Articles

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Knowledge Sharing of the Future

Current period of human history (the economy in particular) is dominated by IPR’s. IPR’s are sold at a very good premium. Copyrights held by music, media and publishing industry fetch enormous amount of money. The court cases all around the world for enforcing the IPR’s are large in number. Even many basic science researchers give special attention to patentability of their findings and patent first before going for publishing the scientific papers. Scientists are taught not to share information between each other during their researches as it may affect the ownership of the invention. Most of them keep a diary of their work, as if it is a day-to-day accounting which may be audited by a tax person (in their case it could be a court).

At the same time, there are also public activism especially in the phamaceutical sector for breaking IPR rights for public good – to provide cheap drugs for patients suffering from HIV/AIDS or such serious epidemics. Counter queries are about the costs of doing discovery and how to recover the cost for the drug companies investing on R&D.

In the economy (domestic and global) being increasingly governed by technology and knowledge, more than 90% of the patents in all commercial sectors are held by companies or government of developed countries. With IPR’s protected globally and through the WTO regime, most other companies and laboratories in the world are blocked in those sectors. No longer “reverse engineering” which helped companies and countries during the 1960’s and 1970’s is possible. In the agriculture area where genetically modified seeds are patented, these issues are much more difficult.

Even in the field of art and culture, there are many questions against copyrights. Professor Joost Smicrs, the author of “Arts Under Pressure : Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalisation”, a professor of political science in Netherlands argues that our democratic right to freedom of cultural exchange is slowly being taken away from us. He questions the very process of personal ownership of a melody, an image, a word. He has given some alternates even while recognising the fact  that artist has to earn and the financier has to get return on investment. He himself points out that the organised monopoly industries will oppose these charges as by owning IPR’s they are able to shape the art world and earn huge money.

As of now, there are no easy solutions. IPR’s came about to protect the inventor in return for his disclosure about the invention for the public so that the knowledge is available in the public domain – which could be used later after IPR expires.

More importantly, it makes other think of new paths. That is the benefit to the society, as knowledge about new inventions are known through the benefit of invention is reaped by somebody for a limited period. If that provision is not there, the inventor will not disclose and it will be his personal secret. Lots of wasteful effort will have to be done by others to “break open the knowledge”. In many cases, the knowledge may die with a person. In India in earlier centuries, the artisans kept personal and family secrets and many knowledge bases got lost over time.

Therefore, IPR’s seem to serve public interest by keeping the world knowledge known to all so that further inventions can take place. In another way, it is also like keeping the rights over land, house, ornaments, etc. Unlike those physical assets, IPR’s are for a fixed period only.

But a few serious questions are as under :

(a) Do copy right constrain cultural freedom and lead to monopolies as referred to above ?

(b) What is the solution for getting inexpensive medicines especially when the affected persons are very poor.

(c) Will IPR’s strengthen the existing technology leaders and lead to a technological oligarchy.

As I see it next two three decades will be dominated by IPR regimes. But I expect that 2050 world may come up with new models, many of it spearheaded in the developed nations themselves by intellectuals and other activitist.

Let us keep a close watch. As of now, Indians have to master the IPR game and create wealth. 

Potential, Promises & Performance

Most of us Indians including the tiny ones born in

the economic liberalisation era (i.e. 1991 or later)

are often frustrated by what is happening in India.

 

We talk about 540 million youth under 25, and 620 million Indians under 30 years, 770 million under 35 years.

Yes; a great youth energy.

 But about 90% or more of them don’t pass by school education. Those who pass by do not always a good education which can help them create wealth and therefore earn money for themselves. They swell the unemployment enrolment registers (not those 90 – 94% who are school drop-outs – because they don’t have any hope from the formal organised sector employment which is only 6% - our employment exchanges deal with half of it i.e. in Government sector).

There are several other items about India.

 

*      Potential                Very good

 

*      Promises                Hit the roof

 

*      Performance          We need to search for individual small items !

 

Unfortunately the above three statements are true in almost in all sectors of India – science & technology; business; trade; sports; education – and what not.

If Indians learn to scorn at promise right away when â€œbig persons” make it and work towards potential, India will perform.

Media and youth have to do a lot towards it. Don’t respond to S

MS’s supporting the hypes of promises. Use performance as the yardstick. Prove on ground -  then take our applause – not by speeches and promises. Use the Youth Vote to create a performing India.

 

 

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GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS

 

1.    There are always many worries about governance in India. Thousands of crores of rupees are allotted to rural development, social justice, sports, road, pollution removal in rivers, forest development, education etc. Near unanimous general feeling is that very little reaches the destination. Most investors or potential investors say that India is one of the difficult places to do business…. In legal systems there are complaints on police, enormous delays in justice… the industries and services controlled Govt. as public sectors perform inefficiently and those which try to do well are often stymied.

