Category — Innovation(RnD)

India Extends Benefits to Startups

The Government of India has broadened the definition of a startup by saying that a business not older than seven years will qualify for benefits such as reduction in patent application fee and a tax holiday, under the startup India program. In the case of startups in the biotechnology sector, the period shall be up to 10 years, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a notification. “An entity shall cease to be a startup on completion of seven years from the date of its incorporation/registration, or if its turnover for any previous year exceeds $3.5 million.”

In order for a startup to avail of tax benefits it should be “working towards innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or should be following a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation.” Any entity formed by splitting up or by the reconstruction of a business already in existence will not be considered a startup, reports VCCircle.

Planning in a startup

“The changes are an effort to ensure ease of starting up new businesses to promote the startup ecosystem and build a nation of job creators instead of job seekers,” the government said.

The process of recognition as a startup will be through an online application made over the mobile app/portal set up by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Startups will no longer require a letter of recommendation from an incubator or an industry association for either recognition or tax benefits.

May 26, 2017   No Comments

U.S., India Collaborate on Building Radar Satellite

NASA and India’s ISRO – the Indian Space Research Organization – will jointly build a satellite called NISAR or the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite which could be the world’s most expensive Earth imaging satellite, and will cost the two countries over 1.5 billion dollars.

In a meeting in Toronto, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and K.Radhakrishnan, Chairman ISRO, signed two documents to launch the NASA-ISRO satellite mission.

“NISAR is the first big collaboration between NASA and ISRO, certainly on radar  but just in general as well. This is two frequency radar:  it is an L-band 24 centimeter  and S-band 13 centimeter. S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA. It is a major collaboration both in terms of the technical building of the satellite as well as working together across the Pacific between India and U.S.,” said Paul A. Rosen, a scientist working on the NISAR satellite project.

The NISAR satellite will be launched in 2021 from India using ISRO’s  Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, reports NDTV.

US and India Flags

May 25, 2017   No Comments

What Technology Innovations is India Working at?

In his article in Fortune on whether India can become an innovation hub for the world, journalist Ashish Gupta explores India’s capability in cutting-edge technology and disruptive innovation.

In his search for answers, Gupta talks to many stalwarts in the field of innovation: Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth, Marvin Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School, Lakshmi Pratury, founder, host and curator of INK Talks, and Brock Pierce, serial entrepreneur, digital currency visionary, and chairman of the U.S.-based Bitcoin Foundation.

Bower tells him, “The time for incremental change is over; it is time for non-linear, breakthrough innovations, not just for solving the country’s [India’s] complex problems, but also for creating a far more equitable and inclusive society.” Pratury, says, it’s time for India to take some ‘exponential risks’.

Pierce identifies AI as the greatest innovation of our time, and says that perhaps it will define the future of Indian innovation. Sanjeev Tyagi, founder and head of research at Ericsson’s Bangalore research and development center, confirmed to Gupta that his team of researchers are at work on cloud computing, machine learning, and IoT where a group of passengers and a fleet of buses are part of a study that uses data, apply machine learning and machine intelligence to optimize bus routes. Ericsson and Intel are looking into the ability to scale computer/network/storage independently of each other. Tyagi adds that for the interconnected world of the future, we need to “create a system that uses machine learning and IoT for self-learning [learning from the past], self-healing [the ability to find solutions when something goes wrong], and self-organizing, so it can allow new devices to become a part of the system.”

Sriram Raghavan, director of IBM’s research center in Bangalore, says his team is working in the areas of IoT and cognitive computing, IoT and blockchain technology, AI and blockchain technology to create new applications and provide different services to global clients such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Mahindra and Mahindra in India.

India’s HCL Technologies has developed two mission-critical systems for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner: one to avoid collisions in the air, and another to facilitate landing in zero visibility.

Mumbai-based Tata Consulting Services is investing deeply in high-potential areas such as genomics; metagenomics; integrated computational materials engineering for building stronger, lighter metals; robotics and automation; as also in human-centric systems.

Fortune says: All these are applications of existing technology. Clearly, this is going to be how innovations happen in this country, where the technology may not be original, but the use of it is.

 

Innovation Poster

May 4, 2017   No Comments

Australia Readies Uranium Supply for India

At a joint news conference in New Delhi with visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turnbull said Australia was looking forward to the first export of Australian uranium to India as soon as possible. “We have worked closely with India to meet our respective requirements for the provision of fuel for India’s civil nuclear program,” he said. “Now we are working with India to secure timely conclusion of a quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would provide a significant boost to regional confidence,” he added.

Indian Prime Minister Modi said that cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector, including renewable energy, was on the upswing.

Turnbull and Modi at Akshardham Temple

The two leaders inaugurated a research center on nano and bio technology. At the event, Modi said that the Australia-India Research Fund of nearly $100 million “has focused on collaborative research projects in the areas such as nano-technology, smart cities, infrastructure, agriculture and disease control.”

April 20, 2017   No Comments

MIT Grads Provide Biodegradable Sanitary Pads to Rural India

A startup, Saathi (meaning ‘companion’ in Hindi), founded by three graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a graduate from Nirma University in India, is hoping to improve access and waste disposal of sanitary pads for women in rural India.

275,000,000 women in India cannot access pads because they are too expensive (also scarcely available, and difficult to discard). “Only 16 percent of women have access to sanitary pads in India,” Kristin Kagetsu, co-founder and CEO of the company told NBC News during an interview at the company’s production facility, located outside Ahmedabad, in India’s western state of Gujarat.

The sanitary napkins are eco-friendly: they are made from locally-sourced banana fiber, which is highly absorbent and biodegradable; it doesn’t have to be burned when disposed, thus helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Banana Fibers

Fibers from the banana tree

Saathi is one of the finalists in the Health and Wearable Technologies category at SXSW, Austin, Texas. It is looking  funding this project, and according to its website, $12,737 have been raised toward a target of $20,000.

April 19, 2017   No Comments