NEW DELHI: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), country’s top biomedical research agency leading the fight against the Covid-19, reported one of the lowest budgetary expenditures on research and development (R&D) projects among 12 central government major scientific agencies, according to a data released by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
Between 2017 and 2018, 93 per cent of the R&D expenditure incurred by central government sources came from 12 major scientific agencies. The top five include the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which accounted for the maximum share of 31.6 per cent of the expenditure followed by the Department of Space (19 per cent), Indian Council for Agriculture Research (11.1 per cent), Department of Atomic Energy (10.8 per cent) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (9.5 per cent). The least ones include the ICMR (3.1 per cent), Ministry of Earth Sciences (2.3 per cent), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (0.8 per cent), Ministry of Environment and Forests (0.5 per cent), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (0.1 per cent).
What continues to remain a cause concern is that the R&D sector in India is driven by the government and low participation from the private sector.
According to an ICMR official, budgetary spending on various head is decided taking into account all activities of that institution and R&D expenditure depends on the assessment of proposals from various laboratories.
Prof Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, DST, said the report on R&D indicators is important document for the evidence-based policymaking and planning in higher education, R&D activities and support, intellectual property, and industrial competitiveness.