Editorial Analysis for 21st October 2020

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The many bright spots on India’s innovation horizon

Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management


Recognising the potential, the government is putting in place a framework of collaboration, facilitation and regulation.

Why Innovation?

  • Innovation is important to the advancement of society. Innovation helps solve problems, especially as the world’s problems continue to evolve.
  • New and innovative products/technologies have increased the standard of livingand provided people with opportunities to improve their lives.
  • Breakthroughs in medicine and technologyhave had a dramatic impact on individuals and communities.
    • Niramai (or Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Intelligence) uses an AI-based thermal imaging portable tool that carries out non-invasive breast cancer screening for women for early detection.
    • ai uses AI for health-care diagnostics in rural India, tackling challenges such as tuberculosis and COVID-19.
  • Innovation plays a very important role in terms of economic growth. Innovation is the cornerstone of sustainedeconomic growth and prosperity.
    • Example: Gramophone offers pricing information from mandis, advice on soil and crop health and access to agricultural inputs via micro-entrepreneurs to farmers in Madhya Pradesh, aiding their operation efficiency.
    • The focus on celebrating innovation has led to several start-ups disrupting the Indian market and emerging as unicorns.
    • Machine learning and Blockchain technology can make commerce robust and resilient.
  • New technologies promise a better future for mankind.
    • AI can help transform the education sector by ensuring personalized attention.
    • Gene-editing would help us bring back extinct species and reinvigorate depleted ecosystems.
    • Quantum computing will raise exponentially processing capability.

Steps to promote Innovation:

  • The Global Innovation Index recognizes the following aspects as parameters for the calculation of the GII and these can serve as important policy measures to promote innovation:
    • Improving human capital through better education
    • Incentivizing Research and Development
    • Ensuring the availability of adequate and ecologically sustainable infrastructure facilities
    • Ensuring the availability of credit and investment avenues
      • Innovation needs risk capital in terms of resources.
    • Ensuring a light regulatory environment

India’s Potential:

  • India could act as a fertile ground for technology-led innovation growth and development.
    • There is a potential to add over $957 billion to India’s GDP by 2035 with artificial intelligence (AI), according to a recent report by Accenture.

Government measures:

  • Recognising the potential of innovation in India, the government has been building a comprehensive framework to incentivize innovation in India.
  • The Indian government is putting in place a framework of collaboration, facilitation and responsible regulation.


  • There has been a focus on advancing cross-disciplinary collaboration.
  • The Government of India recently organized the Vaishvik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) summit for collaborative knowledge creation. At the summit, more than 3,000 overseas Indian-origin academicians and scientists from 55 countries, and about 10,000 Indians participated to ideate on innovative solutions to the current challenges.


  • Recently, the Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE) 2020 summit was held, with the aim to charter a course to effectively use AI for social empowerment, inclusion, and transformation in key sectors such as health care, agriculture, finance, education and smart mobility.
  • Schemes such as Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) scholarships, the Ramanujan Fellowship, the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) scheme, Smart India Hackathons (SIH), Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) scheme, Scheme for Transformational and Advanced Research in Sciences (STARS), Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) and Impactful Policy Research in Social Science (IMPRESS) aim to promote research and development in India.
  • The National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems aims to ‘catalyse translational research across “Al, IoT or the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Big Data Analytics, Robotics, Quantum Computing, Data Science”.


  • The government has been facilitating light-touch regulatory practices, balancing commercial freedom and principles adherence, to promote innovation and incentivise risk-taking.
  • The Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India allow for regulatory sandboxes for piloting new ideas.


  • There is a need for a relentless focus on innovation given the significance of innovation in a country like India.

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