A grand strategy for development that looks decades ahead, not just years, requires a rethink in many areas of development policy. One such area is technology development. India’s research & development (R&D) spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is way below that of major economies — 0.67 per cent in 2018-19 as against over 2 per cent in China and the European Union, over 3 per cent in the US and Japan and a whopping 4.5 per cent in South Korea. Moreover, while this percentage has stagnated in India, it has risen steadily in the other major economies. The discrepancy may be less striking if one looks at the numbers employed in R & D because of the lower salaries in India. But in terms of outcomes, the relative spending numbers are not misleading.
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