[Answered] Discuss the significance of sustainable funding in science and technology for India’s development goals. How does the current R&D expenditure of India compare with that of developed countries, and what steps can be taken to improve it?

Introduction: Give a brief context to the question

Body: Significance of S&T funding, and steps to improve the funding

Conclusion: Way forward

The 2024 National Science Day theme in India is “Science for Sustainable Development,” reflecting the nation’s commitment to leveraging science and technology for sustainable progress. India aims to achieve its development goals by 2047 through sustainable means, evident in its adherence to the Paris Agreement and active participation in global forums promoting sustainability.

Significance of Sustainable S&T Funding for India

  • Innovation & Growth: Sustainable funding for science and technology (S&T) is crucial for India’s knowledge-based economy, driving breakthroughs in healthcare, renewable energy, agriculture, and IT.
  • National challenges: Targeted S&T investments address national challenges such as climate change adaptation, sustainable agriculture, and healthcare accessibility, improving millions of lives.
  • Competitiveness: Consistent funding for S&T strengthens India’s global competitiveness, fostering a skilled workforce, boosting domestic industries, and solidifying its position as a technological hub.
  • Social issues: S&T advancements tackle societal issues like poverty, illiteracy, and disease, promoting inclusive development through research in public health, education technology, and social innovation.

India’s R&D expenditure compared to developed nations

  • Reduced expenditure: India’s funding for science is among the lowest in the world as research and development (R&D) expenditure has dropped to the current 0.64% of GDP from 0.8% in 2008-2009 and 0.7% in 2017-2018. Most developed countries spend between 2% and 4% of their respective GDPs on R&D. The U.S. and the U.K. have consistently spent more than 2% of their GDPs on R&D for the past decade.

Steps to improve funding

  • More private funding: In 2020-2021, the private sector industry contributed 36.4% of the GERD whereas the Union government’s share was 43.7%. Policies that encourage and reward private sector investment in R&D are crucial. This includes tax breaks, research grants, and fostering industry-academia collaborations.
  • Prioritization of R&D spending: While advocating for fundamental research, India must strategically allocate funding to areas offering significant social and economic benefits. This may encompass clean energy, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence, all in alignment with India’s developmental objectives.
  • Capacity building: India also needs the bureaucratic capacity to evaluate science projects and, after allocations, monitor utilization. Building such capacity is a prerequisite for India to become a science power by 2047.


Initiatives like the Anusandhan National Research Foundation & Increasing Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) to 2% of GDP as listed in the 2013 Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy provide policy directions for science to transform India into a developed country.

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