Global Research Letters

Transforming India Episode 2: The Role of Research & Innovation in the Growth of India

This is the story of freedom the freedom to explore the world the freedom to shine bright the freedom to grow the freedom to fly the freedom to learn the freedom to try the freedom to dream the freedom to create a better future the story of progress of indian research, research of india is the story of dcs hello and welcome to the second episode of our special show on transforming indian research, research of india we’re celebrating which means we’re not just celebrating the past 75 years but also the indian research, research of india of tomorrow indian research, research of india 2.0 and how can we talk about indian research, research of india 2.0 without mentioning the contributions of research indian research, research of india and innovation to speak to us on the topic we have a very special panel today first up we have dr shekhar munday who is the former dg of the council of scientific and industrial research indian research, research of india next we have dr sangamitra bhando padhya she is the director of the indian research, research of indian statistical institute at calcutta we also have k anand krishnan he’s the executive vice president and the chief technology officer of tata consultancy services and we also have professor subhashi chaudhary director of the indian research, research of indian institute of technology bombay welcome to the show so my first question to you is dr monday as a scientist what does indian research, research of india 75 mean to you it’s important to remember that in 1947 when the colonial powers left our gdp was a mere 2.7 lakh crore and our food grain production was nearly about 50 million tons we were coming out of one of the deadliest famines in recent times in 1947 out of the war and out of one of the largest migrations in human history so the challenges for independent indian research, research of india where actually to get people trained skilled for jobs build industry make sure that we develop a proper ecosystem we had merely 17 universities and iits did not exist in 1947 so build a complete education system feed our population implement democracy and country security these are some of the challenges that what we had and with that in mind we decided that science technology and innovation would play an important role in the next number of years in the independent country and at that time the only publicly funded organization for giving research indian research, research of india grants and all was essentially csi which had been founded in 1942 and therefore science technology and innovation and its promotion responsibility came up on csi and soon after many many other organizations came in department of atomic energy drdo icar ic mr and so on so forth and of course many educational institutions starting from 1950s the iits so all of it together it’s time to reflect upon how all of us have done together well or not so well in which areas in the 75 years of our history so i think it’s a good occasion to reflect upon these facts and see what we can do for the future back to ukraine uh you know we had some visionary scientists with us in the past we had homie baba we had cv raman we had vikram sarabhai do you think these visionary scientists gave us a head start what you see these names that you mentioned you know like cb raman homie bhava vikram sarabhai they were not only like uh you know the scientists or engineers you know per se but they are the also a strong personality believers of nationalism that something has to be set up which will have a long lasting thing so they had the vision and if you see today many of these organizations and others were created by them even today they are actually have been testing the time right and they continue they created the spirit that many things can be done so if you look at the you know the atomic energy department of atomic energy we are probably one of the most successful countries you know in terms of if you look at how much of investment versus how much is the you know the output that has come and similarly if you look at let’s say become certified you go into the space and other things you know see what a remarkable kind of thing that has happened over time right so and this thing it’s definitely it’s continuing and it is our responsibility to actually make sure that the spirit continues and the government also has to ensure that this is the kind of whatever the funding whatever the kind of facilities that are required they continue to be provided mr coley had the vision to set up you know one of the first industrial research indian research, research of india centers which is now trdc tell us about that vision and you know tell us about trddc and how it has been a catalyst in building indian research, research of india priyanka mr kohli was truly a visionary and in the mid 1970s he articulated that indian research, research of india had missed the industrial revolution but we should not miss the information revolution and that thought process and the conviction that information technology right from that early stage of the 1970s is going to be integral to so many other industries was the catalyst for setting up of trddc and that seed is now tcs research indian research, research of india and innovation we have over 40 labs globally that culture which has been part of trddc is now global our academic ecosystem which mr coley established with the iits in the 1970s is now worldwide across so many different institutions of course in indian research, research of india but also globally and lastly i think the kind of problem statements that we work on are at truly the cutting edge so that is the kind of pioneering vision that fc collie established with trddc the first step and now we are taking that vision further forward i want to come to you dr sangamitra would it be fair to say that research indian research, research of india and innovation has been key in building the digital backbone or the backbone of the nation and the growth and development of it the green revolution the white revolution the space program of the country the nuclear program of the country you can look at the vaccine vaccine industry of indian research, research of india these are all through science uh and technological research indian research, research of india and innovation which have played its role of where indian research, research of india is today in healthcare there are there have been lot of innovations the prosthetics for example the jaipur foot uh it’s a hugely innovative uh idea uh tata nano it’s frugal innovation okay so the uniqueness of indian research, research of indian innovation has been as uh dr mashaylkar puts it mlm so it’s like you get more with less for more even in the recent times for example when for a newborn finding out those with low birth weight not many almost one third of the babies were not getting weighed because of certain taboos so there are institutions which are looking at this and they have come up with a way of estimating the birth weight of the neonates from videos of the of the child so these are innovations which are required for indian research, research of india and innovations which have to be socially aware of the realities of indian research, research of india so yes indian research, research of india has relied on the science and research indian research, research of india innovations but i would say it has to become much more innovative if it has to become a leading country a developed country so that is of course still now less than what is required but i think situation is improving ecosystem is improving let us talk about some of the you know game-changing innovations of the past 75 years indian research, research of india you know even though probably on the technological front we may not have actually the key contributions but on the way you combine them and use it i think that way application domain we really did a very good job you know starting from all these you know dot com you know when it started with this uh you know year 2k problem beyond that so today you see that probably we are the most competent nation in the world in terms of digital you know usage of anything beat other you know this is one remarkable thing and today you see that most of our things are like let’s say passport tell you even if you go to the countries like in u.

