`India`s path to developed nation status hinges on strengthening workforce, R&D`

India`s aspiration to achieve developed nation status by 2047 hinges on a substantial boost in its skilled workforce and increased investment in research and development (R&D), particularly in science and technology, according to Abhay Karandikar, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology. Addressing the shortage of trained manpower in the R&D sector is a critical challenge, requiring significant enhancement, Karandikar emphasized.

“The size and scale of our country necessitate a large number of quality R&D professionals to propel the science and technology landscape,” he stated during an interview at the PANIIT 2024 meeting near Washington DC. Highlighting another crucial aspect for achieving developed nation status, Karandikar stressed the need for a considerable increase in R&D investment as a percentage of India`s GDP, which has lagged behind the global average.

India has initiated the establishment of the Annusandhan National Research Foundation, a transformative step involving a substantial increase in government resources. However, to match or exceed the global average in R&D spending as a percentage of GDP, private sector contributions are vital, Karandikar explained. He urged increased collaboration between industry and academia, coupled with heightened R&D spending by the private sector, as essential measures to overcome existing resource challenges.

Karandikar aligned these efforts with Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s vision of making India a developed nation by 2047, asserting that achieving global leadership in science and technology is paramount. Recognizing the post-Covid-19 surge in innovation in India, particularly in vaccine development and MedTech devices, he emphasized the need to sustain this momentum.

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Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an example, Karandikar highlighted India`s unique opportunities due to its vast population and linguistic diversity. He underscored the potential for India to generate unparalleled datasets crucial for AI success and the development of innovative foundation models for various Indian languages. These factors, he believes, will drive AI innovations in the country, influencing its trajectory in the coming years.

The PANIIT 2024 event, held from January 12 to January 14, provided a platform for discussions on India`s technological advancements and future strategies. (With inputs from PTI)

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