India – why are we so behind ?

By | Ramesh Ranjan | Editor

There has not been a single invention from India in the last 60 years that became a household name globally, nor any idea that led to “earth shaking” invention to “delight global citizens”, IT czar N R Narayana Murthy said this some time back.

It created an uproar in India. Politicians, Academicians, Business Leaders were all up in arms and disagreed with Narayan Murthy because their egos were bruised. But look at the reality. Look at these rankings and where does India stand :

Best Countries for Business Ranking

Forbes has come out with its list of Best Countries for Business 2018. The top 10 Ranked Countries are :

  1. United Kingdom
  2. New Zealand
  3. Netherlands
  4. Sweden
  5. Canada
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Denmark
  8. Ireland
  9. Singapore
  10. Switzerland

They have used a variety of parameters to rank these countries.

It judged 153 countries on 15 factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, infrastructure, market size, political risk, quality of life, workforce, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape and investor protection. Each category was equally weighted.

India has been ranked as 62nd best business spot.  Smaller countries like Israel, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Chile and Malta are well ahead of India in the list.

Here is the full list of Rankings

The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2017

Here is the list of Top 10

  1., United States
  2. Tesla, United States
  3., United States
  4. Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, China
  5. Netflix, United States
  6. Incyte,  United States
  7. Hindustan Unilever, India
  8. Asian Paints, India
  9. Naver, South Korea
  10. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, United States

Here is the full list of Rankings

Companies are ranked by their innovation premium: the difference between their market capitalization and the net present value of cash flows from existing businesses (based on a proprietary algorithm from Credit Suisse HOLT). The difference between them is the bonus given by equity investors on the educated hunch that the company will continue to come up with profitable new growth.

Click here to know how they were ranked

There are 2 Indian Companies on Top 10 but only 3 of them on the Top 100 companies. That’s an abysmal 3%  of the Top 100 Innovative Companies in the world.


Every year Fast Company lists out Inspiring Leaders who are shaping the Future of Business in Creative Ways.

“Our goal is to discover and highlight the people around the world who are not just thinking differently, but also putting their ideas into action to create new opportunities, redefine the rules of modern business, and drive change within their own industries and beyond,” said Fast Company editor Robert Safian, in a statement. “In today’s rapidly evolving world, it is creative and innovative leaders like these 100 who will continue to move the needle and inspire us all.”

Fast Company has been publishing its Most Creative list since 2009.

Here is the list of Leaders arranged in alphabetical order.

There are hardly a few Indians in the list of more than 100+ Inspiring Leaders.

India – It’s time to reflect

In every survey & ranking India is seen at the bottom of the rankings & in poor light. We are the worlds second largest population & 5th largest economy. Often boast about demographic dividends, intellectual capital, power of youth, ancient civilisation etc. But sadly in the world commity of nations, we are way far behind other countries. Even smaller countries are ahead of us. Why is it so?

The environment in India is just not about right. The government policies are lopsided and do not promote merit. Education system is outdated and largely seen as a money spinner. Our curriculum & delivery is outdated. Its more of cramming knowledge than application of knowledge.  Our government agencies are highly bureaucratic and corrupt. Our Industrial houses are short term focussed and hardly have a vision and long term focus.

There is a mismatch between the rhetoric on bettering India’s research output and how much it is willing to spend for Research & Development. India’s gross research spending has been increasing over the years but the country’s total expenditure on R&D continues to be less than 1 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) when other emerging economies, including China and Brazil, invest more money on this head. It has, in fact, been showing a consistent decline since 2008-09.

This has largely been due to Government impetus and push in Government Institutions but investments from Private Sectors & Corporate houses has been very disappointing.

The flight of Foreign Investments and Companies to India has been largely due to the labour arbitrage (cheap labour). We are mostly seen at the bottom of the Value Chain and largely exploited for working to serve others and in return earn Foreign Exchange to pay our Foreign Debts.

At a time when we should be thinking of :

  • How do we create our Countries Human Capital into a source of sustained competitive advantage?

  • What sort of capability must our people have, not only to respond to the turbulence which other countries, our competitors and customers create, but to create the turbulence to which others must respond?

Our leaders are busy debating & planning for :

  • Visiting Temples and fighting over Building Temples
  • Linguistic Divide
  • Religion /Caste Politics (pitting one vs another)
  • State Flags
  • Increased Reservations
  • Increased subsidies
  • Love jihads
  • Who eats what, what to wear
  • Banning films
  • De-digitize (no – Aadhar, EVM) and take us back to manual transactions
  • Freedom of expression / Fundamental Right
  • Organised loot (it is estimated that 4.5 lakh crores of illegal money is stashed away abroad in black money and mostly by politicians & influential businessman)
  • Look at our discourses, our debates on newspapers, televisions & radios. There is nothing constructive. Its only portraying the ugly side of India.

Look at how other Countries, Leaders are seriously looking forward & working towards making their citizens happy and providing a better quality of life:

  • Dubai U.A.E. has appointed Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama as the country’s first Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence.
  • UAE has also appointed a Minister of State for Happiness.
  • In 2013, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro created a “Vice Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness“, to coordinate all of the country’s poverty alleviation programmes, the Washington Post reported.
  • In another South American country, Ecuador, a former cabinet minister was named the “Secretary for the Presidential Initiative for the Construction of a Society of Good Life” in 2013.
  • Meanwhile in Japan, Minister for Women’s Empowerment Haruko Arimura also has an unofficial title to her name: “Minister of Toilets“.
  • There is a “Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government” in Malaysia
  • There was  a unique ministry in Singapore – “Minister Mentor“, which was held by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew between 2004 and 2011.

What better Leader can we have than His Majesty King of Bhutan Sharing his Vision of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan

Do we have any such forward looking visionary leader in our country. The closest being our current Prime Minister Narendra Modi but sadly in his / party priorities are misplaced and is becoming more of rhetoric than action. Does the Government – Central or State bother about the welfare of the common man? Do they work in tandem to ensure that the Country is moving in the right direction and the quality of life of the common man improves every year?

Every one is working towards their own vested interests – the politicians, the administrators, the corporate honchos and the public at large.

Each passing day our faith is eroding. No wonder there is so much of brain drain and flight of human capital. When will India rise to the occasion and will it ever…. Is there light at the end of the tunnel ………will we live to see that dream……..Only time will tell…..



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Ramesh Ranjan

A Business Consultant, Executive Coach, Visiting Professor, Content Manager & Editor. Ex IIM NASSCOM LRC, ex VP NHRD Bangalore Chapter, ex VP-HR@Schneider Electric, Head HR@ APC, Caltex,Co Systems, Natural Remedies.

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