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Science And Technology

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Science And Technology in India

March, 2013

Introduction

The Indian science and technology space has been instrumental to bring social and economic changes. The country has not only endeavoured to upgrade traditional skills to make them relevant and competitive, but has also been on a spur to develop advanced technologies, which has eventually played a pivotal role in transforming the nation into a modern, industrialised society. Scientific knowledge and expertise, innovation, high technology, industrial infrastructure and skilled workforce are the key factors that have driven the progress of the country to a major extent.

India is also one of the top-ranking countries in the field of basic research. Certain developments that took place on this front in the recent past have been discussed hereafter.

The Indian space technology has come a long way in terms of infrastructure as well as investments. India is the fifth largest consumer of energy globally and expected to become the world's third biggest energy consumer by 2030, leaving Japan and Russia behind. India has been ranked as the third best investment destination in renewable energy sector, next only to China and the US, as per a recent report by Ernst & Young (E&Y). Research and development (R&D) is an inseparable part of science and technology, and in this sphere also, India is fast emerging as the global R&D hub. Presence of world class institutions, a robust intellectual property (IP) regime and a rich talent pool of technical manpower available at a very competitive cost are major factors that are making India a viable destination for global researchers.

Market Size

India ranks ninth globally in the number of scientific publications and 12th in the number of patents filed. The composite annual growth rate (CAGR) of Indian publications is around 12±1 per cent and India's global share has increased from 1.8 per cent in 2001 to 3.5 per cent in 2011. By 2020, the global share of publications must double and the number of papers in the top 1 per cent journals must quadruple from the current levels.

According to the Global Science Report of the UNESCO, India's current global ranking is commensurate with its number of full-time equivalent (FTE) of R&D personnel. It is imperative that the total number of FTE of R&D personnel will increase by at least 66 per cent of the present strength within the next five years.

Investments

"We need a new wave of investment from the private sector so that young people will be encouraged to seek a career in science," according to Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India.

Some of the major investments in Indian science and technology sector are as follows:

  • Ashok Leyland has set up a technical centre in the UK to strengthen research and development (R&D) and address new markets in South America and Africa. The company has doubled its international operations revenue base over the past two years
  • Adtran Networks India Private Ltd has opened a high-technology engineering facility in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (AP). The centre would help increasing the capabilities of the company in the region, said Mr Nate Bhadriraju, Vice-President (Engineering), Adtran
  • L&T Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd (L&T IDPL) has signed a Rs 100 crore (US$ 18.41 million) memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sensen Networks for implementing a closed circuit TV-based data analytics technology
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Hyderabad-based Biological E Ltd have teamed up for early stage research and development (R&D) of a six-in-one combination pediatric vaccine against polio and other infectious diseases