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Innovating for immediate needs

Dr Gopichand Katragadda, group chief technology offcer, Tata Sons, is responsible for technology at the Tata group level, managing R&D operations, leveraging cross-company synergies, creating technology strategies for white spaces, and acting as an evangelist for innovation across Tata companies.

India will present a tremendous market opportunity over the next decade in key areas such as energy, water and transportation, says Dr Gopichand Katragadda


To effectively monetise products and services requires an in-depth understanding of the markets we serve. At Tata, our markets and presence are global. This article focuses particularly on the opportunity in India over the next decade.

  1. Energy: India would need to generate 0.5 KW of electric power per person to provide reasonable level of opportunities to its population. Based on current   projections for the population in 2025, India needs to increase its generation capacity 2.5 times, from roughly 280 GW to 710 GW. The energy requirement 14 of 0.5 KW per person is roughly half of the European average and a quarter of the US average. Transmission and distribution capacity should be upgraded accordingly.
  2. Water: India needs to double capacity of usable water from 1,000 to 2,000 cubic metres per person per year. Less than 1,700 cubic metres of water per person per year is considered as being water-stressed. Currently, USA provides 8,000 cubic metres of water per person per year to its Also, India would need to double the sewage treatment facilities in urban areas to even meet its current needs [Ref ii].
  3. Transportation: It is estimated that India will add 1,000 passenger and freight locomotives over the next 10 years, and the passenger and freight aircraft market will grow to be US$100 billion plus by 2025 [Ref iii]. Regarding road transportation, the Indian government aims to make automobile manufacturing the main driver of the Make in India initiative, as it expects the passenger vehicles market to triple to 4 million units by 2026 (as highlighted in the Auto Mission Plan 2016-26). Effciency, emission control and light weighting will continue to drive the next generation of vehicles in India.
  4. Healthcare: India will need to grow from 4 percent of GDP healthcare spend to 5 percent of GDP as per the CII-McKinsey report on healthcare. The report presents the vision for India’s healthcare with clear goals for 2022 [Ref iv].
  5. Food security: India will have to develop innovative, accessible, diversified food plans and supply chains to enable at least around 2,100 Kcal per capita per day in the diet for the urban population and 2,400 Kcal per capita per day for the rural population [Ref v].
  6. Products and services for the digital consumer: It is expected that by 2030 more than a billion Indians will be online [Ref vi]. Defining digital consumers as connected individuals who leverage their inter-connectivity as much as their internet connectivity for purchasing products and services, this is an area ripe for disruptive innovation. From mobile wallets to digital lockers, digital consumers will redefine commerce as we know it.

India has the ability to create a unique spot in innovation history to meet its own market requirements using its cultural advantages of frugality and sustainability. In emerging research areas at the intersection of biology, computing and materials, industry R&D should double and the government should provide direct R&D grants to industry.

Source – Tata Review


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