Mashelkar ‘mantra’: Talent, Tech, Trust can take India to the Top

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By Quaid Najmi

Mumbai, Aug 14 (IANS) As India enters the Platinum Year of its hard-earned Independence and stands on the threshold of the AI-driven 21st Century, eminent scientist R.A. Mashelkar has minted a new strategy that can catapult India among the Top in the global comity of nations.

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“I feel that the ‘mantra’ for our country must be the 3 Ts and 3 Ds – Talent, Tech and Trust, & Democracy, Diversity and Demography – as India prepares to fire up the rockets aiming for the top slot…” said Dr. Mashelkar, a former Member of Scientific Advisory Committees to various Prime Ministers of India.

In this context, he said the US’s development was fuelled and propelled by roads and rail, UK by textiles, Denmark by milk/dairy, Sweden by timber and the Middle-East by oil.

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“So what’s our ‘oil’? It is the abundant talent growing in our soil… It just needs to be backed with adequate ‘access to tech’ and ‘nurtured with trust’ for our youth,” said the 78-year-old eminent scientist, and Padma Vibhushan laureate.

He passionately explained how, with extreme affordable digitalization, tech is in the hands of the youngsters and they are playing around with it ‘amazingly well’, brimming with fresh ideas and innovations virtually daily, in the past over two decades.

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“See how many start-ups we are having each day… Now, in 2020 itself, we reached 20 unicorns (private startups each valued at One Billion Dollars) which is a record by itself for the country,” Mashelkar pointed out.

“These 3 T’s will make an all-round difference to the country’s future, development and prosperity… Let’s place our full faith (trust) in our young minds…” urged Dr. Mashelkar, conferred awards and honours from around the world.

Harking to his pioneering idea of ‘Gandhian Engineering’, Dr. Mashelkar said the country needs not merely innovations, but ‘disruptive inclusive innovations’ whereby – ‘despite income inequalities’ – we can provide ‘access equality’.

In this context, he referred to the Jio mobile venture which gives unheard of access like 1-GB data for Rs.4, and voice-calls totally free, which is grabbed by over half-a-billion people.

“Can we have many more such technologies that benefit the maximum masses, excellence which is accessible and affordable, how ‘people can get more from less’… For, all this would result in an ‘accelerated inclusive development & growth,” Dr. Mashelkar emphasised.

The next stage would be to arrest and reverse the much-debated ‘brain-drain’ the country has been grappling with since many decades.

“As one youngster said, India is a ‘Land of Ideas’, but the US is still the ‘Land of Opportunities’. How can we give all the best opportunities to our own youth to foster their goals right here so they are not lured to foreign shores,” he asked.

Here, India’s unique combination of 3 D’s – Democracy, Diversity and Demography – can play a huge role to provide opportunistic windows to our youth – “And, I am confident we can overtake China or any other country in the long run”.

Indian Democracy, though a bit chaotic, allows freedom to think and act, innovate and create independently, the Diversity provides an incredible opportunity for innovations and creativity right from Kashmir to Kerala and these traits are particularly evident among the Demography of the millions of educated, ambitious and adventurous youngsters “ready to take the risky plunge”.

“However, we also need a fourth D – more ‘determination’ with a single-minded unity of purpose, which is ‘India first’, not ‘Me or My Party’, failing which we face the prospect of ‘Doom’, and simply undoing all the good things that we have witnessed in the past 75 years,” Dr. Mashelkar smiled.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

–IANS

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