Govt committed to double spending on R&D



New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the government is committed to doubling the overall spending on research and development (R&D) to at least 2 percent of the GDP by end of the 12th Five-Year Plan and felt the need of greater participation from the private sector.

Addressing the Golden Jubliee Convocation of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Singh said: "Our government is committed to raising R&D spending as a whole to at least 2 percent of the GDP by the end of the 12th Plan (2012-17) from the current level of about one percent".

The government would have to ensure that a significant proportion of increased R&D spending is directed to the farm sector, he added.

At current prices, the country's gross domestic produce (GDP) stands at about Rs 90,00,000 crore.

Singh said that the public sector needs to take lead in research activities, but emphasised on greater private sector investment in the agriculture sector, particularly in R&D.

"Indeed, it is unlikely that the goal of 2 percent of GDP in research can be achieved unless a significant part of this is financed by the private sector," he observed.

The Prime Minister said that there is need to promote "structured public private partnership" to foster better synergy among institutions and disciplines.

Singh stressed that research funding should be based on clearly defined research goals linked to achieving higher productivity in field.

He noted that the mode of research funding need to expand from just institutions to include individual researchers and research groups.

Singh further emphasised the need to make the entire R&D chain more gender sensitive and give priority to technological options that reduce the drudgery of women working on the farm.

Besides, he asked that agricultural research system needs to look inward to see whether it is keeping pace with global developments.

PTI