The winds of change are blowing through India and one does not need opinion- or exit polls to gauge the mood of the voter. The country wants to usher in the kind of political governance that is accountable, transparent, and performance-oriented.
The lacunae in our present governance and economic models have thwarted the aspirations of a billion Indians. Runaway inflation has eaten into the savings of the common man, lack of meaningful economic reforms has hurt business and industry and a slowing economy has led to job losses. Basic needs like health, education and a clean environment have remained unmet.
The Indian economy needs a complete overhaul and the No. 1 priority of the new government will be to navigate India towards a path of sustainable economic growth. It will have to embrace the aspirations of the common man and work on narrowing the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged.
To accomplish these goals, the new government will have to come up with new and innovative solutions to tackle the current challenges and create an enabling ecosystem that supports the development agenda.
To begin with, the government will have to focus on regulatory reforms that will improve the ease of doing business, reduce transaction costs and expedite approval timelines. We need to move away from over-regulation to a system of self-regulation. The regulatory process should be re-engineered to replace the inordinately lengthy, tiered approval system with time-bound ‘deemed approvals’ and ‘automatic approvals’. There is also a need to make regulations unambiguous and transparent so that their interpretation is uniform across the land.
FDI requires an environment of fast-track project clearance and unambiguous tax and compliance regulations. These measures alone can attract and augment FDI that can contribute to GDP growth.
It is time for a paradigm shift in administrative governance through increased application of smart IT platforms for e-procurement, e-tendering, e-documentation, etc. Several schemes to address myriad challenges have failed in the past because of a fundamental shortcoming: The governance mechanism to deliver these schemes is mired in inefficiency and unaccountability. This needs to be rectified. A good example is Tamil Nadu’s IT-enabled drugs procurement model that has ensured that its citizens get access to affordable, generic essential drugs. Such a model should be replicated throughout India.
Similarly, there is a need for a wider application of the Aadhar unique ID programme. Aadhar has the potential to provide a strong platform for e-governance and e-healthcare. The next government has the opportunity to build on the 600 million Aadhar cards and create a unique e-delivery model across a plethora of services.
Science and technology is of strategic importance to India’s future leadership. India needs to step up its investment in research and translational innovation. We must identify key areas in which to build world-class scientific and technological excellence, for example, genomics, nanoscience, analytics, synthetic biology, information technology, space technology etc.
Incentivising innovation and IP creation is important for India’s future growth prospects. Enabling entrepreneurs to propel ideas into sustainable businesses will add value to our economy in the long run.
The government should give R&D a boost by providing a 10-year tax holiday on products developed indigenously, provide tax breaks for venture funding, and allow zero duty on R&D equipment.
Promote Green Tech
The new government needs to leverage the power of biotechnology in promoting green technologies.
Energy independence must become a driving mantra to reduce our precarious balance of payments, which is so vulnerable to the vagaries of fossil fuel resources. If Brazil could achieve this through sugarcane-based biofuels, we can also aim to do so through newer forms of renewable energy, including solar, wind and biofuels that can light up energy-starved rural India.
Sanitation is another big challenge for India where only half the population has access to toilets. We need rapid and large-scale solutions based on bio-toilets that can eliminate the need for sewers, sanitation treatment plants and water. Innovative bioconversion systems can convert solid waste into renewable energy and fertilisers, eliminating landfills.
