Establishing India’s Apple

News: U.S. tech company Apple has reached the $3 trillion-mark in market capitalisation. This now makes it wealthier than most countries. 

How can India advance towards creating such companies? 

This will require India to establish ecosystems that are innovation driven. Following are some key steps to achieve this:

1) Sustained public funding to build world-class research and development infrastructure and hiring the best faculty in our university system. The initial funding to build large research infrastructures needs to come from the public exchequer. Then it can be financed by private investors, like angel investors and venture capitalists.  

Equally important is encouraging and providing the faculty towards critical thinking. 

2) Ecosystems can be build by connecting institutions nearby. This will lead to facilitating easy access to tools and equipment for each others’ students and faculty, creating an open, inclusive atmosphere, and encompassing each other’s strengths. 

There should be availability of excellent tech transfer offices, access to legal counsel and law firms. 

3) Tech transfer offices and incubators play a vital role in commercialising technologies. Their part is to make sure that the universities are incentivised while providing a physical space with technical and legal help for individual faculty-driven innovations to get commercialised 

4) Proper legal frameworks are needed for university-driven innovation to mature. After consultations and modifications, Parliament needs to pass the Protection and Utilization of Public Funded Intellectual Property Bill (PUPFIP), 2008 . 

This will help remove the universities’ lack of clarity on intellectual property rights to commercialise inventions from government-funded research programmes. 

5) It is essential to broaden the reach to cover all streams within the liberal arts apart from the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field which will lead this innovation revolution. 

Curricula need to get away from focusing exclusively on awarding degrees and also focus on vocational training towards developing students’ skills for a specific task.  

Source: This post is based on the article “Establishing India’s Apple” published in The Hindu on 13th Jan 2022 

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