BANGALORE, India -- There is a recent report that says India has been ranked as the 66th most innovative nation among 142 economies, having dropped two places from last year's position on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2013.
The index, which ranks 142 countries across the world on their innovation capacity and efficiency, was published by Cornell University, INSEAD, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a knowledge partner.
Switzerland topped the list, followed by Sweden, United Kingdom (up from 5th in 2012 and 10th in 2011), Netherlands (up from 6th in 2012), and the US (up from 12th in 2012).
The study used 84 indicators, including the quality of top universities, availability of microfinance, and venture capital deals. Further, it said that several of the emerging economies have demonstrated rising levels of innovation compared with their peers.
However, India ranked first in the Central and South Asian region followed by Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka, and it stood 11th in overall innovation efficiency ratio. The report further said that a group of middle- and low-income countries, including China and India, are outpacing their peers, but haven't broken into the top of the GII 2013.
Why the low ranking?
Back to India now: India's low ranking in parameters such as political stability (rank 123), ease of starting business (rank 128), school life expectancy (rank 109), pupil-teacher ratio (rank 108), and knowledge absorption (rank 122) were instrumental in its downward journey, the report stated.
And somewhere along the line, India, though trying to be nearer to its "innovation destination," just keeps slip slidin' away.
At the beginning of this year, the Indian government announced its new Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2013 (STI 2013), at the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress. What was different in this year's policy was the inclusion of innovation as a key component.
You can say it took a long time for India to look at innovation, but at least it has finally done so.
No doubt, India is one of the largest economies in the world, and some of the brightest researchers in the world are from India. Seven Nobel Laureates, five of those in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have Indian roots. In 2008, India had a successful moon launch, Chandrayaan -- which, until then, had been achieved by only six other nations.
On one hand, there are only a handful of companies (which many of the EETimes readers would not have heard of) that are global leaders. Like, say, Bharat Forge (the second largest forging company after ThyssenKrupp of Germany); Marico (the world's largest packaged coconut oil brand); Essel Propack (world's leading manufacturer of laminated tubes, with a 32 percent market share); Hindalco (world's leading producer of aluminum rolled products); and of course you have the likes of TCS, Infosys, and Wipro in the IT space. Several of them have been impacted by the lingering recession worldwide, but nevertheless, they are leaders in their own fields.