Aatmanirbhar Bharat

It is not a nationalistic slogan, it is a country’s risk management.

It is not protectionism within a global village. It is retaining strategic choices, to use when the turbulence hits.

We believe ‘Make in India’ is a matter of time. We have the right human resource. The Government has to press the right buttons.

We believe ‘Design in India’ is a very important component to achieve ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. In the years to come, as manufacturing and back end offices go to the most efficient regions, those who hold technology will hold the reins of commerce and leverage it.

We set off on that journey to develop indigenous technologies a few years back. After all, human intellect is a per capita resource, better distributed worldwide than oil. Let me share our journey.

We designed river clean up solution in 2015. Today it is the biggest success story worldwide in terms of trash and plastics stopped from reaching the sea. There is no sensationally big amounts raised or spent. There is no big media budgets, so it is a relatively unknown success, but a success by any discerning yardstick. It can be seen live on Google earth.

As an offshoot we developed lake cleanup devices. Simple mechanical devices that did not cost the earth and did the job well. We developed and deployed devices to clean the very polluted storm water drains. This is turning out to be one of our most impactful inventions for the environment.

We designed an ocean wave energy converter to harness energy from ocean waves. This is one of perhaps a dozen such attempts worldwide which has been prototyped and tested. We are working on a floating model of the same technology for easier logistics of deployment.

We designed a floating security barrier for perimeter security on water like a floating fence. It has a floating gate for controlled access. It is invaluable to the riverine borders, marine terminals, naval ports, dam reservoirs and other high value assets on waterfront. Like any physical fence, it snatches away the element of surprise of a hostile intruder, and gives critical moments for the facility to be alerted and ready to respond.

We designed flood relief devices i.e quick assembly rafts and unmanned device to take the first rope across a flooded stream. This successful technology opens up large possibilities for many applications including military applications.

Work in progress is – specialized robots to work in hazardous and explosive environments. The robot is ready and payload is being integrated.

Our cup is half full. India is big. There is a consumer base for almost anything you develop. Very trainable manpower. The realization that – self reliance in critical areas is very necessary – has sunk in well.

We are just one small unfunded SME. Imagine the potential of a country with a billion plus enterprising minds.

The writer is D Chandrasekhar, an ex merchant marine captain, done finance management at Singapore and EGMP at IIM Bangalore. He is the founding director of http://www.alphamers.com

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