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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Digital Manufacturing in India- Gateway House paper


Gateway House with funding from EXIM Bank prepared this paper covering both theory and practice. Excerpts: 

Industry 4.0 promises to create new jobs and products while boosting productivity. The complex array of processes that make this possible – including 3D printing, computer-aided design, data analytics, artificial intelligence, simulation, virtual reality, sophisticated process management and more – are collectively known as Digital Manufacturing. Companies can also achieve digital manufacturing goals independently through the Global Lighthouse Network and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Industrial IOT. So far, India has just one company in each segment – Tata Steel for Lighthouse and Altizon for the Magic Quadrant. 

Startups are catching up with Government support.Clairviz, co-founded by Aditya Vermani, an engineer who worked with India’s engineering giant Larson & Toubro and was briefly seconded to the Indian Space Research Organization, has a product similar to Altizon. But Vermani is sitting in a sweet spot because Clairviz participates in the government’s Start-Up India programme and is a beneficiary of government’s mandate that state companies use start-ups and MSMEs like Clairviz for their procurement of goods and services. State-owned oil refining giant Hindustan Petroleum was among Clairviz’s first clients; it installed and monitored sensors at the company’s Mumbai refinery and oil depots, resulting in improved regulatory compliance and a saving of almost $20,000 per year on maintenance and labour costs, against a small subscription fee – another creative revenue model.


SAMARTH Udyog Bharat 4.0 is an Industry 4.0 initiative of Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Heavy Industry & Public Enterprises, Government of India under its scheme on Enhancement of Competitiveness in Indian Capital Goods Sector.  The experiential and demonstration centres for Industry 4.0 have been proposed to spread awareness about I4.0 amongst the Indian manufacturing industries. Five centres of I4.0 having a unique identity for spreading awareness and branding have been sanctioned under SAMARTH Udyog. It is emphasized that these centres would have resource sharing, common platform of industry 4.0 and network each other’s resources so that the utilization of resources is maximised.

Five CEFC (Common Engineering Facility Center) Projects are:
  • Center for Industry 4.0 (C4i4) Lab Pune
  • IITD-AIA Foundation for Smart Manufacturing
  • I4.0 India at IISc Factory R & D Platform
  • Smart Manufacturing Demo & Development Cell at CMTI
  • Industry 4.0 projects at DHI CoE in Advanced Manufacturing Technology, IIT Kharagpur

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Draft Drones Rules, 2021 released

The draft Drones Rules, 2021, replacing the regulations was issued in March this year, Provision on R&D:

26. Drone operations for research and development. – The following persons shall not require a certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for operating drones for research and development purposes – 

(a) Research and development entities under the administrative control of, or recognised by the Central Government, State Governments or Union Territory Administrations; 

(b) Educational institutions under the administrative control of, or recognised by the Central Government, State Governments or Union Territory Administrations; 

(c) Startups recognised by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade; and 

(d) Any drone manufacturer having a Goods and Service Tax Identification Number:

Also read -World of Drones.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Indian Researchers in Commercial Space- nominations open.

Competitive India is built by commercial firms with thousand of R&D persons developing products competing with resource rich global firms. Indian Innovators Association plans to bring out a compilation of those researchers behind the scene.

Nominate them and give them recognition due to them.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Lack of R&D incentives for Domestic Companies in Telecom PLI

 SITARA has written to PMO on this:


 For this we request the following:

1.      We are not asking for a withdrawal of the scheme, as some employment benefits are perceived under it, we are only asking for an Addendum which gives strong incentives for domestic companies investing in R&D including manpower accounted as per Indian accounting standard.

2.      To prevent foreign OEMs from availing of the benefits under R&D for assembly operations and IPR which is not Indian, even if the bulk of their R&D is done in captive R&D centres in India with no spillover into the domestic ecosystem, it must be specified that R&D benefits will go only to companies headquartered in India/ owning IPR registered in India and the worldwide profit made on these IPR must be accrued in India only. As of now R&D is capped to only 15% of the investment. Creating Indian IPR should be mandatory as it will ensure the “Indian-ness” of even MNC companies in addition to their low value-addition activities in India.

