In order to promote the culture of ideating successful startups in India, we need to adapt the culture of smaller companies working on major projects, believes Rajendra Bahl, professor at the Centre of Applied Research in Electronics (CARE), IIT Delhi. He is also the director of Delsig Systems Private Limited – a startup working on the area of signal processing. Pragati Agarwal from academia.electronicsforu.com recently interacted with professor Bahl who talked about his startup and the vast area of signal processing. Excerpts follow…
Q.Throw some light on India’s technology industry. What are the areas of focus and where are we lagging behind?
In India, we are good at providing services than offering high-tech devices and solutions. Thus, our major focus still lies on companies like Zomato and Flipkart. This because, we, as a country, are currently failing in creating high-tech culture. Till today, we are one of the largest importers of defence equipment and weapons despite the active operation of organisations like DRDO and others in the country for the last 50 to 60 years. We still do not make high-end products, except some of the missile technologies, which is a tragedy.
Q.Why do you think we are so behind in providing these high-tech solutions?
The high-tech solutions require advance hardware along with a huge investment. We do not have access to components as in India, we still do not make resistors, capacitors or integrated circuits of high quality. Although we can design the systems and we have already done that earlier, to make them commercially available, we definitely need adequately supporting ESDM industries in India which we do not have at present.
Even the instruments in our labs are all imported. We used to have some ‘Made in India’ instruments in labs earlier but, somehow, the industry has died down further. I remember the time when we used to have indigenous oscilloscopes but now even they have to be imported.
Q.What according to you can be done to improve the scenario in Indian industries?
Well, there is a lot that can be done. Everyone involved in the technical field can contribute to this development. We can start with our education system. We, as academicians, should promote the culture of taking projects in the field to create products that will work in real life scenario. Our projects and research should not be limited to just labs. Only then, the students graduating from institutions will have the potential to work in industries.
Also, the culture of smaller companies working on big projects must be promoted. Otherwise, most of the time, it is chicken and egg race. You will get a major project only when you become a major company. What we tend to skip is that you will become a major company only when you are able to perform on some major projects. We too face similar problem. When we bid a project in the name of CARE, IIT Delhi, we successfully get that through but if we bid the same in the name of our own company, we face several difficulties, even though the same people are working on it.
A loose collaboration between smaller companies for several projects will also be a great help to improve the present scene. This will allow them to complement each others’ expertise and offer complete solutions. We have one such collaboration in which we have bid together on some projects along with a company named Pythian, a startup of our ex-students.