Issues related to R&D in India

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Syllabus: GS 3

Synopsis: Chief Economic Adviser said that the private sector in India needs to increase spends for the country to scale up growth.


According to Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V Subramanian, the private sector in the country needs to increase spending from 37 percent to 68 percent. So that India could scale up and match the level of the top 10 economies in terms of the expenditure on R&D.

Issues related to R&D in India

  1. The country’s gross expenditure on R&D for 2020-21 stood at 0.65 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It was less than one-third of the funds spent by the top 10 economies of the world. The top 10 economies of the world spent between 1.5 and 3 percent of GDP on R&D.
  2. More than half of the total expenditure on R&D was done by the government in India. Still, India’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) is very low.
  3. According to the survey, the number of patent and trademark applications filed by Indian start-ups has increased over the past 5 financial years but there is a lack of consistent approvals.
    1. For example; startups in India filed 1,100 applications for patents between April and October, but none were approved. They filed more than 3,500 applications for trademark recognition. But none of them was granted approval between April and October 2020.

What needs to be done?

Private investment in R&D needs to be boosted. There should be a focus on innovation in various sectors.

  • Firstly, India needs to improve its standing in the total number of patent applications filed in the country.
  • Secondly, a major push on R&D by the business sector is required. India’s local companies should increase their share in total patents to a level equal to our status as the fifth-largest economy in the current US dollar. 
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