How entrepreneurship and innovation will strengthen the spine of Aatmanirbhar Bharat


“AtmaNirbhar Bharat” or “Self Reliant India” is a clear call from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Disrupted global supply chains presented a natural opportunity for this vision of the Indian Prime Minister.

The Indian government suggested five pillars for the success of Make in India: economy, infrastructure, modern technology, vibrant demographics and demand. The Make in India process will only be successful if we have fertile land and high quality seeds.

If either of these is missing, the output will not be reached. Fertile land is easy to operate in India. Fertile land is supposed to develop an environment in which people are willing to walk less traveled routes. One of the most important components of this fertile land is the ability to innovate.

Innovation is one of the most important drivers for a successful economy. The innovation ecosystem developed by some Asian developing countries is a real example before us to demonstrate the role of innovation in developing their economies.

It will not help us to strive for lower costs or better quality, but we must be able to deliver economical innovations on a global scale. This ability of the Indians will help us to become AtmaNirbhar Bharat.

India is one of the three most innovative economies

One of the measures of the innovation ecosystem is the Global Innovation Index published by WIPO. There is some satisfaction that India is among the top three innovation economies in the low-middle-income group. However, we cannot be satisfied with being in the lower middle income group.

Atmanirbhar Bharat seeks to bring India into either a high income group or a higher middle income group. India ranks 48th worldwide based on the innovation ecosystem. Delhi and Mumbai are two science and technology clusters in India that are among the top 100 clusters identified by WIPO. These are signals for the development of a good innovation environment in India.

A country like India should use its demographics to fuel innovation. This will only be possible if we do not fear any failures. In our society we don’t value failure. Innovation and entrepreneurship are only possible when we are ready to fail. Failures are pillars of success; That’s an old saying.

The application of this adage is best for innovation and entrepreneurship. The youth of India should be given the opportunity to explore their hands in entrepreneurship.

Innovation, entrepreneurship to drive India’s growth

In order to become Atmanirbhar Bharat, qualities of innovation will also be very important. Some of the innovations that have influenced our lives over the past decade have come mainly from American and some East Asian countries.

But COVID has given the Indian corporate ecosystem a great opportunity to lead the world in frugal innovation. The rapid development of various solutions to fight COVID is the most recent example of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Developing vaccines against Corona made India standalone throughout this entire pandemic. It is high time we developed a problem-solving mentality rather than a follower mentality.

After the current pandemic, when the world normalizes, it will be necessary to have the ability to lead the history of India’s growth. Sustaining India’s economic growth requires innovation and entrepreneurship based on science, math and technology.

Strengthening the IPR ecosystem

To enable technology-driven innovations, we also need to strengthen our IPR ecosystem. Although most professional educational institutions in India set up cells for innovation and entrepreneurship, industry associations help young students promote entrepreneurship. Angel funding for startups is increasing, but we have a long way to go.

As society moves towards Industry 4.0, the focus on hyperconnectivity, cloud storage, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, fintech, and smart travel are some of the upcoming areas for Indian startups.

Entrepreneurs in India have a double chance. You can innovate for products that we heavily import, and we can also innovate to accommodate future needs.

It takes time to create problem-solving teens who are ready to face new challenges and learn from mistakes. This will create a new India which will be Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Article by Prof. Rajat Agrawal, Associate Dean Innovation and Incubation and Professor at the Department of Management Studies, IIT Roorkee

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