This perhaps leads to more questions than answers, particularly because the nature of the technological leap (as opposed to the leap forward) that India is experiencing has yet to be documented in a way that can undo the established wisdom of industrial revolutions, whether in the West or the East. .
Unesco’s 2021 science report suggests that in terms of purchasing power parity, India now spends more on research than France, the UK and Italy. The same report indicates that there is an observable lethargy in these countries and in Japan. As China converges with the United States, Germany and South Korea continue to demonstrate a strong appetite for innovation.
The Indian government often projects spin-off achievements from its initiatives that have intensified the adoption of technology in India. I believe that the sum is more convincing than the aggregation of the parts.
India has the highest number of real-time digital payments in the world and has left China and advanced countries far behind. India Activated Aaddhar Based JAM
, followed by UPI and the Digital Health Stack. The country is currently exploring the highly ambitious Open Network for Digital Trade (ONDC) and Digital Ecosystem for Skills and Livelihoods – the DESH-Stack e-Portal – which has the potential to deliver services to citizens and businesses quickly and efficiently.
India’s technology efforts are increasingly embedded in broader capacity building that contributes directly to short-term knowledge creation, providing viable savings for departments beyond science ministries to explore aggressively technological opportunities.
Discover the stories that interest you
None of this would have been possible without indigenous capacities being revived in recent years with stronger public-private partnerships in knowledge creation. The creation of space for individual ingenuity to flourish through startups and knowledge networks has been supported by significant reforms.
Citizens and small businesses increasingly appreciate the benefits of digital technologies, which are becoming increasingly affordable. India, as the pharmacy of the world, has been producing cheap generic drugs for decades and supplying them domestically and internationally.
Creating more value requires greater mobilization of resources and internal adjustments within the industry innovation ecosystem. India has developed and locally manufactured vaccines and ventilators to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, with over two billion doses administered.
As is known, India is a major vaccine hub and is attracting international attention for its public policy, market and regulatory mechanisms supporting vaccine research and commercialization.
The International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure are other valuable initiatives catalyzed by India.
What has perhaps been India’s most successful initiative in recent times is the large-scale deployment of digital technologies to address development challenges and trigger investment in renewable energy equipment, from green hydrogen to energy storage.
While industrialized countries appear to have resorted to industrial policies with great vigor of late, the cautious implementation of India’s own production-linked subsidy programs – from semiconductors to electric vehicles and cells advanced chemicals – will facilitate greater private sector participation in R&D and foster technology collaborations. through joint ventures.
According to media reports, Ola Electric is investing $500 million in R&D and its focus on cellular innovation suggests a growing appetite for R&D among industry players.
Complementing government efforts, such private sector investment in R&D would offer significant opportunities for India if aligned with India’s long-term needs. There is growing recognition that India’s affordability-driven technology solutions across sectors generate positive externalities beyond its borders.
From the perspective of R&D and innovation pipelines, global partnerships for knowledge co-creation will remain relevant despite national efforts. Emerging challenges are all global in nature and technological solutions emerge from disparate sources.
Previous generation innovation systems, those deemed costly by many developing countries, are being replaced by more democratic structures that need to be supported by appropriate incentives and regulations.
India can lead the way in this regard, with policy innovations taking shape through multi-level engagements between different branches of government and a range of tech players, including corporations, startups, social entrepreneurs, Community institutions and, above all, citizens.
The author is associate professor at the RIS