MASHELKAR: RE-AS­SURED

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SShan­ing at thh 2018 KR Narayanan mhm­r­rial lhc­turh at thh Aus­tralian Natir­nal Univhrsity, Dr. RA Mashelkar, Chair­man, Natir­nal In­nr­vatirn FrunGatirn, main­tainhG that sr­cial in­hqual­ity can eh er­iGghG thrrugh in­nr­vatirn that’s AS­SUR(D – Af­fr­rGaelh, Sus­tainaelh, Scalaelh, Univhrsal, RaSiG, (xch­ll­hnt anG Distinc­tivh

KOCHERIL Ra­man Narayanan was the 10th Pres­i­dent of In­dia, and one of our most ac­com­plished civil ser­vants, dis­tin­guished diplo­mats and stel­lar aca­demi­cians. I met him for the first time in 1982. He was vis­it­ing the Na­tional Chem­i­cal lab­o­ra­tory. I had the unique op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate an in­no­va­tion of a su­per ab­sorb­ing poly­mer— the Jal­shakti, which could ab­sorb wa­ter over hun­dred times its own weight. I still re­mem­ber the prob­ing ques­tions that Pres­i­dent Narayanan asked me about the po­ten­tial use of Jal­shakti in agri­cul­ture in rain-starved ar­eas in In­dia. In fact, we both even share the turn­ing

point of our aca­demic lives. Both of us were Tata schol­ars. We both left In­dia, only to re­turn when we were fairly young with zeal to do more for our home­land. He, at the age of 27, and I, at the age of 32. Pres­i­dent Narayanan once said, “I see and un­der­stand both the sym­bolic as well as the sub­stan­tive el­e­ments of my life. Some­times I vi­su­alise it as a jour­ney of an in­di­vid­ual from a re­mote vil­lage on the side­lines of so­ci­ety to the hub of so­cial stand­ing. But at the same time I also re­alise that my life en­cap­su­lates the abil­ity of the demo­cratic sys­tem to ac­com­mo­date and em­power marginalised sec­tions of so­ci­ety.” You can see how right he was. I would have had to leave stud­ies de­spite stand­ing 11th among 135,000 stu­dents in Ma­ha­rash­tra in the ma­tric­u­la­tion exam in 1960. But it was the Tata Schol­ar­ship of Rs 60 per month for six years that helped me study. In 1960, when I used to go to Bom­bay House, Tata head­quar­ters, to col­lect that Rs 60 a month, if some­one would have said that you and Ratan Tata, the head of the Tata fam­ily, will be among the only seven In­di­ans from the time of es­tab­lish­ment of Amer­i­can Academy of Arts & Sci­ence in 1870, who would be elected as For­eign Fel­lows of the Academy, or that both will sign the Academy’s Fel­lows book one af­ter the other on the same page on 15 Oc­to­ber 2011, I would not have be­lieved it.

CSR 1.0: Do­ing well and do­ing good

Tata Scholarships that Pres­i­dent Narayanan and I re­ceived were a di­rect re­sult of the sense of cor­po­rate trustee­ship that the Tatas had al­ways demon­strated. Per­haps, it is not widely known that world’s first ever char­i­ta­ble trust was set up by Jam­setji Tata in 1892, long be­fore the An­drew Carnegie Trust (1901), the Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion (1913), the Ford Foun­da­tion (1936) and the Lord Lever Hulme Trust (1925). The es­tab­lish­ment of these trusts was driven by the Tatas’ be­lief in giv­ing back to the peo­ple what came from the peo­ple.

