Promoting Research And Excellence: A Critical Analysis Of India’s R&D Policy Framework


With the evolution of mankind, the field of education and research has also revolutionized making education and research an essential and basic necessity of life along with food, clothing and shelter. It is imperative to note  that any economy dependent on research and education as its growth driver has shown proven ability of success and development. The present study tries to investigate the research and development scenario in India at different stages of education, the trends and current situation. The study further elaborates upon the issues and challenges India faces in the field of research and education the level of research and development with current statistics and its insufficiency to meet the demand of growing and developing nation like India, and importantly, what steps can be taken in order to promote research and development levels in India, comparing with other nations and deriving learnings and best practices for R&D from across countries. Research and development (R&D) leads to innovation and innovation in turn leads to economic growth. India’s research and development (R&D) expenditure-GDP ratio of 0.7% is very low when compared to major economies and is much below the world average of 1.8%. Given the importance of R&D for present day economies, detailed analysis and wayforward has been specifically cited which can prove beneficial for India’s R&D future.

Keywords: Research, Policy Framework, Innovation, Human Resource, Economic Development.

Literature Review

“Research is creating new knowledge”. Research and development is a model of innovation, out of box thinking, creativity undertaken with the purpose of improvement or finding solution to any issue or problem. Since the era of renaissance, which formed the cultivating ground for research and development, giving birth to the industrial revolution. The initial research and development which ignited the engine of growth and provided the importance of R&D.The role of Research and Development (R&D) as a driver of economic growth is irrefutable. Studies have shown that R&D spending can increase productivity and further raise output. The validity of this hypothesis has led to increasing R&D expenditure by almost every government across countries. Sighting the relevance, alongside India’s huge chunk of demographic dividend, it can be said that India has untapped potential of human resource, and if combined with appropriate education, research and development can bring huge economic benefit. Analyzing the issues and problems in India’s R&D domain at various stages from data collected through various ministries and state government data, the paper tries to provide possible solutions and wayforward for improving the situation and creating fruitful impact on R&D scenarios.

Research and Development: Present Scenario and Policy

  1. In India, the government undertakes 60% of R&D expenditures, unlike other nations where private enterprise is the primary driver, the country spends around 0.7% of GDP on R&D.
  2. India’s GERD as percentage of GDP remained at 0.66% and 0.64% during the years 2019–20 and 2020–21, respectively.
  3.  India’s per capita R&D expenditure has increased to current PPP$ 42.0 in 2020–21 from current PPP$ 29.2 in 2007–08.
  4. R&D expenditure and GDP, in absolute terms, have shown a consistent rising trend over the years. The annual growth rate of R&D (both at current and constant prices) remained higher than that of GDP prior to 2000–01 while fluctuating thereafter.
  5. GDP since 2009–10 to 2017–18 (both at current and constant prices) has surpassed the annual rate of growth of R&D. One of the reasons could be the revision of the GDP series with a new base year 2011–12 involving a comprehensive coverage of industrial and service sectors, thus leading to higher GDP and its growth rate. From 2017–18 onwards, the annual growth rate of GDP R&D expenditure almost remained the same.
  6. India’s GERD increased to 57.9 billion current PPP$ in 2020–21 from 50.3 billion current PPP$ in 2014–15. 
  7. The Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) in the country has been consistently increasing over the years and has more than doubled from Rs. 60,196.75 crore in 2010–11 to Rs. 127,380.96 crore in 2020–21.

Analyzing the data, with increasing GDP growth of India, the value of R&D has not been consistent, and has decreased, with India becoming a major world economy and holding the stage for fastest growing nation for many times, the reduced percentage of r&d can be cause of worry. With GDP expansion India needs to expand the base of R&D as well but on a contrary note, the expenditure on R&D has declined. 

R&D spending at constant prices has also shown a downfall in previous years, citing the decline in constant rate of expenditure in the field.

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Author: Jaismeen Kaur