Weekly Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the week from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

RSTV – THE BIG PICTURE ANALYSIS : Innovation Index

Covers GS paper3

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development.

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Introduction

  • India improved its ranking in Global Innovation Index, 2019 by five notches to 52nd position in a survey of innovative capacity among 129 countries by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). 
  • India also outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita for nine consecutive years, only matched by three other countries. (Vietnam, Republic of Moldova, and Kenya).
  • While Switzerland continued to top the ranking, Israel (10) was the only new entrant in the top 10 ranking, China further improved its ranking to 17th position from 20th last year.
  • India has improved its innovation ranking from 29 spots in last five years from 81th position in 2014 to 52th position in 2019. 
  • In comparison, India’s rank in World Bank’s Doing Business survey has improved 65 spots to 77th position in 2018. 

What is the background?

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  • India improved its ranking in four out of seven pillars of GII, such as knowledge and technology outputs (up 11 spots to 32nd), market sophistication (up 3 spots to 33rd), human capital and research (up 3 spots to 53rd), institutions (up 3 spots to 77th). 
  • By contrast, in business sophistication (65th), infrastructure (79th), creative outputs (78th), it lost one, two and three spots respectively. 
  • In the “knowledge and technology outputs” pillar, which saw the highest 11 spot jump, India’s ranking improved for IP-related variables, notably patents by origin (52nd) and PCT patents by origin under Patent Cooperation Treaty (51st), and IP receipts (50th). 
  • In this pillar, India maintained its top position in ICT (information and communications technology) services exports, where it ranks 1st in the world, and in labor productivity growth with 4th position.  

What are the highlights?

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  • India ranks 2nd among the middle-income economies, with top positions in quality of universities and in quality of scientific publications. 
  • Indian Institute of Technology situated in Bombay, Bengaluru and Delhi occupied the 8th, 9th and 10th rank respectively among the top 10 universities in the middle income countries. 
  • In “Human capital and research” pillar, two important variables have improved for India: Gross expenditure on R&D (50th) and expenditure by global R&D companies (15th) which is a relative strength for the country.
  • Among the sub-pillars, where India lost relative strength to other countries, the largest drops are found in logistics performance (down 9 spots to 43rd), Females employed with advanced degrees (down 10 spots to 103rd) and Printing and other media (down 12 spots to 88th).
  • “While India improved in the GII ranking, some relative weaknesses still persist. 
  • These include Environmental performance (125th), New businesses (100th), and Entertainment and media market 60th),” the report said. 

Conclusion

  • Improvement in innovation index is great, but India must do more. India needs to boost its innovation ecosystem by intertwining among various stakeholders like the government, industry, academia and society to transform India as an attractive innovation destination. 
  • Although the STEM talent pool in India is large, a large section of this pool may not be of high-quality. 
  • Moreover, the GER at the tertiary education level in India is a low 26% meaning, a vast reserve of potential research talent is lost.
  • Thus, while India is within touching distance of breaking into the top-50 innovator countries in the world, it is still quite far from a China, which filed, for instance, 53,345 patent applications with the WIPO in 2018 versus India’s 2,013. 
  • India is an odd juxtaposition of stellar successes like the Chandrayaan and digital payments and a large number of unemployable engineering graduates and institutes that have virtually no autonomy.