2.    What to do ? There are hundred of solutions – reams of papers ! In this paper written at the invitation of Indian Council of Social Research (ICSSR), Y.S. Rajan gives a brief description of how Govt. agencies works not on written down procedures alone but several other officer order, Dear Secretary letters etc. which are too many since 1960’s and accumulate one over another.

3.    He has introduced an important concept of System Time Constraints in governance and need to keep it in tune with dominant technologies of the day. He states that like Raj Krishna’s Hindu Rate of Growth (which has now been broken by Indian economy), Indian system time constants which he calls as India – time – rate – of – interaction is about 7 to 10 years for any well accepted idea to fructify into a level for action of that order. That is why Indian governance is so bad, frustrating.

4.    He then gives some drastic solutions to change it with logical reasons. Since those who are in the current system have made it what it is now (and have been selected by it) the cybernetics of it can be changed only when a substantive part of it is changed and given new algorithms (i.e. procedures) to work on. He has given practical suggestions.

5.    He states any intermediate tinkering won’t help. Heroes cannot do – it needs a system overhaul. Now read the article.

 

 

 

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University, R&D & Actions

This note was sent to a very senior and influential person, on

request to YSR, regarding out-of-box ideas for Indian S&T

and education in mid-2004.They are still valid……..

 

This note only covers the issues of R&D and related activities in the Universities in physical, life sciences/technologies and allied disciplines and those relating MBA types of professional courses. Does not address humanities even those subjects such as psychology, sociology, linguistics etc. Some of the humanities aspects looked at from NBA point of view may get embedded in MBA researches just as business economics & economics – technology interaction would get added in Technology & Science & Society types of researches. This is done to maintain a focus on one major sector. In India there is a major need to orient humanities to make them relevant to Indian context and also to make them path breathing. But it is ridden with more passions and also mostly they are govt. funded.

Now straight to the paper.

Preamble

There are about 300 recognised universities in India including about sixty (60) deemed universities. Not all of them are same size.  About two hundred of these are conventional universities. Arts/Science/Commerce etc  departments in their university and also affiliating large number of colleges. The other 100 would be as under with speciality disciplines :

40 Universities                Specialise      Agriculture

40 Universities                Specialise      Engg & Technology

1 University                    Specialise      Journalism

4 Universities Specialise     Law

16 Universities                 Specialise      Health (Medical etc)

10 Universities                 Specialise      Open University (against mostly same subjects as Conventional University)

 

About 30 are Central Universities in addition to IIT’s, IISc ( Bangalore) & few National Institute of Technologies (about 20).

These receive Central Government grants fully. Most others are State Government funded or private.

Except for IIT’s and IISc, most of the Central Universities (except for those who have old traditional funding) are struggling for funds.

Ministry of HRD by itself or UGC (University Grants Commission) or AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education) have very little money to disburse. They spread thin. Even large budgets available with DST, DBT for grants-in-aid to Universities are mostly “grabbed” by CSIR laboratories, TIFR (and such elite basic research laboratories including Astronomy ones) IIT’s and IISc. Very little is left for even Central Universities. State Universities & others – large in number.

To summarise, Educational Institutes/Universities which teach to train 85% students in higher education in science/technology/professional courses get only 15% of total funds even for their regular operations and “elite” institutions which train/teach 15% get 85% of total funds. It is not correct to assume that the other 85% students are of poor in quality. A simple arithmetic will show that large bulk of 2 million professionals in USA, Canada are from “ordinary” Indian colleges/universities (elite ones being only about 100,000 as their number per year is low). Also most Indian industries including ISRO, BARC, DRDO depend on the products of these ordinary Universities/Colleges.

Hence a need to orient them towards major societal/economy/technology/industry oriented research so that the 85% of our students annually have challenging tasks to do. This will produce many entrepreneurs/innovators as well.

Policies

Today national laboratories like CSIR are competing with Universities for research funds in addition direct funding. They get from Govt. through their departments. IPR product per unit money of investment is still better in Universities. We need to increase the funding available to all Universities.

Thereafter the policy to make CSIR and other national labs like CMTI, CPRI lab to doa  few select major projects (like ISRO, DAE/BARC do) from the direct money they get.

All basic research institutions to be made autonomous from Minsitries/Departments. Let them do world class (such a selection to be done carefully) and limited in number (about 20% of govt budget). Let them not compete with any other fund except foreign funded in addition to the good money from Central govt.

Applied labs like CSIR/CMTI/ICAR/ICMR to concentrate on concrete product/process/services oriented commercial research to be funded by Govt. & partly they have to get  even survival fund from industry. Make them autonomous or attached to group of industry as JV’s. No need for huge CSIR, ICAR HQs.

