Dr. Bindu Dey
Technology Development Board (TDB)
- > Facilitates interaction between industry, scientists, technocrats and specialists
- > Fosters and innovation culture through contract and cooperative research between industry and institutions
- > Provides an interface with financial institutions and commercial banks for leveraging funds
- > Facilitates the creation of new generation of entrepreneurs
- > Assists partnerships with other, similar technology financing bodies
- > Provides vistas for venturing into hi-tech areas
- > Creates new job opportunities
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India launched the “Make in India” initiative on September, 25 2014 with the primary aim of making India a global manufacturing hub and encouraging Indian & multinational companies to manufacture their products in India. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), the lead Department aimed to raise the contribution of the manufacturing sector from 16% to 25% of the GDP by 2025. Planked on four pillars, New Processes; New Infrastructure; New sectors and New Mindset, the Government has been inducting reforms to improve global ranking of India on “Ease of Doing Business”, enhancing manufacturing infrastructure in 25 sectors; Including newer sectors i.e. Railways, Construction and Defence under manufacturing; taking policy decision for 100% Foreign Direct Investment in many core sectors and finally encouraging R & D through incubators, research parks and clusters. These initiatives have pushed the Government from being a regulator to a facilitator. The Technology Development Board (TDB) occupies a special space in this ecosystem. With 280 products successfully commercialized, TDB has converted Rs. 650 crore worth of grant-in-aid into revolving funds of more than Rs.1800 crore for supporting technologyoriented companies, inviting close to Rs.7300 crore as co-investment from other investors.
TDB was set up by the Government of India on 1st September 1996 through the Technology Development Board Act 1995, for the purpose of providing financial support for the development and commercialization of indigenous technologies; and adaptation of imported technologies for wider domestic use. Since then, TDB has emerged as a unique financial institution within the government for providing soft loan @ 5% simple interest; equity upto 25 % and even grant-in-aid through PPP to the technopreneurs. TDB has signed more than 400 agreements with companies covering all sectors of economy pan India (Table 1). It has framed and evolved unique models to involve industry associations i.e. Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) & Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in its effors to outreach to the community through social enterprises and networked with other Government Departments for Technology Importation and Adaptation.
Table: 1- Sector-wise Coverage of Ag reements 1996-2017
The lifeline of TDB has been the R & D Cess that was levied on the import of technology since 1986 through the R & D Cess Act, 1986. The grant-in-aid out of R & D Cess credited to the Consolidated Fund of India was provided to TDB through the non-plan route of the DST. However, over the years, TDB cumulatively got just 9% of the R & D Cess collected for its activities. Despite that, TDB has performed well through sound financial management practices. R & D cess has been subsumed since April, 2017. TDB is now getting its budgetary requirements built-in DST budget.
Figure 1: R&D Cess collected and grant-receipt by TDB through non-plan route of DST
Figure 2:TDB’s Investment Portfolio
TDB’s Technological Symphony
TDB has been consistently providing financial support to the companies for manufacturing the outcome of indigenous research, at the same time, paving a path towards Hi-tech and Hirisk domains. TDB’s vision and mission are aligned to make India reach global scale & standards yet meeting domestic needs. TDB plays a pro-active role in identifying sectors that could yield results early such as Pharmaceuticals and scouting the unreachable where import substitution is crucial. Funds are provided for creating technological infrastructure and commercializable products and quantum may range as per the need and size of the market envisaged. Some critical sectors that need special mention include:
“Indigenous Defence Products” has been an important segment for TDB. TDB funded several projects in defence wherein the technology made unique spaces i.e. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UA V); Cargo Loaders, Air Conditioning Units and Auxiliary Power Units; Driving Training Simulator & Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Mission Simulator; RF Seekers and strategic Defence Telecom, Electronic, Avionics, Opto- Electronics, Power supplies for ESDM Products taking lab-scale technologies from DRDO labs.
