Gandhian Engineering: How It Can Change the World

by TessaSchlesinger

Frugal Innovation means using fewer resources to create more efficient and better goods. It's enviornmentally friendly engineering...

Most people have never heard of Gandhian Engineering. Yet utilizing its methods, computers could be available for $100 each, food could become healthier, medical expenses would be affordable to all, and creativity and frugality would be the new high status skills. Gandhain Engineering is using engineering and technology to create more with less, and to exchange expensive solutions for less expensive solutions yet resulting in a superior technolgoy.

Making Enough for Everybody!

Effective Engineering

Have you ever thought that humanity has more than enough tools to feed everybody, provide adequate living conditions for all, plus give everybody a life worth living. Some might say that it’s a dream, that there will always be the poor, the rich, and the in between. However, that is not true. There exists more than sufficient technology to fix the issues of the world. What is missing is the attitude and willingness to do so.

India Leads the Way in Innovation

Dr. Mashelkar

Dr. Mashelkar, an Indian Doctor of Engineering, created the concept. He said that Gandhi set out to do the impossible – free India from the British Empire. In the same sense, Gandhian Engineering sets out to do what is currently considered impossible – create products for substantially less, and at the same time using fewer materials and less labor. He said that innovation was not only about doing things that made a difference in the lives of others, but doing them differently and better.

In general, India is a country of innovation. They have one billion people, and alongside China, are said to be the world’s next greatest economy. Without having a solid middle class, India cannot reach greatness. Most of their people are poor. Thus, the drive to provide commodities that enable all to flourish is not only rooted in compassion, but in practicality

Gandhian Engineering\'s crucial role in 21st century
Dr Mashelkar in his address told alumni and students of NIT-Warangal that emerging Indian innovations like 'Nano' - 'More for Less' demonstrates the advancements in Gandhian Engineering. Technology News,Gandhian Engineering,National Institute of Tech

Frugal innovation
Frugal innovation or frugal engineering is the process of reducing the complexity and cost of a good and its production. Usually this refers to removing nonessential features from a durable good, such as a car or phone, in order to sell it in developing countries.

A Gandhian Approach to R&D
These advances, Mashelkar argues, should be developed to help the poor at a price they can afford; not just in India, but in emerging nations around the world. He calls this concept Gandhian engineering, citing examples such as the Tata Nano, the cheapest car in the world at a cost of about US$2,200;

Frugal Innovation: A New Business Paradigm
Frugal innovation is the ability to generate considerably more business and social value while significantly reducing the use of scarce resources. It’s about solving—and even transcending—the paradox of “doing more with less”. Frugal innovation is a game-changing strategy for an “Age of Austerity”

Frugal Innovations
Examples of frugal innovation are found throughout the Indian innovation system: from Dr Devi Shetty's path-breaking model of delivering affordable heart surgery at Narayana Hrundayalaya, to efforts to crowdsource drug discovery driven by government labs, to Bharti Airtel's approach to cutting the cost of mobile phone calls. Here we briefly profile just a few of the examples covered in the report.

Technology Produces Miracles

Innovative technology

Once upon a time, a computer filled an entire room and cost millions of dollars. Today, a laptop is more powerful than the mainframes of the 60s and 70s. So, more is being made with less. Gandhian Engineering specifically sets out to deliver products that are currently enormously expensive and bring them to the world’s poor.

Consequences of Withholding High Tech From the Poor

Destroying the Nation by Withholding Resources

While it is true that products generally decrease in price as new products replace them, the time gap ensures that there are always those who keep ahead of the pack because they have the technology sooner. This is creating a growing divide between the rich and the poor, and with the growing disappearance of the middle class, nations collapse. The middle classes are vital to the success of any nation.

Gandhian Engineering Can Save the World

Converting Ideas into Reality

One of the challenges in India was to make an artificial foot that did not have the American price tag of $12,000. It needed to cost about $30. In addition, the foot needed to be better than the American one because India does not have the infrastructure of America and, in addition, people walk barefoot. That was accomplished. It is a fine example of Gandhian Engineering.

Gandhian Engineering can change the world by eliminating have-nots. While there will always be differences in standards of living between different people, ensuring that there is a greater equality in those standards, ensures a happy and thriving middle class, and the elimination of poverty.

India Invents Gandhian Engineering

Cheap cars can be manufactured for all

Gandhian Engineering is a form of engineering that was created in India. What it means is to make a better product with less money, or to coin it the Indian way, to make more with less.

While every country in the world has an enormous labor and parts bill for the manufacture of motor vehicles, Dr. Tata of House of Tata was driving along when he saw a family struggling on the road with their belongings using two wheeled transport. He thought that all people should be able to afford a car and set about to develop a car that could be sold for $2000 in 2003. Utilizing young, twenty something engineers, some still at university, and others recently graduated, they were given the task of creating this car. The final product, the Nano Tata finally went on sale in 2009.

Gandhian Engineering Invents $2000 for the People

Cheap Car for $2500 very doable!

By utilizing the skills of the people he did, Dr. Tata was able to keep the cost of labor down. In addition, less steel was used in the production of the car, and anything that was not essential to driving was eliminated. However, the body of the car was designed by the Italian Institute of Development in automotive engineering. In addition, other clever cost cutters were utilized in the design. For example, there is no radio or CD player, no air conditioning or airbag. Also, because the car is small and light, power steering is not necessary. There are only three lug nuts on the wheels (as opposed to four) and only one windscreen wiper (as opposed to two). The engine is kept to 2 cylinders (624cc), which is more than sufficient to drive a family of four to their destination.

Available Europe, But Not America
While the Nano is safer than the two wheeled transport that most Indians currently use, it does not meet EU safety and emission standards. Tata Motors is currently being rectified in order to be able to export the car. As a result, the car will retail in retail in Europe for about $6000. That is still substantially less than the price of other new cars.

The Nano has won several awards. These include first place for transportation in the 2010 Edison Awards and car of the year (2010) Bloomberg UTV.

The development of a car that is affordable to all – ergo no high payments for five years - indicates that it is more than feasible to create a product, working specifically with the idea that the product must be affordable to all. The old business axiom that a company can charge what the market will bear (in other words, what people are willing to pay) will, hopefully, disappear

Become a Gandhian Engineer and Save the World!

How to become an Effective Engineer

Have you ever wondered if your problem solving ability can help to change the world?

Yes, it can.

If you're under 40, there is still time for you to go to college or university to become an engineer. It doesn't matter what kind of engineer.

It could be a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer, a metallurgical engineer, an electrical engineer, or any other type of engineer.The point is that you will have the knowledge to redesign existing technology. Without the engineering knowledge, you cannot do that.

Engineers are needed in every walk of life. They are needed to redesign our energy sources, our cars, our homes, our medical environment. And better still, Gandhian Engineering promises incredible opportunities.

If you have an aptitude for machinery, for math, for science, or just inventing stuff, you owe it to yourself and humanity to train to become an engineer. Forget about that MBA that will get you into the financial trading world. Yes, they make a lot of money, but they are destroying the world.

You could be responsible for an invention that will put you in the history books. This will never happen if you go trade stocks. All that will eventually get you is the wrath of the people!

So, look into all the opportunities of becoming an engineer. You will be useful to the world. You will never be without a job. And you will even earn good money.

And when you're qualified, then begin to focus on Gandhian Engineering!

Updated: 02/19/2013, TessaSchlesinger
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