Sustainable Development Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) aims to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” by 2030. This goal is a crucial enabler for India to achieve its economic and human development objectives. As one of the fastest growing major economies, India needs robust infrastructure and thriving technology and manufacturing sectors to sustain its growth trajectory. However, the country faces significant challenges in meeting SDG 9 targets.
Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure has eight targets spread across three broad categories:
Building Resilient Infrastructure
This includes developing high-quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being. Targets under this include expanding access to reliable transportation and modern energy systems.
Promoting Inclusive And Sustainable Industrialization
This aims to significantly raise industry’s share of employment and GDP in line with national priorities. It focuses on inclusive, sustainable growth and calls for resource efficiency in production processes.
Fostering Innovation And Research
This encompasses enhancing scientific research, upgrading technological capabilities and encouraging innovation. Increased public and private R&D spending, more researchers and improved technology access are key targets.
India’s Performance On Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
India has made substantive progress on some SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) indicators, while lagging on several others.
Infrastructure Growth And Investment
India has significantly expanded its road, rail, air and energy infrastructure over the past decade. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana increased rural road connectivity. Railways expanded rapidly with the Dedicated Freight Corridor. Major ports capacity grew annually. Electricity access increased to 99% of households. Renewable energy capacity reached 150 GW. However, infrastructure spending remains below requirements. Logistics costs are high at 13-14% of GDP. Rural electrification remains incomplete. Poor quality and regional disparities persist in infrastructure access.
Manufacturing And Industrialization
The contribution of manufacturing to GDP increased from 15% in 2015 to 18% in 2020. ‘Make in India’ spurred domestic manufacturing and FDI. Production-linked incentive schemes in 14 sectors gave impetus to local value addition. However, manufacturing job creation remains below targets. MSME sector faced challenges. Resource efficiency and adoption of clean technologies remained low.
Technology And Innovation Ecosystem
India is the third largest technology startup hub with over 100 unicorns. R&D spending doubled over the decade crossing 1% of GDP. Strong engineering talent base, government incentives and digital boom are driving technology progress. However, research quality needs improvement. Commercialization and industry linkages are weak. Inequality in digital access persists. Intellectual property development is below potential.
India faces considerable deficits in meeting Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Key imperatives are:
Bridging Infrastructure Gaps
Large infrastructure financing gap estimated at $200 billion/year. Low construction quality leading to poor longevity of assets. Slow pace of logistics enhancement and ease of transport. Low renewable energy storage capabilities. Need for universal, affordable internet access.
Promoting Sustainable And Inclusive Industrial Growth
Raising manufacturing to 25% of GDP including job creation for youth. Integrating MSMEs in technology value chains. Implementing cleaner production. Closing gender gaps, geographical disparities.
Strengthening Research and Development
Increase R&D spend to at least 2% of GDP. Build talent pool and STEM capabilities. Promote university-industry partnerships. Support technology commercialization. Enhance IP generation and protection.
The Road Ahead
India has strong Demographic dividend, rapid urbanization, digitization and rising aspirations that necessitate a robust SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) ecosystem. Significant policy support and public-private partnerships are vital to finance infrastructure, promote industrial competitiveness, foster innovation and build capabilities for shared prosperity. Technology and sustainability must be central to the growth model. India is well poised to meet its SDG 9 commitments through continued economic reforms, skill development and global collaborations.
Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure provides a framework for India to build next-generation infrastructure, create future-ready jobs in manufacturing and position itself at the global innovation frontier. The country is making steady progress, but focused efforts are needed to bridge current gaps between targets and outcomes. India’s young, tech-savvy population provides a solid foundation. Continued policy reforms, public and private investments along with global partnerships can accelerate SDG 9 progress and enable India to reap the demographic dividend. Achieving Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure will be instrumental for India to embark on a sustainable development pathway that leaves no one behind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure and why is it important for India?
A: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive industrialization and fostering innovation. It is crucial for India to achieve its economic goals and improve competitiveness.
Q: What are some key infrastructure achievements and gaps in India?
A: Achievements include expanded roads, electricity access and renewable energy. But gaps persist in quality, financing and logistics.
Q: How can India promote more inclusive and sustainable industrial growth?
A: By raising manufacturing share in GDP and employment, integrating MSMEs in value chains, adopting cleaner technologies and reducing regional disparity.
Q: What steps can boost innovation and research in India?
A: Increasing R&D spending, building STEM capabilities, promoting academia-industry linkages and supporting technology commercialization.
Q: What is needed to accelerate India’s Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure progress?
A: More policy reforms, public-private partnerships, infrastructure financing, skill development, and global collaborations focused on technology and sustainability.