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Develop technology suited to Indian needs: Chidambaram

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Dr R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Mr K.K. Nohria, Assocham President, and Dr A. Ravindra, Chief Secretary, Karnataka Government, at a seminar on `Riding high in the next global wave of knowledge industry: A Strategic vision of the Indian technology (R&D) industry' in Bangalore on Thursday.


THE country is poised before a "great opportunity" to cash in on its technology assets but should ensure that this is driven by purely Indian needs, Dr R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, has said.

In the midst of brain drain and an increasing exposure to MNCs, the priority should be on developing technologies suited to Indian conditions, including rural benefits.

Ownership and control of R&D and intellectual property have become critical in today's global dynamics, he said at a national seminar on the Indian technology industry here on Thursday.

The latest budget, he said, has pushed up the Department of Science and Technology's (DST) outlay by 40 per cent and all the stakeholders should make use of it.

The Government funds most of Indian research, but it is time to change this. R&D lab-industry interactions are crucial in making this change, he said.

India needs to "make some policy changes so that the system accepts innovation products made for the first time. ... Also, research should be conducted under actual plant conditions," Dr Chidambaram said. There should be technologies that beat MNCs in some cases and to collaborate with them in some others.

While Indian computer software needs to move up the value chain, the next priority should be developing hardware, on which the US, for example, spends two-thirds of its R&D outlay.

The seminar was organised by Assocham, the Greater Mysore Chamber of Industry and the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

Dr Laxam Sankaran, Chairperson of Assocham's S&T committee, said the seminar would try to evolve a strategic vision for the Indian technology industry.

Last year, the Planning Commission's working group has recommended an ISTI model (Industry Science Technology Interface) and this can be a powerful tool to promote Indian cost-competitive technology.

ISTI will also promote networking with premier global companies, higher R&D investments that will fuel innovation.

The ISTI, she said, can be developed in the form of tech parks, centres of excellence, incubators and marketing bodies.

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