India has moved up sharply in the Global Innovation Index (GII), from 81 last year to 66 this year.
The country has maintained the top spot in the Central and South Asia regions, as per the rankings of Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The index ranked India high on tertiary education and R&D, its market sophistication, the quality of its universities and scientific publications, and information and communication technology service exports, where it ranks first in the world.
It said India can become a global driver of innovation as it has got everything such as strong market potential, an excellent talent pool, and an underlying culture of frugal innovation.
India ranks second on innovation quality among middle-income economies, overtaking Brazil.
According to Mohsin U Khan, a retired scientist who worked at the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies in New Delhi, India’s advantage is cost as R&D can be performed at 15-20 per cent the cost in Europe and the US.
“Relative weaknesses exist in the indicators for business environment, education expenditures, new business creations and the creative goods and services production,” it said.
The index said that India has the ability to create a unique spot in innovation history to meet its own market requirements by using its cultural advantages of frugality and sustainability.
It said the country should strengthen its own talent pool and leverage global talent in areas like energy, water, transport, health care, food security and digital consumption. “The commitment of India to innovation and improved innovation metrics is strong and growing, helping to improve the innovation environment. This trend will help gradually lift India closer to other top-ranked innovation economies,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, the US, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 GII rankings. This year, China has joined the world’s 25 most-innovative economies, becoming the first middle-income country to enter the top 25 of the index.