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Daily-current-affairs / 04 Oct 2023

Innovation Ecosystem in India : Daily News Analysis


Date : 05/10/2023

Relevance: GS Paper 3 - Economy- Innovation

Keywords: Global Innovation Index 2023, Atma Nirbhar Bharat, National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)


  • India retains 40th rank out of 132 economies in the Global Innovation Index 2023 rankings published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. India has been on a rising trajectory, over the past several years in the Global Innovation Index (GII), from a rank of 81 in 2015 to 40 in 2023. Innovation has been at the forefront of our battle against the unprecedented crisis created by the pandemic and will be pivotal in driving the country’s resilience, as enshrined in the Prime Minister’s clarion call on Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
  • It examines the significance of establishing a comprehensive innovation ecosystem in India. Such an ecosystem would stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, address societal issues, and make substantial contributions to the nation's economic advancement.

Innovation is the process of creating value by applying novel solutions to meaningful problems. It's about creating new applications for an invention or an established technology

The Role of Innovation in Economic Advancement:

  • Looking Back: Early GDP expansion was primarily driven by population growth, resulting in limited real growth (0.1% annually) until 1700 AD.
  • The Industrial Revolution Impact: The post-1750 era marked the Industrial Revolution, which propelled rapid GDP growth through transformative shifts driven by technology and innovation.
  • Energising Economic Progress: Technological innovation played a pivotal role in driving economic development by elevating productivity, and efficiency, and generating opportunities across diverse sectors.
  • The Significance of TFP for GDP Growth: The Total Factor Productivity (TFP) exerts a substantial influence on GDP expansion, as it enhances output efficiency through innovation and technological progress.

Government's Role in Nurturing Innovation:

  • State-Backed Endeavours: Government-driven initiatives have significantly contributed to the advancement of novel technologies and industries. Successful examples from Israel and the USA underscore the potential of such innovation-focused government initiatives.
  • National Innovation Foundation (NIF): India's establishment of the National Innovation Foundation serves to empower grassroots technological innovations and safeguard traditional knowledge.
  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy: This policy strives to position India as a global scientific frontrunner and establish a robust Science, Research, and Innovation framework (SRISHTI).
  • Cultivating an Innovation Ecosystem: In a diverse nation like India, governmental backing plays a pivotal role in fostering a culture of innovation.
  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM): The inception of AIM by the Indian Government in 2016 is oriented towards fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. Its primary objective revolves around nurturing an environment conducive to generating and implementing inventive ideas.

Comprehensive Programs Under AIM's Holistic Approach:

Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs)

  • Implementation of tinkering labs in schools designed to foster a culture of innovative thinking among students.
  • Nurturing creativity, problem-solving abilities, and practical learning from an early educational stage.
  • Today, 10,000 schools have Atal Tinkering Labs covering 700+ districts of the country, spanning over 35 States and Union Territories. 60% of these ATLS are established in Government schools and cover a total of 75 lakh+ students who have created 12+ lakh innovation projects.

Atal Incubation Centres (AICs)

  • Concentrated support for innovators, guiding them through the critical stages from idea inception to prototype development and market introduction.
  • Provision of crucial infrastructure, mentorship, and resources to facilitate the sustainable growth of startup ventures.

Atal Community Innovation Centres (ACICs):

  • Expanding the reach of innovation to encompass not only major urban hubs but also tier-2 and tier-3 locations.
  • Stimulating innovation within local communities by offering vital resources, guidance, and collaborative platforms.

Atal New India Challenge (ANIC):

  • Serving as a dynamic platform for startups to directly tackle pressing national challenges through inventive solutions.
  • Empowering these startups with funding, comprehensive mentorship, and essential resources to drive the development and effective implementation of their innovative ideas.

Mentors of Change (MoC)

  • Mentor India is a strategic nation-building voluntary initiative to engage leaders ('Mentors of Change') who can guide and mentor students in the 10,000+ Atal Tinkering Labs that AIM has established across India.
  • Today, 6,000+ Mentors across the country are supporting the dream of AIM to nurture young minds. These mentors from across industry and academia volunteer their time regularly in one or more such labs and enable students to experience, learn, and practice future skills such as design and computational thinking, critical thinking, and applying what they have learned in classrooms in a more hands-on setting.

What are the steps to be taken?

  • Increase R&D spending: Government should frame a policy with the aim of increasing total GERD (Gross domestic expenditure on R&D) to 2% of India’s GDP.
  • Global partnerships in innovation: Global innovation partnerships need to be strengthened by enhancing public-private partnership mechanisms and increased public funds should be earmarked for joint industrial R&D projects.
  • Idea-to-market challenge: Government needs to create a special fundto help Indian innovations to advance their start-ups during difficult times.

Case Study

An 18-year-old B.Tech. student from Rajasthan tackled noise pollution head-on by inventing the Vehicle Horn Control Assembly (VHCA) in ATL. This innovation curbs honking in specific zones and reduces its intensity in restricted areas.

VHCA is patented, cost-effective, and scalable, aligning with Sustainable Development Goal 11. It offers a portable solution to significantly reduce noise pollution and enhance road safety.


  • In conclusion, India's purposeful embrace of innovation aligns seamlessly with its aspiration to achieve a $5 trillion economy by 2025. The trajectory of progress is evidenced by its remarkable ascent from the 57th to the 40th position in the Global Innovation Index. Noteworthy global innovations like Aadhaar and UPI underscore this advancement. Now, a collaborative endeavor is imperative to unleash India's economic capabilities and usher in a transformative decade driven by technology.
  • India stands as a harbinger of global-scale innovations that reverberate with profound influence. With a burgeoning count of 100+ Unicorns, it has unveiled a spectrum of digital public goods encompassing monumental creations such as Aadhaar, UPI, ONDC, and beyond.
  • Yet, as the nation navigates its transformative trajectory, it is apparent that the evolution of startups per lakh of the population is still in progress. In juxtaposition with innovation powerhouses like the USA and Israel, there exists an untapped potential that could potentially surge beyond the current magnitude by over 9 times. The journey ahead entails substantial endeavors, particularly in the realm of deep-tech, to realize the full gamut of possibilities and harness India's innovation prowess to its zenith.

Probable Questions for UPSC Mains Exam-

  1. How has India's ranking in the Global Innovation Index evolved over the years, and what role does innovation play in the country's economic advancement? (10 Marks,150 Words)
  2. What are the key initiatives and programs undertaken by the Indian government, such as Atal Innovation Mission, to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, and how have these programs contributed to India's innovation ecosystem? (15 Marks,250 Words)

Source- The Indian Express