India requires a new technology-driven playbook to fulfil its Viksit Bharat goal

India’s talent pool is one of its greatest assets, but to fully leverage it, a shift in focus from quantity to quality is essential.
India’s talent pool is one of its greatest assets, but to fully leverage it, a shift in focus from quantity to quality is essential.

Summary

  • R&D investment, talent development and technology deployment at scale could pave India’s way to developed-country status.

India has been on a remarkable trajectory of economic and technological growth. With a young and vibrant population, a robust tech ecosystem driving innovation and a rapidly evolving digital landscape, India has become a formidable force in the burgeoning digital economy. 

Over the past decade, India’s total stock market capitalization has surged from $1.9 trillion to $5 trillion, and the country has positioned itself as an inevitable partner for global businesses and governments seeking resilient supply chains in an era of geopolitical changes and volatility.

However, achieving the ambitious vision of transforming India into a $40 trillion economy by 2047 requires a new playbook. Sustaining an 8% annual growth rate is essential to becoming a developed nation—a challenging but attainable goal that requires meticulous planning, appropriate investments, effective risk mitigation and a clear strategy on growth acceleration driven by technology. 

Further, rapid advancements in frontier tech like artificial intelligence (AI) present India with an unprecedented opportunity to unlock its potential for accelerated growth.

The stage is set for India to reimagine its ambitions and globally become the gold standard for leveraging technology to achieve economic development. Here are three critical priorities to realize this vision:

Significant investment in research and development (R&D) as well as intellectual property (IP): India’s global reputation in technology services is well established, yet the country struggles with perceptions of inadequate investment in R&D and IP. 

To shift towards an innovation-driven business model, India needs to allocate 3-4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) to R&D, aligning with developed economies. This is crucial to becoming a global leader in science and technology.

Increased R&D investment drives higher innovation and IP generation, attracting global investments at the higher end of the value chain and building the narrative of a developed India. As the new government takes charge in New Delhi, prioritizing R&D and IP should be integral to its Viksit Bharat strategy. While boosting government investment is vital, the private sector’s inadequate investment poses a significant challenge.

The government can draw from the best practices worldwide, implementing incentive schemes for IPs aligned with national priorities and the Make in India initiative. Tax breaks and grants for companies investing in R&D, streamlined patent application processes and public-private partnerships in high-tech sectors can stimulate private sector involvement. 

Establishing sector-specific innovation hubs and clusters can provide startups and researchers with resources and mentorship to develop cutting-edge technologies. Also, developing shared R&D infrastructure in key sectors will enable India to compete with countries like China.

Integrating IP education into the curriculum at various levels can cultivate an innovation-oriented mindset from a young age. Collaborating with educational institutions to promote research activities and IP awareness will ensure that the future workforce is well-equipped to contribute to India’s innovation landscape.

Lastly, India must reimagine how it measures innovation and R&D. Traditional metrics often reflect an era of physical R&D, while true innovation increasingly occurs in digital services and platforms. As a digital economy, India needs to ensure it measures innovation accurately. 

By creating a robust ecosystem that supports and rewards innovation and a relevant innovation measurement framework, India can strengthen its global competitive advantage, achieve sustainable economic growth and attain technological self- reliance.

Transforming from the largest talent pool to a hub for world-class talent: India’s talent pool is one of its greatest assets, but to fully leverage it, a shift in focus from quantity to quality is essential. The government, industry and academia must collaborate to enhance the quality of education and training, ensuring that Indian talent is second to none. 

In this rapidly evolving world, the true differentiator lies in how effectively our human skills complement our work with machines. Mastery of fundamental principles across fields such as science, mathematics, medicine, psychology and law is essential for crafting innovative, globally competitive solutions. 

To thrive in such an environment, we must transform our educational approaches, reimagining not only what our children and youth learn, but also how they learn it, fundamentally reshaping the way teachers educate.

Moreover, India is well-positioned to lead in developing global standards for digital talent in the AI age. Once these standards are established, a unified effort across government, industry and academia is needed to adhere to them. This will require tremendous collaboration and a strong commitment to a shared vision. In a country that developed its own vaccines and immunized over a billion people within a couple of years, achieving this transformation is clearly possible.

Last but not the least, India must demonstrate to the world that the true magic lies not in the technology itself, but in the people who build revolutionary technologies and solve the world’s biggest challenges.

India could serve as the world’s gold standard for technology deployment at scale: This ‘techade’ must be about scale. As many countries face an economic slowdown and decline in productivity, large-scale adoption of emerging technologies is essential for fostering economic resilience and growth. It’s time to move from theoretical concepts and proofs-of-concept to tangible impact creation with urgency.

India has the potential to become the gold standard for technology deployment at scale, impacting the entire population. This involves leveraging emerging technologies to create large-scale economic and social benefits, driving productivity and efficiency across sectors. The government and private sector must collaborate to implement these technologies effectively, ensuring that their benefits reach all segments of society.

In conclusion, India stands at a pivotal moment in its economic journey. By focusing on R&D investment, transforming its talent pool into a hub for world-class talent and becoming a model for large-scale technology deployment, India can achieve the goal of becoming a $40 trillion economy by 2047. A Viksit Bharat is within reach, provided there is a strategic and concerted effort across all sectors of society.

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