What is NITI Aayog’s Innovation Index?

To foster innovation and entrepreneurship in schools, colleges, and the society at large, NITI Aayog established the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in 2016. But what was lacking was an atmosphere of competitiveness among states. So, in 2019 the country’s first innovation index was rolled out – to help States and Union Territories promote environmentally and socially sustainable economic development through innovation-induced policy interventions. The India Innovation Index ranks States and Union Territories on various parameters related to innovation.

Which are the States that have topped the ranking for 2021 and which are the States lagging behind?

Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana are the top three performers among 17 major states while Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Bihar are at the bottom in 2021 Index. While Telangana and Haryana has replaced Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu at second and third positions, respectively, Bihar has improved its rank from 17 in 2020 to 15 in 2021. But Chhattisgarh has slipped to 17 th position from 16 th and Odisha to 16 th from 14 th rank. In the separate category for 10 north-eastern and hilly states, Meghalaya has been ranked at number three in 2021 from 10 th in 2020. Manipur (at 3 in 2020) relegated Himachal Pradesh to fifth position by reaching the number one position while Uttarakhand retained its second rank in 2021. Nagaland, Assam and Tripura are at the bottom of the index at 10 th, 9 th and 8 th position, respectively.

What parameters does the index look at to arrive at the ranking?

There are seven pillars in the index— five ‘Enabler’ pillars (human capital, investment, knowledge workers, business environment and safety & legal environment) to measure the inputs and 2 ‘Performance’ pillars (knowledge output and knowledge diffusion) for the output. In 2021, indicators have been raised to 66 from 36 in 2020.

How have the States performed across various parameters?

Haryana ranked at top in enabler pillar, but is at 8 th position when it comes to performance. Similarly, Punjab is at number 3 in enabler and at number 7 in performer list. Uttar Pradesh at 7 th position in overall ranking, but at number 11 position, even below Chhattisgarh, in enabler pillar and at fifth position in performer pillar. Chhattisgarh has been ranked at last position in performance pillar with very low score. Tamil Nadu is at 3 rd position in performer pillar, but at 6th position in enabler. Kerala (at 8 th) and Andhra Pradesh (at 9 th) score low in performer pillar and slipped in the overall ranking losing their 2020 position of 5th and 7th, respectively.

Is this index similar to the Global Innovation Index (GII) that World Intellectual property Organisation puts out every year?

The former CEO of Niti Aayog, Amitabh Kant says, the 2021 edition of the Index has matched the GII framework to bring out a more comprehensive and nuanced index to measure the innovation performance. Overall, the current edition has adopted the GII framework. Still, Niti Aayog believes that the coming editions of the index need to be expanded by adding 19 more indicators across all sub-pillars, especially knowledge absorption, to make it at par with GII.

How has India fared in the GII in recent years?

From the 81 position in 2015 (out of 141 countries), India reached the 46th rank in 2021 (out of 132 countries), also 1st among the Central and South Asian nations and 2 nd among the lower-middle-income countries. The current growth trajectory of India indicates further improvement, but the competition would get tighter. India has to perform well in gross expenditure on R&D (GERD), a key parameter in GII. India’s GERD is one of the lowest in the world, with just $ 43 per capita. There is a need to boost this expenditure to be on a par with its BRICS or ASEAN counterparts like Russia ($285), Brazil ($173), and Malaysia ($293).

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