Articles

Tasks for Indians 2009

Tasks for Indians 2009

(Talk at a meeting arranged by Prime-point)

 

  1. Good morning everybody. I congratulate all of you for keeping your lamps alive even amidst stormy weather around us and within us as a country and as people.
  2. It is during March 1996, the combined analyses and insights of 5000 persons gave the Technology Vision 2020 from TIFAC. It is now close to 13 years since then. Many achievements and many missed opportunities. Most importantly our infrastructure is poor and vs. number of our human population is languishing without being converted into HUMAN CAPITAL.
  3. I suggest the following. It is time we stop talking about VISION, DREAM, SUPERPOWER, SOFTPOWER etc. We need concrete ACTIONS – speedily. May I say that we should RESOLVE to
  • TALK LESS; WORK MORE
  • PROMISE LESS; PERFORM MORE
  • STOP HYPES; CELEBRATE CONCRETE WORK
  • DON’T CREATE ICONS; DISCOVER PERFORMERS AROUND YOU.

     4.I see three major critical challenges before India if all Indians can have a reasonable life. We are now about 1.2 Billion; will be 1.4 Billion in about 10 years. For all of             them.

  1. Concerted and speedy actions against terrorist activities within our country and make it impossible for them to kill ordinary people. Make these drills and discipline a part of our daily lives of all Indians. We may even think of one year internship in military and security work for all our youth.
  2. About 70% children do not have any hope for future because of poor schooling, skilling etc. Another 20% struggle. Radical innovative actions are required to save them and make them economically productive. If we don’t address it, the country will suffer from internal chaos in a decade.
  3. Make GOVERNANCE (govt., corporate, civil society) systems with little scope for corruption. We need to change may rules, laws – simplify them. Make realistic electoral laws. Accept the existence of huge Indian black money (DARK MATTER DARK ENERGY) already accumulated in India and abroad over 60 years and allow it to flow into socially relevant causes to address the problems of rural areas, tier 3 towns, education and health etc. Let us not take high moral positions and in actual life be most selfish. Instead let us accept enlightened self interest and make rules accordingly.

I have elaborated on these in the articles and in Open Spring of Ideas in my website www.ysrajan.com.

If we tackle these three items effectively, Indian economy can unshackle itself and all Indians will earn better. Automatically GDP will go up. It is really the work of ordinary people which make a country big or small. The leaders etc only ride on the rising averages.

Let us therefore enable and skill ordinary Indian – who now appears as poor and dirty.

 

Y S Rajan

 

TIFAC DAY TALK

TIFAC, the Past, Present & future

TIFAC DAY TALK

delivered by Y S Rajan on 10/2/09

 

Thank you Sangeeta.

Dear Dr Chidambaram, Dr Banerjee, Senior persons present here, my dear former colleagues from TIFAC, DST and other departments of Govt., recent new entrants to TIFAC, from many of whom would have been toddlers or in primary school when TIFAC was born, my thanks to all of you for giving me an sincere thanks to all of you for giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts on TIFAC Day. I have been given a challenging title of talk by Soumitra Biswas. So I condense my statements on all the three elements.

  • THE PAST

By and large, the broad Nehruvian vision of science, its applications and their impact, used the word ‘Science’ in a broader philosophical context. It encompassed science, technology, industrial use of knowledge, scientific approach to problems of life, economy, and society (also described as scientific temper by some). However, the use of the word ‘Science’ got into narrow channels and led to the neglect of other aspects which Nehru meant.

Thus going back to 60 years, post-independent India in actual practice, gave little attention to TECHNOLOGY per se except for the full formation of two mission agencies for Atomic Energy and Space. These agencies suitably intertwined science and technology; they also oriented most of basic research to the overall mission objectives. They also used pragmatism vis-a-vis foreign knowledge bases. Indian Agricultural research had only a few years of such hopeful orientation. Defence research had a mixed approach towards goals and hence has mixed results. CSIR’s approach to science and industrial technologies, having a few shining examples, had been confusing between science and technology.

It is at this context TIFAC was born. The Technology was defined in its Socio-Economic-Political context by the later PM Rajiv Gandhi.

