Why “Invent in India” would be a better message than “Make in India”

By Vinay Sharma & Chetan Sharma
February 16, 2017

Innovation drives technology and technology in turn drives a nation. With innovation in technology a nation can grow and prosper.  This is true when we look at most of the powerful, technological advanced countries like America, Japan, and Germany. For any nation to become a global superpower, scientific knowledge and innovative capacity is of the utmost importance.

If a nation wants to become an economic global superpower it must enrich itself with scientific knowledge and innovative capacity. Only when a nation exudes scientific knowledge and innovative capacity has it truly fulfilled the goal of entering the ranks of those elite, powerful and technologically advanced countries.

When we say Germany, we think of cars; when we say America, we think of computing; and when we hear Japan, we think of speedy trains. Each technologically advanced nation has over the years has excelled in one or more specific areas of scientific research and endeavored, which allows for the full exploitation its R&D potential.

India as a nation has a history of a glorious and innovative past. In our mythology, we have a knowledge bank of scientific thoughts related to flying machines, medicinal science and even genetic advancements. However, the current state of scientific and technological affairs is quite grim in India. India has failed to exploit its historical and scientific know-how to its fullest, and that has hampered the growth of the country in terms of its technological advancements.

With the Make in India campaign, the Indian government accelerated an initiative to encourage global industries to use national resources and develop their manufacturing units in India. This has been aided with assurances of quick environmental and legislative clearances, and the availability of abundant skilled labor in India.

It is beyond doubt that Make in India will open up various employment avenues and lead to financial growth, but the question arises whether this will result in India becoming a global power?

Currently, in the global economy, 80% of the value of any organization lies in its Intellectual Property assets. The debate now beginning in India is whether with the “Make in India” program the country is focusing only on the remaining 20% (i.e., product manufacturing and related assets)?

Make in India suggests that India is not empowering the nation to invent more or further but only to serve as a third wheel for other technological giants. We should also empower our nation to inculcate a vivid imagination, which will let people think out of the box and subsequently work on creating awareness on how to commercialize such ideas.

Our leaders interacted with top global companies and discussed their vision regarding the Make in India campaign of giving invitation to make in India; however, no efforts were targeted to develop innovative power houses in India through tie-ups with world’s best universities.

India is presently spending less than one percent of its GDP on R&D. Industrial development comes at the cost of environmental and health hazards, which is evident from the fact that many industrial countries have the most polluted air quality in the world.

India is a country where most of the geniuses look for administrative jobs, but we should be channeling genius towards the R&D sector, which is only possible with an Invent in India campaign.

The challenges that India faces in terms of energy needs, agriculture and health sector can be addressed and solved more efficiently, if we encourage a scientific approach to education, electricity and power generation. Developing new technologies can lead to a more holistic socio-economic growth with a worldwide presence and technological demand, where we can even license our technologies to the world.

Why a message like Invent in India is really needed can also be sensed by analyzing the intellectual property position of India. Intellectual property assets of a country are a reliable indicator of the global position of the nation on the technological front. If we look at the total patents being published in different countries in 2016, it is clear that China leads with more than 2.1 million patent publications, followed by the US (see below map). India is still way behind with only 29 thousand patent publications in 2016. This clearly shows a lack on inventive approach in India. 

With Invent in India we could have launched a new flight towards a scientific society. The grass-root intelligence of India would have got an opportunity to shine and also the elite mind could foresee a future as scientists, physicists, Intellectual Property heads etc.

Though Make in India provides the clauses for the upliftment of intellectual property, however the tag-line does not reflect that thought of IP empowerment explicitly. We should also contemplate on the fact that in India, where no strict patent infringement and litigation scenario is followed, most of the industries thrive on selling duplicated products in the market, which lends a serious setback to IP upliftment.

The Parliament of India is yet to set a benchmark where stringent IP laws are enacted and followed. Such cases will suffuse the IP assets of an organization with more value and help in the overall IP development of India.

The major advantages of choosing Invent in India as a branding line would be the following:

  • Positioning India globally in the revered Intellectual Property world.
  • Awareness in India about the benefits associated financially, socially and individually by inventing new technologies.
  • Paving way for new avenues of educational system encouraging open thinking.
  • Attracting the enthusiastic youth of India to bring a change with their skills for the nation.
  • A scientific future for the country ultimately resulting in coherent development.

The Author

Vinay Sharma

Vinay Sharma is an IP professional and a technology consultant with more than a decade of experience in advising global clients on critical aspects of IP strategy, technology/product development, portfolio management, go-to-market strategy, and strategic alliances. He holds a Master’s of Science (Consultancy Management), backed by a B.Tech (Electronics & Communication). Having obtained his Bachelor’s of Law (LL.B), he is also an advocate in addition of being a registered Indian Patent Agent.

He currently works with IDS as a Strategy Consultant. Throughout his career, Vinay has worked on various assignments relating to technology analytics and research, market research, market sizing studies, industry analysis, technology assessment, technology landscape, technology roadmap, technology scouting, monetization, patent-product overlap analysis, out-licensing of technologies and patent valuation.

