesh Gokhale, celebrated the accomplishment and highlighted the astounding advancements in genome sequencing technology.
  • In 2003, the first complete human genome sequence took 13 years to complete and cost $3 billion. Today, thousands of genomes can be sequenced in a matter of months, indicating a significant technological advancement.

Identification of Genetic Variants:

  • Through the examination of a subset of 5,750 genomes, scientists were able to pinpoint 135 million genetic variations exclusive to India.
  • These differences, which can be localised in a population or broader in scope, provide important information about physical characteristics, medical histories, and treatment outcomes.

Potential Applications in Medicine:

  • Prominent specialists emphasised the possible uses, such as diagnosing illnesses, analysing drug resistance, and creating new treatments and diagnostics.
  • For example, mutations such as MYBPC3, linked to cardiac arrest, and LAMB3, linked to a fatal skin condition, are rare worldwide but common in Indian populations.

Need for India-Specific Database:

  • Due to distinct mutations not found elsewhere in the world, experts emphasised the need for an India-specific database.
  • The full genetic map will make it easier to find additional mutations that are important to comprehend and treat a range of health issues.

Implications for India’s Bioeconomy:

  • Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister for Science and Technology, emphasised how India has become the world’s largest genetic laboratory.
  • He emphasised how this data has the potential to propel India’s biology industry and make a major contribution to the country’s bioeconomy, which is expected to grow from $10 billion in 2014 to over $130 billion in 2024.

Data Storage and Accessibility:

  • Eight petabytes of data in all will be stored at the Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC) and made accessible to researchers as a digital public good.
  • Indian researchers now have a dedicated platform and are no longer dependent on American or European servers to host biological datasets thanks to the establishment of IBDC in 2022.

What is Genome India project?
– The Department of Biotechnology has approved the gene mapping initiative known as the Genome India Project.
– The intention behind its inception was to compile an extensive database of genetic variants within the Indian population.
– The project’s objective is to create a reference genome for the Indian population by sequencing the genomes of more than 10,000 Indians from various parts of the nation.

What is the significance of the Genome India project?
To learn about genetic variants unique to the Indian population
– Through this project, researchers will be able to customise medications and therapies by learning about genetic variants specific to Indian population groups.
– This will assist in determining the genetic foundations of chronic illnesses that are currently becoming more prevalent in India, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Database for 1.3 billion population
– Over 4,600 population groups make up India’s 1.3 billion people, many of which practise endogamy.
– Because of this, the Indian population is diverse, and within some of these groups, disease-causing mutations are frequently amplified.
– Research on human genetics based on population or disease in other parts of the world cannot be generalised to the Indian population.

PYQ: With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of ‘genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future? (2017) 
1) Genetic markers for drought and disease resistance in a variety of crop plants can be found through genome sequencing.
2) By using this method, the time needed to create new crop plant varieties can be decreased.
3) It can be applied to understand the interactions between crops and pathogens.

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3 

Ans: (d)
Practice Question: Examine critically the significance of the historic accomplishment of sequencing 10,000 healthy genomes from various populations throughout the nation by the Genome India initiative. (10 m / 150 words)

5. “10,000 Genome” project is finished, according to Centre

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology, GS2 – Governance – Government Policies 
For UPSC, the “10,000 genome” project is essential because it illustrates India’s progress in genomic research and how it affects medical and scientific breakthroughs.

– The goal of the “10,000 genome” project in India, which is being carried out by organisations like CCMB and IISc, is to build a diverse genome database for genetic research and personalised healthcare.

Additional information on this news:

  • The “10,000 genome” project in India has been officially concluded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • The goal of the project was to compile a reference database of whole-genome sequences that represented the population diversity of India.
  • The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad spearheaded the initiative, which involved about 20 institutions.
  • Over 4,600 population groups make up India’s 1.3 billion people, which adds to its genetic diversity.
  • In order to tailor medications and treatments, the project sought to identify genetic variations that are specific to India.
  • The initiative focused on harmful mutations, which were frequently amplified within endogamous groups.
  • Understanding genetic predispositions, developing personalised medications, improving gene therapy, gaining insight into population diversity, and gaining knowledge about infectious disease susceptibility are some of the outcomes.
  • 20,000 genomes were sequenced as part of the project, and the Institute for Scientific Information’s Centre for Brain Research hosted a biobank.
  • The Indian Biological Data Centre is where all data is stored, and transparency and collaboration with data were prioritised.
  • With the goal of sequencing at least one million genomes, comparable genome sequencing initiatives are underway in the US, China, and the UK.

