Why sustainable funding matters for India’s ‘science power’ ambition.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Policy and Mission, Issue: India’s Research & Development (R&D) spending

 Spending on R&D:

  • India’s R&D expense has decreased.


  • Insufficient and primarily dependent on public funds.
  • Private sector is resistant due to.
  • Poor capacity to evaluate R&D in India.
  • ambiguous regulatory roadmaps.
  • lack of clear exit options for investors in sectors, and
  • fears of intellectual property rights theft.
  • Underutilization of government budget.


  • Increase contributions from the private sector
  • Mitigating under-spending and under-utilization of R&D funds.
  • Incentives for private investment like tax rebates and clear regulatory roadmaps.
  • Bureaucratic capacity to evaluate and monitor science projects.


Sustainable funding for science is crucial for India’s journey towards sustainable development.

+1 Advantage for Mains (data points)

India’s R&D expense: the current 0.64% of GDP, 0.8% in 2008-2009 and 0.7% in 2017-2018.

Ø     Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (2013) – Increasing Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) to 2% GDP as a national goal.

Ø     Much below than Average spending of developed countries on R&D ( between 2% and 4% of GDP).

Ø     To reach developed nation status India needs to spend at least 3% of the GDP on R&D annually until 2047.

Data on percentage of spending by various sector

Ø     In 2020-2021, private sector industry contributed 36.4% of the GERD whereas the Union government’s share was 43.7%.


Scroll to Top