‘An exponential rise in R&D in CPSEs can boost R&D investments in the country’- states Professor K VijayRaghavan
Prof. K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, while addressing at the ‘Way Forward’ session of the forum on ‘Scaling up R&D Investment’, organized jointly by his office, Department of Public Enterprises (Govt. of India) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) stated that there are various levels of R&D for conventional research, futuristic research, research for addressing new problems and research for addressing unknown problems. He further mentioned that R&D is not only influenced by the quantum of investment, but also by the quality. PSA further mentioned that the Technology Group, constitution of which has been recently announced by the Govt. of India will primarily have three roles – policy, procurement and R&D. He also mentioned that this group shall function to ensure and help the PSUs to be successful. The Technology Group shall have the Secretaries from Space, Atomic Energy, Defence, IT, MeiTY and DST and secretaries of other departments would be invited depending on the subject being dealt. The Technology Group shall also have a 20-member Advisory Panel – 10 from the industry and 10 from academia. Thus the Technology Group shoul provide an extraordinary opportunity for all the stakeholders to collaborate for social good and global competitiveness.
Shri Sailesh, Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Government of India mentioned that while CPSEs play a dominant role in our economy, it is important that CPSEs diversify into new areas. He stated that R&D is an essential activity and growth follows when investments in R&D is stepped up. He further highlighted that CPSEs must innovate, produce and expand their presence in India and abroad.
In his address, Mr Rajesh K Chaudhry, Additional Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Government of India stated that India must reposition itself from being the net consumer of R&D to net producer of R&D. Globally, 10-12 countries are primarily contributing to the major share of R&D and there is a need to enhance India’s commitment to R&D. While sharing the detailed statistical data of R&D in CPSEs, he emphasized that they must increase R&D expenditure and also promote and retain R&D talent, and that government shall provide full support for the same.
With India aspiring to be the $ 5 trillion economy, Dr. Arabinda Mitra , Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India highlighted that the present forum is topical, timely and important. He emphasized that research and innovation have emerged as the most powerful storehouse that is impacting the survival of enterprises worldwide. He stated that the new models of synergistic partnerships need to be evolved to bolster the innovation ecosystem and encourage PSE’s enhanced investment in R&D. He also mentioned that the Office of the PSA has launched City Knowledge and Innovation Clusters as powerful tool for R&D collaborations.
Ms Mita Karajagi, Senior Director, C- DAC, Pune mentioned that collaboration among various institutions is of prime importance to take the innovations and technologies to market. She further mentioned that CDAC has been working on diverse applications including futuristic technologies, oil applications, genomics/ drug discovery, disaster management, missile technologies etc.
In his Opening Remarks, Mr B N Satpathy, Senior Consultant, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India stated that CPSEs have played an important role in catalyzing the economic growth of India. As the major driving force behind the country’s rapid industrialization in the post-independence period, CPSEs have richly contributed to India’s technological prowess. They also have been contributing significantly to the overall R&D spend in the country. Mr Satpathy highlighted that the objective of the forum will be to assess the R&D plan of select PSUs for the next two years, overview the proposed R&D activities under the amended CSR guidelines and finalize a strategy for scaling up of R&D investment by CPSEs.
CII’s endeavour is to inspire Indian industry to recognize research, development & deployment as a key driver for business and economic growth. It is in this pursuit that CII is closely working with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India on various initiatives related to science, technology and innovation with a view to building an ecosystem to spur R&D investments. CII is pursuing a proposal on ‘Advanced Mission-mode Innovation and Research (ADMIRE) programme’ with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India that encompasses mandating allocation of a significant quantum of a ministry’s total budget in R&D expenditure for undertaking technology development programmes on PPP mode. While 50% of the project cost may be supported by the government on grant-in-aid basis for meeting the technological risks, the balance needs to be mobilized by the industry. CII’s commitment to fostering an ecosystem for leveraging technology to address societal challenges by encouraging industry participation in the process is reflected through various other programmes such as Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA), a Joint Venture Not-for-Profit Company incorporated by CII and Technology Development Board of DST that is implementing industry-government co-funded industrial R&D programme and “Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research” where industry and government are co-funding PhD scholars to do industrial R&D. So far, 150 industries including PSUs have partnered with 70 academic institutions and conferred more than 200 fellowships.
The forum was attended by all major CPSEs from IT/ Electronics, Materials/ Services, Oil/ Gas and Power sector and also select scientific/ academic institutions focusing on translational research.