Indian innovation brings affordability to products, services worldwide: Sandhu

WASHINGTON, Oct 15: India’s innovation brings affordability to products and services across the world and is contributing to sustainability efforts, Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu said.
Inaugurating a conference on “India-US partnership for Innovation” virtually in New York on Friday, Sandhu said new thought and innovation are also leading to a strong entrepreneurial culture in India.
The conference was jointly organised by Northeastern University and the Consulate General of India.
Sandhu said the India-US partnership has unique strengths to drive the world of innovation.
“We are already invested in clean energy partnership, in making the global supply chain more resilient and in harnessing the value of new and emerging technologies. As strategic partners, we have a clear roadmap ahead to innovate, build and prosper,” he said.
“We have been able to bring in scale and speed in our innovation. An example would be our massive effort to vaccinate our population, administering more than two billion vaccines. We were equally successful in scaling up vaccine production. Ask any pharma expert and he will tell you how complex the task is,” he said.
Sandhu said India had a similar approach to the roll-out of socio-economic programmes, be it opening over 440 million bank accounts for those at the bottom of the pyramid, assigning unique identification numbers or Aadhaar to over 1.3 billion people, or distributing 90 million clean cooking gas connections.
“Financial inclusion and digital identity allowed us to undertake direct benefit money transfers and provide food rations for 800 million people during the pandemic. And our fintech products have made us the home to 40 per cent of the digital payments made globally. These figures would give you an idea of the scale and speed I am talking about,” he said.
“Indian innovation brings affordability to products and services worldwide,” he said.
Citing the example of the Rotavirus vaccine that was produced in the US at a cost of 60 dollars, the ambassador said, “We bulk produced it in India at just one dollar. Producing bio-similars is another example as to how Indian pharma is bringing in affordability in the use of biologics, which otherwise are very expensive.”
Over 50 per cent of the drug prescriptions in the US are serviced by Indian generics. The Indian pharma industry is indeed making healthcare in the US affordable in its own way, he added.
“Jaipur foot prosthetics, which has brought hope to the lives of millions, is another prime example. While the cost of an artificial limb in the US is almost 10-12,000 dollars, the Jaipur foot is available for just 70 dollars,” he noted.
Sandhu said India’s innovations and ideas are contributing to sustainability efforts in a big way. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a call to the global community to adopt Mission LIFE — “Lifestyle for Environment”.
“Without changing our behaviour and our consumption patterns, we can hardly justify our commitment to climate change action. India’s lead on the International Solar Alliance and its National Hydrogen Mission are as much geared towards bringing that transformative change. Indian textiles and products made from hemp, bamboo, jute and water hyacinth are bringing new eco-friendly values to consumers the world over,” he said.
This new thought and innovation are also leading to a strong entrepreneurial culture in India. With a young population and a government committed to reform, ideation and embrace of technology, a flourishing start-up culture is taking centre stage, he said.
“Today, drone technology is being used by our farmers to spray pesticides, while geotagging and AI are employed to maintain soil health and raise crop production.
“From almost negligible numbers a few years back, today we have over 77,000 start-ups in India, with 107 of them having achieved the unicorn status. And not just that, start-up connect is fast changing the contours of India-US engagement as well,” Sandhu said. (PTI)