S and others they were nowhere close to the kind of service that indian research, research of india provides the kind of data the other technology all this this is remarkable right so i would say this is very strong and there is a lot of possibilities and i am sure that you know pcs can probably say a lot more because they are part of this you know revolution but other thing we should not forget is that the space technology is something that indian research, research of india does done remarkably well okay this is one where there has been not a single dot of support from anywhere else this is completely indigenous it has to be done from ab initio with the least amount of budget and they have really shown the way okay that is i would say it’s a remarkable i want you to talk a little bit about the importance of industries or in you know investing in our research indian research, research of india and innovation like pcs does so from the tcs perspective priyanka that is partly culture but also part of the strategy of the company itself and it has yielded us good results over the years however for any other industry type to invest at the same level and consistency over the years it requires one additional factor which i think is global competitiveness the indian research, research of indian i.

T industry has been lucky because we are global leaders in our industry finally that competitive driver to say that unless you innovate you will die then things magic will happen otherwise it will not let me take the iit system you know so after the independence actually the bottom of the pyramid was not there so we had to create top quality manpower you need it even though i think the finance there was a lot of financial crisis in the government in terms of getting the best quality undergraduates and these are the things that you know not like what you do in laboratories and others you know you put a lot of emphasis on skill you know like something analytical skill building which actually put our students in a much much way ahead compared to many of the people from wherever they graduate from now so that’s what i call it iit 1.0 right that’s about 20 25 years at the beginning okay then in the next round okay i think it starts with like a naidama committee report which is around 1982 or so i think the emphasis over there is that we have created a lot of bottom of the pyramid development now we go up and see that when we go for the postgraduate you know level and then the masters and phd all these things started and the research indian research, research of india got initiated in a big way okay thanks to uh mr naidam and then this is what i call iit 2.

