Bengaluru ecosystem makes Karnataka most innovative state


(IANS) As India’s tech hub, Bengaluru’s ecosystem has catapulted Karnataka as the most innovate state in the country by the think-tank Niti Aayog, experts said.

“Bengaluru has created an innovation ecosystem. The tech hub is very supportive of innovation. It’s not any wonder that the think tank ranked the southern state at the top in its innovative index,” India’s biotech icon Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw told IANS here.

In the country’s first innovation ranking of states, the Central government’s think-tank on October 17 placed Karnataka on top for its performance indicators such as human capital, investment, knowledge workers and knowledge output.

“The state tops the innovative index not only because of IT (information technology), but also disciplines like biotechnology, in which 50 percent of the start-ups are incubated in Bengaluru,” asserted Shaw, who had set up Biocon four decades ago (1978) and turned it into a global drug maker with Rs 5,659 crore revenue in fiscal 2018-19.

Drawn on the lines of the global Innovative Index, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Haryana have topped the chart on parameters like innovation capability, challenges and opportunities and actions needed to be taken for promoting innovation.

The index is based on seven enablers, including two performance indicators.

The report said Karnataka has done well in terms of innovation capability with policy changes driving opportunities.

The state, however, ranked poorly in safety and legal environment and fifth in business environment.

“Replicating the ecosystem built in Bengaluru is the best bet for creating an innovation culture in a state. Innovation in India is city led, like Bengaluru for Karnataka, Hyderabad for Telangana and Pune for Maharashtra,” noted Shaw.

According to IT industry apex body Nasscom Vice-President K.S. Vishwanathan, the tech-savvy state spawned conducive policies to make Bengaluru an innovation centre and built the start-up ecosystem for others to follow.

“The genesis of the start-up ecosystem in the original Silicon Valley in the US dates back to 30 years, thanks to the academia and industry collaboration. We need to bridge this gap for the next wave of innovation to disrupt the present technologies,” Vishwanathan told IANS.

The presence of reputed state-run institutes like IISc, IIM-B and IIIT-B and research and development (R&D) centres in diverse sectors spanning IT, biotech, nanotech, defence, aerospace, space, pharma and about 500 multinationals has led to a lot of innovation in software services and products, hardware, manufacturing and agriculture.

According to Niti Aayog”s assessment, Karnataka emerged as the top innovator because of “the prevalence of numerous higher educational institutions, research labs and a cluster of businesses that help drive innovation forward three of the top five major states are from southern India”.

“Co-working spaces even at metro stations is a testament to the state’s support to invention, innovation and creation,” added Shaw.

The state’s top-ranking has made even Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa tweet: “Proud moment, as the state tops Niti Aayog”s innovation index.”

“It has been made possible due to synergy among the government, investors and the people who are open to innovation and ideas,” said the chief minister.

As the IT industry representative, the National Association of Software and Services (Nasscom) has embarked upon bringing the academia, the industry and the government on a single platform to foster innovation and research and development in the state and the country.

“We are working to bring them on board from the silos they are operating or functioning at least on the tech side. Silicon Valley would not have been what it is today because of the collaboration of the industry, academia and the start-up ecosystem,” recalled Vishwanathan.

The robust ecosystem has enabled the state to set up a whopping 57,000 start-up incubator and corporate accelerator seats in the state capital alone.

“Besides funding, the state government should give market access to the start-ups by pitching for their products and services, relaxing procurement norms,” noted Vishwanathan.

The innovation in the state is also driven by the Bangalore Life Sciences cluster, a centre of excellence in biological research and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms.

The think tank hoped the states across the country will deploy the innovation progress report to devise strategies, set yardsticks and foster a climate of innovation.

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