Policy Background

The information presented is based on the EUTRAIN Country Reports (Project European Transport Research Area International Cooperation Activities (EUTRAIN, 2012) funded by the European Commission in FP7).

The top-level formulation, planning, coordination and advice on long-term research policy in Science and Technology is carried out by:

  • Planning Commission
  • Ministry of Science and Technology including the Department of Science and Technology
  • Principal Scientific Advisor, the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

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. The current (11th) Five Year Plan gives high importance to this sector, almost doubling its budget and embarking on major expansion.
  • 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. This includes various Indian business enterprises and Transnational National Corporations (about 200 of the Fortune 500 companies) that have set-up R&D centres and units in India.
  • 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.

Institutional framework of transport research

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. A Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister also issued a vision document to make India a global leader in science in the coming decade. To take forward the goal of the decade of Innovation, 14 national innovation universities will be established in India.

India’s network of roads, railways and ports is one of the largest in the world, and the huge increase in demand requires more investment in the transport sector. Over the last 50 years, the network and the demand for transport services has grown enormous. The volume of railway freight has increased fivefold, the length of surfaced roads has multiplied nine-fold, and freight tonnage handled by the nation’s expanding system of major and minor ports has grown more than 16-fold.

A larger proportion of resources have been invested in improvements to transport infrastructure, as shown in the following examples:

  • In 1998, the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways embarked on a project (National Highways Development Project) to upgrade, rehabilitate and widen major highways in India to a higher standard. The project is managed by the National Highways Authority of India. The main focus is to upgrade the National Highway System and to connect five mega-cities in an expressway system.
  • Under the 11th Five Year Plan of India (2007–2012), Ministry of Railways is constructing a new dedicated freight corridor (DFC) covering about 2,762 km long two routes - the Eastern Corridor and the Western Corridor. The DFC programme will enable the country to create one of the largest freight operations in the world. The DFC will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 2.25 times over a 30-year period.

Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding:

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

There are currently no known ongoing programmes.