Science and Technology Development in India

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India ranks third among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world. Modern India has had a strong focus on science and technology, realising that it is a key element for economic growth. India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research, positioned as one of the top five nations in the field for space exploration. The country has regularly undertaken space missions, including missions to the moon and the famed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

India is likely to take a leading role in launching satellites for the SAARC nations, generating revenue by offering its space facilities for use to other countries.

As of June 18, 2021, India comprised 988 universities.

At rank 48, India stands among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 with a score of 35.6. In 2019, it was placed at #52 position with a GII score of 36.58. India ranks 45th on the innovation output and 57th on the innovation input sub-indices.

The Government is extensively promoting research parks technology business incubators (TBIs) and (RPs), which would promote the innovative ideas till they become commercial ventures.

India’s gross expenditure in R&D was forecast to reach US$ 96.50 billion in 2020. By 2022, R&D expenditure is targeted to reach at least 2 per cent of the country’s GDP. The engineering R&D and product development market in India is forecast to post a CAGR of ~12% to reach US$ 63 billion by 2025, from US$ 31 billion in 2019.

IT spending in India is estimated to reach US$ 93 billion in 2021 (7.3% YoY growth) and further increase to US$ 98.5 billion in 2022.

India’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy prepared by NITI Aayog outlined a way forward to harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in different fields. Accenture offers a framework for assessing the economic effect of AI for selected G20 countries in its latest AI research studies and forecast that AI will raise India’s annual growth rate by 1.3% points by 2035.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research runs 37 national laboratories and 39 outreach centres. India ranks 10th in the Global Cybersecurity Index 2020 that was launched by the International Telecommunication Union.

Developments/Investments:

With support from the Government, considerable investment and development has incurred in different sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, space research, and nuclear power through scientific research. For instance, India is gradually becoming self-reliant in nuclear technology.

Recent developments

Some of the recent developments in the field of science and technology in India are as follows:

  • DST and GE India are likely to collaborate for Advanced Technology Research, according to the Science and Engineering Research Board. Over the next five years, academic institutes will get up to US$ 2.68 million in funding for research in the fields of energy, healthcare and aviation.
  • In June 2021, DRDO developed an anti-drone technology to detect and neutralise unmanned aerial vehicles. This technology uses radar system that offers 360-degree coverage.
  • On June 28, 2021, DRDO tested a nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni P’ with range capability of 1,000-2,000 kms.
  • On June 9, 2021, ICAR signed a MoU with the Digital India Corporation to provide location-specific demand-based tele-agriculture advisories.
  • In March 2021, the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Nitin Gadkari, inaugurated two technology centres at Visakhapatnam and Bhopal, three extension centres of big technological centres and seven mobile Udyam Express of MSME.
  • In February 2021, production linked incentive scheme for IT Hardware was approved to boost domestic manufacturing of IT Hardware.
  • In February 2021, about 1 lakh women were trained on digital literacy in India via ‘We Think Digital’
  • In February 2021, Union Minister for MSME & Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated 50 artisan-based SFURTI (Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries) clusters, which will be spread >18 states, to support >42,000 artisans in traditional crafts.
  • Oppo’s India research and development centre (R&D) has filed 200 patents, including patents for 5G and camera technologies. The company is also planning to make huge investments in India from its US$ 7 billion global investment bucket.
  • In December 2020, Ambassador of France, Germany and the European Union announced that they will together work out a detailed plan to fund more eco-friendly projects in Kerala in the coming years.
  • In November 2020, the Engineering Exports Promotion Council India and the National Institute of Design collaborated to promote and upgrade designs and technology for the medical devices industry, enabling it to meet the emerging needs of the country’s health sector, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19.
  • In November 2020, Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the GRANTECAN, S.A. (GTC), Spain to develop scientific and technical collaborations in astronomy field.

The Union Budget 2021-22

Under the Union Budget 2021-22, the government announced allocation of Rs. 14,794.03 crore (US$ 2.02 billion) to the Ministry of Science and Technology. The Department of Atomic Energy has been allocated Rs. 18,264.89 crore (US$ 2.50 billion). The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been allocated Rs. 6,067.39 crore (US$ 831.63 million). The Ministry of Earth Sciences was allocated Rs. 1,897.13 crore (US$ 260.03 million).

The Road Ahead

India is aggressively working towards establishing itself as a leader in industrialisation and technological development. Significant developments in the nuclear energy sector are likely as India looks to expand its nuclear capacity. Moreover, nanotechnology is expected to transform India’s pharmaceutical industry. The agriculture sector is also likely to undergo a major revamp with the government investing heavily for a technology-driven Green Revolution. Government of India, through the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013, among other things, aspires to position India among the world’s top five scientific powers. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its first Indian human mission by 2022.

India initiated a landmark policy called Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 with core vision of being decentralized, evidence informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive. The policy aims to be bring-in the concept of ‘dynamic policy’ with a robust policy governance mechanism incorporating features such as periodic review, policy evaluation, feedback, and adaptation, and a timely exit strategy for various policy instruments.

References – Media reports, Press Releases, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2021-22

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.

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