India’s R&D expenditure is one of the lowest in the world: NITI Aayog

India’s gross expenditure on research and development (R&D) is one of the lowest in the world, with just $43 per capita, according to NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index 2021.

This shows that India needs to boost this expenditure and at least be on a par with its BRICS or ASEAN counterparts like Russia ($285), Brazil ($173), and Malaysia ($293), the government think tank says.

India’s gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) as a percentage of GDP has been consistent and hovered around 0.7% for about a decade. This is even lower than Brazil (1.16%), South Africa (0.83%) and others. Only Mexico (0.31%) had a lower share of GERD as a percentage of GDP.

With such low contribution, R&D performance remains stagnant, NITI Aayog points out. Despite a low expenditure on R&D, India has published more research papers than even countries like Russia, Brazil, and South Korea, among others.

In India, the government spends the most on R&D (more than 55%). “This needs to change. India needs to find that inflexion point after which the private sector can take over,” says NITI Aayog.

Meanwhile, Karnataka has emerged as the best among major states of the country in the third edition of NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index. Manipur has emerged as the best performer on the index among north-eastern and hilly states, whereas Chandigarh is the top performer among union territories and city states followed by Delhi.