India to Double Science Investments by 2017

10 January 2013

India announced earlier this month a new science, technology and innovation policy aimed at propelling the country into the top five nations in terms of scientific output by the close of the current decade.

The government unveiled a science-led innovation policy that will see a 100% rise in science investments over the next five years. India currently invests some $12 billion in science and technology a year, a third of it from industry, which accounts for 1% of its GDP. The new policy calls for raising those investments to 2% of GDP by 2017.

However, the policy does not specify concrete actions to achieve this goal. India will seek to boost the pool of scientists, encourage scientific research in its universities, develop young leaders in the field of science and reward outcomes, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at the annual Indian Science Congress.

India's new ambitious plan is "a step in the right direction", according to Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, former head of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Delhi. India has been slow in science-led innovation. Its only science Nobel laureate, C. V. Raman, discovered the Raman effect, but the country failed to commercialize the invention and it was the West that developed Raman spectrometers. So, it's high time that India made this stride toward becoming a leader in the field of science, Mashelkar commented.

According to C. N. R. Rao, a chemist at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore and adviser to the Prime Minister, the country needs an action plan to turn the call for science-led innovation into reality.