The number of Indian research scholars going abroad has been the lowest in the past three academic years. In 2018-19, over 6.20 lakh PhD holders opted to go abroad, which is a sharp decline of nearly two lakh from 2017-18 when the figures stood at 8.06 lakh researchers. In 2016-17, 6.84 lakh research scholars went abroad, as per the data revealed by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in a written reply while answering a question in Parliament.
The number of scholars opting to go to the United States of America has reduced to half as compared to the previous years. In 2018-19, as many as 2.09 lakh opted to go to US against 4.37 lakh students in 2017-18 and 4.23 lakh a year before. On the other hand, the number of students opting to go to Canada and Australia has increased.
Despite the downward trend, the US remained the top choice of Indian researchers, followed by Canada and Australia.
The HRD data also revealed that the number of Indian researchers pursuing PhDs in Central Universities is much lower. Only 15,941 students out of the 1.69 candidates who opted to study PhD programmes across the nation have been enrolled in the central varsities.
In terms of the number of researchers, India is far behind its counterparts. While India has 15 researchers per lakh of the population, the number is much lower than in China, US with 111 and 423 researchers per lakh. The number is much higher in the smaller nation, Israel which is among the forerunners in terms of researchers with 825 per lakh population, as per the data revealed by HRD in National Education Policy.