Significance of ‘10,000 genome’ project
– Genomic Diversity: With over 4,600 population groups with unique variations and disease-causing mutations, India has a rich genetic diversity that is the subject of this project.
– Tailored Healthcare: The initiative enhances the effectiveness of healthcare by establishing a reference database that facilitates the development of drugs and therapies specifically designed for the Indian population.
– Improvements in Diagnostics: The project improves diagnostic techniques, making it possible to identify genetic predispositions to diseases within particular population groups with greater accuracy.
– Deeper Understanding of India’s Population Diversity: This contributes to scientific research, the development of gene therapy, and the comprehension of an individual’s susceptibility to infectious diseases.
– Revolutionary Initiative: India’s substantial commitment to genomic research is demonstrated by the completion of the “10,000 genome” project, which represents a revolutionary step.
– Collaboration and Transparency: The Indian Biological Data Centre’s decision to archive data and establish a biobank signifies a dedication to these three areas as well as to upcoming research projects.
– Global Benchmarking: India’s project positions it as a major participant in global genomic research, providing important data to the international scientific community, even though the US, China, and the UK have comparable programmes.
– Scientific Progress: The project is essential to the advancement of genetic research since it may reveal uncommon mutations and support international efforts to comprehend human genetics.

Practice Question: Talk about the importance of India’s “10,000 genome” project for understanding genetic diversity, developing personalised healthcare, and advancing global genomic research. (10 m / 150 words)

6. Similipal is looking for more female tigers in other areas.

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservation – Important Species
Relevance to UPSC: Draws attention to issues with inbreeding, wildlife management, genetic diversity concerns in the Similipal Tiger Reserve, and conservation challenges.

– In order to address inbreeding and counteract the prevalence of pseudo-melanistic tigers, Odisha advocates introducing female tigers to Similipal Tiger Reserve.

Additional information on this news:

  • The large number of pseudo-melanistic tigers in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) as a result of inbreeding worries the Odisha government.
  • There are 13 adult pseudo-melanistic tigers in Similipal, according to the All Odisha Tiger Estimation (AOTE 2023–24) report. This indicates that inbreeding is to blame.
  • The majority of the tiger population in the state is found in STR, which is home to 24 adult tigers; all adult female tigers in the state are found in the reserve.
  • In an effort to boost genetic diversity, the Odisha government has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) proposing the introduction of female tigers from other areas.
  • In order to address the issue of inbreeding and improve the general health of the Similipal tiger population, the process will require some time and be grounded in appropriate studies.

Inbreeding – Challenge to species conservation
– Genetic Homogeneity: When closely related people procreate, inbreeding takes place, which lowers genetic diversity within a population.
– Enhanced homozygosity: Inbreeding increases the chance of receiving the same alleles from both parents, which may reveal harmful recessive features.
– Decreased Fitness: The overall fitness of an individual is affected by inbreeding depression, which is reflected in reduced reproductive success, survival rates, and general health.
– Disease susceptibilities: among genetically similar people can increase the population’s overall vulnerability to outbreaks of a particular disease.
– Adverse Evolutionary Effects: A population’s capacity to adjust to shifting environmental conditions or threats is hampered by a reduction in genetic variation.
– Population Decline: Prolonged inbreeding can cause a population’s size and reproductive potential to decline, which is extremely dangerous for the survival of the species.
– Conservation Challenges: To lessen the detrimental effects of inbreeding on the viability of species, conservation efforts must concentrate on preserving or restoring genetic diversity.

Practice Question: Talk about how inbreeding affects the conservation of species, emphasising the difficulties it causes in preserving genetic diversity. Provide practical conservation solutions to mitigate the risk of inbreeding depression while maintaining the survival of the species. (10 m / 150 words)

7. MSMEs ought to focus on durability and quality: PM

Topic: GS3 – Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
The significance of MSME quality for global integration, sector support schemes, and electric vehicle promotion should be noted by UPSC candidates.

– Prime Minister Narendra Modi supports the growth of electric vehicles, initiates programmes to support MSMEs in the automotive industry, and highlights the significance of quality in the MSME sector for the integration of global supply chains.