THE mean­ing of such phi­lan­thropy has changed over the years. What was con­sid­ered as cor­po­rate trustee­ship is now be­ing called Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR).The Tatas did CSR since they con­sid­ered it to be their moral re­spon­si­bil­ity. The Govern­ment of In­dia has re­cently leg­is­lated that 2% of the net prof­its earned by the cor­po­rates must be spent on CSR. I would call this as CSR 1.0. Here, part of the sur­plus wealth goes back to peo­ple, ei­ther by free will or be­cause of the need to com­ply with govern­ment leg­is­la­tion. So I would con­sider CSR 1.0 as “do­ing well and do­ing good.” This means af­ter one has done “well” by amass­ing wealth, one turns to do­ing “good”, by set­ting up char­i­ta­ble trusts or foun­da­tions. What I wish to pro­pose is CSR 2.0; not re­plac­ing CSR 1.0, but com­ple­ment­ing it and bring­ing a far greater im­pact by touch­ing the lives of mil­lions. I call this as “do­ing well by do­ing good”. This means “do­ing good” it­self be­com­ing a “good busi­ness.”

What do In­dian busi­nesses need to do to achieve CSR2.0?

I pro­pose that pri­vate sec­tor can do well by do­ing good, if they adopt an AS­SURED in­no­va­tion strat­egy. For me, AS­SURED stands for: A (Af­ford­able) S (Scal­able) S (Sus­tain­able)

CSR 1.0 was about “do­ing well and do­ing good”. You did well, i.e. be­come wealthy, and then did good through char­i­ties. CSR 2.0 will com­ple­ment CSR 1.0, and en­tails “do­ing well by do­ing good”. You be­come wealthy by do­ing good

U (Uni­ver­sal) R (Rapid) E (Ex­cel­lent) D (Dis­tinc­tive) Af­ford­abil­ity (A) is re­quired to cre­ate ac­cess for ev­ery­one across the eco­nomic pyra­mid, es­pe­cially the bot­tom. For the 2.6 bil­lion peo­ple in the world earn­ing less than US $2 per day, such af­ford­able prod­ucts can­not just be low cost but must be ul­tra low cost. Scal­a­bil­ity (S) is re­quired to make real im­pact by reach­ing out to ev­ery in­di­vid­ual in the so­ci­ety. De­pend­ing on the prod­uct, the tar­get pop­u­la­tion may only be a few hun­dred thou­sand, or a few mil­lion, though in some cases, it may reach hun­dreds of mil­lions.

SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY (S) is re­quired in many con­texts; en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic and so­ci­etal. In the long term, AS­SURED in­no­va­tion must pro­mote af­ford­able ac­cess by re­ly­ing on ba­sic mar­ket prin­ci­ples with which the pri­vate sec­tor works com­fort­ably, and not on con­tin­ued govern­ment sub­si­dies or pro­cure­ment sup­port. Uni­ver­sal (U) im­plies user friend­li­ness, so that the in­no­va­tion can be used ir­re­spec­tive of the skill lev­els of an in­di­vid­ual cit­i­zen across the eco­nomic pyra­mid. Rapid (R) means speedy move­ment from mind to mar­ket place. Ac­cel­er­a­tion in in­clu­sive growth can­not be achieved with­out speed of ac­tion match­ing the speed of in­no­va­tive thoughts. Ex­cel­lence (E) in tech­no­log­i­cal as well non-tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, prod­uct qual­ity and ser­vice qual­ity is re­quired, not just for the elite few but for ev­ery­one in the so­ci­ety. Dis­tinc­tive (D) is re­quired, since one does not want to pro­mote copy­cat prod­ucts and ser­vices. Achiev­ing all the in­di­vid­ual el­e­ments of AS­SURED in­no­va­tion looks seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble but not nec­es­sar­ily so as we show now. Let us ask some chal­leng­ing ques­tions: Can we make high-speed 4G in­ter­net avail­able at 10 cents per GB and make all voice calls free of cost, that too in a large and di­verse coun­try like In­dia? Can we make high-qual­ity but sim­ple breast can­cer screen­ing avail­able to ev­ery woman, that too at the ex­tremely af­ford­able cost of $1 per scan? Can we make a por­ta­ble, high-tech ECG ma­chine, which can pro­vide re­ports im­me­di­ately and that too at the cost of eight cents a test? • Can we make an eye imag­ing de­vice that is por­ta­ble, non-in­va­sive and costs three times less than con­ven­tional de­vices? • Can we make a ro­bust test for mos­quito-borne dengue, which can de­tect the dis­ease on day 1 at the cost of $2 per test? Amaz­ingly, all this has been achieved in In­dia, not only by us­ing tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion but also non-tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion.

