Tax Rupees at Work
Who knew that digging around a mundane document like the Govt of India’s Union Budget for 2007-08 would reveal such nuggets of gold !
Example 1: Turns out, there is something called the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (even comes with the snappy acronym, AYUSH) within the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The allocation for this department for the coming fiscal year is Rs 563.88 crores (pdf link)! Even if I concede that it might be worthwhile to study ancient Ayurvedic practices, Homeopathy or even Unani, the budget amount is particularly galling when you compare it to the total budget for the Departement of Biotechnology – Rs 694.70 crores. That’s right – biotechnology, perhaps one of the most capital intensive research fields and certainly the future, gets only a fraction higher allocation of funds as the study of pseudo-medicine !
Example 2: The Department of Higher Education within the Ministry of Human Resource Development is funding the following: "Area Intensive and Madrasa Modernisation Programme (AIMMP)" and the "National Institute of Studies in Sri Guru Granth Sahib" (pdf link). The question is, why is a constitutionally secular government providing funding for religious schools and what is essentially a religious study ? Should it at least provide equal opportunity to all religions and therefore funding for ‘The Institute for Reincarnation Studies", "Regional Dharmshalas teaching 5-easy steps to Nirvana", "His Noodly Self’s Beer Volcanoes‘ etc ?
Btw, here is the rationale for the National Institute of Studies in Sri Guru Granth Sahib:
Sri Guru Granth Sahib being a repository of divine word, interfaith dialogue, and also being relevant for an holistic approach to human life and civilization, it is proposed to set up a National Institute of Studies in Sri Guru Granth Sahib to facilitate study of the origin of Bani, its preservation, transmission, impact, etc. as
an autonomous body.
Sigh ! And we complain there isn’t enough funding for real science !