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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Why India lacks Interest in Research?

Vandana Subramanian
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Vandana Subramanian
With Israel spending 4.53 percent, Sweden 3.73 percent, Finland 3.45 percent, Japan 3.39 percent, and South Korea 3.23 percent respectively of their GDP on research; India spends just 0.9 percent of its GDP on research and ranks 34th. The statistics express the state of the country, the degree of competition and the passion to progress. Research has made its presence felt in each and every field; from businesses to services, and from the private to public sector. Studies have shown that firms with a persistent research strategy outperform those with an irregular or no research investment programme. So why does India lack an interest in spending on research?

For a country, research is not just a profit generator, but a long-term investment, which will bring revenues for the country in years to come. For a product-based company, research helps create new products, while for a services-based company; it helps to generate more knowledge, which gives it an edge over others.

In a letter written by National Knowledge Commission (NKC) Chief Sam Pitroda to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India's dismal position in the global research map is highlighted. Pitroda also highlights that there is an uneven quality of PhDs across institutions, to a point where PhDs can be purchased. If such people join the pool of researchers, what will the standard of research in India be, and what about the quality of the products and services? In Germany, five published papers in peer-reviewed journals, out of which a minimum of three should pass the standards test, are sufficient to acquire a PhD. This not only encourages people to pursue their doctorates, but also add to the talent pool, refining the country's standing in the field of research.

In other countries, researchers are paid huge sum and they spend years altogether on research. These researchers are encouraged by their government to carry forward the research for the betterment of the country that they prefer to stick on to research rather than working elsewhere. But in India, since the research scenario is not upto the mark, people who have received their doctorates work as associates, or as lecturers, and gradually tend to move on to other fields, which pay them well. In IITs, considered one of the premier institutes, the average salary for B.Tech graduates has reached record levels, as compared to their PhD fellows, most of who ended up joining research labs or signed up for teaching positions.

The average ratio of average starting salary of graduates to masters and doctorates for MIT, U.S. and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, U.S. shows that the average master's salary is 22 to 26 percent higher than the bachelor's students and the doctorate student's salary is 45 to 58 percent higher than other students.

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