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(This story appears in the 30 May, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)
Your plea: "Incentivising innovation and IP creation is important for India’s future growth prospects. Enabling entrepreneurs to propel ideas into sustainable businesses will add value to our economy in the long run" is timely Madam. In a broader sense, innovation is important to the advancement of society around the world. New and innovative products can increase the standard of living and provide people with opportunities to improve their lives. Breakthroughs in medicine and technology have significantly improved living standards around the world. Innovation has also lead to significant improvements in the way businesses operate and has closed the gaps between different markets. Innovation in engineering: Innovation in engineering is much more than research and development. It encompasses an end-to-end process, such that it extracts value through implementation. Innovation involves: • creating or generating new activities, products, processes and services • seeing things from a different perspective • moving outside the existing paradigms • improving existing processes and functions • disseminating new activities or ideas • adopting things that have been successfully tried elsewhere Innovation covers the area from minor quality improvements to ‘cutting edge’ products and services. “If we can’t find ways to inspire a generation of engineers with varied skills, this is going to be a principle obstacle for growth in our slowly recovering global economy” said Lidia Brito, Director of the Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building at UNESCO. “A recent UNESCO Engineering Report shows a marked shortage of engineers in many countries. Although the general number of engineering students is increasing worldwide, the proportion who enroll in engineering, as compared to other disciplines, is concernedly dropping. We need hands-on challenges like Fly Your Ideas to motivate young innovators about the potential of engineering in helping to find practical solutions to issues the world may face in the near future.” Such innovation may be under threat from a skills gap that could be hitting the economy hard. It will see high tech companies face a shortfall of 40 million of the skilled workers needed by 2020 and beyond, with aerospace likely to suffer, along with motor and the medical equipment sectors. Charles Champion, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus and Fly Your Ideas Patron, says: “These future-focused and disruptive concepts prove that engineering isn’t just about technical skills – it’s about having an innovative mindset and a creative approach. But for our industry to succeed in making aviation carbon neutral by 2020, we need a constant source of fresh and inventive ideas from the innovators of today and those of tomorrow. Our future solutions are here right now – and through projects like ‘Fly Your Ideas’, we are helping them to become a reality for the future.” Innovation is extremely important to a country like India as it is closely related to productivity. Although there are a number of avenues to increased productivity, innovation is the most significant factor. Creativity is seeing what everyone sees and thinking what no one else has thought before,Invention is transforming those new thoughts into tangible ideas Innovation goes even further, involving preparedness to mix with the commercial world to turn novel ideas into products . The expertise of the engineering profession is vital to convert innovative ideas into reality for common use. Many of the comforts humankind enjoys today have been the result of innovative engineers. Examples include electrical appliances, transportation, buildings, telecommunications and urban infrastructure. Innovation and technology have become two inseparable words in the annals of human history. Engineers drive technology and are therefore at the forefront of innovation. In India there were efforts to harness the talent and innovative spirit among people by organisations like National Innovation Foundation(NIF),National Research Development Corporation(NRDC),TePP etc. besides some private initiatives(Spark the Rise) etc. In a vast country like ours these are piecemeal. I am glad to read the news item in January this year: Rs 5000 Crore Innovation Fund in India “National Innovation Council Chairman Sam Pitroda today said a Rs 5,000 crore fund to support innovations would be launched soon. "We have an innovation fund that we are launching... a Rs 5,000 crore innovations fund with focus on affordability, scalability and sustainability," Pitroda said on the sidelines of an event here. "The real innovation has to come from the bottom of the pyramid," he added.” The amount spent for innovation should help to shape the beneficiaries as entrepreneurs. I have a project: Innovation Centres in Engineering Colleges: Engineers are best suited to innovate. Unfortunately most of the Engineering Colleges like Infrastructure facilities(like Good Workshop, Electronics Lab etc). A Project,” INNOVATION CENTRES) in Engineering Colleges can be started under the Rs 5000 Innovation Fund. Selected Colleges can be provided to start a good workshop and Electronics Lab. This way the Students can undertake innovative projects and come out with good gadgets. Later they can patent them and go for commercialization. This is the best way to spend Innovation Fund so that there will be productivity and promotion of Entrepreneurship. Creativity, Innovation and Invention are the Pillars of Progress. Today in Industry, INNOVATE OR PERISH is the MANTRA. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),Indiaon May 30, 2014
That's right. And this is the time to rejuvenate all those things to enrich. And this govt has to elaborate the Aadhar card further to ensure this as nation's identity.on May 29, 2014