India still lagging in innovation, R&D spend

Venkatesh Ganesh Bangalore | Updated on February 27, 2013

Despite India having better scientific research institutions, R&D and innovation capabilities are lower than other BRICS countries, according to the Economic Survey.

The report pointed out that innovation is lacking in the country and research undertaken by institutions whether public or private are not turning out to into commercial ventures in a significant way.

Citing the global competitiveness report for 2012-13, the economic survey pointed out that India despite being ranked ahead of other peers when it came to market knowledge, technology and creativity, the country ranked poorly when it came to other metrics such as institutional support, human resources, research infrastructure and business sophistication.

Further, it adds that the much talked about industry university collaboration is not yielding any significant output, unlike developed economies like the US that saw growth fostered by this sort of partnership. Despite the industry contribution towards R&D increasing over the last few years, it still contributes to less than 30 per cent of the overall R&D spends, according to the economic survey.


This, in turn, has impacted the filing of patents. In 2011, the total number of patent applications for in India was estimated to be 37,000, according to controller general of patents, designs and trade marks, ministry of commerce and industry data. In comparison, despite a slowdown in its economy, California, in 2011 filed 30,750 patents.

This is further corroborated by the fact that management and advisory firm Zinnov has estimated that Indian R&D spend stands at approximately 1 per cent of its trillion dollar GDP, which is slated to double in the next few years.

“There is potential but the momentum needs to be sustained and not left hanging,” said Gopcihand Katragadda, Managing Director, GE India Technology Centre.

The economic survey further pointed out that share of basic research in India’s R&D is estimated at 26 per cent, applied research 36 per cent, development research 32 per cent and other research at 6 per cent, which is low when compared to other BRIC countries (except Russia).

It attributes this to a very low availability of scientists and engineers when compared to the total population.


Published on February 27, 2013

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