India has a rich history of innovation. Be it the invention of the digit ‘0’ by Aryabhatta or the exceptional sanitation system of the Indus Valley civilization. Even though this nation is considered a developing country, one cannot overlook the advancements that it has made in technology and infrastructure. Every year India gets a step closer to becoming a global powerhouse economy, all thanks to its prominent industries, skilled workforce, and governmental policies.
Global Innovation Index – India’s improved ranking
The INSEAD (Institut Europeen d’Administration des Affaires) in Paris developed the Global Innovation Index (GII) around a decade ago in order to rank the different countries in the world according to their innovative aptitudes. Today, the GII is a joint venture of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University, and INSEAD. This list includes 127 countries ranked on parameters like infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, institutions, and human capital and research. The Indian Government along with a few other governments around the world use these rankings as a way to evaluate themselves.
Over the past seven years, Switzerland has bagged the prestigious top spot. India, on the other hand, has seen quite a few vicissitudes on the GII. When the first list was released in 2007, India enjoyed the 41st rank. The parameters of GII rankings have been changing constantly to ensure that the methodology of the index keeps improving. This change in methodology has caused India’s rise and fall. The year 2016 saw distinct progress in India’s GII ranking – it jumped to the 66th rank from its earlier 81st rank.
In 2017, India climbed yet another six places to reach the 60th rank – better than over half of the countries on the list. Few parameters that are responsible for the advancement of rankings include creative outputs, institutions, infrastructure, knowledge and technology outputs, and business sophistication.
One of the difficulties in accurately judging the innovative capacities of India is that many innovations of the informal sector go unnoticed. Francis Gurry, the Director General of WIPO, said, “We are unable to capture data about grassroots innovation.” The GII report clearly states that India needs to focus on its potential when it comes to a particular parameter, i.e. the business environment.
While India may face quite a few challenges, the recent trend shows that this country is on its way to becoming a global power when it comes to innovation. There are several successfully implemented inventions related to green energy, smart cities, and sustainable water supplies that deserve a mention.
Interesting Innovations from India
Here are a few of the innovations that India has made over the past couple of years.
A Nanoscale Water Purifier
A water purifier to get rid of harmful bacteria like E. coli at a nanoscale level was developed by the team led by the Assistant Professor of Department of Materials Engineering, Dr. Suryasarathi Bose, of IISc Bangalore. The porous membrane of this water purifier filters out the bacteria, while the combination of carbon, titanium oxide, and carbon gets rid of it altogether.
An invention from IIT Mumbai, the FOSS laptop lets users work, listen to music, and see movies – all for less than Rs. 10,000. The main aim behind this innovation is to ensure that people can learn about IT at a low cost. The body of this laptop is made from economical plastic; however, it has an HDMI port, 1GB RAM, and two USB ports. The operating system used in this laptop is a version of Linux – the Free Open Source Software for Education (FOSSEE).
Hepatitis C Vaccine
The Hepatitis C virus is responsible for almost 20 percent of the chronic liver disease cases all over India. This virus can cause severe liver troubles that may ultimately culminate in cancer. Professor Saumitra Das and her team of scientists from IISc have developed a vaccine that has showed positive results in the pre-clinical trials. This vaccine helps combat Hepatitis C by producing antibodies in the host body.
Swapnil Jain and Tarun Mehta, graduates from IIT Madras, developed the concept of an E-scooter – a scooter that runs on ‘ather energy’. The S340 has a Li-ion battery that charges faster than most smartphones and a speed of around 75 km/hour. The launch of India’s first e-scooter is still some time away because most of the parts of this scooter have to be built from scratch.
Non-invasive detector of heart conditions
Professor S. Asokan and his team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru have found a new non-invasive way to detect heart conditions. The Fibre Bragg Grating Heart Beat Device is made of an optical fibre sensor that only needs to be wrapped around the chest. This sensor will then give doctors all the information they need about blood glucose levels, respiration, blood pressure, and cardiac activities. This portable device is shockproof and non-electric.
If these innovations are anything to go by, India is sure to take the world by the storm in the coming years as one of the most innovative countries across the globe.