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“India has become the innovation centre of the world and will become the most productively efficient country three to four years down the line” said Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, Government of India, while speaking at the 6th Annual Growth Net Summit in New Delhi, jointly organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ananta Centre and Smadja & Smadja. 

Mr. Kant emphasized that unlike the west, India faces unique challenges and therefore innovation in India is driven by providing solutions to these challenges. Problems in India relate to sectors such as healthcare, education etc. and technologically driven interventions in these sectors will provide real solutions to such problems.

Mr. Kant highlighted that the Indian Government has taken a vast set of measures in the past few years to create and foster a sustainable innovation eco-system in India. The Government has scrapped a lot of rules and regulations to facilitate a start-up culture in the country, he stated. He emphasized that the Atal Tinkering Labs in more than 3000 schools will lead to a lot of disruptions in the coming years and was a huge movement in encouraging a culture of innovation in the country.

Mr Kant pointed out that Bengaluru and Hyderabad have become leading centers for Research and Development in the country and for rest of the world. He added that India is the heart and centre of all leading fintech innovations in the world, with landmark reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax, Aadhar, and online tax payment system giving pace to the rapid digitization in the economy. Major innovations have also taken place in sectors such as automobiles, auto components, etc, he added. Mr. Kant further added that “India combines the tools of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit to do frugal engineering” and start-ups in the social innovation sector will provide real solutions to the many challenges of the country.

Mr. Ashok Bajpai, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals, India, stated that four critical steps for creating an innovation eco-system are vision, investments in innovation, a cultural shift in the sectors and delivery upon results. “Execution at the ground level will be the real driver of growth”, he added. In the context of healthcare, he stated that telemedicine and leveraging technology, especially in the rural sector, were the essential components to ensure longevity and improving quality of life. 

Mr Avnish Sabharwal, Managing Director, Accenture Solutions Pvt Ltd., India stated that while innovation was distributed across different parts of the country, Start-ups would be the primary driver of innovation in India. He added that while changes are evident in the start-up scene in India, it is important to provide support to the start-ups especially in matters relating to IPRs, tax -relief and infrastructure.

Mr Ralph Voltmer, Partner, Head of India Practice, Covington & Burling, USA emphasized the importance of a strong education system for creating an innovation eco-system. A strong education system encourages people to become part of a community where new ideas are generated, he added. The Smart City concept in India could be a huge building block for the Indian community, he added.

Mr C Y Ahn, Distinguished Professor, Graduate School of International Studies, Chung-Ang University, South Korea stated that the bottom-up approach that India has adopted through Digital India movement was a tremendous achievement for the country. He further added that ensuring inclusive growth side by side with digitization is a serious challenge, not only for India but for policymakers across the world.

Dr Naushad Forbes, Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall India and Past President, CII stated that much has been done to foster technological change in India including Ease of Doing Business reforms. He stated that the potential of many new platforms such as Start-Up India, Digital India are yet to be seen. He further added that investments in R & D, especially public research, need to be scaled up. 

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