India broke for the first time into the top-50 club on the Global Innovation Index (GII), riding on improvements in many parameters, particularly in market sophistication and knowledge and technology outputs.

According to the GII 2020 report, released jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Wednesday, India not only bettered its ranking by four positions since last year to garner the 48th position but also found its place among top three most innovative countries in the lower middle-income economy band.

India ranked in the top 15 in indicators such as ICT services exports, government online services, graduates in science and engineering and research & development intensive global companies. Similarly, learning institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, IIT Delhi and Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and India’s high scientific publication output helped improve its position.


Bengaluru in S&T cluster

For the first time, an Indian city, Bengaluru, figured in the top 100 science and technology clusters globally. The US continues to have the largest number of S&T clusters (25), followed by China (17), Germany (10) and Japan (5). Tokyo-Yokohama yet again remained the top-performing cluster in the world.

The top-performing economies in the GII are still from the high-income group. Switzerland continues to be the most innovative nation in the world, followed by Sweden and the US. From Asia, Korea became the second country to break into the top 10, pushing Israel down by one rank to the 11th position. Singapore maintained its 8th rank.

China is the only exception, ranking 14th for the second time in a row and remaining the only middle-income economy in the GII top 30. Malaysia is the second-most innovative middle-income economy with a ranking of 33. “India (48th) and the Philippines (50th) made it to the top 50 for the first time,” the report said.

“This year’s GII report provides valuable insight into country innovation models and each country’s position on various innovation indicators. The GII has been instrumental in shaping India’s policies and designing an actionable agenda for innovation excellence,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, CII Director-General.

Global cooperation

The report, however, had a word of caution for those countries which are vocal against global cooperation. “At this juncture, when we face an increase of unilateralism and nationalism, it is important to remember that most economies that have moved up the ranks in the GII over time have strongly benefited from their integration in global value chains and innovation networks. China, Vietnam, India, and the Philippines are prime examples,” the GII report said.