An industrial robot commonly refers to a robot arm used in a factory environment for manufacturing applications. Companies funded by TDB are setting-up facilities, based on in-house technologies to manufacture industrial robots, to enable widespread adoption of flexible automation in Indian industry for tedious or hazardous tasks that manpower is not suited to perform on a sustainable basis. The products include Planar Parallel Manipulator (PPM), a 4-axis robot; articulated 6 Axis (A6A) robot and the Hybrid 6 Axis (H6A) combining 6 axis and large 1.5 meter reach and loads between 10 to 20 kg.
Pharmaceutical & Healthcare
Pharma has been the core sector with TDB with about 80 projects sanctioned out of 400. TDB has been involved in supporting indigenization of recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine that changed the landscape for childhood vaccine globally, putting India as the largest supplier to UNICEF and WHO. In recent years, major support has been provided for development of Pneumococcal vaccine, Dengue Vaccine, Foot & Mouth Diseases vaccine and Biosimilar for cancer treatment. India has captured 1/3 of the global vaccine market and Indian companies namely, M/s Serum Institute of India, Pune; M/s Biological E, Hyderbad; M/s Bharat Biotech, Hyderbad and M/s Panacea are leading in that. In last one year, TDB has signed agreements for the “Development and Commercialization” of two important vaccines, Pneumococcal & Dengue. Pneumonia vaccine is already in the National Immunization Programme and curently being imported. It is expected that M/s Biological E would be ready for supplying it domestically within two years. Similarly, Dengue vaccine being developed by M/s Pancea is need of the hour. The company has licensed the construct from NIH and has further developed the processes. The human trials would begin soon. The aim is to cater to both domestic and global markets in a cost-effective manner.
Recognizing about US$ 9 Billion Medical Devices industry, TDB proactively reached out to the companies in this sector. Year 2017 witnessed a growth of companies manufacturing critical tools & devices needed in healthcare i.e. Drug-eluting stents, MRIs, Digital Mammography, Catheters, Catheter processing systems, Third Generation Linear Accelerator, Portable X-rays, Ultra-sound Machines, Molecular tests for TB, Hereditary Cancers, Diabetes, Dialysis membranes, Cart technologies, etc. Through repeated Call for proposals, many Start-ups are approaching TDB for integrating Medical Electronics into healthcare system in the country.
TDB partnered with the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) and the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) to scout agriculture-technologies developed by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research Labs. A large number of companies have been identified who developed or licensed technologies on: New variety of seeds; fertilizers/components of fertilizers; irrigation devices; newer pesticides; tools for fodder collection; agri-waste disposal/value-addition, soiltesting devices etc. It is expected that commercialization of these technologies would help farmers and may form tool for doubling their income.
Automobiles and Electric Mobility
TDB has the distinction of financing the development of first Electric Car i.e. REVA in the country, way back in the year 2000. The visionary product was ready in 2004 and sold not only in India but abroad. The company was later bought by Mahindra Group and renamed M/s Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited. Continuing in its philosophy, TDB funded M/s Ampere Vehicles for developing motors, chargers, charging tools and batteries for electric vehicles. The charger was successfully commercialized within six months of project initiation on the Technology Day, 2017. To further amalgamate with the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NMEM) 2020, TDB has focused on Technology Development. Through several serial workshops, TDB is now encouraging companies to come forward for electrical, electronic and related IT equipment; mobility & IoT integration technologies, fuel-efficiency and other green technologies to work in clustered manner to develop and share core technologies needed for hybrid and fully electric vehicles as per GoI policy.
Cyber security, IoT and Deep Tech
TDB and NA SSCOM’s Data Security Council of India (DSCI) joined hands to accelerate the commercialization of cyber security products in India. Through this effort, TDB and DSCI planned to promote the Indian cyber security startups & product entrepreneurship by enabling the ecosystem towards risk funding; creating market opportunities and accelerating product dissemination, in both public and private sectors. Cybersecurity is IP-rich & technology-driven domain with short life cycle. TDB is committed to strengthen this ecosystem along with other players MeitY, DST, DSCI & Government user’s Departments to accelerate the growth of cybersecurity startups in the country.
