Viewpoint: Innovation and Economic Growth

21 SEP,2020 | MEDC


With India being ranked 48th in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII 2020), there is reason for celebration. This is the first time that India has entered the top 50 club, thanks to some dramatic improvements in innovation parameters across different socioeconomic sectors. India also ranks amongst those nations making the most significant progress in their GII ranking over the past five years. By steadily increasing its R&D investments and inculcating a scientific temper across the length and breadth of the country, India has the potential to achieve a much higher GII ranking.Innovation is an essential component of economic growth that benefits consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole. It can be thought of as the development and application of ideas and technologies that improve the efficiency of the production and distribution of goods and services in the economy. An effective innovation system depends critically on a good education system, and one hopes that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 goes a long way in that regard. It is obvious that Covid-19 has exacerbated the need for quick decision making, rapid socioeconomic development, and the broad implementation of technology. All this can be facilitated with an innovative mind-set and a progressive education system. In this regard, there are obviously ethical concerns for the levels of safety, trust and discrimination that automation and artificial intelligence can produce if not adequately regulated, but that cannot be an excuse for not maximizing technological deployment.The harsh reality of India’s disparate socioeconomic landscape means that data access is not available to the same extent for the entire population. Even if India has the lowest cost of data in the world, it means little if it does not benefit those at the bottom of the pyramid. With data becoming the new oil, factors such as lower costs of smartphones and internet connections in the rural areas and for the socioeconomically disadvantaged sections need to be seriously considered if we are to move towards a more egalitarian system. This calls for an innovative way of looking at a familiar landscape, and it will go a long way in promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth.Human security is fundamental to policymaking, and it can be facilitated through an innovative approach to old ideas. India is facing many difficult issues in key sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, environment and rural supply chains, which can be best resolved through an out-of-the-box approach to policymaking. What India now needs probably more than anything else is an efficient governance system, which will allow for maximum adaptability and sustainability. All this hinges critically on an innovative approach to policymaking, and it directly affects the bottom-line … economic growth.

*Photo Credit: Google


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