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Innovation: Some distance to go

Karnataka has provided a better environment for innovation as it has an edge over others in technological base and human resources
Last Updated : 25 July 2022, 18:17 IST
Last Updated : 25 July 2022, 18:17 IST

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It was not a surprise that Karnataka is ranked on top among major states in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index-2021. The state has held this position in all three editions of the index so far. Manipur stands first in the North-East and hill-states category, and Chandigarh is the top performer in the UT and city-states category. The index, since its inception, has been used as a reference point for comparison of the performance of states. Innovation and Science & Technology drive each other and together form the basis of economic growth and competitiveness across the industrial, agriculture and services sectors. Innovation consists in the ability to turn ideas and technologies into useful new products and services and to increase the efficiency of existing ones. A country and society not strong on innovation will find it difficult to keep pace with others and to advance.

Karnataka has provided a better environment for innovation as it has an edge over others in technological base and human resources. A good part of the credit for innovation goes to start-ups, whether in Karnataka or elsewhere. The number of start-ups has increased from 733 in 2016-17 to 67,128 in 2010-21. The Covid years saw the growth of innovation in some fields, including education. But the report has pointed out that India’s global innovation score still needs improvement. India was ranked 46th among 142 countries in 2021. It moved up by two positions from 2020 but that is inadequate for a country which will soon have the largest population in the world. India has the need and the potential to develop innovativeness in every field by providing the necessary support and facilities for it.

The country has an ambitious target to be among the top 25 nations in the Global Innovation Index. The report has recommended many measures for this. They include an increase in the Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GDERD), promotion of private sector participation in R&D, and closing the gap between industry demand and the talent the country produces through its education system. It has noted that countries that spend less on GDERD fail to retain their human capital. There has been a steady flight of talent to other countries. India’s GDERD as a percentage of GDP stood at about 0.7%, and the report wants it to be raised to at least 2%. It has also underlined the importance of R&D in the private sector, as in countries like the US and South Korea. There is the need to create an ecosystem that brings together universities, industries, regulatory institutions and incentives with the adoption of right policies, linkages and development of human capital and infrastructure to promote innovation.

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Published 25 July 2022, 17:33 IST

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