Jugaad in India (Frugal innovation in India)

India has always been a product centric country, trying to innovate in every domain and making things as cheap as possible for their billion+ population which mostly is below the poverty line (earning 3rs/person/day) on the bottom of the average scale in rural areas (urban index is not included)

Recently Sheila Dixit (CM of Delhi) made a public statement that 600 Rs per family (average of 5 people/family) is enough for their dal, roti, chawal (bread and butter) for a month.

For a country which has proven its dominance in frugal innovation with their low cost sanitary pads by Arunachalam Muruganantham

(though later funded and researched in the US) came out of India, the other example can be the shampoo sachet which is among the best Jugaad for those who can’t afford to buy a 100 Rs shampoo bottle, now they can easily buy a shampoo sachet for 2 Rs and use it once or twice (economical, right?)

But India’s manager (yes, an another MBA like YOU) never considered poverty as a problem rather tried to the tap the market by innovating, working backwards Indians have proved that there is a way, instead of complaining, resizing, reconsidering the quality of the product, they innovated.

But Jugaad (be it anywhere in the world) is not about producing imitations or pirating, it’s about improvising while finding a cost effective solution to the same problem.

AN NID Ahmedabad student coming out of Bihar creates a structure that can be carried and at the same time support, twenty KG without the strain is Jugaad.

Another great example can be the missed call. It’s a brief ring mostly pre planned to send the desired signal to the receiver without any paying anything to the data carrier (and Indians use this service every day)

The most recent globally recognized Tata Nano, which got Tata motors 34 patents in technology,

English: Tata NANO at the Auto Expo 2008

English: Tata NANO at the Auto Expo 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

few of them are the weight effective aluminium engine, the shock up design, etc., the car costs nearly 200$ (1L rupee) but has been a breakthrough in India and gave Tata global recognition in technology and cost effectiveness, Ratan Tata’s dream to create a car for the common name is a benchmark, before that car in India was usually considered a high end luxury which only the middle or upper middle class can afford.

Though there is no AC, or side view mirror, or radio in the basic 1L model, but who needs it in India?

We all have media player enabled cell phones, that’s good enough.

The other Jugaad Indians came up with is the Tata Swach, the 1200 Rs water purifier which is available in every other household and available in every other electronics or general electrical shop, considering the fact that more than 6 million people die from contaminated water diseases every year in India, these kind of Jugaad is necessary and also the need of the time in India.

The Akash tablet is another great example of the Indian government proving their dominance in Jugaad (though it sucks for high end users) it is a lifesaver for students in small towns who just need the internet connectivity for their work/studies. The best part is even the poor’s can afford Aakash as its subsidized for students pursuing higher education, come on 1K for a tab is pretty cool ha.

The financial sector is no less, the government subsidized banks like SBI/IDBI etc are providing zero rupee average quarterly balance for poor Indians who can’t afford to maintain an even 500 Rs average in their account, compared to 10k in the mid-sized banks in urban India, 1L for the top notch banks in metros.

Frugal innovation is yet to take off in India and pervade the market in even larger numbers, and keeping in mind that there are only 125 million people connected to the internet, I see cheap computers and free internet connection coming on the way (how will they make money is a question to think over, and I leave this question open for the readers to brainstorm)

And because of these factors ours is a country where more than stats, trying out works.
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Engineering dropout of wish | Actuary student | Passionate about Startups, Education and Technology.



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