Trade Analytics
Science and R&D
India ranks 8th in the world in terms of number of students graduating in science and engineering stream.

Science and Technology Development in India

Latest update: July, 2019



Last Updated: July, 2019

Indian Science and R&D Industry Report  (Size: 1.46 MB ) (July, 2019)


India ranks third among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world. Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Department of Science & Technology, has reiterated that technology is a strong priority area for the government and it aims to make people science-centric. Modern India has had a strong focus on science and technology, realising that it is a key element of economic growth. India is among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research, positioned as one of the top five nations in the field of space exploration. The country has regularly undertaken space missions, including missions to the moon and the famed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

India is likely to take a leading role in launching satellites for the SAARC nations, generating revenue by offering its space facilities for use to other countries.

Market size

India ranks 6th position for scientific publications and ranks at 10th for patents which included only resident applications. The total number of patent applications filed by scientists and inventors in India increased to 61,788 in FY19 (up to Dec 18) from 47,857 in FY18. India ranks 13th position at the Nature Index in 2017, based on counts of high-quality research outputs in natural sciences.

India improved its rank on the Global Innovation Index for the second year consecutively. From being ranked at the 81st position in 2015, India improved its ranking to 66th in 2016 and further to 60th in 2017.

The Government of India is extensively promoting research parks technology business incubators (TBIs) and (RPs) which would promote the innovative ideas till they become commercial ventures. India is world’s third largest technology startup hub with incorporation of 1,000 new companies in 2017.

The engineering R&D and product development market in India is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 20.55 per cent to reach US$ 45 billion by 2020 from US$ 28 billion in FY18


With support from the government, considerable investment and development has incurred in different sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, space research, and nuclear power through scientific research. For instance, India is gradually becoming self-reliant in nuclear technology.

Recent developments

Some of the recent developments in the field of science and technology in India are as follows:

  • As per the Government records, the number of Indian scientists coming back to India to pursue research opportunities has increased from 243 in 2007-2012 to 649 between 2012 and 2017 . In the span of 5 years 649 Indian scientists have returned to pursue research opportunities.
  • India's space business to witness tremendous growth in the next five years, on the back of technology advancement, global space business opportunity and a sharp rise in Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) satellite launch capability.

Investment Scenario

  • GridRaster Inc, working in the virtual and augmented reality space, has raised US$ 2 million as seed funding, which will be used for marketing and product development.
  • India’s R&D investments forecasted to increase to US$ 94.06 billion in 2019 from an estimated US$ 86.24 billion in 2018.

Government Initiatives

  • In February 2018, the Union Cabinet has approved implementation of 'Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF)' scheme, which will promote the mission of development through innovation, at a total cost of Rs 1,650 crore (US$ 245.94 million) for a period of seven years beginning 2018-19.
  • In February 2018, Union Government of India announced grant of Rs 1,000 crore (US$ 155.55 million) for the second phase of Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT), a fund created by Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
  • The Government of India granted Atal Innovation Mission with US$ 24.84 million will boost the academicians, entrepreneurs and researchers to work towards innovation.
  • In July 2018, Atal Innovation Mission along with MyGov launched “Innovate India Platform” with the aim of providing a common point for all the innovation happening across India.

The Union Budget 2019-20

  • The allocation to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been increased by 4.03 per cent to Rs 5,321.01 crore (US$ 737.49 million) as against the previous budget.
  • Under the Union Budget 2019-20, the Government of India announced the largest ever allocation of Rs 12,796 crore (US$ 1.77 billion) to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • The Department of Atomic Energy has been allocated Rs 16,725.51 crore (US$ 2.32 billion), an increase of 19.71 per cent against the previous budget.
  •  The Ministry of Earth Sciences was allocated Rs 1,901.76 crore (US$ 263.58 million), which is an increase of 5.65 per cent as against the previous budget.


Following are the achievements of the government in the past four years:

  • The first national state-of-the-art cGMP facility for production of herbal preparations was established in CSIR-IIIM. It has production capacity of 30,000 tablets and capsules per hour and 500 litres of liquid per batch.
  • DBT launched the DBT-BUILDER (Boost to University Interdisciplinary Departments of Life Sciences for Education and Research) scheme to boost advanced education and promotion of interdisciplinary research and technology development.
  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) launched 30 skill/training programmes in the areas of: leather processing; paints and coatings; electroplating and metal finishing; industrial maintenance engineering; bioinformatics; mechatronics; glass beaded jewellery, etc.
  • The fellowships/schemes awarded/sanctioned during last 4 years (2014-15 to 2017-18) include:
    • CSIR Junior Research Fellowship (JRF)and National Eligibility Test (NET): 10,687
    • Senior Research Fellowship (SRF)-Direct: 1,792
    • Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship (SPMF): 158
    • CSIR JRF-GATE (for Engineering & Pharmaceutical Sciences): 116
    • CSIR Research Associateships (RA) to pursue postdoctoral research: 525
    • CSIR Senior Research Associateships (SRA): 324
    • CSIR Nehru Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme: 41

The Road Ahead

India is aggressively working towards establishing itself as a leader in industrialisation and technological development. Significant developments in the nuclear energy sector are likely as India looks to expand its nuclear capacity. Moreover, nanotechnology is expected to transform the Indian pharmaceutical industry. The agriculture sector is also likely to undergo a major revamp, with the government investing heavily for the technology-driven Green Revolution. Government of India, through the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy-2013, among other things, aspires to position India among the world’s top five scientific powers. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch its first Indian human mission by 2022.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.0159 in FY19.

References – Media reports, Press Releases, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2016-17

Notes - * - rank as of FY18

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.


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