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Expenses of Science, Health, Environment Departments of Interest, 2014-2019

Expenses of Science, Health, Environment Departments of Interest, 2014-2019

Photo: Reuters.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the 2021-2022 budget today from 11 am in Parliament. The following is intended as a reference for certain ministries and departments of interest broadly under science, health, environment, education and space.

According to a May 2020 report of the India’s National S&T Management Information System (NSTMIS):

* The national investment in R&D was Rs 1.13 lakh crore in 2017-2018, and was expected to be Rs 1.23 lakh crore in 2018-2019.

In 2018-2019, the Government of India spent 0.7% of its GDP on R&D activities. Scientists around India have been demanding, including during the ‘Marches for Science’, that India increase this figure to 1% of GDP.

The private sector’s contribution has increased from 32.1% in 2010-2011 to 36.8% in 2017-2018.

* Upon further analysis, NSTMIS estimated 23.9% of the expenses was spent on basic research, 36.9% on applied research, 32.4% on experiments and 6.8% on allied activities.

* The Defence R&D Organisation consumed 31.6% of the total allocated R&D expenditure in 2017-2018.

* State governments spent Rs 7,264.81 on R&D in 2018-2018, with fully 88% being accounted for by agriculture and allied areas.

* India’s per capita R&D expense has increased from $29.2 in 2007-2008 to $47.2 in 2017-2018.

The R&D manpower increased from 2.83 lakh in 2015 to 3.48 lakh in 2018. Around 16% of them are women.

* India’s publishing output (of scientific and technical papers) is higher than those by all BRICS countries except China.

Indian scientists filed 15,550 patents with Indian Patent Office in 2017-2018; 65% were from Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu alone.

Note: In 2016, then Council for Scientific and Industrial Research director-general Girish Sahni scolded members of the council’s 38 laboratories for filing useless patents. In a letter, he wrote, “patents are just filed for the sake of filing without any techno-commercial and legal evaluation” and countries where patents are being filed is “ad hoc without any logic”. Sahni added: “Individual scientists are using them for getting promotions and labs are playing number game. Once the patent is granted, neither the scientist nor the lab bothers about it. There is no serious attempt to find licensee and a review to periodically look at the portfolio does not exist.”

In 2018-2019, India had 993 universities or deemed universities, 127 institutes of ‘national importance’ and 39,931 colleges.

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