India lags behind China in spending on research and development work as well as number of scientific researchers, science and technology minister Kapil Sibal informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Replying during Question Hour, he said the number of core researchers in India was about 1.5 lakh as compared to China's 8-10 lakh.
Number of persons doing research and development in Scandivan countries is 7,000 per million of population and 4,700 per million of population in the US. In India, there are 156 researchers per million of population. “This is a very big issue,” he said. R&D spending as percentage of GDP in India is only 0.8% as compared to China's 1.23%. Developed countries have R&D expenditure of up to 3% of GDP.
Of the 0.8% expenditure in India, 80% is by public sector while the private sector share is only 20%. In China and the US, the public sector share is only 30% each while in Japan it is only 18%.
Private sector component in R&D will have to increase, he said adding the government had given a slew of tax incentives on R&D spend in sectors like pharma and electronics.
Sibal said to increase number of researchers in the country, university system will have to be strengthened by expanding and upgrading infrastructure as presently R&D quality in university is negligible.
The 11th Plan allocations for scientific departments including departments of science and technology and atomic energy, has been increased three folds to Rs 75,304 crore during the 11th Plan (2007-2012) as compared to Rs 25,301.35 crore of 10th Plan Period, he said.
“The expenditure on research and development (R&D) as percentage of GDP in India is lower compared to that of a few developing countries like Brazil and China, but is higher compared to countries like Argentina, Cuba, Sri Lanka and Pakistan,” Sibal said.