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Should India spend more of its GDP on research and development?

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Summary

According to the World Bank (2015 data) India spends 0.63% of its GDP on research and development. This is much lower than the World average (2.23%). Other countries that have similar fractions of GDP allocated to R&D include Latvia, Thailand and Tunisia. Consequently, there have been several claims, primarily from the scientists (e.g. this and […]

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According to the World Bank (2015 data) India spends 0.63% of its GDP on research and development. This is much lower than the World average (2.23%). Other countries that have similar fractions of GDP allocated to R&D include Latvia, Thailand and Tunisia. Consequently, there have been several claims, primarily from the scientists (e.g. this and this), that the R&D budget for India must go up. What do you think?

 

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Should India spend more of its GDP on research and development?

7 comments

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1
Thangasamy Sangarappan

If we critically look at the wasteful manner in which R&D budget is frittered in India, even the existing 0.63% is a drain on our resources. Only when we tone up our development model with proper dovetailing of R&D inputs, higher expense can be justified.

2
Anbazhagan Sam Venkatesan

Even with respect to investment those who fund would look for based on their financial principles, for return on investment, long term or short term, direct or indirect. If they are assured at the beginning and seen to be ensured at the end, the funding may increase. The science community with good financial understanding regarding RoI, depreciation, timing of crediting and its importance, can bargain for a better percentage of allocation for their work.

3
Anbazhagan Sam Venkatesan

WE know science is learnt in class- room and in the labs of the schools. It may be good to know first how much would be needed to upgrade the labs to the desired level, with equipments,supplies,service and for staff. This would be an investment and some annual expenditure. Investment must be seen differently from annual items of expenditure because improving lab infrastructure would be a foundational aspect. This one time assessment would show where we are with respect to lab condition only. And coupled with it if students are enquired about their expectations the exercise would be more appropriate to a school . This would amount to truly addressing a basic need and giving voice to those who are not voicing, but have one.
A similar exercise in undergraduate colleges would be a welcome aspect.
Ignoring this perspective and focusing only on R&D seems forgetting a foundational aspect. In fact in ten or twenty years time we need good researchers in science, it would be time to act on this segment now!

4

We do not want this portal to be limited to academics and are trying to go out of our way to ensure that everyone is included. As you correctly point out:
"The key is how do we further expand readership/participation in such initiatives to lay public engagement.".
Any suggestions / help would be extremely welcome.

5
Krishnaswamy Sankaran

Simplify. Increase visibility. Availability in regional languages. Interface with mass organisations.

6

@krishnaswamy Sankaran: Many thanks. for the constructive suggestions. Here are some quick thoughts.
Simplification: Since the content is user-driven (and not written by staff journalists), the content will be as simple or as complex as the users will make it. Otherwise, this will be another science-popularizing website of which there are scores on the internet.
Increasing visibility: How? Ideas will be greatly appreciated.
Availability in regional languages: Tough to do when editorial moderation is involved. However, we are already thinking of several steps. Watch out for some announcements, hopefully sooner than later.
Interface with mass organisations: Names? Pointers?

7
Prashanth N Srinivas

Given that most of the readership of this protal would be academia, the vote (and its results) are a bit redundant, in my opinion. The key question is to the extent which India should aim to be a knowledge-based society. And that decision is not only limited to academia and how we feel about research (funding). That is a dialogue that ought to be placed and nurtured in society, and certainly IAS's CONFLUENCE and DIALOGUE are great initiatives. The key is how do we further expand readership/participation in such initiatives to lay public engagement.

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