India to formulate new science and technology policy

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Jan 5 2010, 01:24am hrs
India is planning to develop a suitable science, technology and innovation policy framework to encourage innovations.

At the end of the current 11th plan, India might need a strategy to assess and measure the economic impact pf R&D and technology-led GDP growth and prepare a roadmap for adequate investments into the science, technology and innovation during the 12th plan period.

Gross investments into research and development form an important indicator of global competitiveness, said the said the minister for science and technology and earth sciences, Prithviraj Chavan while delivering his keynote address to the 97th Indian Science Congress here on Sunday.

He informed that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh has committed to increase the national outlay for research and development to 2% of GDP from the current level of about 1%. This would result in an increase in R&D expenditure by at least 20 to 25% annually he said and added that the scientific institutions in the country should increase their ability to absorb the additional resources.

He, however, admitted that in the global assessment of innovation index, Indian position was not good enough and therefore there was a need to develop a suitable science, technology and innovation policy framework. The Science and Technology Policy was enunciated way back in 2003.

The gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) has emerged as one of the important parameters for assessing the technology and innovation status of countries. During the last quarter of the 20th century, global investments into R&D scaled new heights reaching more than a trillion dollars. Share of technology-led growth in GDP increased to as much as 25 to 50% in several countries.

As in the wake global financial crisis, many developed countries GERD has marked a decline, Chavan said that India would now enjoy significant advantage of high return per dollar invested into R&D. India has already announced a Decade of Innovations.

Quoting Scopus data base, he said that India would emerge as the 9th important country in scientific publications by 2010 ahead of Spain.

Scientific departments have embarked upon plans to pool their resources and work towards a target of increasing the combined annual PhD output in science, engineering, technology, medicine, agriculture and veterinary sciences to 10,000 within the next four years. Already 12 new research institutions have been set up and seven types of new fellowship schemes have been formulated.

Relative ranking of India as source of IPR in terms of patents filed and granted in the US has improved from 25 in 2000 to 19 in 2006. Currently the ratio of patents filed and granted in India to foreign nationals as compared to Indian nationals is about 2:1. This is an indication of India emerging as a market for products manufactured through IPR protected technologies in competitive global economy, Chavan said.

The General President of 97th Indian Science Congress, Dr G Madhavan Nair said with available scientific manpower which is the third largest in the world the Indian science and technology is bound to assume a significant role in rearing the status of the country to that of a developed nation by 2020. To this end the 97th session of the Indian Science Congress is going to play a significant role.

The 97th Indian Science Congress begun with the theme Science and Technology : Challenges of the 21st Century National Perspective. About 7000 delegates are participating in the Congress.