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India should increase R&D push in quantum technologies: Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI

  • Need for R&D investments to explore tier 2-3 cities; large talent pool available
  • India should have its own ‘National Innovation Index’ for the states: Ratan P Watal, Chairman, Central Vista Oversight Committee

NEW DELHI, : Prof Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to Govt of India yesterday emphasized on the need to include more R&D in newer technologies especially quantum technologies. “Today, India is at the beginning of the quantum revolution. This area needs enormous R&D push, and it has tremendous business value including areas like quantum communication, quantum computing, etc. All these areas of quantum frontiers have a lot of opportunities.

Addressing the national seminar on ‘FDI in R&D- Making India R&D Hub’, organized by FICCI, jointly with the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India, Prof Sood while highlighting on the investment opportunities in R&D said that we have a lot of opportunities not only in big cities but small cities and towns as well. “Tier-2 and 3 areas have a lot of talent apart from tier-1 cities. There are a number of institutes with huge human capacity available and FDI in R&D should not be looked only in the mega cities but go beyond tier-1 cities by investors,” he added.

Prof Sood also asserted on the need for the youth to get involved in this process. “This is a young technology and there is a need for the young force to rise to the occasion and quantum technologies will impact our lives in coming future,” he added.

Prof Sood said, “R&D is the investment in our future and India is a very important global partner. All players have to work together to ensure R&D happens in these advanced areas. India needs to put enormous effort in this sector and FDI in R&D is absolutely necessary,” he added.

Prof Sood also stated that sustainability has to be at the center of the entire effort of R&D and it’s productization as we go along. “This calls for innovative and much needed shift in our policies. Technology has to catch-up to deliver sustainable solutions in clean energy, clean environment, water crisis etc. and all these challenges require huge R&D,” he noted.

Prof Sood further stated that FDI in India is increasing but the absolute numbers are still not that high. “We need to ensure the absolute number also increase and this can be achieved through collaborative approach and partnership which is the key. Partnership between countries, academia, industry and Start-ups, etc.,” he said.

Mr Ratan P Watal, Chairman, Central Vista Oversight Committee while speaking at the valedictory session said that it is imperative to focus on three key areas to make India a hub for R&D which include measuring R&D; having a National Innovation Index while we look at global indices and a robust Science & Technology Policy. “There is a huge opportunity which awaits us especially in the changing geo-political environment in the world, we need to have a National Innovation Index for the states in India. We should also focus on having a robust Science & Technology Policy,” he added.

Dr Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to Govt of India said that with the global challenges facing us today, it is imperative that we dwell on how to increase our investments in R&D. “R&D and innovation plays a pivotal role in the growth dynamics of a country,” she added.

Dr Maini stated that many multi-nationals are establishing globally advanced centres in India showing that there is no shortage of talent in the country. “India continues to be one of the most preferred destinations in IT and ITeS, engineering, R&D, service delivery, etc.,” she added.

She further stated that in India, majority of R&D expenditure is public funded. The R&D investment within the country and FDI should go hand-in-hand in the development of a knowledge-based economy. “It is a continuous endeavor of the government to attract and promote R&D intensive FDI in order to supplement the domestic capital, technology and skills for accelerating economic growth and development,” added Dr Maini.

Ms Manmeet K Nanda, Joint Secretary, DPIIT said that that India is one of the most attractive FDI destinations in the world and FDI in India has grown consistently. The government has a very investor friendly FDI policy under which 100 per cent FDI is permitted in almost many sectors and the government continues to liberalize its investment restrictions, eliminate regulatory barriers, nurture international relations and easing the business working environment. “FDI up to 100 per cent is permitted under automatic route in cases of sectors and activities not listed in our consolidated FDI policy circular. FDI in R&D up to 100 per cent is permissible under the automatic route. The FDI policy seeks to promote R&D activity in various ways,” she added.

Mr Kaspar Meyer, Head of Science and Technology Section, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in India said that R&D means to place trust and confidence in the future and in India, we see a lot of confidence in good future. “At a time when resources can become more and more scarce, the only way can be resourcefulness rather than having resources and resourcefulness can come from scientist, researchers and community,” he added.

Speaking on the India-Germany relations, Mr Meyer stated that we have to deepen the presence of India as an attractive place to invest FDI in Germany. “India is working to improve the Ease of Doing Business which is a good indicator for Germany and in future our partnership with India will become much stronger,” he asserted.

Mr Sanjiv Mehta, President, FICCI said that the scale India can provide for new technology can make technology affordable to the entire world. “To become an economic powerhouse, India can no longer compete just on quality and service but must be a world leader in technology-led, commercially successful innovations. The share of R&D in total FDI needs to increase substantially,” he added.

Mr BN Satpathy, PSA, Fellow, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India said that we need to have more FDI in R&D not only to meet the shortfall in the domestic R&D industry but also to create capacity for further R&D.