A NITI Aayog panel on Innovation headed by Prof Tarun Khanna on 27 October 2015 submitted its report recommending that the private sector should help fund research and development, including in research labs at universities and startups.
Recommendations of the committee
• It recommended improved tax benefits for investments equivalent to a percentage of corporate profits in research labs in universities and startups.
• It recommended that all contracts with foreign defence companies above 5 billion US dollars should include a clause for five percent of contract value to be directed to establish research-centric universities with strong emphasis on its core product areas.
• It suggested a Make in Universities program which would involve setting up 500 tinkering labs, where aspiring entrepreneurs can experiment to create products that address local problems, with one 3D printer per institute.
• For these labs, the panel recommends utilisation of half of the 1000 crore rupees fund that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had set aside for the Self Employed and Talent Utilization (SETU) scheme.
• It also recommends Grand Prizes approach to find ultra-low-cost solutions to India’ s most intractable problems, on the lines of what is followed in some developed countries.
• It recommends that the AIM budget of 150 crore rupees be used entirely to award up to 12 grand prizes annually. Each challenge should carry a prize of between 10 crore and 30 crore rupees.
• The panel also pitched for an increase in investment in business incubators with up to 200 crore rupees public spending per year and roping in the private sector for the purpose.
• Another key recommendation of the panel is establishing a fund-of-funds (FOF) by the Union Government to seed other early stage venture funds with a corpus of 5000 crore rupees.
The NITI Aayog panel on Innovation was constituted following the budget speech of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, where he allocated 150 crore rupees for Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). The committee was asked to suggest ways to promote innovation and build an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem to drive job growth.
However, the trends showcase contrariness to the recommendations of the committee specially in United States where Google's success and Apple Inc's story is supported by the government investments.
Google’s origins can be traced to research projects that were funded by the US National Science Foundation and a large part of Apple’s success can be credited to the US government’s small-business administration program that provides investment assistance to startups.
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