Even DRDO can shed life sciences labs in this way in order to work  closely with industries.

These applied labs should be funded by Govt. (Central/State) directly – they should not compete for any other govt. funds except from private sector or industries (even PSU’s).

If these measures are done, funds of DST.DBT etc. for extramural research can be entirely focussed for Universities/Colleges (even IIT’s have to be dealt with like CSIR labs and let Ministry of HRD fund as they do and they should be barred from getting from DST etc (other govt. departments). There could be uproar from the elite bodies but 85% of university system will receive a short-in-them-arm without trying for additional budget.

Implementation

Most of the Universities (except IIT’s, IISc) even Central/State/Deemed suffer under plethora of regulations sent by UGC, AICTE, local departments of education etc. They should be freed from these and management professionals. Some Acts of certain Universities will require changes.

Industries (preferably in local areas) may be encouraged to put their QA/testing/R&D labs/consultancy seeking calls/even pilot plants in nearby colleges/Universities.

15% for R&D labs

125% for other industrial/society oriented projects

(even rural development, rural market development activities)

This will build synergies.

In addition Central Govt. can establish a Mission to build within the universities, competitiveness, capability, creativity & innovation. (The word university includes affiliated/autonomous colleges in Universities – not just university department – we need to remove this “caste” system). This Mission will have about 100 professionals from multiple fields – who visit institutions, talk to faculty, staff, students & industries with new solutions – all these processes will challenge the teachers also.

This Mission should be for 5 years and subsequently wind down.

For entrepreneurship by educated youth, B.Tech, M.Sc’s, B. Pharma’s, MBBS’s, MBA’s (including those from IIT’s) should be supported special fast moving seed funds and facilitated to work with industries (including small/medium/big industries) which are ready in incubate new students – entrepreneurs can be given tax concessions. The incubating host industry also can be given some tax benefits.

Govt. may outsource some percentage of their jobs (in manufacturing, IT, services sectors etc.) to new qualified students – entrepreneurs. This will also reduce pressure on direct jobs – encourage self-employment.

Note: The students  throughput  from all the Universities will be about 5 million per year for S&T, professional etc. Of this about 1 – 2 million could be oriented for entrepreneurship research etc., others will be simple graduates. They have to do jobs with others as per the norms of other employees.

The term R&D is being used here in the context as doing something new or adopting something new in the local context, some innovation etc. but all ending in deliverables (not open ended basic research for which we are having them above with 20% fund). It is not always necessary to have breakthrough technologies), some basic research may, some day, emerge a world class or breakthrough. To begin with, let most of the Universities learn to do something useful with their teachers and students so that they develop self-confidence instead of scrounging for crumbs left over by CSIR, TIFR, IIT etc. That will be a major social revolution of immense economic value.

As regards shortage of good teachers etc. in colleges/universities, the solution is to amend rules to allow :

Persons from IITs, CSIR, DRDO, ISRO, IIM’s go on part time basis to teach/reach in ordinary colleges.

Allow industry experienced person (instead of insisting on Ph.D’s) to teach/research part or full time in these colleges.

Use technologies of e-learning.

Allow tie up with foreign institutions/industries in an easy way.

IN SUM, THE MISSION IN THE UNIVERSITIES FOR COMPETITIVENESS, CAPABILITY, CREATIVITY, INNOVATION WILL TARGET A TENFOLD GROWTH IN THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WEALTH CREATED BY THEMSELVES AND IN COLLABORATION WITH OTHER R&D GROUPS DURING THE PERIOD 2004-2009.

After this period, the Universities/Colleges have to learn to do of their own and face competition from everywhere. THIS WILL RESULT IN MORE OF INDIAN PRODUCTS DESIGNED FOR INDIAN CONDITIONS THEREBY KICKSTARTING ENOURMOUS EMPLOYMENT AND SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY LED ECONOMIC GROWTH. 

NEXT SIXTY YEARS : ACTIONS NOW by Y.S. Rajan

Y.S.Rajan

(24th Annual Convocation at the Bharathidasan University)

 

12th October 2007

 

 

His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu and Chancellor of the University,  Honourable Pro-Chancellor and the Minister for Higher Education Dr.Ponmudi, Esteemed Vice-Chancellor, Prof.M.Ponnavaikko, The Registrar, Members of the Syndicate, Senate, Members of the elected bodies, Officials from various departments,  Parents, dear Students, Faculty Members, Staff, distinguished members of audience, and media.

