Fourteen years ago on May 11, as India tested three nuclear devices at Pokhran, the world closed its doors on the country with economic sanctions. The day, now called Technology Day to mark the anniversary of the tests, will see the government launching a company, under a public-private partnership between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Department of Science and Technology, to attract the world’s leading technologies and promote innovation in the country.
The joint venture will be called the Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (Gita). It will have an equity of 51 per cent by CII, while the Technology Development Board of the Department of Science and Technology will have 49 per cent. The project has been running on a pilot-basis since 2007-08.
Under the scheme, future government funds allocated for R&D and technology will be assigned to Gita to manage the use of the money. To promote R&D, Gita will disburse funds to industry in the form of loans, equity or grants. It will provide a global networking platform for government, industry and academia,
“The idea behind Gita is that if there is a global innovation and it can be applied to India, then that innovation needs to be routed to India. As of now, we do not have any way of doing it,” said T Ramasami, secretary, Department of Science and Technology.
To attract global R&D, Gita will take the burden of 25 per cent of the R&D if an Indian and a foreign company decide to collaborate to develop a marketable technology. The rest of the money would be shared equally between the two companies and the foreign government.
“India’s emergence as technology leader will largely depend on Indian industry’s investment in research and development. The government, in the 12th five-year Plan, has set an ambitious target of increasing its own expenditure up to one per cent of GDP. At the same time, it has planned to take stimulating measures to increase the private sector’s investment up to one per cent of GDP. This is going to be a tall task, and huge efforts from the government and the private sector is needed,” said Vikram Kirloskar, chairman, Gita.
While the Indian government’s spending on R&D remains low compared to other developed countries, investments by the industry in R&D are even lower. India spends around one per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on R&D.
While the industrially-developed countries like Israel spends four per cent; Japan, three per cent; US, two per cent and China 1.5 per cent. In other countries, the industry spending on R&D is higher than what the government does. However, in India the industry is spending two-three times lower than that of the government.