Bill Gates Urges India to step forward in R&D

Bill Gates is now living a life of a free man who is still looking into the betterment of the industry. Ofcourse, he’s still driving most of the things at Microsoft on the undercover.

The Bill-ionaire, today, urged India to move away from the current strategy of low-cost labor towards high-end research and development to keep its giant IT sector competitive. On a visit to New Delhi, he called on the Indian government to speed up its commitment to R&D and to boost low number of home-grown PhD students.

Gates told a panel discussion that India’s “IT success story” should strive to add value and move away from low-cost labor as other developing countries play catch-up.

“At first some of that (IT boom) was built on low-cost labor. And, of course, as time goes on, you don’t want to have that as the only differentiator and it’s not a sustainable thing, because others can come along with that as well,” Gates said.

India’s R&D sector has made progress in recent years and attracted some big foreign hitters, including Microsoft, Google R&D in keeping with its IT and service-driven economic boom. But hampered by structural problems and a lack of government commitment, India’s R&D still lags behind the United States and Asian rival China. China has more than 1,100 R&D centers compared to 800 in India.

“Leading companies here are contributing a lot of ideas and techniques. Even more of that has to happen and bring it to its full potential,” Gates said. “You’ve got to get the government, universities … and companies like Microsoft to deepen their commitment to R&D.”

India produces several 100s computer science PhDs a year — a fraction of China or the U.S. — even as it exports a large number of students abroad. While English-speaking India is cheaper than China for R&D, New Delhi gives few incentives to researchers.

Currently, Indian market is more into service than into Product manufacturing. There is a focus shift of industry that is needed for India to endeavor.

Looking at the current PhDs, the number looks low. The worst thing is most of the TOP leading institute post-grads like from IIT, which is among the Top educational institues in the world,  move to US or other countries for better research prospects, due to lack of infrastructure in today’s Indian market. This is causing a major Brain-drain.

IIT is known for producing brilliant minds though with simplicity. The IIT students have proven their competency even at the graduation levels. A lot of the sponsored researches from Intel, Microsoft, Google, AMD happen within IITs, without any encouragement from government.

R&D in other fields like manufacturing, construction, machinery is still fair in number. Why not IT too ?

Beijing offers incentives like tax breaks for R&D centers, and special economic zones provide infrastructure for hi-tech and R&D industries. Indian government structure has not encouraged any such activities yet.

May be it’s the time to step forward from the great Indian Leader Manmohan Singh, the world’s most educated Prime Minister, to come-up with policies that could encourage Research and development, leading to a better future for Indian IT industry.

Video from Indian News channel:

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