THE HERITAGE

It is a great pleasure and honour to be at Tiruchirappalli, which is a famous part of the hoary history of Tamil Nadu and in an University which bears the name of a great son of Tamil Nadu and India, a social revolutionary and a gifted poet. The spirit and values imbedded in his poems and that of his guru Subramanya Bharati are valid even today and will be so for several millennia to come. They are eternal lights of the human soul which shine brighter when you seek and penetrate, through the beautiful and musical plays of words. I hope and request that Tamil knowing students read Bharathidasan’s poems at leisure some time. For those who do not know Tamil, I hope the University or some Tamil loving students and alumni will translate them into English, Hindi and other languages and make them available in the website, as well.

THE SIXTY YEARS AFTER INDEPENDENCE

Nation just completed the sixty years of independence. But India existed several millennia ago. People who lived over many generations in this region of the world achieved a lot in Literature, Arts, Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Medicine, Crafts, Trade and in almost all forms of human endeavor and innovation. There was a time when India and China dominated world trade with a share of about 70% - not long ago - even through the early part of nineteenth century. The subsequent downfall in trade of both the countries have been due to the absence of creation of modern scientific and technological knowledge and their applications in every walk of life : agriculture to manufacturing to trade to weaving and to warfare. Though beginnings in this direction were made in a limited way by the British (in their own self-interest) in India and a few brave Indians, a lot of impetus was given only in the post-independence India.

Your University and you, are the part of that great impetus and movement. The Hon'ble Chancellor and many people of his generation, (the pre-independence generation) and people born around independence such as people like me, those who were born in sixties, seventies, eighties - the post - independence generations - (you would all be born around mid - eighties) - all have built up the momentum. India broke loose of the slow Hindu growth rate, described by Raj Krishna. Now people are confident to talk of 2 digit growth rate for the economy.

I can say for myself that while I am happy about all good things that have happened in India, there has been a huge list of missed opportunities. That is the reason our share in world trade, India's originality in science and technology, etc remain a very small percentage of world share even though our population is about 17% of the world. That indicates the huge wastage and under utilization of our human capital.

There is no use of crying over the past. If we can learn some lessons, well and good. Let us, perhaps, not waste our time and energy  in finding out what went wrong, though I do not like to minimise the importance of such academic studies. But I would like to point out that there is a large expanse of FUTURE before us - before the people of the world and therefore Indians, as well. Over the past one - and - half decades, Indians have fortunately taken many rapid steps if not great strides. The cumulative effects of such steps and some rapid strides, have created a great confidence on India within Indians and from the comity of nations. India has come within the "radar" of business persons, academics, political leaders, writers, media persons, tourists,  etc world over. But such a gathering of momentum should not lead to a mere euphoria or momentary pleasures given by  Sunita Williams, or an Indian space flight or sudden news of a trillion dollar economy (announced due to fluctuations  of rupee - dollar equivalence) or a big Indian acquisition of a company abroad. Indians and India have to achieve a lot more to do justice to its size in terms of its population, or its history. Complacency, derived from some Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) calculations or mathematical projections up to 2050, making India look like a big economy, is a great danger to India's growth and development and to the prosperity and well being of all Indians.

While PPP comparisons carry many elements of reality around them, they also hide the stark fact that many Indians are willing to live in the margins of existence, as they have little choice before them and often they do not possess the skills, knowledge and capital to take a direct plunge into the global knowledge economy themselves in which case they will earn in US dollar terms. It is their marginal existence and low subsistence levels which provide the basis of "low cost" economy. In the current phase of history, India is transitioning from its low productive phase towards knowledge intensive high productive, high value and higher efficiency economy. And especially because the past 60 years of  economic governance and science & technology (S&T) management could not lift the country's industries and S&T from the "follower" (a number of them laggard as well !) stage, we have to accept this "transition phase" wherein a large part of people live in much lower levels of existence compared to people of the developed world (even though  they work very hard !). But it is important for us to use this transition phase effectively to equip   all Indians with necessary knowledge and skills to compete in the global knowledge and skill intensive economy. If we do so, most Indians will earn in “dollar terms” – the façade of PPP can disappear.

Yes! India has to learn to excel in the world without having to put lots of its people in subsistence level to obtain a competitive edge. That means our high end agriculture, manufacturing, services, science & technology, and governance have to exert themselves much more than what they do now  by just being a follower in order for India to become the world leader in companies, or inventions or trade or research creativity.

That is the challenge I would like to place before you, dear students. You are going to shape the Independent India after its initial 60 years. What you do will shape the next sixty years.