Vinay Sharma

Chetan Sharma is the head of R&D for XLPAT. With a background in technology research and consulting he joined (AI based IP research tool) for developing machine learning and NLP based systems for patent portfolio assessment. He has developed frameworks in semantic search models using NLP and AI algorithms. He has been part of International Conferences in Japan and works closely with many national/international academic institutions to implement technology platforms to expedite innovations

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Discuss this

There are currently 9 Comments comments.

  1. Inventor Woes February 16, 2017 9:37 pm

    Why don’t the authors of the article actually invent something instead of complaining about it? One is an attorney and the other seems to just be a patent agent. How about actually “Inventing in India.”

  2. Jiabonew February 20, 2017 12:00 am

    Hii being an attorney or patent agent doesn’t mean you to file patents on your name it’s about helping others get a recognition for their invention and also creating awareness in the society so ppl come up with innovative thinking…the article is to create awareness and not criticizing anything

  3. Rahul February 20, 2017 2:42 am

    @inventor_woes :- we do care about inventions also, therefore our team has already developed xlpat (http://xlpat.com/) – an enterprise solution based machine learning and artificial intelligence.

    Further, Our team has worked with multiple startups and guided them how to innovate. More then happy to assist you also.

  4. Dr. Naveen February 21, 2017 10:23 am

    @Rahul, never mind, but we are talking about a country where people does not have enough monetary resources to file a patent.

    People in India do not need databases, they need financial support. Please elaborate how your machine learning tool will help a farmer in getting a patent.

    I did some research after reading your comment and found that your solution is also paid, so how are you helping poor people having inventions and not having resources to file the patents?

    It’s easy to write such aritcles with no insights at all and blame the government and policies but it’s very difficult to come forward and help this country.

  5. Anshul.dgr February 22, 2017 1:50 am

    I disagree with “invent in India”. Author has not focused on the cons of this which are –

    1. Made in India can ensure more jobs, however Invent in India does not guarantee job.

    2. Invent in India can increase Patents filings and the patents can be used as a troll.
    Not a good approach for country like India

    3. India can’t afford patent monopoly in some sectors like drugs industry and Invent in India will promote monopoly culture

    4.(learning from China) it’s beneficial for the countries to allow their people to create jobs and business first and then people should start looking at the innovations in their industry. Rather than blindly inventing which may not be useful for the industry.

  6. Nitish Singla February 22, 2017 2:53 am

    @Dr. Naveen, appreciate that your comment reflects an urge and passion to help a country that you describe as financially so weak that its people cannot afford to file a patent. However, please note that first filing fee is INR 1600, and the filer can and should, anyhow, approach someone who can invest to bring the invention to practice after initial filing, which this article is motivating or spreading awareness about.

    Very respectfully, your comments “People in India … need financial support” and “how your machine learning tool will help a farmer in getting a patent” sound like you want to tell that “if you cannot (financially) help someone out of darkness; you don’t even motivate them to get out of that.”

    I believe, the author has done a great job in motivating and spreading awareness among people to secure their inventions as patents without actually discrediting any policy. This (mere filing an application for a patent) will definitely bring them huge monetary returns on their innovations, which would in turn motivate and financially support them to “Invent in India.”

  7. Shivam Arora February 22, 2017 3:00 am

    Hi Dr. Naveen, I disagree with you. In the field of journalism, reporters write so many articles and publish news to sensitise the people of the country and bring policy change. According to you , they should also practice what they are reporting which seems absurd. Articles/blogs are meant for creating awareness among people and government. If “invent in India” is a better message than “make in India”, people should know about it.

  8. Rahul February 22, 2017 3:27 am

    @Dr. Naveen,

    Thank you for the comment. Xlpat is an innovation that we worked upon to provide an enterprise solution to customers who regularly search on various paid databases. XLPAT provides more value for money as compared to any other databases available in the market.

    For second query, we promote independent inventors by arranging a Pro-Bono session (no charges) on every Wednesday in our office premises in Mohali and every Friday in Gurugram to guide them how they can protect their ideas at a very nominal cost and get investors to initiate their business . Anyone can attend this session without any fee.

    The team that we get to provide these session would include following experts.
    Our Team:- http://www.talwaradvocates.com/our-firm/team/

  9. renshaw March 6, 2017 2:04 am

    Hi Everyone,
    I appreciate your concern for “invent in india ” campaign and i too believe that “invent in india” should be given priority over “Make in india”.
    However, a lot needs to be done to promote it . In india, very few people are actually aware of IP proceedings and this needs to be taught especially in college level. if some guy in india have some idea so he can get patent,then he will struggle to get investment for that. after all who will spend money for patent if you can’t encash it.So first teach them and then financially support them which will take time and effort.so for now, i think make is india will be more fruitful than invent in india as it will give results in quick time while “invent in india” should also be given a start.