Additional information on this news:

  • The importance of the MSME sector concentrating on durability and quality for integration into the global supply chain was underscored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • He spoke to MSME owners in the automotive sector, praising them for their contributions to the sector by providing replacement parts for cars made both domestically and abroad.
  • Modi asked MSMEs to give production of environmentally friendly and flawless components top priority.
  • The government supported the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic by introducing programmes like PM-Mudra, PM-Vishwakarma, and MSME credit guarantee, which provided low-cost loans and working capital facilities.
  • The prime minister emphasised the necessity for MSMEs to increase their capacity in order to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles while pledging support for technology and skill development.
  • Modi also brought up the ₹26,000-crore productivity-linked incentive scheme for advanced automotive technologies and the Rooftop Solar scheme.
  • The initiatives’ goal is to draw in foreign investment, which means MSMEs have to increase their capacity.

Importance of MSMEs for Indian Economy
– The foundation of the economy: MSMEs account for about 30% of India’s GDP and generate a sizable amount of the nation’s output.
– Massive job creation: MSMEs account for over 110 million jobs in India, making up the second largest employment sector after agriculture.
– Export-related factors: MSMEs generate almost 40% of India’s total export revenue, which increases foreign exchange profits.
– Encourage inclusive growth: MSMEs boost rural economies, encourage entrepreneurship, and redistribute wealth more fairly.

– Limited financial access: MSMEs have trouble getting credit because of things like complicated documentation requirements and a dearth of collateral.
– Outdated technology: A lot of MSMEs struggle to adopt new technology and continue to use outdated methods, which lowers their competitiveness and productivity.
– Marketing and market reach: MSMEs frequently struggle to advertise their goods and get them in front of more people.
– Regulatory complexity: MSMEs may find it difficult to navigate the many rules and requirements.

Way Forward:
– Improved financial assistance: Make credit more widely available at reasonable rates and create creative financial plans specifically designed for MSMEs.
– Incentives for technology upgrades: Provide funding and assistance to MSMEs so they can embrace digital solutions and modernise their businesses.
– Development of skills: Fund training initiatives to help MSME owners and employees become more technically and entrepreneurially savvy.
– E-commerce platforms: To increase their visibility and get access to new markets, MSMEs should be promoted on e-commerce platforms.
– A more straightforward regulatory structure Simplify compliance requirements and lessen the complexity of regulations.

PYQ: Increased manufacturing sector GDP share, especially for MSMEs, is necessary for faster economic growth. Comment on the government’s current policies in this area. (150 words, 10 seconds) (CSE (M) GS-3 2023) UPSC
Practice Question: Describe the importance of MSMEs to the economic development of India. List the two main issues that MSMEs face in brief, along with one solution for each. (10 m / 150 words)

8. According to Modi, India will have its own space station by 2035.

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies, GS3 –  Science and Technology
Important for UPSC because it discusses the astronauts of the Gaganyaan mission, lunar exploration, and PM Modi’s announcement of India’s space station.

– India’s plans for a space station by 2035, lunar exploration, and a Venus mission are announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
– announces the astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission, highlighting India’s aspirations and advancements in space.

 Additional information on this news:

  • India’s plan to launch its own space station by 2035 was revealed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a speech at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
  • Modi emphasised that India has space ambitions, saying that the nation will return to the moon, retrieve samples from the moon, and is keeping an eye on Venus.
  • By 2040, an Indian astronaut will embark on a crewed lunar mission that will see them land on the moon during the “Amrit Kaal” (Golden Era).
  • The four astronaut-designates for the Gaganyaan mission were presented; they symbolised the ambitions of 140 crore Indians.
  • Modi commemorated the 40-year anniversary of the first Indian astronaut launch, emphasising that India is in charge of both the rocket and the countdown this time.
  • He asked for the public’s and the media’s cooperation in order to provide the astronaut-designates and their families with continuous training.
  • The Prime Minister acknowledged the Gaganyaan project’s ISRO personnel and mentioned that the majority of the equipment was produced in India.
  • Gaganyaan is viewed by Modi as a major step towards India’s ascent to the top three global economies, particularly in the space sector.

9. Why funding for science needs to be sustainable

Topic: GS2 – Government – Government policies
A crucial component of the UPSC exams is understanding India’s low R&D spending, which is essential for science-driven sustainable development.

– India now spends 0.64% of GDP on research and development (R&D), down from 0.8% in 2008–2009.
– Concerns about India’s goals for science and development are highlighted by calls for more financing, the involvement of the private sector, and better budget utilisation.

