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India: New policy directions for science, technology and innovation

On 3 January, the Indian Government announced its new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013. This new policy document follows in the footsteps of previous policies in the areas of science and technology laid out in 1958 and in 1983, and the more recent science and technology policy of 2003. The new document now issued brings innovation into the forefront and its inter-relation with science and technology. In fact, the document states that “India has, hitherto, not accorded due importance to innovation as an instrument of policy (…) the government has stressed the need to enunciate a policy to synergize science, technology and innovation.”

The synthesis of science, technology and innovation is viewed as essential to tackle major challenges in the Indian society, such as energy and the environment, food and nutrition, affordable health care, development of skills and unemployment.

The new policy identifies 12 key elements, including:
  • Increasing the attractiveness of careers in science, research and innovation;
  • Establishing world-class infrastructure for research and development (R&D);
  • Position India among the top five global scientific powers by 2020;
  • Develop a more favourable environment for private sector participation and investment in R&D;
  • Foster the conversion of R&D outputs into societal and commercial applications, by establishing new public private partnerships.

The new policy also states that India’s investment in R&D should increase from 1% of GDP, as it is currently the case, to 2% of GDP in the next five years, namely with the support of investment from the private sector. The global share of Indian publications, 3.5% in 2011, should double and the number of papers in the top 1% journals, which sits at 2.5% nowadays, should quadruple by 2020. The new policy also outlines the need to modify the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy and to co-share IPRs generated under public-private partnerships.

All in all, the new policy aims to facilitate and develop a more efficient structure to “accelerate the pace of discovery and delivery of science-led solutions for faster, sustainable and inclusive growth” of the Indian society.

Government of India