THE NEXT SIXTY YEARS

When I venture to talk about the next sixty years i.e. up to 2067, thoughts may be crossing in the minds of the young students, whether I am losing my foothold on terra firma (i.e. whether my legs are on ground !). When I was born (1944) average life expectancy of an Indian was about 30 years. Now it is about 65 years (in spite of the fact population has gone up 5 times). But given the overall quality of life and health care conditions (nothing very great !) persons who have crossed 55 years now (they were all born at the time of 31 years average life expectancy), i.e. people like me are expected to live up to 85 years without any additional major break through in medical research. What happens to an individual may have a “quantum mechanics” like uncertainty. For example, I may die in an accident or for some other reasons,  may live upto 100 years ! But a large number of people  in this category will live up to 85 years. Along with the economic growth, the average life expectancy will go up as witnessed in the developed world. In addition, medical, bio-medical, neurosciences and pharmaceutical researches are advancing the frontiers of human knowledge about human beings  - the diseases, neurology, aging etc. All of you, dear young students will be around 80 years by 2067 and will be much more healthier and active than what we are today at 60 years of age. It is likely that the average life expectancy around 2067 world over and in India too is likely to be 100 years ! The great dream of our ancients “Paschema Sharaddassadam”, “Jeevema Sharaddassadam”, - “Let me see for hundred years and let me live for hundred years etc…” ( a long list !) will be fulfilled. Therefore my talking about 2067 is in actuality real for you. However, I do not want to bore you with such a long term proposition. Let us go step by step. For you the next ten years are very real and crucial. You and your parents have lots of dreams for those precious 10 years after you obtain your degrees.

THE NEXT TEN YEARS (2007 – 2017)

Indian economy appears to have attained a good stability for a fast growth rate. Despite several uncertainties of changes in the Central and State governments, the growth rate has picked up and showing upward trends. This growth rate has also  benefited bottom 20  percentile of the population. There is an overall sense of confidence seen in most parts of the country. Given all these and having researched into and participated in various aspects of Indian agricultural, manufacturing and services sector activities and projects for several years, I foresee that the coming decade is going to be one with major cataclysmic charges – mostly beneficial in its end results. It is a Decade of Cataclysmic Fast Growth.

Despite political and populist slogans, it will be realised that Indian agriculture requires major reforms for increasing productivity and yields per acre so that the persons dependent upon agriculture can get better incomes as it happens for those who work in organised manufacturing and service sectors. People will realise that one cannot carry on with the empty slogan that India is agricultural country with around 65% people dependent upon agriculture. Simple logic will show that one cannot deploy 65% persons in a sector that generates only 22% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Number of persons dependent upon primary agriculture needs to be brought down drastically to be under 20%. Then alone agricultural prosperity will dawn. India will also then produce surplus products! This means various forms of consolidation in agricultural lands, improved technologies and related investments and better delivery systems. There are great challenges for many of the young persons to look forward to. Yes in about 5 years time, agriculture may be viable option for well educated youth.

The released human power will go for various forms of agro processing industries, infrastructure and other village and small town based industries. Challenges of such distributed manufacturing systems ably aided by Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) are great adventures to look forward to. They will absorb best talents of science, engineering, arts, commerce, business management  and administration. In the areas of tourism, cultural - heritage - tourism are picking up as India has entered into the minds of many foreigners. The new creative Industries around folk arts, Indian festivals, ancient traditional knowledge, new look designs of traditional artisan products, herbal wealth etc – are new areas that will open up during this fast action decade. Keep your eyes and minds open. If possible skill yourselves additionally for specific areas.

Though Indian policy makers, administrators, business persons and elite opinion makers realized the importance of manufacturing rather late (having been mesmerized by ICT based services industries and empty slogans about agriculture), the past 5 years have seen a resurgence of Indian manufacturing. The slogan “ India as the Manufacturing Hub” has caught the imagination. Rapid strides in large and small manufacturing units are going to take place, not just around cities and major towns but also around third and fourth tier small towns and villages. The  distributed manufacturing systems will pose many challenges requiring India – specific innovation – not just in technologies but more in organization, personnel development, deliveries, financing, banking, administration etc. The electric power systems will limp and jump along these great adventures ! Indians will find solutions ! Along with these spread out manufacturing units, there will be great renaissance in Indian educational system at the school level – requiring drastic changes from the current near – uniform syllabus and rote system existing all over India  be it village school or elite school !

Based on a variety of observations and logical reasoning, I envisage a new wave of Educational Reforms & Liberalization releasing our Human Resource Systems from the presently  existing state of rationed scarcity through the license – permit – quota – inspector raj, in about 3 years say before 2010. It will have  far –reaching implications for Indian people, enabling many of them to equip themselves for the modern global economy. India will start emerging towards the end of the decade as a Global Educational Hub, not only for Indians but for persons from other countries. Dear students, many of you may enter into academic field as teachers and educators or investors or consultants in the new environment as Educational Services will offer major income generating jobs for youth be it in primary or in higher education or in skill imparting.

