R&D: India needs to do more

India is seeing a rapid growth in the outsourced R&D business but the country still trails behind China and much of the developed world in this sector.

This was evident in the numbers presented by the science and technology minister to the parliament yesterday. India has 150,000 researchers compared with China’s 800,000-1m.

The number of researcher per million of population is only 156 for India, way behind 7,000 in Scandinavian countries and 4,700 in the US.

India’s R&D spend as a percentage of GDP is only 0.8% compared with 3% for developed countries.

And despite growth in business, the private sector trails behind the public sector which accounts for 80% of R&D spend in India. This is vastly different from US and even China where the public sector share is only 30%.

The government also appears to have recognised the need to improve the education system to produce more researchers. Funds allocated to scientific departments during the 11th Plan period (2007-2012) have been raised three fold to Rs753bn (US$19bn).

For more on Indian R&D, I recommend this report. It reviews major developments and identifies future prospects for this sector.

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