Global Innovation Index: India set to break into top 50 elite club

India is set to break into the club of the 50 most innovative nations once the Global Innovation Index (GII) is launched on Wednesday, according to sources.

The index tracks innovation both in government policies and industry practices, and a concerted push by the Prime Minister’s Office in promoting innovation in the digital economy, start-ups, and ease of doing business has helped India, a person in the know said. 

Government officials refused to disclose India's exact rank.

It is being launched in New Delhi — for the first time in an emerging economy — in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry to acknowledge India’s efforts in this, he added.

The GII is developed jointly by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations. 

Ranking 126 economies based on 80 indicators, and compiled under seven pillars, the GII provides long-term tools that assist countries in tailoring public policies to promote long-term output growth, productivity, and job growth through innovation, according to the WIPO.

The index had seen India's rank rising by 24 places since 2015 to 57 in 2018. But the government 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 to rank states and established a task force on innovation, the national intellectual rights property rights policy has also been noted by the GII, sources said.

Also, the schemes promoting the ease of doing business and Startup India have stressed innovation as a key goal. 

“Our aim is to reach the top 10 in all the global indices,” Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, DPIIT, said on Tuesday.

The WIPO has commended India on improving the policy environment to boost innovation by reducing the time taken to examine and award intellectual property rights. 

Abhishek said the time a patent application stayed with the government had been halved, after the DPIIT created a deadline of 18 months.

“Our five-year programme aims to cut it to six months,” he said.

“The number of annual graduates, the quality of universities and publications, exports in information and communications technology and economy wide investments, and exports of creative goods have helped India,” Francis Gurry, director general, WIPO, said on Tuesday.

According to experts, global investors watch the GII rank, along with the ease of doing business, to reckon on growth potential in major sectors of a country.

India has been ranked the most innovative country in the Central and South Asian region every year since 2011 and has consistently outperformed on innovation relative to its GDP per capita. 

It also ranks the second middle-income economy worldwide on the quality of its innovation in scientific publications, universities, and patent families. 

India 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.