What is outcome of the NITI Aayog Study on India’s R&D expenditures?

As per NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index 2021,  gross expenditure on research and development (R&D) in India is lowest in the world. India spends USD 43 per capita on R&D. India Innovation Index was recently released by NITI Aayog, providing ranks to states and union territories based on their innovation performance.

NITI Aayog says,

  • India needs to increase this expenditure, in order to be on a par with the BRICS or ASEAN countries.
  • Russia spends USD 285 per capita, Brazil spends USD 173 while Malaysia spends USD 293, on the R&D.
  • Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) in India, as a percentage of GDP has remained consistent on 0.7% for about a decade.
  • India’s expenditure is lower as compared to Brazil (1.16%) and South Africa (0.83%).
  • Only Mexico (0.31%) had a lower share of GERD as percentage of GDP, than India.
  • Despite low expenditure on R&D, India has published more research papers as compared to countries like Russia, Brazil, and South Korea.

According to Government’s think tank, government spends more than 55% on R&D which needs to be changed. It needs to find an inflexion point after which private sector can to the task. Though, businesses or private sector led R&D has been increasing rapidly from 2005-06. But it is not fast enough to overtake government led R&D. In order for India to be on a par with developed countries; it needs to encourage R&D by businesses, so that, it could intersect the government led R&D and rise.

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