“Innovation and technical capability are the key drivers of economic growth. India has the potential to become an innovation and technology powerhouse. However, it needs the right environment to reap the benefits,” he said empasising on the need for R&D in the country.
The country’s overall R&D investment is less than 1% of GDP, with private sector accounting for less than 0.33% of GDP versus a desirable 1%, he added.
Speaking at the India Innovation Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), Deshpande called on the private sector to partner with the government and invest in R&D, skill development with a focus on job creation. According to him, job creation will be the biggest challenge in the country.
According to various estimates, India will have the youngest population in the world by 2025. “For India’s young generation to be industry ready there is an urgent need to change the curriculum according to the needs of the industry and invest in human capital through education, knowledge and skill development initiatives,” he added.
Terming GST as a game changer, he said it will make the industry more transparent and aid in ease of doing business. He hoped that ultimately there will be only one tax slab for GST, as prevalent in most other countries.
More than 20 companies, including the startups are participating in the two-day summit. India’s start-up ecosystem is developing at a rapid pace. The country has more than 19,000 technology startups and the sector has seen funding up to $3.5 billion in the first half of 2015 alone. According to Tracxn data, India venture capital backed companies received a total funding of $12 billion in the past two years.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder of tech-gaint Infosys emphasised on the use of ‘innovation index’ for the futurish outlook about the economy.