India has moved up five positions to become the 52nd most innovative country, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) that was launched on Wednesday.
India’s rank has risen by 29 places since 2015, when it was at the 81st spot. The country’s rank stood at 57 in 2018. The index tracks innovation both in government policies and industry practices, and a concerted policy push by the Prime Minister’s Office in promoting innovation in the digital economy and ease of doing business has helped India, a person in the know said.
GII is developed jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations. The index was launched for the first time in a developing economy — in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry.
The ranking of 126 economies was based on 80 indicators, from intellectual property filing rates to mobile-application creation, education spending and scientific and technical publications, which are compiled under seven pillars. The 12th edition of the GII provides long-term tools to assist countries in tailoring public policies to promote long-term output growth, improved productivity, and job growth through innovation, according to WIPO.
The government had pushed for a bigger jump in 2019 with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), making innovation a key objective in policy. While it launched its own innovation index ranking states and established a task force on innovation, schemes promoting Ease of Doing Business and Startup India have also stressed on fast innovation as a key goal.
“I'm happy that we have reached the 52nd rank, a couple of ranks lower than what we were aiming for. But we will continue our efforts to reach upwards of top-50 ranks in the GII that PM Narendra Modi set a goal of, and we want to assure that India is poised to focus on research and development,” Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said.
WIPO has also commended India on improving the policy environment to boost innovation by reducing the time taken to examine and award intellectual property right instruments. DPIIT Secretary Ramesh Abhishek has said pendency in patent applications stuck with the government has been cut in half after the DPIIT instituted a deadline of 18 months. Similarly, the pendency in examination of trademarks has come down from 13 months to a single month, Abhishek added.
“We have taken 16,000 patents to 85,000 in barely four years without any significant manpower improvement. I am confident that we will do over 100,000 patents every year starting next year,” Goyal said.
India has continued to be ranked the most innovative country in the Central and Southern Asia Region since 2011. It also came in at fourth position among all lower middle-income economies.
Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, said the number of annual graduates, quality of universities and publications have helped India’s rank. Consistently outperforming on innovation, relative to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, it also ranks as the second middle-income economy worldwide on the quality of its innovation in scientific publications, universities and patent families. However, only three universities from the country found mention in the top-10 academic institutions in the middle income nations, that too at the bottom.
But despite pressures on information and communication technology, exports due to tightening regulations by the United States, services exports in the sector have helped India’s score.
The growth in patent publications in the health space has also shot up in India. It had the third highest growth in the number of biotechnology-related patents published, and the second highest growth in the number of medical technology-related patents.
According to experts, the GII rank, along with the ease of doing business in a country, is watched carefully by global investors to deduce the level of growth potential in major sectors.
India also stands out in the GII ranking of the world’s top science and technology clusters, with Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi featuring among global top-100 clusters.