Mon. Nov 29th, 2021
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TL;DR: If you are an MSME and can manufacture world class oxygen concentrators, get the help with sourcing, funding, distribution and certification by applying here: https://www.bharato2.in

Startups incubated by SIIC were instrumental in boosting domestic manufacturing to meet the demand for essential supplies to meet the pandemic, including masks that were manufactured on campus and an ICU ventilator developed by Noccarc. The full story of how to get things done in the middle of global restrictions and uncertainty, is in the book, The Ventilator Project written by Amitabha Bandyopadhyay and Srikant Sastri. When the pandemic broke out, there was an acute demand that was met within a few months. The team successfully accelerated the development of a world class ICU Ventilator, got it tested, negotiated tie ups with local MSMEs and began commercial shipments within 90 days. This was done using the same tools that all of us are using during the pandemic, WhatsApp and Zoom. Now the same team is taking a crack at another tough problem, using the same approaches.  

This is a task force set up to meet the demand for oxygen through local manufacturing of oxygen concentrators and oxygen manufacturing plants. The task force is led by Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Professor In-charge, Innovation & Incubation, IIT Kanpur, Srikant Sastri, Director, FIRST-IITK and Chairman, I3G Advisory Network, and Rahul Patel, Head of Strategic Initiatives, SIIC IIT Kanpur. 

Prof. Bandyopadhyay says, “SIIC and IIT Kanpur have a  history of bracing themselves and delivering quality in times of need. We did it with the Noccarc ventilator; we will do it again with Mission Bharat O2. We urge young Indian innovators to show support  in large numbers once again.” 

The idea is to get the dream team and the expertise of solving a problem under pressure, during a time of pandemic and do it again. There is not much scope for innovation when it comes to oxygen concentrators, so the focus this time around is to boost up the local manufacturing capacity through multiple partnerships with MSMEs across the country. 

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur, urges MSMEs to apply for the challenge saying, “IIT Kanpur carries a legacy of serving the nation in times of urgent need. When  the first wave of COVID-19 hit India SIIC incubated companies stepped up to deliver world-class  healthcare products. The products, developed locally, are a testament of India’s capability to innovate  at par with global standards. As we reel under the impact of the second wave in India, IIT Kanpur and  SIIC have decided to support more indigenous innovators, this time to address the oxygen crisis in the  country. I urge all eligible manufacturers to participate in Mission Bharat O2”. 

The focus is very much on coming up with a permanent solution to meet India’s oxygen demand. Srikant Sastri says, “India  needs to develop a strong base of locally-manufactured medical equipment. We cannot forever depend  on imports . With Mission Bharat O2, SIIC IIT Kanpur has taken a step towards solving the oxygen crisis  not just for the short-term, but long term also. We believe that the manufacturers we identify through  this Challenge will form India’s manufacturing nucleus.” 

The full story of how the team managed to solve a seemingly insurmountable problem is covered in the May 2021 issue of Digit Magazine, along with interviews of the authors and the founders of the Pune based startup, Noccarc. 

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