3.      Also, the companies that can avail of the scheme have been limited to 10 for MSME and 10 for domestic and global firms, of which only 3 are reserved for domestic, leading to the danger that a few  companies will monopolise the benefits. Hence the addendum must also remove the cap of 10 successful companies in each MSME and non-MSME category respectively from 10 – and extend it to all eligible candidates. In addition, to ensure fairness and prevent just one applicant from getting the entire amount, there should be a cap on the maximum subsidy amount given to any single applicant.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Diaspora philanthropy- case of Kamma NRIs

Sanam Roohi is a Marie Curie COFUND fellow at Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt, currently researching the transnationalisation of the Telangana movement. She defended her thesis ‘Giving Back: Diaspora Philanthropy and the Transnationalisation of Caste in Guntur (India)’ from the University of Amsterdam in December 2016. Her research outputs include publication of a few book chapters and articles in journals including Modern Asian Studies, International Political Sociology and Ethnic and Migration Studies, apart from a co-produced film on diaspora philanthropy. Excerpts from our PhD which primarily focusses on Kamma NRIs in USA.

Guntur district in southern India has been a site of substantial outward transnational mobility by educated professionals (especially doctors and engineers) from dominant caste groups, who started migrating to the USA and other countries in the 1960s. This pattern of high-skilled migration, which intensified in the 1990s, gave rise to a regional diaspora that remains culturally and materially rooted in the region of Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Materialising the dual experiences of belonging and uprooting, these transnational migrants started sending resources back home, in particular through ‘diaspora philanthropy’. Members of this regional diaspora started engaging in social development projects, especially from the 1990s, in the fields of education, health and rural development. The thesis is an attempt to understand how regional specificities – especially caste connections – have shaped diaspora philanthropy in this case, and how diaspora philanthropy in turn has defined or reconstituted a caste group – the Kammas – that has become transnational. Extensive fieldwork carried out in Coastal Andhra and the USA revealed that these philanthropic engagements have been primarily channeled through particularised caste and kinship networks and are usually directed to aid members of the donors’ own ‘community’ – helping this group transform itself from a regionally dominant (agrarian and business) community into an emergent transnational caste.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Sam Pitroda on Path to Development

Sam Pitroda in this blog of 13 sections extensively covers his journey in India trying toe change the system, successful when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister and hounded when Rajiv lost election. There are many episodes of interest, one particularly on interest to me struggling to take Indian innovations to international events was Science and Technology Exhibition in USSR.
One manifestation of these ongoing ties was that back in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi and Mikhail Gorbachev had agreed to hold science   and cultural festivals in India and the USSR. Rajiv was eager to put on the best show possible to showcase India’s achievements, and the government had allocated funds to put on a large, wide-ranging science- and-technology exhibit as a part of the ‘Festival of India’ scheduled to be held in Moscow, Leningrad and Tashkent. The problem was that the ministries involved told Rajiv that it wasn’t feasible to mount the science exhibition on the schedule he and the Soviets had agreed on. They said it was impossible, that there just wasn’t enough time for it. This resulted in Rajiv asking me to do it. He was as frustrated with the country’s bureaucracy as I was, and he found in me someone he could use to cut through the red tape and foot-dragging. He asked and I said yes. The science-and-technology exhibition was going to be huge— the Soviets had allotted about 200,000 square feet for us, which meant we had to fill all that up. The first thing I did was call Air India to book two 747s. Then I worked backwards. Along with Gulshan Kharbanda, a museum technology expert, I designed layouts for the space. Then I called a meeting with the heads of the various science and cultural departments and industries. ‘The PM said this has to be done,’ I told them, ‘so we have to do it well and on time.’ I described the overall scheme and the space allocations for each category. ‘Aeronautics and space industries, you have 4000 square feet; leather crafts, you have 2000. Drug industry—I want a capsule that people can walk through and be shown the Indian drug industry. The capsule should be 8 feet high and 20 feet long. Technology, I want two robots. As visitors enter they will be able to walk between the robots—a female robot in a sari, and a male one in maharaja clothes, saying: “Welcome, welcome.” Delegate this to some institute, they’ll design the robots and put Indian dresses on them. Visitors walking in should see a big slide-show—India, a land of deserts and mountains and tigers. Water, dancing, music, a ten-minute show, 150 slides. Everyone has ninety days to produce their exhibits and booths. You don’t have to worry about transportation or anything other than designing and producing your part of the exhibition. You just have   to get it done in time.’
The Festival of India and the science-and-technology exhibition were a great success. The skills, creativity and talent it displayed were striking. As I saw it, the effort it took to design and create the exhibits was equally exceptional. My role in that effort was simple. The only thing I had to do was lay out the requirements and provide people with the necessary motivation and direction. After that, they were on their own. Once they knew what to do, they did it superbly.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The Compendium of Demand-Driven Technologies for Rural Entrepreneurship


India’s Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG) has catalogued dozens of essential technologies that have emerged from rural India. RuTAG’s Compendium on Demand-Driven Technologies for Rural Entrepreneurship details 48 technologies.

Download the compendium.

See the videos.