Q. What is Indian Innovation Index?

Indian Innovation Index is developed and published by NITI Aayog along with the Institute for Competitiveness. This index was first released in 2019. India Innovation Index 2020 builds on the previous year’s methodology by introducing additional metrics and providing a holistic outlook of the Indian innovation ecosystem. The index captures the trends and provides detailed analyses of the various factors that drive innovation at the country, state, and district levels.

The index is inspired from The Global innovation Index published since 2007 by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organisations, based on data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunications Union, The World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

Q. What is Innovation?

Innovation is the design, development, and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage. Thus Research and Development (R&D) is a critical driver of Innovation.

Q. What are the Parameters of the Global Innovation Index and where does India rank globally?

Parameters of Global Innovation Index
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Its 80 indicators cover diverse areas like innovation, political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication.

This index ranks the countries according to their expenditure on Research & Development (R&D), Human Capital Development and which nation will be on the path to prosperity riding on the power of innovation.

India’s Performance on Global Innovation Index

As evident from above, India Ranks 48 out of 131 countries in 2020 and has shown significant improvement since 2015.

Q. What was the need for an Indian Innovation Index?

The index was adopted by the Indian government for promoting competition between the similar states that will ultimately act as a catalyst to the domestic innovation ecosystem. Such analyses would enable policymakers in identifying catalysts and inhibitors of innovation at the national and regional level.

The Index captures the ranking of various States & UTs in terms of innovation which directly affects the position of India in the Global Innovation Index. The national Index will help in quantifying, benchmarking, and improving the R&D at the state and national level. As the quality and quantity of innovation increases, it will increase the living standard of the people thus helping us achieve the long term goals of our nation.

Q. What criteria are used for comparing the states?

The framework of the India Innovation Index 2020 consists of 36 indicators. 25 indicators are clubbed under 5 Enabler Pillars and 11 indicators under 2 Performance Pillars as follows:

5 Enabler Pillars of the framework of the India Innovation Index 2020
5 Enabler Pillars of the framework of the India Innovation Index 2020
2 Performance Pillars of the framework of the India Innovation Index 2020
2 Performance Pillars of the framework of the India Innovation Index 2020

Q. What are the rankings of different States and Union Territories in Indian Innovation Index 2020?

Since States and Union Territories can’t be compared with each other due to vast differences in population, GDP of state, infrastructure development, geographical terrain, etc., so they have been categorised as:
Major States: States having large land area, high population, higher budget allotment, etc. They are 17 in number.
North-East and Hill States: States having large mountain terrain. They are 10 in number.
City-States and Union Territories: All Union Territories including Goa. They are 9 in number.

Rankings of Major Indian States in Indian Innovation Index 2020
Rankings of Major Indian States in Indian Innovation Index 2020
Rankings of Indian North East and Hill States in Indian Innovation Index 2020
Rankings of Indian North East and Hill States in Indian Innovation Index 2020
Rankings of Indian Union Territory and City States in Indian Innovation Index 2020
Rankings of Indian Union Territory and City States in Indian Innovation Index 2020

Q. What is the current scenario of R&D in India?

R&D is the core part of innovation that leads to a prosperous nation, ease of living, sustainable growth and consumer satisfaction.

  • India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018 from Rs. 39,437 crore in 2007- 08 to Rs. 1,13,825 crore in 2017-18.
  • Women participation in extramural R&D projects has increased significantly to 24% in 2016-17 from 13% in 2000-01 due to various initiatives undertaken by the Government in the Science and Technology sector.
  • During 2017-18 a total of 47,854 patents were filed in India. Out of which, 15,550 (32%) patents were filed by Indian residents
  • Patent applications filed in India are dominated by disciplines like Mechanical, Chemical, Computer/Electronics, and Communication.
  • Top sectors that attract R&D investments are: Healthcare, Automotive, Software and IT, Semi-conductor
  • India has been ranked as the top innovation destination in Asia and second in the world for new innovation centres, accounting for 27 per cent of Asia’s new innovation centres.

Q. What are the key challenges of the R&D sector?

  • India spent 0.7% of its GDP on R&D in 2017-18, while the same figure among other BRICS countries was Brazil 1.3%, Russian Federation 1.1%, China 2.1% and South Africa 0.8%. Nations like Japan, Israel, South Korea spend 2-5% of their GDP on R&D.
  • The engineering and R&D market in India are estimated to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 per cent to reach $42 billion by 2020. However, India’s share is only 2.7 per cent of the global R&D spend.
  • R&D takes a much longer period to materialise and justify the money invested in it. Hence it gets difficult to allot a significantly higher budget to R&D activities considering other national priorities like social and infrastructure development.
  • Universities play a very important role in R&D but shockingly not even 1 Indian university is in the top 300 universities of the world. At the same time, the private sector plays a very important role in innovation but as per Forbes reports, there are only 26 Indian companies in the list of the top 2,500 global R&D spenders compared to 301 Chinese companies. This means the infrastructure for innovation is lacking in India at the ground level.

Way Forward
With the breakneck speeds at which technology is evolving and frontier technologies are getting within reach, it becomes imperative to have a strong foundation of domestic R&D and innovation. The countries and companies that will house the innovation hubs of 5G, AI, 3D Printing, Quantum Computing, Stem Cell Research, Nanotechnology, etc. are bound to have an upper hand at the global stage. Despite significant human capital and technical prowess, Indian students prefer to study and settle abroad, thus resulting in Brain Drain. A significant reason for that is the lack of favourable growth opportunities in the domestic innovation ecosystem. It is when Researchers, Academia, Government and Industry align and synergise that we can expect more passionate students opting for research as a career choice. And things have been moving in the right direction with the emergence of startups, incubators, knowledge hubs, etc in India over the past 2 decades. But still ample ground remains to be covered to make India a true leader in the global innovation ecosystem.


Researched and written by Shyam Agrawal and Subhav Duggal, Team ulaunch


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