Science, Technology, Innovation and IP in India: New Directions and Prospects
Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 37/13
This paper begins by surveying recent economic studies of the relationships between technology transfer, intellectual property, innovation and diffusion in emerging countries. It applies this literature to the Indian case. India is a potentially useful case study for several reasons. India has recently been experiencing rapid growth and has several high technology sectors staffed by an absolutely large and highly educated middle class. At the same time an even larger share of its very big population is still working in low productivity agriculture and many of these people are living in extreme poverty. To reduce poverty and improve agricultural productivity India will need to create jobs in labour intensive production and distribution sectors to employ its vast army of unskilled workers. The second part of the paper outlines how industry structure and innovative performance have been progressing in India following the economic reforms of the early 90s and the changes to intellectual property law occasioned by the TRIPS agreement and membership of the World Trade Organisation. In the third section the focus turns to recent science, technology and innovation policy in India. A study of the country’s potential for innovation by the World Bank in 2007 argued that India must proceed on two fronts. In addition to considering how India’s growth prospects can be enhanced by world leading innovations, this volume placed great emphasis on inclusive innovation. This may involve mainly the diffusion and absorption of existing knowledge, but is designed to improve the lot of the poor. The World Bank report proposed a number of new policy directions aimed at speeding up innovation and technology diffusion in India. We attempt to record what changes have been made to innovation policy, foreign direct investment policy and diffusion policy in India in recent years and assess whether these are likely to be effective.