India falls in innovation ratings

India is slipping down the global innovation index rankings. Copyright: WHO/TDR/Chandran

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[NEW DELHI] India has skidded down the innovation ladder to rank 62 among 125 countries, lagging behind China at 29 and Brazil at 42, according to the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings. 

The GII 2011, released this month (4 July) by the global business school Institut Européen d’Administration des Affaires (INSEAD) and the Confederation of Indian Industries, ranked 125 countries according to innovative capabilities and outputs.

Daniela Benavente, senior research fellow at INSEAD and co-author of the report, told SciDev.Net that the GII framework includes five input pillars covering institutions; human capital and research; infrastructure, and market and business sophistication. These pillars reflect on innovation enabling environments.

The top ten GII spots went to Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland, Denmark, the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

India, which ranked 41 in 2009, slid to 56 in 2010 and to 62 in 2011. China improved its ranking from 43 in 2010 to 29 in 2011 and is the only developing country to be in the top 30. Brazil moved up from 68 in 2010 to 42 in 2011.

Within South Asia, India is followed by Sri Lanka at 82, Bangladesh at 97 and Pakistan at 105.

The GII also included an ‘innovation efficiency’ sub-index that highlighted those that overcame barriers to improve their innovations. It is “a measure of how countries are doing more from less,” Benavente explained.

Cote d’Ivoire tops the efficiency index, followed by Nigeria, China, Pakistan, Moldova, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, India and Bangladesh.

The GII, however, has drawn flak from some Indian scientists. Anil Gupta, executive vice-chairman of India’s National Innovation Foundation criticised the index as "conceptually wrong as it does not take into account innovations by common people".

"With inclusive development becoming an important challenge, extremely affordable innovations are the key. And these won’t come from the formal R&D system which the report captures," he told SciDev.Net.

Ved Kharbanda, former head of planning, monitoring and evaluation at India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, agreed. "There seems to be ambiguity in the methodology adopted to measure the innovation efficiency of the various countries."

Kharbanda said the efficiency index findings do not match other science creativity indicators such as international patents filing. Kharbanda said countries that filed many international patents are below those that have not filed any in the past two years, in the efficiency index.