Global Innovation Index: India plans to take steps to break into the top 25

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 17, 2019

A file photo of PSA VijayRaghavan

The Union government would be taking a series of measures to help India to break into the top 25 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) from the current 52nd position, Principal Scientific Adviser K VijayRaghavan said on Tuesday.

“This would require directing concerted efforts in fostering innovation by the government, industry, academia and research community. The joint efforts shall help harness the innate creative potential of the country in order to sustain competitiveness, strengthen R&D, and thereby foster economic growth," VijayRaghavan said while speaking at first R&D Ecosystem Enclave in New Delhi.

Improved ranking

The PSA admitted that India’s R&D spend in percentage of GDP has been stagnant over the last two decades, and that was much lower compared to other innovative nations such as the US, China, Israel and Korea. “It needs to increase. This increase should come from the industry,” he said.

He said that India has been improving its ranking in the GII — which ranks economies on the basis of their innovation performance. India climbed 29 positions during the last five years and has gone from 81 in 2015 to 52 this year. “This makes it amongst the few countries to have consistently improved ranking for nine consecutive years,” he said.

To maintain the momentum and to ensure that India emerges as one of the world’s most innovative economies, it is essential to have an accurate and up-to-date data collection and analytics mechanism. Towards this, he said, his office would soon take three key measures.

Apart from having a new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy that captures key GII indicators that are relevant for Indian R&D ecosystem and target for them, it would set up a project monitoring unit in collaboration with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and Confederation of Indian Industry.

Besides, the R&D conclave — which was jointly organised by the PSA’s office and CII — would be made an annual feature where the progress achieved can reviwed, VijayRaghavan said.

Improving coordination

Ratan P Watal, Member Secretary, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, in his address through video conferencing, said an examination of the roles played by different stakeholders reveals that there was an apparent lack of coordination amongst different wings of the Government in incurring R&D expenditure, private sector and universities are secondary players.

“There is immense data variation within the official data sources. This makes it difficult to plan R&D spend in the most efficient and optimal manner. There is a need to connect, collaborate and coordinate institutionally,” Watal said.

According to him, the global R&D expenditure has been rising over the last decade. In 2017, it was estimated to be $ 1.7 trillion in PPP terms. United States, China and Japan were the leading countries in R&D, while India’s share was around 2.8 per cent.

Published on December 17, 2019

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