Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy 2013

In 2013, Government of India released a new science, technology and innovation policy that lays greater thrust on innovation, establishing research institutes and encourages women scientists with an aim to position itself among the top five scientific powers in the world by 2020. Here are the important facts and observations from this 22 page document:

Decade of Innovation: India has declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of Innovation”. The Government has stressed the need to enunciate a policy to synergize science, technology and innovation and has also established the National Innovation Council (NlnC).

The STI Policy 2013 is in furtherance of these pronouncements.

Investments in Science and Technology

  • Global investments in science, technology and innovation are estimated at $1.2 trillion as of 2009. India’s R&D investment is less than 2.5% of this and is currently under 1 % of the GDP.
  • Increasing Gross Expenditure in Research and Development (GERD) to 2% of the GDP has been a national goal for some time.
  • Achieving this in the next five years is realizable if the private sector raises its R&D investment to at least match the public sector R&D investment from the current ratio of around 1 :3. The new paradigm is “Science technology and innovation for the people”.

Position in Research Publications

  • The gross budgetary support for the science and technology sector has significantly increased during the last decade. The impact of such increase is becoming evident.
  • India ranks ninth globally in the number of scientific publications and 12th in the number of patents filed. The Composite Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of Indian publications is around 12±1% and India’s global share has increased from 1.8% in 2001 to 3.5% in 2011.
  • But the percentage of Indian publications in the top 1 % impact making journals is only 2.5%.
  • By 2020, the global share of publications must double and the number of papers in the top 1 % journals must quadruple from the current levels.

Key Elements:

  • Promoting the spread of scientific temper amongst all sections of society.
  • Enhancing skill for applications of science among the young from all social strata.
  • Making careers in science, research and innovation attractive enough for talented and bright minds.
  • Establishing world class infrastructure for R&D for gaining global leadership in some select frontier areas of science.
  • Positioning India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020.
  • Linking contributions of science, research and innovation system with the inclusive economic growth agenda and combining priorities of excellence and relevance.
  • Creating an environment for enhanced Private Sector Participation in R&D.
  • Enabling conversion of R&D outputs into societal and commercial applications by replicating hitherto successful models as well as establishing of new PPP structures.
  • Seeding S&T-based high-risk innovations through new mechanisms.
  • Fostering resource-optimized, cost-effective innovations across size and technology domains.
  • Triggering changes in the mindset and value systems to recognize, respect and reward performances which create wealth from S& T derived knowledge.
  • Creating a robust national innovation system

Focus of the Policy

  • Facilitating private sector investment in R&D centres in India and overseas.
  • Promoting establishment of large R&D facilities in PPP mode with provisions for benefits sharing.
  • Permitting multi stakeholders participation in the Indian R&D system.
  • Treating R&D in the private sector at par with public institutions for availing public funds.
  • Bench marking of R&D funding mechanisms and patterns globally.
  • Modifying IPR policy to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and for co-sharing IPRs generated under PPP.
  • Launching newer mechanisms for nurturing Technology Business Incubators (TBls) and science-led entrepreneurship.
  • Providing incentives for commercialization of innovations with focus on green manufacturing

Important Observations

  • Policy places greater thrust on innovation, establishing research institutes and encourage women scientists with an aim to position itself among the top five scientific powers in the world by 2020.
  • It talks about modifying the intellectual property regime to provide for marching rights for social good when supported by public funds and co-sharing of patents generated in the public private partnership mode.
  • Aims at producing and nurturing talent in science, to stimulate research in universities, to develop young leaders in the field of science and to reward performance.
  • Seeks to create a policy environment for greater private sector participation in research and innovation and to forge international alliances and collaborations to meet the national agenda.
  • Talks of raising gross expenditure in R&D to two per cent of GDP from the current one per cent in this decade by encouraging enhanced private sector contribution.
  • Seeks to trigger an ecosystem for innovative abilities to flourish by leveraging partnerships among diverse stakeholders and by encouraging and facilitating enterprises to invest in innovations.

Criticism:

The document is full of wishes and desires. The declaration lists 12 points to capture India’s aspirations in STI — promoting the spread of scientific temper; enhancing skills; making careers in science, research and innovation attractive; establishing world-class infrastructure and gaining global leadership in select frontier areas; making India among the five top global scientific powers; enhanced private-sector participation in research and development (R&D) and converting it into applications through a PPP model; seeding science and technology based high-risk innovations. All of these aim to create a robust national innovation system. But it hardly describes any structural or procedural changes which will achieve the grand goal of integrating science, technology and innovation to create value in an inclusive manner.

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