India in the next 30 years will be in the top three countries in innovation and will drive global solutions for the future due its entrepreneurial mindset, ongoing structural changes, and move towards a formalised economy, expert on market competitiveness Amit Kapoor said. Amit, who has authored NITI Aayog’s 2019 India Innovation Index, said certain factors already in motion will help India become an innovation hub.

“One is the structural changes that are happening in the system right now. India’s becoming more formalised as an economy, people are competing against a global system. That is going to drive a lot of change. The second thing is that the Indian education or the entrepreneurial mindset. The entrepreneurial mindset in India is amazing,” he said, speaking to PTI.

According to Amit, who is the Chair of Institute for Competitiveness, India, the challenges involved in the Indian system propels one to become very innovative and find unique solutions. “I am convinced in my mind that India is going to be amongst the top two or three countries from an innovation perspective in the next 30 years,” he said. He added that, whatever was happening in India today would get implemented or seen in a positive light by other countries, in Africa for instance, and they would learn from it. He noted that the cycle for innovation in India had started in the 1980s itself.

“What you are seeing is that you are creating solutions which are driven by very local challenges and they are hugely scalable. So, India is going to be the driver of change in the future. It is not going to be any other country,” said Amit.

In NITI Aayog’s Innovation Index, all the states are ranked on innovation and competitive parameters. Amit said the idea behind the index was to propel the country towards innovation. “What sells in the US need not necessarily be a big thing in India. You would have services which are localised for India. India will find its own mobility solution, will find its own service solutions for various things that are actually happening and that is what is going to happen,” he said. United States, he said, would always be one of the countries driving innovation. “This is because of the technological focus that this country has actually had. The second [region] to be driving innovation would be the Scandinavian group of countries,” he said, adding that China would also be part of the innovation future.

“China is a more scaled economy. I do not really see China as a very innovative economy. In fact, whatever is happening in China, I see there’s a replication of lots of things that happen in the US,” he said.

At the same time, he acknowledged the Chinese create some amazing scalable solutions. Their innovation capacities is in scaling manufacturing and providing services. “What is required in India is different from what is required in China. Chinese solutions will not get replicated across the world. Indian solutions, because they are going to be service-oriented solutions, will get replicated across the world,” said Amit.

While asserting India has grassroot innovations, Amit said the challenge would be to scale those solutions and innovations. “So, if India is able to create scale, India is going to be beating the world,” he said, exuding confidence that India would create scale in services, on a par with what China has achieved in the manufacturing sector.

The Interview was done by PTI in Washington and published with Business Standard, Your Story, Daily Hunt on December 2, 2019

© 2019 AMIT Kapoor

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