'Focus on disruptive technologies to boost Make in India'

Focus needs to shift to disruptive technologies and innovation to boost Make in India, says a new study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water

make-in-india

The study finds a pivotal role for an accreditation entity such as (NABL) to certify the bulk of testing laboratories across the country

A new study, ‘Make in India: How could we be strategic?' has identified five key technologies as having the maximum potential to stimulate growth in Indian manufacturing: biotechnology, nanotechnology, micro and nanoelectronics, photonics, and advanced materials. These five knowledge intensive technology areas have wide-ranging applications across various industrial sectors with the potential to meet national security priorities, stimulate economic growth as well as meet social development imperatives.

The study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) was released days after the introduction of the National Capital Goods Policy during the Make in India Week programme in Mumbai. The National Capital Goods Policy includes a provision for a Technology Development Fund and other commitments such as increasing skill availability, ensuring mandatory standards and promoting growth and capacity building of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The study identifies how to deploy the fund most effectively.

Mr Vaibhav Gupta, junior research associate, CEEW, said, "Our analysis finds that a large share of the total manufacturing output (calculated in terms of gross value addition) can be impacted by the identified technologies: Biotechnology (15 percent), nanotechnology (86 percent), micro and nanoelectronics (100 percent), photonics (19 percent), and advanced materials (40 percent)."

However, the existing innovation support system to help translate research efforts across these identified technologies and other areas into commercial products is nascent in India. One key hurdle preventing India from becoming an innovation hub is the abysmal participation of the private sector in R&D, by way of financing. The private sector contributes to less than one-third of the overall R&D spending in the country due to the associated risks in investment and technology failure. Importing components and licensing of intellectual property (from overseas) is the current approach across the strategic sectors. In the long run, this presents the biggest threat to innovation in India.

The study recommends that the public sector must don the role of ‘risk capital' provider and move away from granting soft-loans for research to a royalty based system that allows for revenues to flow back to the public corpus, should the idea become a commercial success.

 

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