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India’s Innovation and Technology Growth

Why is it in the news?

  • Currently, India is the world’s fifth-largest economy and aims to reach the third-largest economy soon.
  • However, it lags behind in innovation, science, and technology benchmarks.
  • Insufficient contribution from Indian academia and industry to national R&D.
  • Manufacturing hindered by constraints in land, labor, and capital, as well as trade policies.

Government Initiatives

  • The government has initiated reforms to promote innovation, including the Make in India and Invent in India initiatives.
  • The establishment of the National Research Foundation (NRF) is expected to play a crucial role in driving R&D across industries.
Suggestions
  • Three critical parameters for overhauling scientific institutions are proposed:
    • Prioritize merit and quality of human capital for staffing and administration, focusing on retaining premier talent and attracting talent from abroad.
    • Integrate teaching and research by fostering collaborations between government labs, universities, and science parks.
    • Implement a barbell strategy for research funding, supporting high-impact projects through collaboration between government agencies and industry.
  • Encourage moon-shot research by providing government funding while incentivizing entrepreneurial scientists to seek supplemental funding from industry.
  • Promote industry-government partnerships for blue sky research, drawing from successful global examples.
  • Recognize the importance of retaining talent, prioritizing merit in staffing, and incentivizing industry participation.
  • Address the cultural and software aspects of Indian science, emphasizing system design that fosters collegiality, eliminates hierarchical mindsets, eradicates cartelization, and encourages controlled risk-taking.
  • Emphasize the quality and motivations of individuals in the science field as essential for long-term outperformance.
  • Recognize the need for a shakeup in the existing system to align with India’s economic progress and national security.
Make in India
  • Make in India, the flagship program of the Government of India aspires to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, build best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure, protect the intellectual property, Make India digital, create healthy relationships with various countries, and provide employment opportunities.
  • “Make in India” had three stated objectives:
  • To increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum;
  • To create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022;
  • To ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (later revised to 2025).

National Research Foundation (NRF) NRF

  • NRF is a proposed entity that will replace the Science and Engineering Research Board of India (SERB) and catalyze and channel interdisciplinary research for accelerating India’s ambitious development agenda, through impactful knowledge creation and translation.
  • NRF is one of the key recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.

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