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Policy background

The (draft) Fifth Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) is India’s current outlook on research and development strategy. It was intended to be released at the end of 2020 but has been delayed as the government addressed the Covid pandemic. The core vision of STIP 2020 is the decentralization of policy designing by making it a bottom-up and inclusive process. It aims to realign priorities, sectoral focus and methods of research and technology development with the goals of larger socio-economic progress.

To achieve these goals, India sets out to increase investment into R&D through both the public and private sector, promote excellence and relevance in R&D, and identify high impact sectors for STI intervention. The Annual Report evaluates how the objectives are being achieved for that year and the measures that must be taken to improve.

Overarching objectives concerning transport research are set out in national transport policies. Details on how these objectives are achieved and transport research projects and priorities are established in state transport policy documents.

Institutional framework of transport research

The top-level formulation, planning, coordination and advice on long-term research policy in Science and Technology is carried out by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research within the Ministry of Science and Technology. It is supported by the Planning Commission and the Science Advisory Council.

National transport policy is created, implemented and managed by government ministries:

They outline the national plans and ensure that it is correctly implemented at the state level.

The research system of India has four levels:

  • Research system under government and public enterprises - This is the main and largest segment of the research system structured under central ministries and state-level ministries. Under the central ministries, there are seven departments, with science agencies or councils.
  • Academic research system and universities - There are over 400 universities and 18,000 affiliated colleges including specialised Institutes of Technology, Institutes of Management, and Institutes of Information Technology financed by the government and private enterprises. While the universities are administered under the University Grants Commission, the specialised institutes are administered by the All Indian Council for Technical Education. 
  • Private research laboratories under business enterprises - In the last decade, private research laboratories have become an important part of the research system and now accounts for almost 30% of the national R&D expenditure. 
  • Non-government research institutions supported by public and private sources - This sector represents civil society. Over the last few years, the sector has undertaken substantial policy-oriented research on science and technology issues. The sector has also influenced policy decision making in the country, and is involved in issues, such as environment, ecology, energy, rural development, women and gender, grassroots innovations and small technologies including cottage and micro-enterprises.

The National Innovation Council was set up by the Indian Government in 2010 to develop a vision and a road map for promoting innovation in industry, society, and the economy. This was in parallel to the declaration of the President of India that made 2010–2020, the decade of innovation. The National Innovation Council was tasked with setting up State Innovation Councils to drive the innovation agenda in each state and Sectoral Innovation Councils to drive R&D in all major sectors.

The funding for transport research is provided through the Department of Science and Technology and the transport-related Ministries. Each Ministry decides on a research agenda and identifies areas of high priority. Funding for research groups is provided on a competitive basis.

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives - Current ongoing national programmes:

  • Building Industrial R&D and Common Research Facilities (BIRD-crf)
  • Industrial R&D Promotion Programme
  • The National Urban Renewal Mission (NURM) that inter-alia seeks to bring about comprehensive improvements in urban infrastructure, committing substantial funds for this purpose and requiring a series of reforms that would make the investments sustainable. NURM has provided a timely platform for providing significant financial support from the Central Government for investments in urban transport infrastructure

A scheme already exists under which the Central Government provides partial financial support for traffic and transport studies in cities. The majority of funding programmes are held at the state level, where funding is provided in research areas of high priority. The areas of high priority are established by individual states. 


(Last updated: 01/09/2023)