Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement that corporate houses can now fund scientific research and development in government agencies is set to give a major boost to science and technology in the country. The minister said the expansion of the scope of the two per cent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund would open a new window for large investment in research and development in the country.
“The government has also decided to expand the scope of 2 per cent CSR spending. Now CSR 2 per cent fund can be spent on incubators funded by Central or state government or any agency or public sector undertaking of Central or state government,” she said.
Corporate houses can now fund central and state universities, IITs, National Laboratories and autonomous bodies (established under the auspices of ICAR, ICMR, CSIR, DAE, DRDO, DST, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) engaged in conducting research in science, technology, engineering and medicine aimed at promoting sustainable development goals.
The government will “increasingly fund” more research, but added that there was a need for large investment for research and development in India. “Because there is need for large investment for RD we are opening up CSR window also,” she said.
Union Revenue Secretary Ajay Kumar Pandey, who was also present at the media briefing with Sitharaman, said pharma companies could now outsource their research to the National Centre for Microbial Resource or IITs.