The juxtaposition of two recent studies on innovation lends an interesting perspective on India. An Economist Intelligence Unit survey finds that though India’s environment is slightly more conducive for innovation than China’s, over the next five years, the latter may not only narrow this gap, but also surpass India on overall outcomes by spending far more on R&D.
The gap is huge: $6 billion last year in India against $136 billion in China. A CII-Boston Consulting Group survey earlier this year might hint why. It said Indian firms face an “innovation paradox”. They plan to spend more on innovation, but were not satisfied with their returns on such spending. Apart from internal inadequacies in managing innovation, the environment was not enabling enough. Surely, the Centre needs to focus far more on getting the country onto a higher R&D trajectory.