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R&D Expenditure Ecosystem in India

  • 25 Jul 2019
  • 6 min read

The report titled “Research and Development (R&D) Expenditure Ecosystem” was also released during the global launch of Global Innovation Index (GII)–2019 by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).

  • The objectives of the report are:
    • To address the data gaps in compiling R&D data so that up to date data on R&D is available in order to reflect India’s true rank globally.
    • The second objective is to examine expenditure trends in various sectors and their shortcomings.
    • The final objective is to lay down the road map for achieving the desired target of R&D spend by the year 2022, i.e 2% of the GDP.

Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister

  • Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) is a non-constitutional, non-statutory, independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.
  • As of July, 2019, the Council consists of: Dr. Bibek Debroy (Chairman), Shri Ratan P. Watal (Member Secretary), Dr. Rathin Roy (Part-Time Member), Dr. Ashima Goyal (Part-Time Member) and Dr. Shamika Ravi (Part-Time Member).
  • The terms of reference of EAC-PM are:
    • Analyzing any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the Prime Minister and advising him thereon,
    • Addressing issues of macroeconomic importance and presenting views thereon to the Prime Minister.
      • These could be either suo-motu or on reference from the Prime Minister or anyone else.
      • It also includes attending to any other task as may be desired by the Prime Minister from time to time.

Recommendations

  • The growth in research and development (R&D) expenditure should be commensurate with the economy’s growth and should be targeted to reach at least 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2022.
  • The line ministries at the Centre could be mandated to allocate a certain percentage of their budget for research and innovation for developing and deploying technologies as per the priorities of the respective ministries.
  • To stimulate private sector’s investment in R&D from current 0.35% of GDP, it is suggested that a minimum percentage of turn-over of the company may be invested in R&D by medium and large enterprises registered in India.
  • To help and keep the industry enthused to invest in R&D, the weighted deduction provisions on R&D investment should continue.
  • The states can partner Centre to jointly fund research and innovation programmes through socially designed Central Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
  • The report also pitched for creating 30 dedicated R&D Exports Hub and a corpus of Rs 5,000 crore for funding mega projects with cross cutting themes which are of national interest.

Background

  • Investments in R&D are key inputs in economic growth. The impact of this is proven on productivity, exports, employment and capital formation.
  • India’s investment in R&D has shown a consistent increasing trend over the years.
    • However, as a fraction of GDP, it has remained constant at around 0.6% to 0.7%.
    • This is below the expenditure of countries like the US (2.8), China (2.1), Israel (4.3) and Korea (4.2).
  • Government expenditure, almost entirely the Central Government, is the driving force of R&D in India which is in contrast to the advanced countries where the private sector is the dominant and driving force of R&D spend.
    • There is a need for greater participation of State Governments and the private sector in overall R&D spending in India especially in application oriented research and technology development.
  • Earlier in 2018, the Prime Minister of India had underlined that there should be greater emphasis on collaborative R&D by the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) with a focus on partnerships with Indian Institute of Technologies and Universities.
    • Consequently, one hundred fifty-four such innovation cells have been set up by CPSEs which will work on market oriented research.
    • From the year 2014-15 to 2017-18, there has been an increase of 116% in R&D spending by CPSEs.
    • CPSEs of the petroleum and power sector are the biggest spenders in R&D. Therefore, the need of the hour is that all CPSEs must come on board for higher spend on R&D.

Source: PIB

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