The Prime Minister (Shri Rajiv Gandhi) : If I may add a little bit to that because it is on the policy. What has happened in the past that we have tried to develop everything right across the board from small components to large finished units, and invariably we have logged behind what is happening in the world. Except for very few areas, we have not been able to keep up with the frontline technology. And as we go further, technology is advancing very, very rapidly and it is going to be more difficult for us to keep up this race. What happens is this. First we want to buy something. They do not sell it to us. You cannot buy it ….. So, we try to develop it. The minute we develop it and we are on the verge of getting into production, they suddenly say, ‘You can buy it’. Then our own development cost is wasted. Our production costs are higher because it is a new development and they have been making it for some years. So, it frustrates our own process. We must identify certain, what we are going to call ‘mission areas’ and thrust along those areas. We want to improve the technology. When we talk of technology, I am talking on a broader concept, not only of electronics but we might want to improve, for example, the seed of rice, we might want to improve fertilizer, we might want to improve something else; and we concentrate on these ‘mission areas’ so that ten years from now, we are the most advanced country in that area irrespective of anything else. Because we will have to concentrate along these lines, we will have to reduce our efforts on some of the other lines. This is the basic change. I thought I would just explain that.

 

Source: Verbatim of debate in the Lok Sabha on May 15, 1985 following Starred Question No. 855

(Typos edited)

 

Thus, TIFAC during the earlier years had to deal with LAGGARDS, FOLLOWERS and a few of the LEADERS in terms of Institutions and Industries in India.

Without getting into various details, TIFAC’s role has been one of KNOWLEDGE INTERMEDIATION in institutions all over India. It spanned from a small agriculturist to a fisher woman to small industries to medium and larger ones as well as academic institutions all over India; some from abroad too. CII is another type of GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE NETWORK assiduously built up by Mr Tarun Das over decades especially speedily since 1985, in many knowledge skill intensive areas like Quality, Energy, Environment, Technology, Global Trends etc. No wonder CII and TIFAC built up several synergies as they have done with others. It is gratifying to note that many persons fondly remember their initiation to Technology Paths by TIFAC, when I travel nowadays to different parts of interior India, in totally different contexts. The key features of TIFAC were :

Daring to experiment

Entered into all areas – nothing left out

Nucleated major initiatives like PFC, PSA’s office, Missions etc which are doing well now.

 

THE PRESENT

 

You all know it. You are considering new dimensions and new paths under the guidance aof Dr R Chadambaram. I don’t have to say much. Probably there are several healthy aspects in introspection and analyses. I would however like to remind about a Chinese proverb : “Those who thought too long before making any next step, will remain all their lives on one foot.”

THE FUTURE

It is with this, in the background, I will say a few words for future. There is no doubt about the need and role of KNOWLEDGE INTERMEDIATION agencies. Many more TIFAC like agencies are required. Not only the TIFAC – CORE’s, PFC, PIC’s etc but many more new knowledge/skill nucleating centres are required to help the process of India moving out of the merely ‘follower type’ approach to R&D and industrial use of technologically know-how and become ‘leader’ in a few select areas in terms of new global businesses, products and services. It requires different type of Knowledge Intermediation Skills and institutional mechanisms even while consolidating and expanding upon the earlier mechanisms.

Such a new phase Knowledge Intermediation would require much greater contacts at a global industrial level. See what is happening to our major Pharma companies. Ranbaxy in the recent past and news about Piramal. Is it possible to foresee them earlier to intermediate supportive actions? What about taking a lead in 4G telecom systems with some India invented technologies? Also buying of IPR’s for advanced renewable technology in the global markets and build industries around them? What about mastering the sea-route-safety technologies given our strengths in satellite communications and surveillances? What about various aspects of medium and high tech Waste Recycling technologies.

And also to work on India specific problems of rural access, water availability on a large scale, massive healthcare system and all inclusive educations systems ?

……many more options will be available for those who dare take creative steps and even leaps …..

I wish you all a great future.

And I thank the organizers and Dr R Chidambaram for giving me an opportunity to talk on the day when TIFAC has become a major, 21 years of its existence.

