Innovation is considered to be a key driver of a growing economy. In the context of the Indian economy, innovation as a major driver has gained momentum. With the number of startups increasing faster in India, the discussion on the innovation ecosystem in India has occupied the center-stage. Innovation in India has the potential to play a major role in the fields of employment generation and poverty alleviation. Thus, there needs to be a detailed discussion on the innovation ecosystem in India and what is the government doing to promote it.
Doing Business rankings was forced to be paused following the detection of data irregularities in the previous reports. Following the assessment of previous 5 years’ reports by the internal audit, alterations were found in data from Azerbaijan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China in 2018 and 2020 reports. The review process did not identify any further specific data irregularities beyond those affecting these countries. With India currently being at 63rd position, the government is striving towards addressing various hurdles that are preventing the country from reaching the top 50 in this index.
The daily news of deteriorating air quality in Indian cities due to industrial pollution has become a regular affair. Recent studies show that industrial pollution in India has risen drastically and has led to a huge loss to the Indian economy in the last few years. Thus, there is an urgent need to understand and address this problem as early as possible and protect the environment from further damage.
With the advent of COVID-19 crisis, social distancing has become the new normal. This has caused a surge in adoption of digital banking and payment solutions across the world. In India, banks are rapidly moving towards digital transactions, regardless of infrastructural challenges and glitches. This has led to instances of outages. These rapid changes may also cause potential threats of increased cybercrimes, which are novel and needs to be addressed efficiently in a rapid manner.
In 2020, India lost arbitration cases to Vodafone and Cairn. These cases were against India’s retrospective taxation regime that came into effect on 2012. On December 21, the Indian government challenged the Vodafone case verdict before the Singapore Court. Given the retrospective taxes’ reputation of being unattractive for investors, the government could do well in removing such taxations – especially at the time when India is considering increasing investments to ensure Atmanirbhar Bharat. Alterations in this regard should be ensured to enable India to become a lucrative investment destination.
Though laws banning slaughtering of cows are not unique to India, the issue is highly contentious among its people – leading to social, economic and political implications across the country. The Indian community should come together to ensure that the needs of all are provided for, especially when there is a growing agrarian crisis as well as escalating social tensions within the country.
The RBI had recently released a report of the Internal Working Group that reviewed the current licensing and regulatory guidelines related to the ownership, control and corporate structure of private banks. This group’s most controversial recommendation was to allow corporate and industrial houses to promote and operate banks within the country. With banks playing a critical role in the economy, this recommendation, if implemented, will have large-scale implications in economic growth.
The Production Linked Incentive Scheme announced recently by the Indian government under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is an important initiative needed for achieving the ambitious goal of becoming a $5-trillion economy. It covers various sectors that already have a considerable advantage but without realising the full potential.
In a bid to move towards the market-based gas economy, series of measures were recently taken by the Indian government, including the approval of the Natural Gas Marketing Reforms and the launching of India’s first gas exchange. Though well-intended, these measures fail to cover the majority of gas producers, leading to lesser investments for the development of this sector. Measures need to be taken by the government to address these issues to increase demand for domestic gas and reduce import dependence.