“Science & Technology is the fulcrum of economic development” – Prof. K VijayRaghavan


New Delhi: In his address at the Inaugural Session of the Indian R&D Ecosystem Conclave, Prof. K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India stated that the conclave is aimed at two major objectives namely improvement in India’s R&D eco-system and also to address the gaps in data generation and collection in order to measure India’s innovation competitiveness.

He emphasized that the expenditure by government in R&D should be assessed for their effective utilization as well as the outcome milestones. He also mentioned that National Research Foundation to be created by the Government of India to infuse more funds into the national R&D system. A program management unit will set up by the office of the PSA in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to work on the R&D data management and to host the R&D conclave annually. He highlighted that his office is working on the national Science, Technology & Innovation policy for India and the same should be ready within few months.

Mr. Ratan P Watal, Member Secretary, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Government of India while quoting from the report on R&D Expenditure Ecosystem prepared by Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India mentioned that government and government owned public sector undertakings have been the major investors in R&D in the country in contrast to the patterns observed in the advanced economies where private sector plays the dominant role. The aforesaid report was aimed at preparing a roadmap for the transformation of India’s R&D expenditure ecosystem by creating an institutional framework, which fosters R&D spent in a coordinated, concerted and planned manner for achieving a target of GERD at 2% of GDP to the private sector playing the leading role. Indian R&D eco-system calls for higher connection, collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders for optimal expenditure coupled with improved outcomes.

Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India highlighted the need for direct funding by government to the private sector industries for risk sharing towards critical technological development.

Dr. Chitra Rajagopal, Distinguished Scientist & Director General – DRDO while addressing the conclave mentioned about the importance of defence research and how the spin-offs from defence technologies have touched the lives of common man.

Dr. Ramesh Datla, Chairman and Managing Director, ELICO Ltd. explained the contents and deliverables of the conclave.

Mr. Ravinder, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India mentioned that in order to improve the ease of doing business ranking for India, his department has taken major steps in making the patenting process more effective by taking the necessary steps in reducing the time for examination and grant of patents.

Mr. B N Satpathy, Senior Consultant, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India, Cabinet Secretariat stated that the accuracy in generation, collection and collation of data is the key factor in capturing innovation capabilities of India. The necessary steps taken by the Government of India have resulted in substantial improvement in India’s GII ranking for 81 three years ago to the current position to 52.

The objective of this conclave is twofold; to foster India’s R&D ecosystem and to improve India’s international ranking in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 by addressing data gaps. It is well established that investment in R&D is the key enabler for economic growth of any country. However, India’s spending on R&D has been much lower compared to other innovative nations such as the US, China, Israel and Korea and India clearly needs to redouble its efforts to improve the science and research ecosystem in the country by increasing the national expenditure on R&D and should be targeted to reach at least 2% of the GDP by 2022, which was a major target set in the report on R&D Expenditure Ecosystem published by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in July 2019. Accordingly, the conclave shall witness dedicated sessions focussing on key elements of India’s R&D ecosystem, data gaps in GII, strategies and best practices for R&D around the world, enhancing contract R&D in India, higher involvement of women in science & deep-tech start-ups, and nurturing STI ecosystem in the states. The winners of CII Industrial Innovation Awards 2019 would also be felicitated at the conclave.