 


 

 

Ideas 2008

Y.S.RAJAN IN HIGHER EDUCATION PANEL OF

SEMINAR “IDEAS INDIA 2008” DATED 19/12/2008

 

Ideas 2008

  • I have some basic questions about this oft quoted “15% - ONLY EMPLOYABLE” of our Engineering/Professional College outputs. If it were so for a period beyond say 4 to 5 years, there will be negative feedback of parent resistance first and then public outcry. But Engineering Colleges are growing at 5% rates despite severe restrictions of the Licence – Control systems in place. Probably the quoted study was done for a narrow spectrum of Employers.
  • I wish to emphasize this because we need to understand the HUGE DIVERSITY of Indian Employment market.
  • Also we need much greater GER in our higher education as human capital will not form from demographic numbers.
  • Our main purpose ought to be
  1. GREATER NUMBERS CATERING TO DIVERSE NEEDS
  2. RAISING THE AVERAGES CONTINOUSLY, AND

              2.REMOVING THE FETTERS THAT INHIBIT THE MARCH TOWARDS EXCELLENCE

  • Without massive numbers and continuously raising averages, the peaks of excellence will be fragile, as most things in life follow Gaussian/normal distribution
  • The undisputable link between higher education and higher incomes of people, appears to be of a universal nature. It is true of India
  • Also during the fifties and even during the eighties, most companies in India had above 75% workforce as illiterate or just with marginal school certificates. Now such categories have come down to about 30%. All the reason, that compulsions of equity will demand more persons (close to 40% age cohorts getting at least average level higher education). Out of these several bright peaks also to be achieved.
  • SOLUTION: Remove fetters of central controls of approval, accreditation, monitoring etc.

Allow foreign entities as freely as Indian ones but operating in India.

Replace them with guidelines reflecting DIVERSE NEEDS.

No intermediation like Affiliating Universities required. All colleges get authority to GIVE DEGREE. Let them declare whether they aim at :

  • Teaching only
  • Teaching - cum - industrial consultancies
  • Teaching, Consultancy, Research
  • Research and higher level teaching
  • Continual Education etc.

They self-certify annually.

Also independent CHARTERED EDUCATIONIST Report.

It will be a self-regulating systems.

  • Such a freedom required for schools as well in order to feed higher average students to higher education. Today schools are the biggest bottlenecks for the quality of higher education.
  • ACHIEVE THRU SPEEDY ACTIONS

THE BEST WITHIN THE

REALITIES OF CONSTRAINTS

RATHER THAN

MERELY TALKING OF AN UTOPIAN BEST AND PRODUCING REPORTS

 


 

Definition of Technology by Rajiv Gandhi

 The Prime Minister (Shri Rajiv Gandhi) : If I may add a little bit to that because it is on the policy. What has happened in the past that we have tried to develop everything right across the board from small components to large finished units, and invariably we have logged behind what is happening in the world. Except for very few areas, we have not been able to keep up with the frontline technology. And as we go further, technology is advancing very, very rapidly and it is going to be more difficult for us to keep up this race. What happens is this. First we want to buy something. They do not sell it to us. You cannot buy it ….. So, we try to develop it. The minute we develop it and we are on the verge of getting into production, they suddenly say, ‘You can buy it’. Then our own development cost is wasted. Our production costs are higher because it is a new development and they have been making it for some years. So, it frustrates our own process. We must identify certain, what we are going to call ‘mission areas’ and thrust along those areas. We want to improve the technology. When we talk of technology, I am talking on a broader concept, not only of electronics but we might want to improve, for example, the seed of rice, we might want to improve fertilizer, we might want to improve something else; and we concentrate on these ‘mission areas’ so that ten years from now, we are the most advanced country in that area irrespective of anything else. Because we will have to concentrate along these lines, we will have to reduce our efforts on some of the other lines. This is the basic change. I thought I would just explain that.

Source: Verbatim of debate in the Lok Sabha on May 15, 1985 following Starred Question No. 855

(Typos edited)

GLOBALISATION OF KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY : TECHNOLOGY AND POLICY PERSPECTIVES by Y.S. Rajan, R.Saha, Shaleen Raizada, Subodh Kumar

Many Thanks and Welcome

Since the launching of our website, we have been inundated with requests for membership. We are overwhelmed by the response and several scholars and professionals have already joined FGKS.

We have also been receiving requests from students and young industrialists seeking our guidance and financial assistance to succeed in their ventures. Currently we do not offer student memberships. For guidance in the business ventures, young industrialists can approach TIFAC.

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