Allowing Make in India to become the new normal, writes Amitabh Kant – analysis
The crisis of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has alerted everyone. It has highlighted the need for efficient responses to urgently needed goods and services. Perhaps never before has there been such an urgency to secure the supply of crucial equipment for front-line workers, essential service providers and the general population in such a short time. With the high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), surgical masks and N95, ventilators and test kits, it has been necessary to find solutions nationwide. And Indian entrepreneurs have stepped forward and satisfied the demands through innovation, reuse, and strengthening the production of essential goods.
That is why, based on the response of Indian companies to the pandemic, there is clear evidence that Make in India can be a driving force. Building on the catalytic effect of this concept, the next step is to provide a reliable regulatory framework and incentivize similar synergies to allow Make in India across the board to become the new normal.
As is evident from the successes in the healthcare sector, Indian companies and entrepreneurs can recalibrate, reuse and become global beaters.
The way vital supplies were made available to combat Covid-19 is a testament to the potential of Make in India. India required 75,000 fans, of which just under 61,000 were needed. Nine national manufacturers were chosen to supply almost 60,000 of them, with only one importer selected for the remaining 1,000. From national suppliers, Sanray Technologies and Bharat Electronics were chosen for 30,000 fans, while AMTZ and AgVa each for the supply of 13,500 and 10,000 respectively. A similar situation is being observed in PPE, where for a total requirement of more than 20 million PPE, 35 national manufacturers have stepped up to meet demand, supplying 13 million PPE. National EPP manufacturing has grown exponentially. For the masks, of the 27.2 million required, three national manufacturers are providing 12.8 million. Production of domestically manufactured test kits, both the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and the rapid antibody test, has increased. This ability will enhance India’s daily testing ability. Overall, these are great opportunities for Indian companies to prove themselves.
Indian companies are also at the forefront of developing a vaccine for Covid-19. Between six and eight Indian companies have reached the development phase. Zydus Cadila is said to be working on two vaccines, while Serum Institute, Biological E, Bharat Biotech, Indian Immunologicals and Mynvax are also in the process of developing a vaccine. Biocon, a leading Indian biopharmaceutical company, is developing two new generation reused drugs for treatment and an antibody diagnostic kit. He is also working on a vaccine project with Seagull Biosolutions.
Several entrepreneurs have made progress to help combat the pandemic.
Biodesign Innovations Labs, which manufactures automated versions of low-cost manual ventilators, together with Remidio, a manufacturer of ophthalmic devices to increase production from 400 ventilators per month to 15,000 in the coming months. AgVa Healthcare partnered with Maruti Suzuki in a collaboration agreement to develop ventilators and potentially manufacture 20,000 ventilators per month, compared to its previous production of 300 per month.
Saral Designs reused from manufacturing sanitary napkins to manufacturing three-layer surgical masks, and in collaboration with the Mahindra Group, has increased production to 30,000 masks per day that they send to state governments through the Corporate Social Responsibility program from Mahindra. Qure.ai, has used Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to develop a solution through detecting abnormalities in chest radiographs in seconds, through door-to-door tests, acting as the first point of reference on who needs to be tested for Covid-19.
Staqu Technologies, a contactless monitoring application based on artificial intelligence, has a built-in provision for thermal cameras that can take body temperature from a distance of up to 10 meters. Asimov Robotics has presented the “Karmi-bot”, a robot destined for isolation rooms in hospitals, with the ability to transport medications and food trays and make video calls with caregivers, among other essential features.
And these are just some of the innovators who are taking the fight to the pandemic.
The collaboration between the best corporate entities in India and the brightest young entrepreneurs during one of the most critical periods in the world is possibly one of the most positive conclusions for the future of India as a world power. India’s focus on fostering and supporting the startup ecosystem is a vital input to becoming a $ 5 trillion economy. Collaboration, innovation, and the ability to recalibrate and reuse bode well for Make in India to accelerate. If the results are so encouraging in the health sector, with adequate support and a robust regulatory framework, this can be replicated in most sectors, helping India to be self-sufficient and the nerve center for growth and capacity. . There is no better time than now for this movement to take off.
Amitabh Kant is CEO, NITI Aayog
The opinions expressed are personal.