Why Harsh Vardhan Lacks Focus in his ‘Out of Box’ Speech?

Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan urged Indian scientists on Monday to think ‘out of the box’ to come out with research that can jump-start national development, while his speech lacked one concrete example to focus on.

Speaking at the 12th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science in Panaji, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The scientists should think out of the box and come out with research that can push the nation on growth path by benefiting the public.”

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressing at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), at Jadavpur, in Kolkata on May 01, 2015.

(Representational picture) The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressing at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), at Jadavpur, in Kolkata on May 01, 2015.

Since there are 350 million people who are poor in the country, scientists can think out of the box to come out with the technologies which can provide easy solutions.

“We have developed new technologies and done thousands of research for over decades now but how many of them have actually benefited the society ?” he asked the researchers.

“If technologies are not in the interest of the public, then they are of no use,” he said without giving concrete examples.”Let us first find out what are the needs of common men and then do the research accordingly,” he said.

No wonder the minister is stressing the need for something that is useful to common man in India. A country of huge base of scientists and engineers, India has failed to come out with a chapati-maker that can provide relief to half the population who are women engaged in house-making.

India undertakes huge commercial space projects, thanks to its vast resouces of space scientists. At macro-level, India has achieved what major countries have achieved but miserably failed at micro-level research.

In fact, Indian-origin engineers in Singapore came out with a chapati-maker called ‘Rotimaker” that can fit into any household though it is not able to begin its manufacture and sales in India still.

Once rotimaker or its Indian-equivalent automatic roti-makers which can fit the budget of a middle class or below-poverty-line families, it is going to save millions of working hours for these 350 million people and another equal number in a billion-plus nation like India.

The resultant hours saved by our women folk can be channelised into productive jobs, thus propelling the growth of the country enormously. Why didn’t our scientists think of a roti-maker, for one such simple example?

The problem is thinking out of the box in India meant aiming at becoming rich overnight with fancy products than a mass-friendly utility device. No scientist wants to be branded as the inventor of a roti-maker in preference to a space-related or computer-related product.

The stigma makes them think outward rather than out of the box. There lies India’s tryst with high-end products, not with what the country’s half of the population needs in their daily lives.

Perhaps, Dr Harsh Vardhan should focus on such concrete examples rather than reiterating what his predecessors have done for the last six decades. Or should it come come first from the PM’s mouth to set the ball rolling with such concrete examples? It’s time ministers too think “out of the box” now.

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  1. Research is done for intellectual curiosity not for public interest.

  2. Indian consumer thinks of purchasing something which can be a status symbol more than something that is novel. Nano car did not take off because the family by keeping whom in mind the car was designed wanted more than that. Many others did not appreciate the design. It is difficult to know what Indian consumer wants. Mobile phones with longer battery life succeeded. I would say in the west, more people are open to try out innovative things and make it a part of life and pay for the value delivered compared to India. If demand side things change, then innovation will rush to fill the demand.

  3. Honestly Mr Ramji Patel What did you find anything wrong in what Minister Harsh Vardhan said here? Do you really know how many hundreds of millions our DRDO as well as these CSIR labs are gobbling every year and they are doing nothing but sustaining those employees scientists livelihood but nothing else ?? 100% Nepotism (and corruption to a certain extent) rules there to the core and I have never ever seen any breakthrough happening in all these sixty years of their existence?? We need guiding figure to channelize these resources for appropriate applied research as the Minister has said very well..

  4. nice article. This shows our political class lacks content and are just chirpy birds.

  5. When we currently have a Noble Laureate in our mist . Mr Sen the current government BJP treated him like garbbage .And dislodge this great gentleman.

    The current BJP governments are all bunch of illiterate men and women , look at Ms S Irani 10 class , no one HAVE A STATUS OF our former PM Dr ManMohan Singh a Phd.

    One should not expect any thing great to take place , for the next four years.
    The minimum education qualification for MLA / MP should be Bachelor Degree, Minister either a Bachelor or Master degree.
    The Union Minister should not made without a first class Bachelor or Master Degree. THE Prime Minister should have at least Master Degree.
    If he cannot under basic scientific issues or read important documents , but wants his IAS officers Secretary to take notes in Hindi, and Sanskrit is shocking .

    One should expect the country to improve for years to come.
    Jai Bharatmata Hai Ram another burden to write in sanskrit.

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