AS­SURED In­dian In­no­va­tion

An ex­em­plar in AS­SURED in­no­va­tion has been re­cently very suc­cess­fully demon­strated by In­dian pri­vate sec­tor. One of In­dia’s early suc­cesses was the mo­bile revo­lu­tion. In the two decades from 1995 to 2014, about 910 mil­lion mo­bile phone sub­scribers were added. The num­bers are in­cred­i­ble in them­selves, but es­pe­cially so if you con­sider that this was 18 times the num­ber of land­line con­nec­tions in 2006 when land­line sub­scrip­tions peaked at 50 mil­lion. Com­pe­ti­tion in the In­dian tele­com sec­tor reached a fever pitch in 2016 with the en­try of Reliance Jio In­fo­comm Ltd. To­day, mil­lions of In­di­ans en­joy the ben­e­fits of free voice call­ing and ex­tremely af­ford­able (10 cents per GB) high-speed 4G in­ter­net us­ing their Jio con­nec­tions. One in­cred­i­ble ex­am­ple is that of speech and hear­ing-im­paired peo­ple us­ing video calls to com­mu­ni­cate with each other in sign lan­guage. One of the most im­por­tant in­no­va­tions was Jio’s green­field LTE net­work is the first coun­trywide de­ploy­ment of voice over LTE (VoLTE). Jio has a 4G LTE net­work with no legacy 3G or 2G ser­vices, mak­ing it the only net­work in the world with this con­fig­u­ra­tion.

The mean­ing of such phi­lan­thropy has changed over the years. What was con­sid­ered as cor­po­rate trustee­ship is now be­ing called Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR).The Tatas did CSR since they con­sid­ered it to be their moral re­spon­si­bil­ity

Young In­no­va­tors Do­ing Well by Do­ing Good

Let me il­lus­trate the point by talk­ing about some win­ners of the An­jani Mashelkar In­clu­sive In­no­va­tion Award— an award I in­sti­tuted in my mother’s name for in­no­va­tions that will do good to the so­ci­ety at large. In 2015, breast can­cer re­placed cer­vi­cal can­cer as the leading cause of can­cer deaths among women in In­dia. Al­most 200 mil­lion women aged 35 to 55 do not un­dergo nec­es­sary an­nual breast ex­ams, which could po­ten­tially save their lives. So how can we en­sure that women in ev­ery cor­ner of In­dia un­dergo breast can­cer screen­ing? UE Life­Sciences led by Mi­hir Shah has de­vel­oped a hand­held de­vice that is used for early de­tec­tion of breast tu­mours. It is sim­ple, ac­cu­rate, and af­ford­able. It is pain­less be­cause it is non-in­va­sive. Screen­ings are safe, pain-free and pri­vate. They have also de­ployed an in­no­va­tive pay-pe­ruse model, which can em­power doc­tors in ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try to start screen­ing women for breast can­cer at the ear­li­est. The de­vice is US FDA cleared and CE marked. It is op­er­a­ble by any com­mu­nity health worker. And it only costs an amaz­ing Rs 65 ($1) per scan.

UE Life­Sciences led by Mi­hir Shah has de­vel­oped a hand­held de­vice that is used for early de­tec­tion of breast tu­mours. It is sim­ple, ac­cu­rate, and af­ford­able. It is pain­less be­cause it is non­in­va­sive. Screen­ings are safe, pain-free and pri­vate

