India’s research productivity would be on a par with that of most G8 nations within seven to eight years and that it could probably overtake them in 2015-2020. In the last decade, India has seen its annual output of scientific publications grow from roughly 16,500 in 1998 to nearly 30,000 in 2007. Before we pat ourselves on the back, it would be good to consider things in perspective. Although India produces about 400,000 engineering graduates and about 300,000 computer science graduates every year, just about 20,000 master’s degree holders and fewer than 1,000 Ph.Ds in engineering graduate each year.
Let us look at the statistics more closely and with respect to other countries. In 1980, India, China, Taiwan and Brazil published 10606, 692, 434 and 1638 papers, respectively. In 1995, India and China published the same number of papers (around 12,000). In 2008, India, China, Taiwan and Brazil published around 30000, 130000, 28000 and 34000 papers, respectively.Thus, one can see the tremendous growth of China and other countries compared to India. See the following table,
It indicates that the India's contribution is around 2% with a growth of 4.5%. I do not see how it can reach the top eight countries in a few years. One also has to look into quality and not just the quantity. Because I have written about citations etc before, let me introduce another parameter, number of publications in top journals. Leaving aside, Nature, Science etc, let us take the top three journals in each field and look at the numbers,
Now, to the next part of the article. I do not know why he talks about the number of engineering graduates (rather than science). Anyway, the numbers are wrong. He says that there are 4 lakh engineering graduates and 3 lakhs are in computer science. The number of engineering graduates that are sanctioned are around 6.5 lakhs while that graduating is around 4.5 lakhs. The breakup was Computer Science and Information Technology accounted for 34% of the total, 39% for Electronics and Electrical Engineering, 12 % for Mechanical and 4% for Civil Engineering. Maybe he is bunching all EE/ECE/CS/IT together.
The numbers of the masters and doctoral students are correct. There are roughly 1000 engineering doctorates graduating every year, of which around 500 are from IIT/IISc. Thus, the ratio of engineering doctorates to engineering graduates is 1/450 (i..e, less than 0.25%), while Germany, UK, US maintain rates of 7 to 9%. China had a ratio of around 0.25 in 1988 and the ratio is now 3%. One can do a similar analysis for science doctorates to science graduates.
Later in the article, he talks about money spent on R&D. The numbers are incorrect for India. Maybe he should specify the sources from which the numbers are obtained. I think it is very important that when leaders speak, they should use the correct numbers and then give their opinion.