One of our white papers last year looked at how long it takes for anyone to get hold of nanotech funding, and how easy it is to announce major programs and then hang onto the money. This will be familiar to anyone who has spent much time working on EU Framework programs where the bureaucratic overhead can seem to take up more effrt than the science, but the Indian Government seems to have taken this to an extreme level.
An article in the Hindu entitled “Scientific research in India is hampered by a growing inability to spend budgetary allocations fully” highlights the obstacles scientists have to negotiate to get their hands on funding. This is particularly embarrassing, given India’s nanotech friendly president and as the Hindu noted:
One may be tempted to ask what prompted the President to make such a remark now. It is quite likely that, having looked at the 2005-06 expenditure figures, he must have discovered, to his utter despair, that the Rs.200 crores allocated for the national Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Mission (Nano Mission), of which he was the prime moving force, had to be surrendered entirely unspent. The total amount unspent by the DST is 14.68 per cent of the total allocation in the 2005-06 budget, and the Nano Mission alone accounts for 12 per cent.