Indian researchers spent $17 million in 2020 on Article Processing Charges (APCs) for open-access publishing. A study reveals that India's expenditure on APCs surpassed the global total, with health and medical sciences researchers paying the highest fees. The lack of a dedicated funding system for open access and a nationwide mandate poses challenges. The study suggests the formulation of national-level open-access policies for equitable scholarly communication. Private publishers, including MDPI, Springer–Nature, Elsevier, and Frontier Media, received 81% of APCs.