Economics Science & Tech

India now in top 50 on global innovation list

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In News:

  • India climbed four spots on the Global Innovation Index 2020 and is now at 48th position in the list of innovative countries.

About: Global Innovation Index (GII)

  • The Global Innovation Index (GII) is co-published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD Business School.
  • Launched in 2007, the index, presents the latest global innovation trends and annual innovation ranking of various economies.
  • The aim of GII is to provide data on innovation and assist policymakers to evaluate their innovation performance and to make informed innovation policy decisions.
  • GII 2020 includes 131 countries/economies, which represent 93.5% of the world’s population and 97.4% of the world’s GDP.

Evaluation Framework:

  • GII is computed by taking an average of the scores in two sub-indices:
    • The Innovation Input Index
    • Innovation Output Index
  • The Innovation Input Sub-Index considers elements of the national economy that enable innovative activities. It includes five pillars:
    • Institutions
    • Human capital and research
    • Infrastructure
    • Market sophistication
    • Business sophistication
  • The Innovation Output Sub-Index provides information about outputs that are the result of the innovative activities of economies. There are two output pillars:
    • Knowledge and technology outputs
    • Creative outputs.

Global findings of GII 2020

  • The top-performing economies in GII, 2020, are still from the high-income group. Switzerland continues to be the most innovative nation in the world, followed by Sweden, US, UK and Netherlands.
  • From Asia, Korea became the second country to move into the top 10, pushing Israel down by one rank to the 11th position. Singapore maintained its 8th rank.
  • China at the 14th position is the only middle-income country in the GII top 30. Malaysia is the second-most innovative middle-income economy with a ranking of 33.
  • The data shows a gradual eastward shift (geographically) in innovation, as a group of Asian economies — notably China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam — have improved considerably in the innovation ranking over the years.
  • The US continues to have the largest number of Science & Technology clusters (25), followed by China (17), Germany (10) and Japan (5). Tokyo-Yokohama, continues to remain the top-performing cluster in the world.

Findings from India

  • India has moved ahead by four positions from the last year and is ranked at the 48th position. This is the first time India has moved in the list of top 50 innovative countries.
  • With this, India has also become the third most innovative lower middle-income economy in the world.
  • Further, three clusters — Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai — feature in the top 100 science & technology hotspots.
  • India ranked in the top 15 in indicators such as ICT services exports, government online services, graduates in science and engineering and research & development intensive global companies.
  • Based on its level of development, India has consistently outperformed in innovation for 10 years in a row.
  • The consistent improvement in rankings is due to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant start-up ecosystem, and the work done by the public and private research organizations.

Efforts in India to promote innovation

  • The National Innovation Council, which promotes innovation in micro, small and medium enterprises, is working in various ways, particularly through the India Inclusive Innovation Fund, to support activities around innovation.
  • NITI Aayog is also actively working in monitoring and evaluating India’s position in global innovation rankings.
  • The India Innovation Index, which was released last year by the NITI Aayog, is helping in the decentralization of innovation across all the states of India.
  • To promote innovation and its culture in India, the government has formulated the New Education Policy 2020, which will create a mindset of innovation in students from a very young age.

Impact of Covid-19 on innovation

  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on innovation is uncertain and highly dependent on recovery scenarios and the business and innovation practices and policies, already in place.
  • Historically, pandemics have been followed by sustained (extended) periods of low investment. Investment rates are already low and are expected to drop sharply in 2020 and 2021.
  • There are genuine risks to international openness and collaboration on innovation. However, the joint search for medical solutions during the pandemic has demonstrated how powerful cooperation can be.
  • The speed and effectiveness of this collaboration shows that internationally coordinated R&D missions can effectively address important societal issues—now and in the future.


  • Countries should formulate innovation policies and ensure that innovation is integrated as a key priority in the country’s path of national development and progress.
  • The innovation policy targets or actions should be quantifiable (expressed as a quantity), and should be regularly evaluated.
  • Cross-ministerial task forces should be set-up to pursue innovation policy with a “whole of government approach”, and should ideally report to top government leadership.
  • The task force should consult innovation stakeholders from the private and public sector, including start-ups, deans of research universities, and the relevant innovation clusters.

About: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

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