CAR­DIO­VAS­CU­LAR dis­eases are pre­dicted to be the largest cause of death and dis­abil­ity in In­dia by 2020. There is a press­ing need to af­ford­ably, speed­ily and ac­cu­rately mon­i­tor the heart health of In­di­ans. This has been achieved by an­other awardee, Rahul Ras­togi, who cre­ated a por­ta­ble match box size 12- lead ECG ma­chine. The cost is just Rs 5 (8 cents) per ECG test. His com­pany cre­ated a dis­rup­tive high-tech in­no­va­tive so­lu­tion for per­sonal car­diac care—the ‘San­ket’ elec­tro­car­dio­gram (ECG) de­vice. San­ket is a credit card-sized heart mon­i­tor, which acts like a por­ta­ble ECG ma­chine, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to mon­i­tor the heart con­di­tion, mak­ing it as sim­ple as mon­i­tor­ing the body tem­per­a­ture. The high-tech 12-lead ECG recorder con­nects to a smart­phone wire­lessly, and dis­plays and records ECG graphs on a smart­phone. The ECG re­port can be shared in­stantly with a doc­tor via e-mail, Blue­tooth or mes­sage. The af­ford­able de­vice marks a dra­matic shift in the way we ap­proach car­diac care. Then there is the third An­jani Mashelkar In­clu­sive In­no­va­tion awardee, 3nethra, an eye screen­ing de­vice. Eighty per­cent of all blind­ness is avoid­able or cur­able. In­dia is home to the largest num­ber of vi­sion im­paired in­di­vid­u­als. Eye screen­ing de­vice 3nethra pro­vides a por­ta­ble and cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion. It is an in­tel­li­gent, por­ta­ble, non-in­va­sive, non-my­dri­atic low cost de­vice that helps UE Life­sciences is not only do­ing good, it is also do­ing well. In the last year or so, the de­vice has earned nearly $1 mil­lion in rev­enue and re­ceived pur­chase or­ders to­talling nearly $2 mil­lion. The com­pany has also en­tered into a strate­gic part­ner­ship with GE Health­care for mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of iBreast­Exam across more than 25+ coun­tries in Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia and ben­e­fit more than 500 mil­lion women.

in pre-screen­ing of five ma­jor eye dis­eases, namely, cataract, di­a­betic retinopa­thy, glau­coma, de­fects in the cornea and re­frac­tive er­rors with a pow­er­ful, in­built auto de­tec­tion soft­ware.

IT is a com­bi­na­tion of ro­bust hard­ware with cloud based com­put­ing and so­phis­ti­cated im­age anal­y­sis so­lu­tions. The unique fea­ture of the prod­uct is its ver­sa­tile func­tion­al­ity—de­tec­tion of five com­mon eye prob­lems in a sin­gle screen­ing, au­to­mated anal­y­sis and re­port gen­er­a­tion; and cloud based stor­age of in­di­vid­ual data, all rolled into a sin­gle, com­pact ma­chine. To­day, they have 1,700 de­vice in­stal­la­tions across 26 coun­tries and have touched two mil­lion lives.

Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Pol­icy for AS­SURED In­no­va­tion

I have shared with you a few ex­am­ples of AS­SURED in­no­va­tions, but In­dia is home to dozens, per­haps hun­dreds of such in­no­va­tions, which could have been AS­SURED in­no­va­tions. But it is a sad fact that in terms of AS­SURED in­no­va­tion, from sup­ply side, they man­aged the el­e­ments of A, U, R, E and D but missed on S& S, mean­ing they could not achieve

The three-in­one ‘Dengue Day 1 Test’ can de­tect dengue fever within min­utes on day one of the fever, af­ford­ably in re­source-poor set­tings. It can dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween pri­mary and sec­ondary dengue virus in­fec­tions

scale and sus­tain­abil­ity. One was a near miss. An­other was a to­tal miss. Let me talk about the near miss first. The win­ner last year was Navin Khanna deal­ing with the chal­lenge of Dengue de­tec­tion. Dengue in­ci­dence has in­creased by more than 30-fold in the past 50 years. Cur­rently, half of the global pop­u­la­tion lives un­der dengue threat. At the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Ge­netic En­gi­neer­ing and Biotech­nol­ogy in In­dia, Dr. Navin Khanna de­vel­oped a test that can help ad­dress this prob­lem. The threein-one ‘ Dengue Day 1 Test’ can de­tect dengue fever within min­utes on day one of the fever, af­ford­ably in re­source-poor set­tings. It can dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween pri­mary and sec­ondary dengue virus in­fec­tions, which is so vi­tal for clinical man­age­ment of dengue in­fected in­di­vid­u­als. In­ter­est­ingly, it can also de­tect the pres­ence of the virus in a mos­quito. The test kit is now be­ing ex­ported to