There are several areas of Services which will open up. Creative Industries, which will include  various art films and cultural events, are also a part of these services sector in addition to media, films, publications, music, dance etc. India is just inventing itself.

Foreign companies would be inventing the talents of India by opening more and more R&D Centers (currently around 300) which may be something like 5,000 in numbers by the end of the decade. The same Indians who were dubbed to have come from “mushrooming” institutions by the elites of today, will make wonders in such R&D centers.

Due to limitations of time, I am not addressing several other areas like Health care, Insurance, Old age care business etc. Also I have not mentioned about Aero Space businesses and major revolution in Electric Power and Energy sectors which need to address Climate Change issues as well. All these are major economic activities and hence will generate huge employment market and well paying ones.

All the above items are not going to occur in a systematic and planned form. As Indians, we some how have not mastered the art of systematic planning of mega actions as the Japanese, Koreans or Chinese have done. Our attempts at centralized planning for about 40 years has several plusses but many more negatives ! Perhaps we, as people especially elites, are far too independent.

Therefore we may have many independent events in many of the areas described above and also in areas not mentioned here. It may look random in the beginning. Some time tested old “biggies” may suddenly disappear ! That is why I termed the decade as a Decade of Cataclysmic Fast Growth

But if you are mentally prepared by reading and thinking about them, and prepare yourselves to be a part of them (irrespective of the discipline in which you are passing out now !), it will be a great fun. You can be the early birds that catch the worms ! The turbulent period of settling down towards a fast economic growth is behind us (1991-2003). Now India is marching ahead, though the steps may look random and jumpy.

So you are the fortunate ones who can reap the benefits of average steady state rapid growth which may accelerate too! Prepare yourselves to grab the newer opportunities.

Politically and socially also India will undergo several changes. Women work force will come in a major way into the economy and political systems. Many new groups will emerge. India’s diversity will be visible in action instead of being talked about in scholastic treatises, political manifestoes and poems. You have to be mentally prepared to adjust to the new multicultural situations you have not seen so far.

A sadder part of India will be that the coming decade will also see a series of steady actions to contain (and eliminate) various forms of extremisms and the resultant terrorist acts. These have built up in our society over the past few decades and more so during the past two decades. One cannot wish away the consequences of such a toxic build up in a couple of years. The fight will be in many fronts with several tools : technological equipment, training, laws, medical means, security measures and also through political, social, economic fronts, diplomacy, medical, etc. There will be great challenges and also business and economic opportunities. Though this will be a sad part of our society for some time, a number of persons from your generation would play a major role – as leaders, security personnel, employers, employees, technologists, medical personnel, researchers, etc. Keep a look in this front also (both boys and girls) as you will also help India to transition into a more secure level in the subsequent decades. By the end of the decade, you will just be in your thirties and have to look forward to several more decades of active lives. The internal security systems created by people of your generation during this decade will last for many more decades with continual improvements. Over several more decades too!  Don’t forget : Eternal vigilance is the price for liberty.

THE DECADE OF 2017 – 2027

This is a period in which Indian people can be proud that they have eliminated poverty and penury. It will be a period in which all Indians will have reasonable sets of works to perform and earn a good quality life. Not that everything would have been achieved. But a good base to aspire more and work further would have been established. The lives of ordinary Indians will not be a grinding misery as it is today. In fact it would have reached a level of enjoyability though not with all opportunities possible with the then-day technological and economic systems.

Having passed successfully the Decade of Cataclysmic Fast Growth, which would have been predominantly achieved through “follower type” activities, be it in agriculture or manufacturing or services or S&T or business management or even in some art forms, some Indians will “itch for” true innovations. They need not be mere imitators or followers not  just in S&T or businesses but also in modern creative industries or in commerce or business management. I expect a few daring Indian innovations to emerge at the global level and transform the way in which businesses are done in the world. Yes, a few Indian industries, laboratories, medical units, academics, and artists may  take leadership role and set trends for others in the world.

This decade is likely to  be the Innovative Decade for India. You will be starting in thirties and entering into forties, still very young and dynamic. World cannot afford to ignore India or Indians.

If you believe in such possibilities and prepare yourselves during the decade of 2017-2027 in terms of  detailed road maps and your possible paths (you can start this exercise around 2022) then you will have the early – starter advantage.

THE DECADE OF 2027 – 2037

This is going to be the Decade of Prosperous India. For the first time a large majority of Indians will enjoy prosperity. Let alone the decades of 1947 – 2007 which saw so much human misery, even 2007 – 2017 will be forgotten by most Indians. They will all feel they are prosperous. Not only your children but children of persons who are poor today will feel real prosperity.