 India’s R&D Spending

  • India’s R&D spending as a percentage of GDP is currently 0.64%, down from 0.8% in 2008–2009 and 0.7% in 2017–2018.
  • Government organisations have advocated for tripling this expenditure, with the country’s GERD (Gross Expenditure on R&D) target set at 2% of GDP.
  • R&D spending in developed nations usually ranges from 2% to 4% of GDP; in 2021, the average for OECD member countries was 2.7%.

Challenges and Recommendations for Improvement

  • India is advised to invest more in research and development (R&D) than developed nations do in order to become a developed country by 2047.
  • The primary reliance on public funds suggests that the financing system is still in its infancy, as evidenced by the private sector’s 36.4% contribution in 2020–2021.
  • The private sector invests 70% of R&D in developed nations, but India faces obstacles like inadequate capacity assessment, unclear regulations, and worries about intellectual property rights theft.
  • The Anusandhan National Research Foundation was supposed to be implemented to address financial issues, but it hasn’t started yet, and its ₹2,000 crore budget has been slashed to ₹258 crore.

Budget Utilization Concerns

  • Effective science outcomes are impacted by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology’s persistent underutilization of its budget.
  • In 2022–2023, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) used only 61% of its budget, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) used 72% of it, and the Department of Interior Research (DSIR) spent 69%.
  • Underutilization is a persistent problem that can be attributed to unclear utilisation certificates, bureaucratic roadblocks, and a lack of evaluation capacity.

Sustainable Funding for R&D

  • India’s growth path depends on sustained funding for research and development (R&D), which needs to be politically prioritised and acknowledged within relevant Ministries, especially the Ministry of Finance.
  • The 2024 Budget makes clear that more private sector funding for research and development is desired, which means underspending and underutilization must be reduced.
  • Important measures include political prioritisation, financial incentives for private investment, and the development of bureaucratic capacity for project assessment and fund utilisation.
  • On National Science Day, India emphasises the significance of sustainable funding in attaining the country’s goals for science and development.

India’s research and development (R&D) spending
– Low R&D Spending: India’s R&D spending, which is 0.64% of GDP, is less than the global average, which hinders innovation and technological advancements.
– Limited Private Sector Participation: The government spends the majority of its money on R&D; the private sector contributes relatively little, which makes it difficult to conduct diversified research.
– Infrastructure Gaps: Outdated facilities and inadequate research infrastructure make it difficult to conduct productive R&D, necessitating large modernization expenditures.
– Brain Drain: Qualified researchers frequently leave the country in search of better opportunities overseas, which depletes intellectual capital and impedes domestic R&D.
– Focus on Basic Research: Prioritising basic research over applied research hinders the conversion of findings into workable solutions and reduces their applicability to industry.
– Fragmented Collaboration: The synergies required for comprehensive R&D outcomes are hampered by limited collaboration among research institutions, industry, and academia.
– Bureaucratic Obstacles: Protracted approval procedures and onerous bureaucratic procedures slow down research and development projects, deterring participation from the public and private sectors.
– Inadequate Funding for Certain Sectors: Developments in important areas are impeded by the lack of funding for some vital sectors, including clean energy and healthcare.

Way Forward:
– More Funding: Increase R&D spending to 2% of GDP or more, with a large share going towards applied research and innovation.
– Public-Private Partnerships: To achieve a more comprehensive and industry-relevant approach, promote cooperation between the public and private sectors as well as academia.
– Infrastructure Upgrade: Make investments in state-of-the-art technology and research facilities to create a setting that is favourable to cutting-edge study.
– Talent Retention: Put policies in place to keep talented researchers on staff by providing incentives for research, competitive pay, and comfortable working conditions.
– Simplified Approval Procedures: Reduce red tape and speed up project approvals by streamlining bureaucratic processes, which will increase R&D productivity.
– Sector-Specific Funding: Give funds for important sectors top priority while addressing particular issues and encouraging innovation in chosen fields.

PYQ: Because science is not as appealing as business, engineering, or administration as a career, scientific research in Indian universities is decreasing as a result of the universities’ shift towards a more consumer-focused curriculum. Provide a critical analysis. (12.5 m/200 words) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2014)
Practice Question: In the context of accomplishing sustainable development goals, talk about the significance of India’s current spending trends for research and development. Provide suggestions for how to do better. (10 m / 150 words)

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