The government should increase expenditure on research and development activities and create an aggressive policy environment for boosting private sector investment, Industry body FICCI said on Sunday.

It said the country’s expenditure in R&D is less than the current average expenditure of China, South Korea and most Western countries.

“The government should stick to its commitment for a steady increase in budget outlay for R&D and double the current investments over next 5—8 years...create an aggressive policy environment for boosting private sector investment in R&D,” the chamber said in a statement.

India’s private sector investment in R&D is less than 25 per cent of overall spend.

“Apart from the existing R&D offset credit policy for industry, there should be adequate tax—breaks and a fast—track patenting facility for breakthrough innovations,” it added.

FICCI also asked to introduce legislation for allowing public sector scientists to file patents, create new enterprises and share financial returns of their inventions.

“At present, there is considerable lack of industry— academia—public lab linkage in the R&D ecosystem, leading to low competitiveness,” it said.

Further, it also called for introduction of structured platforms for open collaboration between all R&D stakeholders under different science and technology (S&T) sectors.

The government should facilitate exchange programme between researchers and academia and public to create better synergy in public—private.

Suggesting a three—pronged approach to take India’s R&D efforts to a higher trajectory, it said that a strategy should be created to reorient the National S&T Policy which is output—driven, connect knowledge generation to wealth creation and problem solving and follow a venture funding model for private sector projects, particularly for SMEs.

“Such a strategy would raise India’s share in the global research output, increase private sector R&D spending and raise the country’s overall spend on scientific and technological R&D from the current level of 0.98 per cent of GDP,” it said.

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