But challenges of prosperity are also not easy to deal with. Since Indians enjoyed the Innovative Decade, many more innovations will continue in all spheres. They won’t be satisfied with the past performance. There will be many major and minor adventures by a large number of  Indians. For the first time, Indians will take a lead in mega ventures in Space, Oceans, Energy sectors, Archaeology (marine included), Literature, Medicine etc. Neurosciences will be bringing forth many new scientific truths about human consciousness. The old Indian wisdom will be revisited in the modern context. There could be tectonic shifts in people’s  outlook towards emotional, intellectual and spiritual lives. (Not just for Indians but for all human beings). Space tourism would have become a routine business as also the characterization of human genes and marginal genetic engineering to remove some problems (as we take medicines today).

Arts will take entirely new forms though essentials of effects of music, painting, performing arts, poems, literature etc on the human minds will be similar but in more sophisticated forms. Governance systems would have simplified with pervasive ICT systems and therefore with many decentralized actions. For example, the currently existing huge systems of tax collections may disappear. However, the security related surveillance  systems may increase mostly in non-intrusive forms. The so called “working hours” for earning incomes may reduce drastically but people will always be “busy” through physical exercises, mental exercises, enjoyment, creativity, etc.

DECADES OF 2037 – 2047, 2047 – 2057 AND 2057 – 2067

By 2037, if I survive through God’s Grace, I will be 93. You all would be around 50’s; still young, very active and looking forward to around two and a half to three decades of active career. Many of you will retire only during the decade 2057 – 2067, more close to the end of the decade ! These three decades are going to be the Decades of Transformation of Human Beings. Most parts of the world would have come out of the poverty – even many parts of Africa where you see conflicts now. The divisions of nation – states as they exist now and even blocks like ASEAN, European Union etc would have outlived their utility.

Humanity for the first time would feel as one – with free movements between different geographic locations. Human diversities would remain despite the advances in genetic engineering, neurosciences, evolutionary biology, systems biology etc. Human knowledge will then appreciate the importance of such diversities for the human survival. It will be a knowledge derived from scientific researches and applications. Emotions, arts etc won’t disappear. Humans will not  be robots. (though they may use lots of robots in daily lives at homes and in work). But many of the presently existing irrational fears will disappear due to better understanding of nature and other societies and cultures. Despite scientific advances and much deeper knowledge of human consciousness, human feelings are not going to be manufactured in biomedical sensors or systems. Humans may enjoy some of these devised as they enjoy music, dance, alcohol or some trance in meditation as they  do now. But it is unlikely that the individuality will be lost in a mass system. Nor will the unique human love. Humans would have understood this partly through the evolutionary inheritance and more through the modern scientific knowledge. These are areas of speculation which will be understood in much clearer terms around 2030’s. It is an exciting period for many of you. You and your colleagues all over the world will be working for this undeclared project of Human Transformation. During these decades, a sufficiently large number of human beings  may live in Space and High Oceans. Intergalactic travels would have begun as experiments. Marine archaeology and studies of marine organisms and materials would change the human understanding of the past. It is likely that some advanced predictive capabilities for natural disasters like earthquakes, etc would have been built up, though it may not be possible to prevent a earthquake or cyclone. So would be the situation vis-à -vis newer diseases. Nature may not be subjugated by the Human; but Humans may learn to coexist with nature in a much more knowledgeable manner.

ACTIONS NOW

We have taken a quick odyssey into the future six decades. None of what is described there will occur automatically. While there will be some elements of evolutionary processes operating within nature (and human systems), a lot (or at least part) will also depend upon human efforts at the collective and the individual levels. That is where the actions are now very important.

 

Before we attempt to discuss the actions, it will be useful to keep in mind certain important points about the scenarios. First of all, in reality there will be no sharp divisions of decades as if there is a ‘start’ and ‘stop’. The items mentioned for one decade do not completely disappear for the subsequent decades. For example the whole host of BPO, KPOs which are operating in India now will not disappear. During 2007-2017 they may increase and also change their content and  characteristics. Such BPO/KPOs with totally different contents and capabilities would be there even during many more decades to come. Indian companies may also outsource to others in the world. Multiplicity of work centers, working on a part of viable value chain, is the nature of globalizing world.

Similarly, the issues about extremism and terrorism and the related security measures will continue for subsequent decades as well, as a well organized system – just as the traffic police and other law and order functions take place now. The groups adhering  to extremists’ views may vary. New sects may emerge. New methods of attacks may be used. But the systems that will be installed during 2007-2017 decade will enhance, change and operate during several decades to follow.

Similarly national defense systems, missiles, nuclear bombs, conventional weapons, complex command – control – communication networks, surveillance, war games etc will not disappear for many decades though their shape, size and content may change over a period. Many of you can find an exciting career in these too if you so desire.

