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Bill to set up mega R&D funding agency introduced in Lok Sabha

India has only 15 researchers per 100,000 population, compared to 111 in China and 423 in the US.
alyan Ray
Last Updated : 04 August 2023, 17:50 IST
Last Updated : 04 August 2023, 17:50 IST
Last Updated : 04 August 2023, 17:50 IST
Last Updated : 04 August 2023, 17:50 IST

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The Union government on Friday introduced the Anusandhan National Research Foundation bill, 2023 that seeks to boost scientific research in higher education institutes like universities by creating a corpus of Rs 50,000 crore to fund all scientific research in India besides providing a “strategic direction” to indigenous research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The bill will pave the way to form the NRF as a common kitty with funding contributions from the government, industry, public sector enterprises, philanthropic organisations, foundations and international agencies.

A 25-member governing board chaired by the Prime Minister and a 12-member executive council comprising the Principal Scientific Advisor, nine science secretaries and secretary to the department of higher education will decide on how to disburse the money and what type of research is to be supported.

“The bill marks a new beginning for India. This legislation will place India among an elite league of nations, and establish us as a serious global player in scientific research,” Union Science Minister Jitendra Singh said.

The concept of the NRF emerged from the National Education Policy of 2019 to address widespread concerns among scholars that less than one per cent of India's 40,000 plus higher education institutions are engaged in research.

India has only 15 researchers per 100,000 population, compared to 111 in China and 423 in the US. Only 15.8 per cent of India’s research papers appear in the top 10 journals, compared with 27.6 per cent of Chinese papers and 36.2 per cent of US papers.

As per the plan, between 2023-24 and 2027-28, the NRF will disburse Rs 50,000 crore, of which Rs 14,000 crore will come from the government and the remaining 36,000 crore from other agencies. The officials also look for a 10 per cent contribution from the corporate social responsibility fund as currently such contribution is miniscule.

"NRF will forge collaborations among the industry, academia, government departments and research institutions to create an interface mechanism for participation and contribution of the industries and state governments in addition to the scientific ministries," Singh said in June when the Union Cabinet approved the bill.

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Published 04 August 2023, 08:59 IST

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