India must focus on discovering, inventing and making in India and not just make in India. Many feel that India cannot produce its own Google or Facebook or Apple because we have an attitude in us that we keep borrowing things from the world and not invent our thoughts that can compete on the world level. ‘Make in India’ is a much-needed program for India. The government and our prime minister have brought at a good time. The country has a fiscal deficit and perhaps, with ‘Make in India’, foreign investments in the country and exports will grow to stabilise the Indian rupee in the international market. If our currency appreciates, then we can also focus on many other initiatives. It is a politically correct decision but for the scheme to succeed the country has to invent and discover locally too.
It must be understood that for India, making things here are quite important, but the quintessential aspect should be making things here without depending on other nations. For this, we must discover and invent and make things in India. A reasonable portion of Indian GDP must be dedicated to research and development and also to the education system so that discoveries and inventions take place from school to college level to start-ups. There must also be a simultaneous effort to foster entrepreneurship so that ‘make in India’ and ‘invent in India’ go hand in hand. The government must also create a culture conducive to entrepreneurship. In Singapore, one can start a business in just 2.5 days whereas in India, on an average it takes about a month. Also, a person aspiring to invent something does not get the required infrastructure and financial assistance to pursue dreams. Given this unfavourable environment, Indian are not interested in discovering and developing. There are perils of Indian bureaucracy which is outdated, definitely inflexible and many times irrational but with breakthroughs by students and can present them with immediate commercial opportunities. There is tremendous talent in India, and it must bloom during college, if not school time. Schools have an instrumental role to play in imparting scientific education from the right age of a child with an emphasis on project development. Children are curious, and if the right direction is given to them in science, they will give India the right direction.
Indian youth is always driven towards engineering colleges in numbers far more significant than science and discovery, as they consider it a safer choice. With these talented individuals, India has the potential to become an influential scientific nation. Brain drain is an issue in which an Indian goes abroad and contributes immensely to a foreign country. The government must introduce lucrative programs that pull back pool of talented Indians in abroad and also let the existing citizens stay back willingly.
India must become an innovative country in the next 5-10 years. Strong academia is required, which can come through collaboration with the US, and that will lay a strong foundation for India’s growth in the long run. The partnership with the US in primary, higher education and research would benefit India tremendously. Such kind of a strategy will uplift India in high-tech product and service category and increased exports along with domestic consumption of such offerings will take the nation forward to achieve its ‘superpower’ ambition. Only a technologically advanced country can become a superpower. If there is a tie-up with universities for PHD, then we must check that once the students, who’re sent to the US for higher education in the technology field, finish their school, they must come back and serve India. People who go for studies there seldom come back. India will have the onus to provide these people with the employment and opportunities in research and development and give them a life which is on par with the US. Both countries will win in this situation where bilateral trade will increase ten folds also benefiting the ‘make in India’ scheme. Locally assemble and manufactured products will be cheaper; it will lead to much employment, will increase exports and give Indian companies a better global platform and presence.
Since the topic of aspiring to become a superpower is mentioned; it must be noted that ‘Make in India’ will take us in that direction but ‘Discover, Invent and Make in India’ will make us a superpower.