India’s innovation driven by its paradoxes, say IIT alumni

Prashant Jha
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By Umer Rashid

Roorkee–India’s many paradoxes – including its large number of people with health problems but a medical infrastructure that draws in a large number of foreigners – also provide an avenue to do large-scale innovations and produce great innovators, say experts.

“Given the situation we live in, we are people most suited for doing innovations. There is an inherit ability among people of India to save money which people of developed countries don’t possess,” said Prashant Jha, a former IITian and a Fellowship Director of one of the oldest Medical Technology Innovation programmes at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, during the Cognizance festival at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee here.

Jha also said there exists a confusion among people about how health care and economics operate.

“It is known that no one cares about investing in health. In fact, the whole world doesn’t want to spend on health care so India remains no exception.

Prashant Jha

“Almost 40 million people in India fall below the poverty line which means most of them don’t avail of quality health care.”

Citing a recent survey conducted by his team of innovators across different states in India, he said: “We found 80 per cent of pregnant women are not being monitored before operations which is disgraceful. Doctors operate these women on guess only by looking at the intensity of the labour pain.”

However, he said that interestingly, there is another side to this disparity as many as four million foreigners (from the Gulf, Africa and Europe) visit India for medical tourism.

About other paradoxes existing in India, Jha said that there are laws which restrict innovators from doing studies on animals, but when it comes to conducting human studies, it is not considered “unethical”.

“There is another intrinsic belief among Indians that anyone who is after money is viewed to be a bad person. This approach is actually making Indians a lazy, moronic and stupid people,” he said.

According to Debashish Purkayastha, Executive Director, Head EXCOM and a former IIT Roorkee alumni, India might have moved from socialism to liberalism after it opened its gates to globalisation in the 1990s, but the “situation however remains that there is huge content that exists only as archives and is yet to be digitised”.

For him, the legacy of sixty years that exists in analogue form often becomes an impediment for conducting research on artificial intelligence and other similar subjects.

“The role of the new breed of IITians thus becomes a great resource for young minds with their unique ideas which often help institutions redraft innovations and build technological terrain. At the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. we are facing a decline in field production,drilling technology and geophysical data that needs to be addressed,” Purkayastha told IANS. (IANS)



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