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India needs technological and social innovations: Ramadorai

August 16, 2014 19:29 IST

India needs to unleash technological and social innovations that can usher in a new developmental model the world has not seen before, TCS Vice-Chairman S Ramadorai said.

"We need technological and social innovations that can show the way to a new developmental model, a model where cutting-edge technologies power our quest to understand the outer space and at the same time high-end but low cost technologies help solve simple everyday problems," he said.

Delivering his address at the 13th convocation of the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) here, the top TCS executive said that India has many complex problems across developmental, business and economic needs.

"This calls for a higher order of inter-disciplinary thinking to be brought in," he said.

Observing that large Indian corporations need to become research-focused, Ramadorai said that neither there is any dearth of talent in our country and nor of intent as well.

"What is needed is for a few Indian companies to show the way, by forging large scale partnerships in areas of significance for the country and for their business," Ramadorai said.

"In today's knowledge economy, it is economics, not politics, that brings power. Economies are driven by business and technological innovation and advances. Strong science and engineering Ph.D programmes are precisely the catalysts for the amazing growth of China," he said.

Referring to a study, Ramadorai said that India's share in R&D spending to the total global R&D spending stands at 2.1 per cent while the share of China is 12.5 per cent.

"Also the number of Ph. Ds has been growing at the rate of about 9 per cent in India compared to around 18 per cent in China. So if India has to be technologically strong, research is an imperative," he added.

"I believe that the time has really come for our campuses to reshape the learning culture to bring in more of the real world just like IIIT Hyderabad is attempting to do," Ramadorai said, adding that more institutions need to remold the entire learning process and curriculum of the campus so that more bright students focus on addressing the tough problems of the day.

Ramadorai further said that more campuses need to think in terms of introducing an incubator model of learning where students can stoke their entrepreneurial spirit and dare to apply technology to tackle India's problems at scale without fear of failure.

"One tough problem that certainly needs to be addressed is the primary sector - agriculture. Our agricultural yield is amongst the lowest in the world.

"The fact that a small nation like the Netherlands is the world's third largest agricultural exporter should inspire us to create more value from our farms. This can happen only through the application of innovative new technologies and cutting edge science," he said.

Telangana Information Technology Minister K Taraka Rama Rao also spoke on the occasion.

Around 450 undergraduate and post-graduate students, besides five doctoral candidates, were conferred the degrees during the convocation.

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