India can change its economic course by investing in innovative projects, and using science and technology as a means to generate capital.
For centuries, innovations have driven change, and shaped the changing course of the economy. For example, the steam engine changed the face of the industrial revolution, the atom bomb changed warfare, and the computer changed everything.
Well, innovations like these can also change the course of Indis's growth and solve the countries issues like insufficient capital, poverty and water scarcity, said scientist and entrepreneur Nisha Holla. Imagine a self healing cement that can heal cracks in buildings on its own!
At TechSparks 2018, the co-founder of Biomoneta Research told an enthralled crowd how deep science could help the country solve these problems. Both government and private players are investing in deep science. She added that the three ingredients required for deep science innovation were "new ideas, deep investment strategies and long-term vision."
China and US had legacy infrastructure problems, and had to retrofit and demolish redundant technology infrastructure like coal-based fuel plants.But, since India does not have an ageing infrastructure, we can leapfrog to next-generation technologies, she added.
According to Nisha, homegrown technologies could bring in more capital to a consumption-driven country like ours. If we begin exporting technologies, they would find a global market, and eventually gather global capital.
“While the US and China are investing in deep sciences segments such as in defense, healthcare etc., it will be interesting to know how India uses investment in scientific technological development as a means of economics,” she explained.
Deep science is an umbrella term for how biology, chemistry and physics are utilised, and deep science innovation provides solutions that could mitigate several issues in the global market.
Today, several sectors in India need remodelling, and deep science could bring in these solutions.
For example, the healthcare industry needs a lot of work in prevention, better diagnosis and cure. Personalised treatment and medicines could be the next big discovery, catering to everyone’s unique genetic makeup.
As the world is crunching on fossil fuel, and oil prices are shooting up, investments in green technologies are increasing. Parallel ideas in transportation and energy could be formed, especially looking at how China is investing on increasing fuel efficiency.
With a target of 175 GW of renewable energy on the path to 2020, India is already producing 23 GW of solar energy. Around 40 percent of the country's energy production is solar powered, and more solar batteries are required to store this energy.
Additionally, better technologies for desalination, fresh water management and phytoremediation (plant based systems to clear water pollution) can solve water scarcity faced by a lot of the country's population.
Around six cities of India are bearing the brunt of development including Bengaluru, said Nisha. While India is demolishing and constructing continuously, over 50,000 cities could be redesigned with new technology.
What India needs is a bunch of skilled people in science and technology, and incubation centres along with government and private capital to make this happen. The Smart City initiative is a step in this direction.
However, these innovations would take longer time to yield any outcome. Several arms of the Central and State governments of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telanagana like the departments of biotechnology, and science and technology, are investing in entrepreneurs via well designed schemes.
Today more and more incubators like C-CAMP, IKP Eden, BBC, are coming up and accelerating deep science innovation.
Among the BRICS countries, India's global reach makes it unique. “The IT industry did this very successfully in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, the top three IT service companies are Indian,” she said.
The country has already proved its mettle in IT industry in 2000s, and is a global player now. As companies like Bugworks are designing new antibiotics, there is a possibility of more global market access.
Nisha is confident that a globalised markets can have a huge impact on India, and Bengaluru seems be a magnet for deep science.