ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020

The draft Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, 2020 is a non-starter as a policy on innovation and calls for redrafting. Consultative processes that have gone into the making of the policy have been inadequately participatory, and hence, a collaboration with the mobilised publics of science, technology and innovation is required.

Will COVID-19 Change the Landscape of Financing Innovation in India?

The COVID-19 pandemic may affect the financing opportunities for innovation. The revenue loss induced by the pandemic is likely to divert the existing resources in aiding firm survival and economic recovery, with financing innovation taking the back seat. Highlighting the current state of innovation in the country, the rise of the country in its innovation ranking and its existing sources of funding is brought to the forefront. Various avenues presently exist for this purpose and more outlets could be explored to boost the funds for innovative efforts. Experience and policies of other emerging economies can help devise suitable measures that could further enhance India’s trajectory up the innovation ranking.

Developing India’s Mobile Phone Manufacturing Industry

In the absence of any major domestic mobile phone manufacturers, increased imports of mobile phones have contributed to a widening of India’s trade deficit. An analysis of the policy instruments put in place to incentivise the domestic manufacturing of mobile phones reveals a spike in domestic manufacturing, leading to significant reductions in the imports of mobile phones. However, domestically manufactured phones are dependent on imports of parts. This high import dependence itself is an outcome of the weak innovation capability in the domestic industry.

An Imbalanced Ecosystem

The rapid development of various institutions supporting company creation in India has the potential to generate economic growth, innovation, and economic development. However, this article shows that the start-up ecosystem has unevenly developed across cities and economic sectors, and has failed to empower the overall population, so far. Using a comprehensive database on start-ups retrieved from Tracxn, a business data and analytics company, the authors find that venture capital concentrates amongst graduates stemming from a handful of prestigious education institutes in India and abroad. The article analyses the role of entrepreneurship policies and argues for a shift of focus and resources towards the building of a more inclusive start-up ecosystem.

What Is Happening to India’s R&D Funding?

India’s science and technology policies advocate increased investment in research and development. However, in 2017–18, the tax incentive for company expenditure on R&D was reduced. This is likely to have major ramifications for R&D at a time when India’s domestic research effort is already in decline.

Non-Linear Models of Social Systems

This article presents a non-linear modelling framework to capture the intricate dynamics of social systems. Within this framework it is possible to capture both gradual and abrupt transitions in social systems. In the context of social dynamics, the relevance of self-organising behaviour and complexity theory are highlighted. Social systems are essentially complex structures capable of self-organisation, exhibiting a rich variety of features like bifurcation, hysteresis and multiple equilibria. Conventional linear approach is too simplistic a framework to capture and deal with such phenomena. A number of specific models are discussed. These describe the qualitative changes in a variety of social systems they simulate and also explain the forces that govern their evolutionary behaviour.

Building Innovation Capability

Industrialisation and Innovation: The Indian Experience by Nasir Tyabji; Sage Publications,New Delhi, 2000; pp 162, Rs 595.

Leadership in Science and Technology

The evolution and development of science and technology institutions in India, involving some of the visionaries and pioneers of scientific development, have thrown up a wide range of experiences. This aricle traces in a historical perspctive the evolution of leadership styles in this area. The study provides some pointers for the development of an effective leadership style. Innovative organisations, such as those in science and technology, require strong personalised leadership. To develop institutions, it is important to place an individual at the centre of institution-building efforts. Leadership actions have to nurture trust, and create interactions within and outside an organisation. Importantly, leadership qualities cannot be acquired 'on the job'. They have to be developed and honed through participation in formal training programmes.

Technological Innovation and Economic Development

This paper examines the trends in R and D expenditure in different areas between 1994-95 and 1999-2000 linking this expenditure with the economic importance of the areas. Based on this assessment some suggestions are made for fostering and supporting technological innovation that can lead to accelerated economic growth. A clear policy imperative is that proper measures must be taken to make Indian firms and industries more competitive in a global context. The analysis indicates that agriculture and mainstream industries are the major current drivers of the Indian economy. These are the areas where technology inputs can make India globally more competitive. Bridging the gaps between needs and technology and creating the right conditions for large-scale diffusion of such technologies is one of the great challenges facing Indian R and D.
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