Manipur tops NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index

Guwahati: Manipur has topped the “North East and Hill States’ category in the third edition of the NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index.

The index was released on Thursday by NITI Aayog vice chairman Suman Bery in the presence of member Dr VK Saraswat, CEO Parameswaran Iyer, senior adviser Neeraj Sinha, and Institute for Competitiveness Chairman Dr Amit Kapoor.

Karnataka has topped again in the ‘Major States’ category, and Chandigarh is the top performer in the ‘Union Territories and City States’ category.

The North-Eastern and Hill States category comprises 10 states. The average
score in this category is 14.41. Manipur with a score of 19.37 is at the top and
Nagaland with a score of 11 is at the bottom.

Manipur scored best in the knowledge workers and safety and legal environment
pillars. Nagaland and Tripura scored the lowest due to their unutilised talent as indicated by their low performance in human capital and business environment, which indicates that their innovation capabilities have not been harnessed to their full potential.

Assam scored the ninth position in the “North East and Hill States’ category.

Prepared by NITI Aayog and the Institute for Competitiveness, the India Innovation Index is a comprehensive tool for the evaluation and development of the country’s innovation ecosystem. It ranks the states and the union territories on their innovation performance to build healthy competition amongst them.  

The third edition highlights the scope of innovation analysis in the country by drawing on the framework of the Global Innovation Index. The number of indicators has increased from 36 (in the India Innovation Index 2020) to 66 (in the India Innovation Index 2021). The indicators are now distributed across 16 sub-pillars, which, in turn, form seven key pillars.

In the “Investment” pillar,  Arunachal Pradesh with a score of 17.12 and Manipur with a score of 11.44 are among the top performers in the North-Eastern and Hilly States. Manipur scored the highest on indicators like R&D expenditure as a percentage of GSDP whereas Arunachal Pradesh scored the highest on indicators like expenditure on science, technology and environment as a percentage of GSDP. It also received high FDI inflow in North-Eastern and Hilly States category. Investment is an important pillar that largely influences innovation in any region.

“In the investment pillar, it is observed that Northeastern and hilly states’ performance was relatively poor. Their respective scores were even lower than the average pillar score of 6.26. For example, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya scored 2.15, 1.32 and 1.54, respectively. It must be noted that the performance of these states is greatly affected due to their geographical location. While geographical disadvantage is a challenge, measures can be roped in to enhance overall performance, with respect to improvement in performance under this pillar,” the report said.

In the “Business Environment” pillar, some of the northeast and hilly states and union territories have performed low on this pillar. Their scores have been less than the national average of the pillar. For example, there are no incubators in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

Likewise, while only about 11 per cent of bank accounts were seeded with Aadhar in Meghalaya (lowest in the country), the percentage of villages with internet connectivity was lowest in Arunachal Pradesh (about 57 per cent).

“Innovation is the key to sustainable and inclusive growth. It can help us solve the biggest challenges of our times: bringing millions out of poverty, generating livelihood opportunities, and paving the way for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” said Dr Saraswat.

“I would like to reaffirm NITI Aayog’s continued commitment to monitoring the state of innovation in India through the India Innovation Index. We strive to improve the innovation ecosystem across the nation in partnership with the states and other stakeholders,” said Parameswaran Iyer.

The contours of the India Innovation Index 2021 remain the same as last year. Similar to the previous edition, the five ‘Enabler’ pillars measure inputs and the two ‘Performance’ pillars measure output. All the indicators in the Enabler pillars cover features crucial for promoting innovation within a state/union territory. Indicators in the Performance pillars represent a nation’s output in knowledge creation and competitiveness.

“Innovation is critical in promoting the country’s resilience and self-reliance. The index points to the decentralization of innovation across all Indian states,” said NITI Aayog senior adviser Neeraj Sinha.

“The index also draws some international parallels, which will add to India’s learnings and how we can be on a par with our counterparts,” said Institute for Competitiveness Chairman Dr Amit Kapoor.

The India Innovation Index also contributes to the government’s effort to monitor select global indices through the global indices to drive Reform and Growth (GIRG) mechanism, for which the NITI Aayog is the nodal organisation.

Also read | Manipur: Sense of patriotism should always be with us, says Guv Ganesan


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