Release of the White Paper on India as an Innovation Economy - Role of IP and ICT


June 26, 2018 - According to a White Paper released by Indian and European policymakers at an event organised by the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER):

  • India is set to move towards an Innovation Economy.
  • India has several advantages including high growth rate, third largest group of scientists and technicians in the world, one of the lowest costs of telephone calls and Internet, and supporting government policies, that can facilitate its journey towards an Innovation Economy.
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Intellectual Property (IP) are two key pillars of innovation.
The White paper discussed how India can enhance its global positioning as an innovation hub, bring in investment technology and create quality jobs through well-defined roadmaps/strategies and partnership with the European Union (EU), its Member States and European institutes.
The event was attended by policymakers, academics, European delegates, foreign embassies and industry.
Commenting on the key findings of the paper, Dr. Rajat Kathuria, Director and Chief Executive, ICRIER, said “it is the right time to set up a multi-stakeholder Task Force on Innovation, which can draft the short-term and long-term strategies to move towards an Innovation Economy”.  The workforce must adjust to the changes in technology and there are debates on Future of Work. Highlighting the shortage of skilled workforce in areas such as AI, machine learning, robotics and big data, Dr. Kathuria emphasised the need to do research studies on mapping of skill gaps with industry requirements and availability at institutes offering relevant courses.
Ms. Tania Friederichs, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to India, remarked that, “Under the Horizon Europe, EU’s focus is on promoting ‘innovation’ and public funding will be the key source for fostering innovation and creating an innovation ecosystem”.
Mr. Poul V. Jensen, Director EBTC, said “ICT thrives from innovation as well as enablesinnovation. India and Europe are natural and strong partners and innovation in both territories is an essential part of that strong partnership. India’s transition into a global design and manufacturing hub creates market access points for European businesses, enabling India-based innovation. Therefore, IP has to be acknowledged as a business asset, incentivizing innovation. This will create a hotbed for more joint research programmes that are mutually beneficial.”
Although India’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (130 countries) improved from 81 in 2015 to 60 in 2017, it is lower than all EU Member States and a number of developing countries including China.
Focusing on the issue of how to improve the country’s ranking, Dr. Arpita Mukherjee, co-authorsaid, “It is important to link different government initiatives and policies through greater use of ICT, address infrastructure gaps and upgrade quality of services. Startups, including European startups, can play a crucial role in India’s journey towards an Innovation Economy, yet out of over 5,200 startups in India only around 88 startups were eligible for the incentives under Startup India initiative. Government needs to engage more with startups and in this regard look at the measures taken by countries such as Estonia, France, Austria, and more recently the UK. India needs to explore the possibility of a “startup visa”, which has been now adopted by several countries.” 
Dr. Alka Chawla, co-author pointed out that, “Policies consistent with global best practices in areas such as data protection and IP protection will enable the fast-track journey into an Innovation Economy.” Emphasising on the need for developing and co-creating global standards in ICT, she pointed out that “the IPR-related policies of the country should be such that they help innovators to commercialise their innovations”. Given that the telecommunication sector constitutes the backbone of the digital infrastructure, which is required for AI, IoT and other ICT-related innovations, it is important to assure a market-driven approach of IP monetisation in this sector.
Highlighting that India’s patent filing is low, and the process is time-consuming, the recent initiatives such as removal of infrastructure bottlenecks through increased computerisation, electronic payments system and IT-enabled processing are steps in the right direction. The white paper emphasised on proper enforcement of the IP laws.
Given that ICT is permeating various industries, the white paper stressed on the need to fund research studies on ICT and its usage. Government and private sector may fund Chairs in research institutes working closely with policymakers, businesses, academics, international organisations and foreign governments. Funding may also be given for cross-country research collaborations.
Mr. Gerard Owens, International Cooperation, European Patent Office, said, “This event is very timely as we are on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution. It is important for India to have a stable approach to computer-related inventions, and in this regard, India and the EU are compatible to promote future collaborations with each other”.   
To encourage patent-centric innovation among young Indians, the paper suggested that school trainings and programmes at higher educational institute to foster a more IP conscious business culture. It emphasised on the need for research to identify the right incentive models that will encourage private investment in R&D.
You can download the White Paper and the Presentation.
ICRIER is an autonomous, policy-oriented, not-for-profit, economic policy think tank. ICRIER’s main focus is to enhance the knowledge content of policy making by undertaking analytical research that is targeted at informing India’s policy makers and also at improving the interface with the global economy.
ICRIER has been ranked amongst the top 3 Indian Think Tanks in the world in the 2017 Global Think Tank Index published by the University of Pennsylvania.  According to the Report, ICRIER stands 18th in its global ranking of top international economics think tanks, witnessing a seven-point leap from the previous year. Within India, it continues to lead the rankings by retaining No.1 position in both ‘International Economics’ and ‘Domestic Economic Policy’ categories. ICRIER’s overall performance was also bolstered by rising to the 50th spot in top non-US think tanks worldwide. 
About EBTC
The European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC), as a not-for-profit company and facilitator for bilateral collaborations, promotes European technologies as well as innovations to suit the local needs in India through various projects, programmes, and initiatives. EBTC is supporting the governments and private sector in India with in-depth information and knowledge of available technologies and frameworks and providing access to innovations and solutions created in European countries. 
EBTC‘s role is underpinned by the following key programmes and mandates: implementation Partner of the European Patent Office (EPO); lead consortium partner of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN); Technical Cooperation Partner of various (municipalities of) Smart Cities; developer of the Smart Cities Knowledge and Innovation Programme (SCKIP), European Technology Experience Centre (ETEC) and Europe-India Transport Cluster; Development Partner for the Clean India Mission (Urban) of the Ministry for Urban Development; and partner of Invest India to facilitate Europe-India investments. EBTC is also the Indian coordination office for the Dutch Sports Infrastructure Programme (DSI).

Additional information