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At rank 48, India stands among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index 2020.

Science and Technology Development in India

    Last updated on Mar, 22 2021

Indian Science and R&D Industry Report  (Size: 1.08 MB ) (January, 2021)


India ranks third among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world. Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Department of Science and 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 for 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 for 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

In September 2020, India moved four places up to reach the 48th rank and made to the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) for the first time. India ranks in the top 15 for indicators such as ICT (Information and Communication Technology) services exports, graduates in science and engineering, government online services and R&D-intensive global companies.

India ranked 52 in Global Innovation Index (GII)-2019. It moved up to fifth rank in Global R&D Funding Forecast 2020.

The Government is extensively promoting research parks technology business incubators (TBIs) and (RPs), which would promote the innovative ideas till they become commercial ventures.

India’s gross expenditure in R&D was forecast to reach US$ 96.50 billion in 2020. By 2022, R&D expenditure is targeted to reach at least 2 per cent of the country’s GDP.

India's National Artificial Intelligence Strategy prepared by NITI Aayog outlined a way forward to harness the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in different fields. Accenture offers a framework for assessing the economic effect of AI for selected G20 countries in its latest AI research studies and forecast that AI will raise India's annual growth rate by 1.3% points by 2035.


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:

  • In December 2020, Ambassador of France, Germany and the European Union announced that they will together work out a detailed plan to fund more eco-friendly projects in Kerala in the coming years.
  • In November 2020, the Engineering Exports Promotion Council India and the National Institute of Design collaborated to promote and upgrade designs and technology for the medical devices industry, enabling it to meet the emerging needs of the country’s health sector, particularly in the aftermath of COVID-19.
  • In November 2020, Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the GRANTECAN, S.A. (GTC), Spain to develop scientific and technical collaborations in astronomy field.
  • On October 10, 2020, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and KPIT successfully ran trials of India’s first hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) prototype car running on an indigenously developed fuel cell stack at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune.
  • On October 8, 2020, the Union Minister of Education, Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank’, inaugurated the Gyan Circle Ventures, a MeitY funded Technology Business Incubator (TBI) of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Sri City (Chittoor), Andhra Pradesh, to foster innovation and entrepreneurial spirit in institutions.
  • On October 6, 2020, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) and Prasar Bharati signed a MoU to broadcast and promote new agriculture technology and innovations.
  • In October 2020, Department of Science & Technology (DST) and IBM India announced collaborations to scale two DST initiatives—Vigyan Jyoti and Engage with Science (Vigyan Prasar)—that are aimed to increase the number of women working in technology fields.
  • In October 2020, in line with Atmanirbhar Bharat to achieve complete self-reliance, C-DAC signed a MoU with National Supercomputing Mission Host Institutes to establish supercomputing infrastructure in various premier institutions across India and accelerate the pace of research and innovation using computational science techniques.
  • In October 2020, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, inaugurated RAISE 2020, a mega virtual summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI), to exchange ideas on using AI for social transformation, inclusion, and empowerment in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, education and smart mobility and others.
  • In October 2020, Ministry of MSME implemented artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) on its robust single window system, 'Champions’, to provide assistance and solutions to issues.



The Union Budget 2020-21

  • Under the Union Budget 2020-21, the Government announced the largest ever allocation of Rs 6,302 crore (US$ 901.70 million) to the Ministry of Science and Technology. It has also allocated Rs 2,787 crore (US$ 398.77 million) to the Department of Biotechnology and Rs 5,385 crore (US$ 770.50 million) to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

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 India’s pharmaceutical industry. The agriculture sector is also likely to undergo a major revamp with the government investing heavily for a 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.

India initiated a landmark policy called Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 with core vision of being decentralized, evidence informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive. The policy aims to be bring-in the concept of ‘dynamic policy’ with a robust policy governance mechanism incorporating features such as periodic review, policy evaluation, feedback, and adaptation, and a timely exit strategy for various policy instruments.

Note: Conversion rate used for December 2020 is Rs. 1 = US$ 0.01357

References - Media reports, Press Releases, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2019-20

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


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