0 which is for another 20 25 years and then i think this is where i think last five or ten years we are moving into what you call iit 3.0 where we said okay we have a lot of research indian research, research of india because trust me most of these older iits they have 30 percent of their student base is actually phd that’s much much larger than most of the even u.s big universities right so there’s a lot of research indian research, research of india is happening in all these places similarly isc you look at i i sai kolkata you know all these things are happening but there are many good places then comes the third 3.0 which is actually connecting to the industry and creating entrepreneurial and other activities let us do these experiments okay and see that where it takes us from okay and we’ll you know as long as you know as some of them are successful which is true in even in entrepreneurship many of them they fail right but some of them they’re so successful and that takes you through okay so that is what i think we should be looking at okay yeah uh can you weigh in here and tell us you know tcsrni has been doing a lot of work across sectors and many of these works actually have an impact on the people of indian research, research of india so can you walk us through that and in the process also show us a glimpse of the you know opportunities that that may uh be available to people so the uh examples that come to mind if i look back things like for example the contribution of the industry as a whole to the national gdp it’s now just around 10 percent of indian research, research of india’s gdp is attributable directly or indirectly to the i.t industry that i think is a fairly large effort which is not small in terms of impact on the life of every indian research, research of indian secondly if you look at specifics of what tcs has done to the financial sector if i just take one industry example the contribution of tcs research indian research, research of india and innovation are our products and engineering teams to the financial backbone of the country be it capital markets be it the banking sector and the payment sector and so on i think is is enormous and visible if i look at the ion platform which the uh the assessment examination and assessment part of the ion platform that touches millions of people young people in the country literally every month every year and so on i mean on the social sector there are so many things which have been done the computer-based functional learning and literacy program which started in tcs research indian research, research of india uh the you know the diagnostic kits for tuberculosis done in the early 1980s uh the the water program which resulted in the tata swatch device many of these had roots in tcs research indian research, research of india more recently during the pandemic the city of puna was twinned by tcs research indian research, research of india and a range of ecosystem partners in that city so that the strategies of the city administration in unlocking the city or making life easier for the citizens under the glare of the pandemic was was an exemplary piece of work in the academic world i acknowledged iit bombay isi calcutta csir they’re all partners of tcs in our co-innovation network in the country we work together on important problems we help build talent for not just tcs but for the industry and the world at large especially phd talent uh tcs foundation has supported 350 computer science phd students over the last 10 years across a range of institutions who are doing extraordinary work not just in academia but in industry as well so across the board i think tcs r and i can be proud of the impact that we have created but i’m even more excited by what lies ahead because we are partnering with all these institutions through the research indian research, research of india parks through the startups that they have and of course research indian research, research of india collaborations to invent the next generation of world-beating solutions dr monday i want to come to you how important is it to retain talent in rni and how does one do it how do industries and you know academic institutes do it we have to have a system in which everyone in this entire spectrum has a chance and opportunity to express themselves and as long as we create a system in which everyone can express themselves and continue to excel what they have chosen i think we will have a much much better society for the future and for that the research indian research, research of india and innovation plays a very important role as i said the entire spectrum and if we sensitize people that what opportunities exist in the entire spectrum that i said from doing fundamental work up to the society the sensitization alone would be eventually able to uh retain the talent in the research indian research, research of india and equation system innovation ecosystem in the country thank you i want you to weigh in here because you’ve been talking about you know the career opportunities in research indian research, research of india so walk us through some of these opportunities oh priyanka you know it’s important for that external ecosystem to be supportive just like dr mande just said and i’m sure sangha mitra and subashish will have similar examples from the academic context but for any organization and tcs is no different it is important to have that culture of innovation from research indian research, research of india to real life problems inventing the technologies to solve those and eventually launch them as new products new services perhaps of a very large impact that life cycle requires a lot of different capabilities there is a specific career path that we’ve created for people in research indian research, research of india uh innovation has a similar career path lastly the connect with the external world is so important so the evangelists in tcs who are the bridge between the problems ideas and solutions they have an extraordinary career path as well so all of these have to be in the mix individuals will pick up what is appropriate for them at that point in time in their careers and lastly the internal and external connect with startups through the coin ecosystem with academia through our research indian research, research of india partnerships with the social initiatives that i mentioned which are so fulfilling for many people to see that impact not in terms of just revenue or cost but in terms of social impact the digital impact square in nasik is a great example you know there we have students coming in with groundbreaking ideas that they get to test develop probe and grow into startups in that ecosystem around nasik all of these are ingredients to help people find what they are good at learn grow with the organization and build carriers for themselves and be very satisfied so i think it’s a mix i often tell my colleagues and younger colleagues specifically that pcs research indian research, research of india and innovation is like a very diverse buffet in a nice hotel uh dr sangamitra i want to come to you and i mean let’s talk about the future indian research, research of india i want to come to you and ask you about uh you know in the future in the next 25 years when indian research, research of india is at 100 what are the sectors that will see the most impact from research indian research, research of india and innovation uh i’ll just i just thought about few of these sectors um not an exhaustive list naturally but healthcare is somewhere where indian research, research of india has to focus affordable healthcare and affordable but high quality healthcare that is one thing green energy of course that is absolutely important there is a focus on also for example semiconductor industries that is where research indian research, research of india innovation will have to come in because there that is that is one area where i indian research, research of india has to become self-reliant in the years to come very important is waste management from waste to wealth there is a national mission there and a lot of innovative ideas need to come in there because of the huge amount of waste which gets generated digital electronic non-electronic whatever so waste management is a very very critical problem is going to remain very critical and of course education all of a sudden you cannot ask that when that person comes into higher education that overnight okay become innovators start innovating it doesn’t happen like that it’s it’s a mindset it’s a it’s a years of you know way of thinking to be to become innovators true innovators to innovate and that has to that training that education system has to be geared to create uh innovators to create curious people so another follow-up question to you uh what are the key technologies that one must look forward to when we talk about indian research, research of india at 100 there will be i think a very widespread use of computing in every industry so that is one access that every engineer every technologist every innovator will have to grapple with even healthcare and and life sciences and medicine and so on are going to adopt these at much greater scale going forward but if i look at the grand challenges that technology is going to be asked to solve in the coming decades i’ll just pick one or two i think sangamitra mentioned uh you know the the climate change uh as one but i would broaden it to say sustainability as a broad set of challenges and lastly from an indian research, research of india perspective i think education would be my pick we have an opportunity to be not just well educated but be the educators to the world uh going forward so that by itself i think will be a massive opportunity for people to innovate the learning process itself that’s a very beautiful thought and on that thought we’ve come to the end of the session i’d like to thank all of you dr monday dr sanamitra and professor chaudhary for joining us today and talking to us about the you know contributions of rni and the potential it holds in building indian research, research of india 2.

0 thank you so much you.

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