Another India

While a young arrogant son of a political family of Maharashtra is becoming dangerous to India’s integrity, terrorists’ attacks have become so frequent with no visible action plan from a spineless government, a party supreme asks to support a person just as the culprit comes from his community and while some trade associations irresponsibly announce the possibility of job cut, the dedicated groups of scientists, many companies, technocrats as well as individuals are working hard and moving ahead in various field in innovative ways to make India strong and prosperous.

The successful launch of Chandrayaan-I show-pieced the capability of the Indian scientists and raised ISRO’s brand image to a higher level. India has joined the club of the US, Russia, China and Europe. India must go to exploit the space business commercially. It can be the launch business or the supply of high-resolution images in various bands (remote sensing). As some one suggests, the space business can not only be good business but also help India project its “soft power”. New developments at CSIR, DRDO, and other research laboratories have a lot of commercial potentials. I wish the industry takes lesson from the US and improves upon its interactions with these labs and institutes of national importance.

Indian automakersTata Motors as well as Mahindra and Mahindra are consolidating its research and development strength with expansion and acquisitions abroad. Can one imagine even that an 8000 strong team of automotive engineers and designers in Tata group- JLR, Tata Motors, TCS and INCAT- is busy in automobile engineering and research work? An integration of the top-notch automotive technology and development skills of JLR and INCAT, low-cost and innovative product development and manufacturing expertise with Tata Motors and TACO, and the offshoring and project management abilities of TCS can take the world automotive industry by storm.

Mahindra & Mahindra also plans to invade global markets with its products and building up its strength of its in-house engineering and design services. It started in January 2006 with acquisition of Plexion Technologies (whose clientele included Honda and DaimlerChrysler) followed by Italian auto designing and body engineering company GR Grafica Ricerca Design and another Italian auto design studio, Engines Engineering (which specializes in smaller engines primarily for two wheelers) this year. M&M is still on lookout for acquisitions to build up its R&D capabilities. The $34 million Mahindra Engineering now has a headcount of 1,041 engineers. As claimed, Mahindra Engineering is growing at 40% per annum and its businesses range from design to delivery of auto parts.

Tata Motors has finally found a place for its Nano in Gujarat. However, as some suggest Tata Motors ideally would have produced Nano in Argentina or Brazil where its close collaborator Fiat has spare manufacturing capacity. Are the Indian politicians listening? They can only obstruct, delay, but can’t kill the entrepreneurial zeal of Indians.

However, will one day Tata Motors and M&M sell its vehicles in US or China in big way as Japanese or Koreans or Europeans have done it? It is certainly a possibility with extreme pressure on US economy. But the Indian companies must produce vehicles with the best of technologies related to fuel-efficiency, emission control, and safety. It is only possible with some breakthrough innovations. As some one wrote in ‘Busisness Today‘, “By design or default, Tata’s business plan for the Rs 1-lakh car has made the Nano a perfect candidate for a Paul Krugman success story. The American economist and popular columnist won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008 for his trade theory, which explains trade between countries endowed with similar resources. It also explains trade in similar products.”

Scarcity of electricity is the biggest hold up for industrialization down to rural hutment. India is blessed by being geographically in the latitudes where the sun shines for 250 to 300 days of the year. That is 5,000 trillion kilowatt hours of radiation for India. Moser Baer, a significant and serious player in the solar PV industry, is ramping up its core R&D and high-tech manufacturing competencies and aiming for a global presence with the overall objective to bring down PV electricity costs to match conventional energy price points. It is investing of $3.6 billion (about Rs 17,280 crore) in the solar photovoltaic business.

But for the great talent among its young engineers, scientists and technocrats, MNCs in hundreds would not opened its R&D centers in India. Through a Google alert, I find every day one or the other companies from abroad adding up its R&D centres in India.

Many Indians in many areas of activities are putting their best for adding to its growth and prosperity. While Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed fourth generation uranium enrichment gas centrifuges with an output of more than 10 times the earlier design, a promoter is working on weed cultivation and sells 15,000 tonnes of dry seaweed. Can one think of the initiative taken to have weed cultivation on thousands of the barges in Kerala and develop a business?

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