No quick Fix
Among the most important pieces of legislation slated to be tabled in the current monsoon session of Parliament is the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023. So, let us look at the status of research in India.
Research in universities:
- Percentage involvement in active research- Only one per cent of higher education institutions engage in active research, according to the detailed project report on NRF.
- Annual output of doctorates- In absolute terms, India’s annual output of science and engineering doctorates is right at the top, with only the US, China and the United Kingdom producing more.
- Research Institutes- There was 7,888 R&D institutions in the country in 2021, including more than 5,200 units in the private sector and industries, which engage mainly in industry-specific research.
Expenditure on R&D:
- Percentage of GDP-For more than two decades now, the Centre’s stated objective has been to allocate at least two per cent of the national GDP on R&D.
- In terms of Purchasing Power Parity- India spent only 42 US dollars (in PPP terms) per researcher in 2020, compared with nearly 2,150 by Israel, 2,180 by South Korea and 2,183 by the United States.
- Women participation- Women comprise only 18 per cent of total scientific researchers in India, while globally this number was 33 per cent.
- Need to Incentivise- Organisations such as the NRF should work to create conditions which incentivise the development of private sector organisations that see value in invention and developing proprietary technology.
- Diversion if CSR funds- Private companies can direct their annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations to the NRF.
- Tax benefits- The government can o?er tax bene?ts to private companies to release some funds into the NRF.