Wednesday, June 02, 2010

APJ Abdul Kalam Speaks

One of the finest scientists India ever produced – APJ Abdul Kalam urges Indian scientists to become pioneers in innovation and technology in his recent speech at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He categorically stressed that India’s present growth has been achieved based on patents generated elsewhere sometime ago as well as innovations and technology developed elsewhere. He also emphasized the need for green energy (read here). PatentCircle whole-heartedly welcomes and appreciates Dr. Kalam views, at least there are people in India who do understand the value of innovation and need to move on from copying to research. We are not sure for how long our country will afford to stay in shades of copying when other Asian countries (China, Taiwan and Korea) aggressively continue to foster in innovation and technology and back here in our country, we continue to discuss the same age old issues of religion, reservation, caste, poverty and corruption. In India, we have objections regarding patents in pharmaceuticals and software because of the vested business interests of Indian companies associated with blatant copying of drugs and software but when it comes to patents in green energy, nanotechnology and stem cell development we have no issues because we have no vested business interests (and possibly no expertise and know-how) as of now to copy them. It is quite unfortunate that despite we have so much potential and caliber to fuel innovation and technology development in India but because of our government ill policies and governance we are contributing far below to our par. India has tremendous potential to become IP and innovation capital of the world but thanks to our copying business industry that we are not able to match our own potential even after 60 years of independence.


  1. i think probably brain drain is also a major factor resulting in stagnation in the fields of nanotechnology and stem cell development. The government has definitely shown lack of interest and irresponsibility but i believe entrepreneurs are also to share the blame for lack of initiative, which has led to so many NRIs working abroad in this sphere when there is lots left to be done in the country where they studied from.

  2. Hi Payal,

    I think the other way. I am of opinion that brain drain in also result of Government ill policies and lack of environment for advanced research in India. Do you feel all those Indians who achieved success and accolades in the US in field of computing, aeronautical engineering, stem cell and pharmaceutical science would have achieved the same in India? Do you think like the US, India would have been able to protect the interests of researchers from been copied or stolen by others? And would Indian Government have provided researchers an environment to foster their researches into commercial success? The fundamental difference between research in the US and India is – that in the US most of researches advances into some sort of business ventures thanks to constructive policies of the US government to bring private industry, universities and researchers at a single platform but here in India research mostly get restricted to theories in labs and PhD thesis. Due to lack of financial incentives at university levels, most of the bright scientists and engineers are worried about their jobs and at some point of time have to compromise to earn their living and why not.

    Look at the level of awareness of research at university level in India and the US. In the US, research students are provided with rich libraries, online databases (which most Indian students haven’t even heard off) and other resources but in India not many researchers are even familiar with the computers and internet browsing. Who you would blame for this - students and entrepreneurs or Government of India? Government have been providing IITs with funds to build infrastructure and at the same time constantly neglecting remaining universities and colleges. Even after providing so much funds and infrastructure to IITs they do not have good research and patent track records.

    Just by providing high-end courses in IITs and IISc it is not possible to build a country with strong technology capabilities, it also need infrastructure and environment where those brains can work and blossom their ideas. Without infrastructure it will be something like planning bullet trains in India without having basic infrastructure to run them.


  3. Also we need to change our attitude looking into science and research. We need to acknowledge and respect intellectual contributions made by others. No advancement is possible without building bricks of incremental innovations. I remember a statement made by CEO of Cipla (Amar Lulla) that “the US would grant a patent to a piece of toilet paper.” May be for him toilet paper is nothing less than dump product but in reality we have to rely on the US even to copy n make toilet papers. Advanced concepts of using recycle and different grades of paper for making toilet paper are initiatives taken by US industry to save trees and enviroment that obviously needed innovative ideas and manufacturing processes. But in India toilet papers are mere toilet paper.

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