Though India has made it to the top-50 in the Global Innovation Index (GII), there are many grounds it needs to work for a new dynamic and vibrant India. Examine.
GII provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 131 countries and economies around the world. GII 2020 sheds light on the state of innovation financing by investigating the evolution of financing mechanisms for entrepreneurs and other innovators, and by pointing to progress and remaining challenges—including in the context of the economic slowdown induced by the corona virus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
India is at the 48th position in the list of top 50 innovative countries. The rise in political stability, government effectiveness and ease of resolving insolvency has contributed to the improved institutions pillar.
INSPIRE scholarships, infrastructure support through FIST Scheme, incubation support, soft loans and tailored grants, goal-specific challenges such as Smart India Hackathons and sectoral schemes such as Biotechnology Ignition Grants have been beneficial in shaping the innovation landscape.
Measures for a new dynamic and vibrant India
- Policy support through schemes like KIRAN of DST has to be complemented with behavioural changes to promote female labour force participation and equitable sharing of household care services. Unleashing this “gender dividend” can help nurture innovations for women-centric issues.
- As per DST, gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) as a percentage of GDP was 0.7% in FY19—low even if one accounts for India’s income levels. To boost it to the targeted 2% by 2022 (recommended by PMEAC), both public and especially private sector expenditure on R&D need to rise.
- An atmanirbhar Bharat needs local firms to innovate for domestic as well as global challenges.
- Covid has opened up areas in innovation in health, pharma, ICT and processes such as remote working, staggered work shifts, court proceedings and passenger management.
- Entrepreneurship can both be a source and outcome of innovation, flowering through programmes such as Start-up India, Skill India, and Mudra.
- India has outperformed its comparable income peers in innovation, but there remains enormous scope given the young talent, a culture of ingenuity and the sheer diversity of development challenges. Private participation in R&D, academia-industry collaboration, and enhanced public education systems are building blocks of innovations.
To improve India’s GII ranking further the challenges and loopholes in the innovation have to be given priority.