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While Chandrayaan-3 has successfully reached the Moon, the question remains: Where are the ambitious initiatives from India’s corporate sector?

While Chandrayaan-3 has successfully reached the Moon, the question remains: Where are the ambitious initiatives from India's corporate sector?

India has achieved:

something amazing by being the first country to land a spacecraft close to the Moon’s south pole. And it cost less than half of what Christopher Nolan spent on making the movie “Interstellar.” This might encourage businesses in India to take big risks and do something incredible, like going to the Moon. Just doing well for the next few months isn’t enough. They need to think about important things like new technology and better materials.

Here are some facts to help understand the situation. Before the pandemic, India was spending only a small amount of money, about 1.2 trillion rupees (which is around $15 billion), on research and development. This spending has been stuck at about 0.7% of the country’s total money earned (gross domestic product) since 1995. And most of this money comes from the government, not private companies. Also, a lot of the money is used for improving things we already have, like medicines, computers, and phones, instead of creating new ideas.

China is far ahead of India:

in making new ideas, with 25 times more new inventions. India’s economy has grown a lot in the past 30 years, mainly because labor costs are low and finance is important. The bosses of big companies in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi often say India will do great things in the future, but they don’t really explain how they will do it.

One reason is that they don’t have a plan. Imagine if the organization that sent a spaceship to the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation, became a private company. This government group makes a lot of money by sending satellites for other countries. If a computer expert in Bengaluru managed this, they could earn even more money by helping other companies. But that’s all they would do.

Vishal Sikka, who used to lead a company called Infosys, talked about how technology can do amazing things. He said this in a report a few years ago. He was talking about helping a lab in San Francisco with some money. But when a company called OpenAI became big and successful in 2019, Sikka wasn’t working in India anymore. OpenAI got a lot of money from Microsoft. Infosys makes money by helping other companies, but will they ever come up with something completely new?

Big Indian companies have enough money now. But they haven’t done anything big yet. A rich businessman, Mukesh Ambani, spent $363 million on new ideas last year. That’s 15% more than the year before, but still only a tiny part of his money. He wants to make new things, like ways to reduce pollution. But this is just the start. India and the world need to find better ways to use clean energy, and there’s a lot more to be done.

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