One should  look towards other items like agriculture in a similar manner. We will all continue to eat. Concepts of nutrition may change; tastes may become multicultural. But cultivation, food industry etc will continue to flourish.

You all have to view these continuities and changes in a holistic manner. It is a continuing dialectical progression.

One immediate action, about which you should not be ashamed of nor feel guilty about, is to build up a good career for yourselves (wherever it is and not necessarily in India) and good life for yourselves and your family. Even by doing it with boldness and imagination, you will be contributing to the changes described for the Decade of Cataclysmic Fast Growth which is unfolding before us. The foundations you make now for your careers and the paths you take and the vigil you keep for new  opportunities will have a lot of influence on your actions for the subsequent decades.

It does not  mean that there will be no flexibility later to change the paths. Yes, you have to change paths – continue changing paths all through lives even within the ‘same’ discipline of work and ‘same’ organization. But you should do those changes based on prior preparations. Then you will succeed. Since the nature of the world (society, economics etc) is complex and non-linear, you cannot stick to one narrow linear path. You need to keep a few options and prepare for those few options to adapt to changes and also to capture emerging opportunities.

It is not necessary that you should work only within India. I am saying this to all of you who are graduating now – irrespective of disciplines. Of course some of you will pursue higher studies such as post-graduate or doctoral work, which is good. More you equip yourselves, it is better. Just as I have told about employment, similarly for higher studies also, some of you may go abroad, if you have concluded that it is advantageous and of course, if you can afford.

But whatever you do now, you have time for experimentation for about 5 years after your graduation.   By that time, you should make up your mind what you really decide to do (yes, within the various constraints that exist – but some constraints can be imaginary. Therefore, question them before you decide). Then you will also have a better insight into the paths and options. You need to acquire specific specialised skills through work, discussions and also through additional training courses. There are questions of people managements – your bosses, colleagues, new comers etc. These issues are much more complex than mere studies. You should learn to be part of the team – a follower and sometimes a leader. Even while keeping a good value system for yourselves, you have to learn to deal with others who may use bad methods – jealousies, backbiting, lying etc. When one talks about “skills”, it includes all these items. The world you will work, will not be an ideal organization or society described in books or newspaper articles or public lectures.

Still let me assure you, life is enjoyable and you can achieve a lot if you are open, aware and prepared. I have written on various details about such life elsewhere and if you so desire, you may read them.

Beyond those initial five years, you need to strengthen your skills. You may change jobs but do it in a thought out manner. India will be changing a lot. You will see it in the next five years itself. Observe those changes for adapting and for capturing newer and greater opportunities.

So far about your own personal growth, and career growth. As far as contribution to India’s socio-economic progress, what can you do ? You need not sacrifice your lives or jobs or studies. You young people need to create a climate to breakaway from some of the mindsets built over past decades.

As a nation, we do not celebrate wealth creation. We need to believe that wealth creation can be done by all Indians when enabling situations are created. Poor need not be permanently at the mercy of rich and powerful. That is a feudal approach to life. Modern science, technology, economics and business management systems (and associated new forms of governance systems) can make it possible for each of them to choose their options and contribute in terms of work, create wealth for the employer/nation and get some good income. You need to work against the mindset of monopolistic centralization to ensure that such enabling systems can be established.

All spheres of our economy including education requires rapid liberalization so that the huge young population can be converted into Human Capital in a real sense. You all have to work for creating such a public opinion to make it possible. The slogans of “Super Power” or “Chak De India” “Youth is our wealth” etc can only give a temporary euphoria. By all means take that momentary pleasure. But remember that it is short lived. You need to get into root causes of the maladies which kept Indian economy from marching ahead. The Cataclysmic Fast Growth Decade which has begun will help to break such mindsets. Even while doing so there are some good values from the Indian heritage, which you can preserve.

In your youthful enthusiasm and pressures on time, many of you tend to ignore your bodies. Personal health is an important and vital component of human capital. Don’t ignore it. Build it up through regular maintenance of personal hygiene, regular eating and sleeping habits, good nutrition and regular physical exercises. If some of you have inherited health problems, do not worry. There are very good methods of Medicare (not necessarily expensive) to remove your handicaps and operate normally. But be careful to follow the regime through taking adequate precautions daily, medicines, exercises etc. Such deficiencies can be easily managed without any problem to your operational careers. Therefore remember about and practice, scientific care of your bodies, not just for looks but for its full normal functioning. Such care has to go on for decades.

Let me again repeat that the emerging future holds a lot for you personally and for Indian people. Along with lots of hard work and stresses of professional life, life will also present you many enjoyable things and moments which will be far more better than what was enjoyed by people of my generation.

 

Wishing you all the best.

May God bless you all.