other coun­tries too. De­spite hav­ing a high-per­form­ing rapid dengue test that could de­tect both pri­mary and sec­ondary dengue virus in­fec­tions in a re­li­able man­ner, it was still an up­hill task to get it ac­cepted by the end-users. It was 2013, and many cities in In­dia wit­nessed a large num­ber of dengue cases. Three com­pa­nies from USA, Aus­tralia and South Korea sold their yearly stock of dengue test kits within a few weeks and no test kit was avail­able for use in the In­dian mar­ket. When the In­dia-made kit was of­fered to them, it was met with a great re­sis­tance. Be­cause of the ex­ten­sive pa­per­work re­quired for im­port of these tests, com­pa­nies from USA and Aus­tralia were un­able to make the next ship­ment of dengue kits to In­dia, how­ever, a South Korean com­pany was able to ship a new con­sign­ment to In­dia. This ship­ment landed up in Africa by mis­take in­stead of reach­ing In­dia. It was at this stage that the en­dusers re­lented and tried the In­dian kit. When stocks of im­ported kits fi­nally showed up in In­dia, there were no tak­ers. In this case, serendip­ity and not a sys­tem played the big­gest role. So the near miss was Navin Khanna’s Dengue Day 1 test.

THE to­tal miss was Sim­puter. It was de­signed to be a low cost and por­ta­ble al­ter­na­tive to PCs. The idea was to cre­ate shared de­vices that per­mit truly sim­ple and nat­u­ral user in­ter­faces based on sight, touch and au­dio. Sim­puter pro­to­types were launched by the Sim­puter Trust on April 25, 2001. It was hailed for its ‘rad­i­cal sim­plic­ity for uni­ver­sal ac­cess’. Be­fore the ar­rival of the smart phone in 2003, Sim­puter had an­tic­i­pated some break­through tech­nolo­gies that are now com­mon­place in mo­bile de­vices. One of them was the ac­celerom­e­ter, in­tro­duced to the rest of the world for the first time in the iPhone. The other was doo­dle on mail, the abil­ity to write on a phone, that was later a ma­jor fea­ture on the Sam­sung Galaxy phones. De­spite hav­ing achieved the el­e­ments of A, U, R, E & D in AS­SURED, what went miss­ing was S & S, namely scale and sus­tain­abil­ity. This was be­cause of the ab­sence of in­no­va­tion-friendly pub­lic pro­cure­ment pol­icy de­spite many ru­ral­spe­cific demon­stra­tions.

Role of Strong Pub­lic Pol­icy

Here is an ex­am­ple of how a hard and strong pub­lic pol­icy can work. Just over a year ago, I would have said that we stand on the cusp of a dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion. To­day, I can say with­out any am­bi­gu­ity that we are right in the midst of it. Our na­tion cre­ated his­tory in 2014 when un­der the Prad­han Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna 18,096,130 bank ac­counts were opened in In­dia in just one week, cre­at­ing a Guin­ness World Record. It will pro­vide ac­cess to var­i­ous ba­sic fi­nan­cial ser­vices for the ex­cluded— ba­sic sav­ings bank ac­count, need-based credit, re­mit­tance fa­cil­ity, in­sur­ance and pen­sion. JAM com­bin­ing J (Jan Dhan), A (Aaad­har iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and au­then­ti­ca­tion) and M (mo­bile telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions) cre­ated the fastest and largest fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in the world, with 300 mil­lion plus bank ac­counts open­ing up in record time. It is glar­ingly ob­vi­ous that the tide of ex­po­nen­tial tech­nol­ogy, where per­for­mance is ris­ing ex­po­nen­tially and costs are fall­ing ex­po­nen­tially, will make many things pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered im­pos­si­ble pos­si­ble in en­tirely un­be­liev­able ways and time­lines mak­ing the goal of achiev­ing AS­SURED in­no­va­tion eas­ier.

Jamshedji Tata

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