In many ways, India is a leader among similarly developing nations, with high marks from independent analysts praising the quality of it’s management schools, the availability of new technologies and venture capital, as well as its highly competitive environment. Yet the economy for ICTs is limited by bureaucratic inefficiencies and underinvestment, particularly as it relates to fostering a robust domestic ICT sector to compete with states like China, Brazil, and the Asian Tigers.
From the small amount of information that is available as it pertains to the makeup of the ICT industry within India, it is quite clear that the country has neither historically invested heavily enough nor is it able to draw upon its existing resources in order to build ICT capacity.
As evidenced by data from the World Bank, the most recent figures as they relate to research and development expenditure as a percentage of GDP are unavailable, with the most recent data from 2007 indicating a historical trend of only .7-.75%. This is in sharp contrast to highly developed states like South Korea, which spent in 2010 roughly 3.74% of GDP on R&D, and the USA and Germany, which both in that same year spent roughly 2.8% of GDP. In an ominous continuous string of missing data, the most recent figures evaluating the number of researchers in R&D are from 2005 and show only 135 researchers per million people, compared to figures from Germany, South Korea, and China which showed 3,979 ppm, 5,481 ppm, and 863 ppm respectively. Statistical evidence pointing to India’s high technology exports in US dollars is also completely dwarfed when compared with that of Germany, South Korea, and in particular China. So what does this data indicate?
It is hard to adjudicate a lack of industry based on a lack of numbers as the only basis, given that more recent information as it relates to even much more developed economies is not available from the World Bank. However, with the data that is available, it is clear that India has not in any manner made a firm commitment by expenditure or investment in ICTs. India is noted for the vast foreign businesses that dominate their markets, yet it’s domestic manufacturing and research abilities are quite stunted. With this in mind, the NTP policy does begin to set precedent for a much more robust effort to integrate ICTs into the Indian economy of the future.