The scientific enterprise in India has grown dramatically in the past few decades, with research emerging as a viable and important career option for students of science. The country thus has a large population of young scientists in the early stages of establishing their independent research careers. While this demographic is arguably the most important group that will determine the future of scientific research in India, their status and concerns are poorly understood. The Indian National Young Academy of Sciences conducted a national survey to better understand and present the challenges faced by them. Through a structured questionnaire, we sought the views of researchers below 45 years of age. Here, we summarize the responses from 854 participants across multiple early career stages. We highlight key challenges faced by these scientists in establishing an independent research career, and suggest steps to address them.