Saturday, December 02, 2017

Ahmedabad doesn't figure among top 100 world innovative clusters, as India stabilises at 40th in competitiveness index

By Our Representative
India may have jumped in the World Economic Forum's (WEF's) global competitiveness index (GCI), released this week, from 71st position in 2014-15 to 39th in 2016-17, "stabilising" on 40th position in 2017-18. However, if the report's findings are any guide, none of Gujarat cities, including the "model" city Ahmedabad, figure in 100 top urban clusters identified as "centres of innovation."
The report, titled "The Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018", even as recognising the "growing importance of China and India as centres of innovation", says, the among geographical clusters which generate the most patents Shenzen–Hong Kong comes 8th in the list of 100 cities, the 2nd place is shared in between Tokyo-Yokohama and San Jose–San Francisco, and Beijing comes in 7th.
Coming to India, the report states, three Indian locations appear in the top 100 of the cluster study: Bengaluru at 43rd (with patent activity focused on computer technology), Mumbai at 95th, and Pune at 96th (both registering among the most patents in organic fine chemistry)."
It notes, India's "level of technological readiness of individuals and firms" in India, as those of China, remains "relatively low, suggesting that the benefits of these innovative activities are not widely shared", adding, "Societal gains from innovation breakthroughs do not happen automatically: they need complementary efforts to ensure that more people and firms have the means to access and use new technologies."
Not without reason, even as ranking India 40th among 137 countries in WCI, the report finds that as far as technological readiness is concerned, the country ranks a poor 107th. Ranking 3rd in market size, thanks to the country's population size and purchasing power of a rising middle class, the report ranks India 91st in health and primary education, 80th in macroeconomic environment, 75th in higher education and training, and so on.
Based on an executive opinion survey of 201 persons, the ranking combines it with an analysis of 12 pillars -- institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.
While India ranks much better than two of the peer BRICS countries, Brazil (80th) and South Africa (61st), two others rank better than India -- China 27th and Russia 38th. Among the neighbours India is far ahead of Pakistan, which ranks 115th, Bangladesh 99th and Sri Lanka 85th.
In its executive opinion survey, the report has found that "the private sector still considers corruption to be the most problematic factor for doing business in India". In fact, on a scale of 10, the most important factor hindering global competition is found to be corruption, giving it a weightage of 9.2, followed by access to finance 8.5, tax rates 7.9, and so on.
The report notes, "Asian economies were less exposed to the global financial crisis, but they are facing new problems of their own. Amid a private-sector credit boom in India, the proportion of loans classed as non-performing went from 4 percent to 9 percent in two years."
Nevertheless, taking a positive view of India, the report states, "India (40th) stabilizes this year after its big leap forward of the previous two years. The score improves across most pillars of competitiveness, particularly infrastructure (66th, up two), higher education and training (75th, up six), and technological readiness (107th, up three), reflecting recent public investments in these areas."

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