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Research versus shortcuts, experts tell us of the better option of the two

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 - 4:33pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Recently noted scientist Raghunath Mashelkar said India’s scientific image is taking a beating globally. dna asks readers is India’s field of innovation comprising on safety and concentrating on cost
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India finds an easy way out

I agree with the fact that the innovation in India is a lot about make-shift because of the problem of affordability. Finances are a big issue in our country. Although this does not serve as an excuse to produce low quality innovations it is still a hard fact. What India generally does is reverse engineering of most of the things that the other countries innovate. This is not how it is supposed to be. The pharmaceutical industry is a perfect example in this aspect. The Indian pharmaceutical industry has not till date innovated or produced a single globally accepted drug. Its not that we cannot do it, sometimes even when other countries produce it, it is an Indian who has done it. But we are so used to finding the easy way out that we do not take the efforts. We have the innovative mind but not the innovation conducive environment or culture. The other huge problem is that there is no clarity on what exactly innovation it. Very often we ourselves associate innovation with the word ‘jugaad’ and so that is what we produce and that is how we are represented worldwide. This our own outlook does not change, investments don’t increase and we do not hold respect for others innovation we will not emerge as world class innovators.
Bhushan Patwardhan, Director, Professor, Inter-disciplinary school of Health Sciences, University of Pune

Invest in research

It is absolutely right that the image of India world across is very poor when it comes to innovation because of our tendency to do ‘jugaad’. It is also true that this view will not go away till we do not thoroughly invest in the research that we do. Also the research that is done, is done very quickly in the need to produce faster results and this allows for several loop holes to be missed. Research is not looked at from all possible aspects and this weakens it to begin with. We have no long term approach as everything is produced on a short term basis to produce and give out faster results. Quality is not a concern, quantity is. We have to stop looking at innovation as something make-shift and only when we change the way we look at it will we be able to not produced make-shift products after all.
Ganesh Natarajan, Vice Chairman and CEO, Zensar Technologies

Jugaad approach not bad

Jugaad’ Innovation is not always bad. When existing models, tools or equipments are modified and are helpful post the modification there is nothing wrong with it. Take for instance the agricultural sector. A lot of tools have been modified for the better use of the farmers and that is commendable. It makes the lives of the framers better. However if ‘Jugaad innovation’ is used for bigger sectors like the automobile sector that can be detrimental. This is where the quality and safety should be given utmost importance. These high-end products demand the innovation without modifications or short-cuts and regulations should be put in place to make sure that it happens. The highest quality standards must be met in this aspect. Most of the innovations that have been make-shift, works because it serves neccesity of humans and there are a lot of modified products that are actually doing really well, better than the ones where ‘Jugaad innovation’ is not used. Having said this, ‘Jugaad innovation’ should be done only where necessary.
Rajendra Jagdale, Director General of Science and Technology Park

Education not supporting the research

It is true that Indian innovations are not getting remarkable acceptance in the scientific community across the globe. But its not because of the make shift innovations, what we call jugaads. Indian scientist working outside India are doing well because of the infrastructure and support they get for their research and innovations. However same scientist working in India hardly get any support for innovations and research, other than some IITs and very few government organizations. Processes are complicated here and hardly speedy and transparent. Even our syllabus is not supporting or encouraging innovation and research. There is a total change require and we should really work for it. Its always easy to criticize but the authorities should work for improving the support system, which the other countries give easily.
Yogesh Bhalerao,Vice Principal Maharashtra Academy of Engineering

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