A latest report by UNESCO has observed that India’s investment in research remains unsatisfactory.
The report quoted by The Hindu, says the gross domestic expenditure on research (GERD) has been stagnant at 0.7 per cent of the GDP for years, although. India has one of the lowest GERD/GDP ratios among the BRICS nations, according to the report.
“India’s research intensity has been declining since 2014. The Science and Technology Policy of 2003 fixed the threshold of devoting 2% of GDP to research and development (R&D) by 2007. This target date was set back to 2018 in the new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (2013) then again to 2022 by the Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister. In 2020, the task force drafting the country’s new Science and Technology Policy recommended pushing back the target date to a more realistic 2030,” it noted.
On Sunday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved budgetary support of nearly Rs 499 crore for research and innovation in the defence sector for the next five years. The Defence Ministry said the funds will be used to provide financial support to nearly 300 start-ups, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and individual innovators with a larger goal of ensuring self-reliance in the defence sector.
Last August, Defence Minister Singh had announced that India will stop the import of 101 weapons and military platforms like transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, conventional submarines, cruise missiles and sonar systems by 2024. A second negative list, putting import restrictions on 108 military weapons and systems such as next-generation corvettes, airborne early warning systems, tank engines and radars, was issued this week.
In May last, the government announced increasing the FDI limit from 49 per cent to 74 per cent under the automatic route in the defence sector. India is one of the largest importers of arms globally. The government now wants to reduce dependence on imported military platforms and has decided to support domestic defence manufacturing.