SITARA, the Science, Indigenous Technology & Advanced Research Accelerator, aims at creating a high-tech, R & D intensive economy which can reduce India’s import dependence on advanced technologies, boost the economy and create quality jobs at home.
SITARA was preceded by the High-Tech Defence Innovation Forum (H-TDIF) launched at IDSA in July 2011. The Forum generated many ideas and policy recommendations which were subsequently mainstreamed (the H-TDIF also helped to create the Defence Innovation & Industry Association).
We were the first organisation to raise the battle-cry of indigenisation in the country.
We sought an answer to the question why India had not yet joined the ranks of advanced Nations, despite the reservoirs of enormous talent, good industrial infrastructure and tremendous potential.
Our ANSWERS were:
- One of the primary reasons was that over decades – Government tenders for high-tech equipment had been systematically skewed to favour foreign original equipment manufacturers (FOEMs), frequently through internal collusion. Lack of orders and unsynchronised industrial, trade and FDI policies wrought a lot of damage on India’s manufacturing potential, with its share of value addition in the economy reduced from over 17% in 2006 to 13% in 2020! Government procurement accounts for US$ 500 bn in orders, annually. A huge amount is gifted to FOEMs, massively handicapping domestic companies and domestic economic growth.
- The other was lack of R&D investment. That technology is the foundation of economic and therefore also of enduring geopolitical power, is borne out by the world’s most eminent, including Nobel Prize winning economists. The world’s richest nations are also the most scientifically advanced: US, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea and now China. Robert Solow said nearly 90% of growth in the US was accounted for by technological progress, not even investment!
We accordingly made it our mission to point out all mala fide cases which came to our attention to Government, which to its credit, listened, and took action.
India also lacks an ecosystem conducive to the growth of R&D intensive companies. That is our second objective – help the Government to create such an ecosystem.
Because a strong innovation system has to be based on strong domestic companies. This is what everyone in the world has started to realise.
Even America has now reversed itself with the signing of the Buy America Act by President Biden and many other Industrial Policy measures, reversing the damage and deindustrialisation that the naysayers and neoliberals have wrought on America’s enormous scientific and industrial capability.
For more about SITARA’s work see our Mission & Vision statement. This website is dedicated to just that.