Mumbai: The Indian government and industry will absorb at least 10,000 PhDs every year and prevent brain drain in an effort to boost research and development (R&D) investments in the country, Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar said Monday.
“The government firmly believes that if India’s quest for global leadership has to be achieved, we need to give clear focus to the areas of science, technology and innovation. For a country of India’s size, capabilities and resources, the money invested in R&D by the private sector needs to be increased exponentially,” he said.
Ashwani Kumar was speaking at a special interactive session on “How to Increase Industry Investment in R&D’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, as part of the World Economic Forum’s “India Economic Summit”.
“Energy, food and health security is the nation’s priority. To achieve this, we have identified a few thrust areas for investment and research such as bio-tech, nano science, material sciences, genomics, bio-tech, vaccine research among others,” he said.
He assured to give the necessary political lead to initiatives discussed with the industry in a meeting with CEO’s Monday and take the necessary steps for the government to partner with the industry.
“That is the PM’s directive as well, to give science and technology the thrust it requires to take the nation forward,” Ashwani Kumar said.
Besides absorbing 10,000 PhDs, Kumar said that the private sector and government are working together to absorb foreign scientists of Indian origin who want to return to India.
“We are creating an ecosystem so that scientists returning to India will not be in want of an industry job,” he added.
Urging the need to create “absorptive capacity to inspire young minds to take up science and technology”, the minister said that the government expected the private sector to quadruple its investment in research and development.
On its part, the government would spend 1.5-2.0 percent of the GDP in R&D, he assured.
The minister announced that a committee headed jointly by an industry leader and a government officer would be set up to prepare a white paper on where the country stands today in terms of research and development.
“This will help the government and private sector to finalize a plan of action together,” he noted.
Science and Technology Secretary T. Ramasami said that the need is not to look at the past and present, but also to see what will happen in the next five years.
“The investment plan of the private sector has to be in sync with government policies and where there is a lack, the government should push for policy readjustment so that there is no hindrance in the knowledge transfer from mind to market space,” he said.