Industry must disclose R&D investment, says policy paper

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) The union government is planning to make it mandatory for the private sector to disclose expenditure on research and development, according to a policy paper released Friday.

The White Paper on 'Stimulation of Private Sector's investment into Research & Development', by a joint committee of industry and government, was released by Science and Technology Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.

It calls for achieving 50:50 partnership of the industry and government in research and development (R&D) from the current 25:75.

"India has laid high emphasis on attracting investment of private sector into R&D to match public investments, that is one percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), each by government and industry by 2017," said Reddy.

The policy paper lists out six recommendations for creating a policy environment which could stimulate higher investments by private sector into R&D.

Currently companies are not mandated to disclose expenditure incurred on R&D in their balance sheets and annual reports.

"Some voluntary disclosures provide access to information but it does not enable a realistic estimation of investment of private sector into R&D," said the paper.

"The government may mandate disclosure of R&D investment in public domain as an obligation. This would help in proper quantification of investment of private sector in R&D," it said.

While public investments meet nearly global benchmarks of 0.7 percent of GDP in India, private sector engagements into R&D are significantly lower than those in developed and other emerging economies.

The joint committee also recommends an incentive system for stimulating individual inventors, public funded institutions and private sector for commercialization on R&D outputs.

The committee calls for allocating budget for building technology depth in six priority sectors - transportation, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, minerals and materials, heavy industries and next generation manufacturing technologies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently said that attracting private investment in R&D remains a challenge.

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