Daily Editorial Update with Vocabulary – Global innovations force-fitted in India won’t make an impact


Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here is today’s editorial with vocabulary from the very best Economic Times newspaper.

Global
innovations force-fitted in India won’t make an impact
There are few countries that
enjoy the advantages India does when it comes to its ability to stimulate
growth. We are in a sweet spot on the demographic curve, with the majority of
our population young and productive.
Their aspirations, and natural inclination to embrace new
technologies, has transformed India into an economic power within just a couple
of decades after liberalisation. But the benefits of liberalisation — increased
industry, trade, foreign investments, modernisation and technological
advancements — are yet to percolate
evenly to marginalised sections of India’s population. There are villages that
still don’t have access to very basic services such as electricity, roads and
sanitation.
Which may be why India doesn’t
need moonshot ideas like drones,
self drive cars, domestic robots for now. What we need is to empower the downtrodden section of society to be
more productive. For a country of 1.2 billion, it’s not an easy task.
How do we do it? Innovation is
the short answer. The nuanced one is India-focused innovation. As a nation and
civilisation, we have an early history of innovation — think Indus Valley
Civilisation — even if the rest has been largely fragmented. Still, India
ranked 60 in the Global Innovation Index 2017 that was released on June 15,
moving up from 66th position in 2016. While the report necessitates some introspection, inferring our innovation
capability solely on its basis may be stretching it a bit. There are scores of
examples of great recent innovations that are not only uniquely Indian, but are
also innovations that remain unmatched anywhere else in the world.
Take ISRO (Indian Space Research
Organisation), which is challenging the might of the US’s NASA (National
Aeronautical and Space Administration) and the European Space Agency. ISRO has
demonstrated with alacrity that it
needn’t cost the world to send a space probe out of this world.
Its use of home-developed
technologies, a less-complicated payload design, simpler mechanics and cost
rationalisation are all innovations we are proud of. ISRO’s odyssey to Mars
with the Mangalyaan probe, on a shoestring
budget of just Rs 450 crore (about $73 million) isn’t something any other space
agency can emulate. More recently, ISRO’s
launch of 104 satellites on a single rocket underscored its innovation prowess,
the kind India desperately needs in all fields.
Then, there’s the unique
India-specific innovation our telecom industry made in the early 2000s.
Low-cost prepaid mobile telephony — Rs 50 for a SIM card inclusive of talk time
— made little business sense. The cost of telecom licences were steep and
mobile penetration, by extension revenue, was low. It also had no other global
precedence.
But our telecom industry
recognised a critical differentiating factor India had: millions of people at
the proverbial bottom of the pyramid. By innovating for them, a market with
vast opportunities waiting to be unlocked, the industry turned that demographic
into its biggest customer base. Innovations like that, and recharge sachets of
Rs 5 and Rs 10 fanned a revolution that transformed India into the world’s
second-largest telecom market in terms of mobile phone users and, subsequently,
Internet users.
Internet penetration in Indian
cities and villages has been nothing short of phenomenal, even if we lag
developed nations in terms of speed.
When we started Flipkart in 2007,
we were of the view that Internet usage in India was on the cusp of a break
through. While the start was alright for Flipkart, we quickly hit a major bump
when we wanted to scale up. Indian customers weren’t willing to pay first and
wait for a product to be delivered later. We needed a long-term solution.
In 2010, Flipkart launched cash on delivery (CoD) on scale
in India, an innovation that ushered e-commerce and helped build trust among
customers for shopping online. CoD was a game-changer. It turbocharged our
growth, which, in turn, acted as a catalyst for India’s nascent startup industry. Flipkart’s innovation DNA runs deep to
this day, with initiatives such as ‘No Cost EMI’, which has made quality products
affordable and accessible to millions.
The other large-scale India
innovation that empowered people is India Stack, on which Aadhaar is based. It
is the one innovation that couldn’t have been conceived anywhere else. Our 1.2
billion population, widespread illiteracy and population migration necessitated
a governance solution to ensure equal and unfettered
access to public services for everyone. India Stack has brought millions into
the formal economy, ensured government services are delivered efficiently and
helped plug leakages that earlier cost the exchequer
hundreds of crores of rupees.
Global innovations imported and
force-fitted in India are unlikely to make an impact, because they lack the
Indian context. India needs innovations in mass transport, healthcare,
education, waste management, urban planning and traffic — all of which should
be geared to the way we want to develop as a nation, which could be unique and
different from how other countries have prospered.
In 2010, the president announced
2010-2020 as the ‘Decade of Innovation’. We’re well past the halfway mark. This
may be a good time to assess how we’re doing.
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Important
Vocabulary with Meaning
Word
Meaning
inclination
a person’s natural tendency or urge to act or
feel in a particular way; a disposition.
percolate
to be diffused through
moonshot
an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking
project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or
benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks
and benefits. 
downtrodden
oppressed or treated badly by people in power.
introspection
a reflective looking inward : 
an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings
alacrity
brisk and cheerful readiness.
shoestring
a small sum of money :  capital
inadequate or barely adequate to the needs of a transaction
emulate
match or surpass (a person or achievement),
typically by imitation.
nascent
(especially of a process or organization) just
coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.
unfettered
not confined or restricted.
exchequer
National treasury

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