Millennium Alliance Platform with FICCI, USAID, DFID, ICCo, World Bank
An India-led initiative, the Millennium Alliance is an innovation-driven, impactfocused platform leveraging Indian ingenuity and resources to identify, test and scale innovative solutions to global development challenges in key focus areas like early education, agriculture, water and sanitation, health, and clean energy. The platform has directly benefitted more than 6.8 million people, contributing to social and economic development in over 20 Indian states and 7 developing countries. The core partners in MA platform are: TDB, USAID, FICCI, UK’s Department for International Development, ICCO Cooperation, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth, Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Health, the World Bank and Facebook. An additional benefit has come through the use of MA platform to raise external funds worth Rs. 451 million by the innovators taking leverage of the MA platform.
Since its inception in 2012, the MA has received and evaluated over 4,000 applications of which 100 innovations have already been awarded.
Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA)
GITA is a “not–for–profit” Section-8 (Companies Act 2013) company jointly promoted by TDB and CII member companies under Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. It is an innovative platform of Government of India and Indian Industry/R&D Institutions to encourage industrial investments in Innovative Technology Solution by mapping technology-gaps, evaluating technologies available across the globe and forging techno–strategic collaborative partnerships appropriate for Indian economy. GITA connects industrial and institutional partners for effective matchmaking and collaborative industrial R&D projects, providing Funding for Technology Development / Acquisition / Customization / Deployment. GITA handles technology application programmes of DIPP, DIH, DST and DRDO and support companies through suitable grant-in-aid model.
Innovative Ventures & Technologies for Development (INVENT) with Department for International Development (DFID), UK
INVENT programme is designed to develop solutions for the bottom of the pyramid population penetrating market opportunity existing in socio-economic challenges faced by low-income communities. TDB in partnership with DFID, UK and a central unit managing the programme has identified four incubators i.e. IIT, Kanpur; IIM, Kolkata, Oasis Venture, Jaipur and KIIT, Bhubaneshwar who are addressing the need of social ventures, NGOs, small companies by providing capacity-building and incubation support at idea/pilot/test stage, specifically in low income states. Each houses at least 15-20 incubates and provide them grant for ideating, working in lab, mentoring and making their product financially viable. It is expected that at least half of these will exit through the second round of funding in next two years.
TDB-Bpifrance Science, Technology & Commercialization Cooperation on Aeronautics, Automotive and Biotechnology
TDB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bpifrance, a Public Investment Bank, France in May, 2016 with an objective to establish a collaborative framework between India and France specially for fostering technological exchanges and innovation through collaborations between the companies, organizations and institutions of France and India in Aeronautics, Automotive and Biotechnology sectors. Several projects have been funded in Healthcare. The focus is now on Aerospace and Automotive technologies, where Indian companies could do well in technology importation and adoption, leading to manufacturing in India.
Celebrating National Technology Day: TDB has the distinction of celebrating the National Technology Day on behalf of the Ministry of Science and Technology each year on the 11th of May where the President of India is the Chief Guest. On 11th May, 1998 India achieved a major technological breakthrough by successfully carrying out nuclear tests at Pokhran. Also, first indigenous aircraft “Hansa-3” was test flown at Bangalore on this day; and India also performed successful test firing of the Trishul missile on the same day. Hence, 11th May was chosen by the Government to be commemorated as the National Technology Day starting 1999. TDB has been celebrating the same since then wherein prestigious National Awards are conferred to the developer of an Indian Technology alongwith the company who successfully commercializes it.
TDB’s E-GOV ERNANC E PLATFORM
TDB has its robust Project Management System (PMS) named e-techcom to receive online project proposal applications and provides active mentorship with quick project processing time.