BANGALORE: The greatest advantage India has over other nations in terms of innovation is that Indian engineers instinctively create “more from less,” said R A Mashelkar, former chief of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
“It was Indian engineers who managed to develop an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine worth $10,000 for just $600. This happened here in Bangalore at General Electric. Creating more from less and innovating in adversity is the greatest advantage we have. The Germans, for instance, can only think about more with more,” Mashelkar said.
The 71-year old former national research professor was delivering a talk on ‘Reinventing India as an Innovation Nation’ on the occasion of the 87th birthday of former Union Minister M V Rajasekharan on Thursday.
Mashelkar said India, as a country, is waking up to the need for innovation. “Innovation-led growth need not be linear. To make it inclusive, we need rapid growth. We must understand the aspirations of young Indians,” he said. Mashelkar was the director general of CSIR from 1995-2006.
He pitched the concept of ‘affordable excellence’ while rejecting the purported paradox associated with it. “Many believe anything that is affordable is not excellent and that anything that is excellent cannot be affordable. In Mumbai, I saw a rich, fashionable lady and a girl from a slum talking on mobile phones. This happened because of policy, technological and business model innovations. This is the kind of affordable excellence that India needs,” he said.