Innovation Ecosystem in India

[op-ed snap] The tech frontier for developing nations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Capturing the Digital Revolution

Context

The rapid technological transformation will be a key feature of the economy of the future. At the national, regional and global levels, frontier technologies are offering promising new opportunities, but are also introducing new policy challenges.

Innovation

  • Technological innovation has boosted economic performance, improved efficiency, accelerated the pace of globalization, and transformed human society in the process.
  • It is fundamentally altering how goods, services and ideas are exchanged
  • As the costs are rapidly declining, making digital technologies even more affordable and accessible, they will transform people’s lives and livelihoods.
  • Digital technologies have unlocked new routes to prosperity through agriculture, manufacturing, trade in services, the linking of informal and formal sectors, and domestic interconnectivity. 
  • Low- and middle-income countries around the world now have an opportunity to build new industries, deliver better services, and improve peoples’ lives.

Challenges

  • Access to poor – These gains may not reach the world’s poorest people. An estimated three billion people could still lack internet access by 2023, and many more will have little or no opportunity to reap the benefits of digital technologies. 
  • It demands renewed policy cooperation at all levels of governance. 
  • The latest wave of technological change is broad, and it is coming fast.
  • Digital technologies can also entrench existing forms of exclusion, disrupt livelihoods, and provide new tools for the powerful to abuse and exploit the weak.
  • Developing countries have more difficulties because they are already grappling with the challenges of low human capital, ineffective institutions, and a difficult business environment

Optimism

  • The Pathways for Prosperity Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development has shown that developing countries can still harness the new wave of frontier technologies for the benefit of all. 
  • All countries will need to prepare themselves for new and upcoming technologies, by maximizing inclusiveness and guiding markets toward the right types of innovation. 
  • Governments should start by recognizing that the challenge is not just about “digital policy.” Rather, it calls for a “whole-of-economy”— a “most-of-society”—approach
  • Support for marginalized groups will need to be built into the policy process from the outset.
  • National governments should start planning for digital readiness in four areas: infrastructure, human capital, policy and regulation, and finance
  • Regional-level policymakers — need to start building momentum on policy cooperation.
  • At the global level, cross-border issues associated with frontier technologies will need to be addressed multilaterally. Multilateral organizations should be developing an antenna for identifying new technologies and development challenges. 
  • More must be done to mitigate technological disruptions to employment, boost investment in human capital, and ensure fair taxation in the new digital economy.

Multilateralism

  • Countries have been coming together in global fora to safeguard public goods and pursue collective prosperity. 
  • To capture the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to strengthen public-private partnerships and make our economies more efficient and flexible. 
  • For its part, Indonesia recognizes the need for policies to manage the new digital economy
  • The key will be to put people at the center of the agenda. Beyond furnishing workers with the right skills, we must create a digital world where all people have a voice.

Conclusion

  • The challenge we face is also an opportunity. Digital and frontier technologies have enormous potential to improve government administration and the delivery of public services. 
  • It is time for a new kind of conversation involving governments, business leaders, innovators, civil-society organizations and citizens alike. 
  • Developing countries must ride the wave of technological change, rather than wait for it to crash down on us.
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