Current status of India R&D Ecosystem : Blog by Lingaya's Vidyapeeth
India’s R&D Ecosystem – Current Status

India’s R&D Ecosystem – Current Status

Research and development (R&D) is essential for boosting corporate competitiveness, creating sustainable solutions, increasing economic growth, and enhancing efficiency. The expansion and prosperity of companies and sectors around the world depend on this. Any nation must drastically alter its ecosystem for research, innovation, and R&D if it wants to expand and maintain its growth.

India has to invest in and support the scientific and technology (S&T), innovation, and R&D environment in order to continue propelling its growth narrative over the coming decades. It also needs to adapt to the quickly advancing technologies.

Look at Current Status of Research and Development Ecosystem

  • The Government of India has allocated Rs 16,361 crore for the Union Ministry of Science and Technology in the 2023-24 budget, representing approximately 0.36 percent of the overall budget. This represents a nominal increase of 15% from the previous fiscal year, 2021-2022, when the allocation was approximately Rs 14,217 crore. Is this increase, however, adequate? Will this stimulate India’s R&D ecosystem?

Prior to commencing the discourse, it is imperative to grasp the fundamental statistics and parameters that delineate research and development ecosystems.

  • Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) is a crucial statistic for any nation. India has one of the lowest GERDs in the world, with only $43 per capita, according to the NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index Report 2021. This is one of the most regarded statistics used to calculate expenditures on research and development. The GERD of a few select countries is presented in the table below to illustrate India’s relative standing. This indicates that India must increase these expenditures to the point where they are at least comparable to those of BRICS or ASEAN nations such as Brazil (173), Russia (285), and Malaysia (293). It comes as no surprise that our per capita expenditures are considerably lower than those of South Africa (105) and Mexico ($64).

Data - GERD per capita

  • According to the data presented above, India must increase its R&D spending; if it wishes to reach the level of an economy worth $5 or $10 trillion, it must approach the financial levels of BRICS or other ASEAN nations, including Russia ($285), Brazil ($173), and Malaysia ($293).
  • An additional noteworthy statistic pertains to India’s GERD, which has exhibited a consistent fluctuation of approximately 0.7% in relation to GDP for the past decade (refer to the table provided below). This is even lower than South Africa (0.83%), Brazil (1.16%), and other nations. Only Mexico (0.31%) exhibited a lower proportion of GERD in relation to GDP. It is noteworthy that the nation allocating the least amount of resources towards GERD ultimately loses its human capital, specifically its scientific expertise.
  • Thousands of brilliant minds from Indian universities and institutes, including IITs, IIS, NITs, IISERs, migrate annually to developed nations such as the United States, Germany, Japan, Korea, and others. There is an urgent need to give serious consideration to GERD. This condition requires substantial improvement and is projected to reach >2-2.5% in the coming years. Certainly, this will be instrumental in assisting India in reaching its ambitious objective of developing a $5 trillion economy. Moreover, this will propel India to the forefront and have an even greater impact on its innovative footprint worldwide.
  • The survey report clearly illustrates that countries such as South Korea, the United States, and Germany significantly rely on private sector investments to establish a robust research and development ecosystem.

Patent Reform is Necessary for Innovation

What is the status of the private sector in India?

Industry leaders and business magnates in India, kindly advance, surpass the government sector in R&D expenditure, and contribute to the nation’s shining success!

  • According to data from the Indian government, there are over 1100 active universities in the country; this provides a firm foundation for fostering a research culture in India and a significant impetus for developing a robust R&D ecosystem in the country.
  • The intellectual standing of Indian talents is also illustrated with regard to patents ; in 2019-20, nearly fifty-six thousand patent applications were submitted. This verifies and authenticates India’s position as an intellectual superpower. According to a 2019 report by the All-India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), there has been a 60% surge in the issuance of Ph.D. degrees over the past five years.

A robust research and development ecosystem in India has the potential to generate substantial economic expansion and societal advantages, in addition to tackling some of the most critical global issues. India possesses an exceptionally fertile environment for fostering its own research and development ecosystem. This will not only assist the nation in achieving its aspirational status as a global leader in R&D, innovation, technology, and manufacturing, but it will also contribute to the expansion of the global economy and the welfare of its citizens.

Dr. Swapnila Roy
Associate Dean(R&D)
Department of Research and Development
Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth

February 16, 2024

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