India, since gaining independence in 1947, has been a crucible of innovation, resilience, and progress. From pioneering agricultural revolutions to making significant strides in space exploration, the nation has consistently showcased its capability to adapt, evolve, and lead.
As India gears up to mark its 77th Independence Day, it’s not just about reminiscing the past; it’s about acknowledging the present and preparing for a future. As we commemorate the growth and contributions of the nation, we wanted to recognize 75 remarkable innovations made by India and Indians across varied industries.
Disclaimer: Due to space limitations, we will only be spotlighting a few of the many pathbreaking innovations that have contributed to the growth of the nation.
Agriculture & Food Production
- Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF): ZBNF is a sustainable farming method that emphasizes natural growth of crops without adding synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and without affecting the soil’s health. It reduces farming costs and increases profits, promoting eco-friendly agriculture.
- Green Revolution: Initiated in the 1960s, the Green Revolution marked a period of increased agricultural productivity. It involved the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds, modern farming techniques, and increased use of fertilizers and irrigation. This revolution transformed India from a food-deficient country to a food-surplus nation.
- White Revolution: Also known as ‘Operation Flood,’ this was a project started in 1970 to increase milk production in India. Dr. Verghese Kurien played a pivotal role. The initiative made India the world’s largest milk producer, benefiting millions of small farmers and consumers.
- SecuFarm: SecuFarm, developed by WRMS, is the world’s first smart & sustainable farming solution that provides a guaranteed income to the farmers. Here’s how it works:
- Smart Farming: IoT Sensors (AWS, AIS, APM, & ASM), satellites & drones, and GPS-enabled smartphones gather farm health and weather information. This information is processed using Big Data Analysis, Machine Learning, & Image Processing techniques to provide weather & disease alerts, farm advisory, and farm management inputs to the farmers through mobile application & SMS.
- Income Protection: Farmers are ensured of crop protection and a better yield. Should the farmers fall short of meeting the expected amount of yield, they are guaranteed a minimum farm income which aids in compensation payouts.
- Sustainable Farming: SecuFarm helps farmers undertake environment-friendly farming by providing guidance on how to optimally use water and agricultural chemicals.
- Digital Green: Digital Green is a global development organization that empowers smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty by harnessing the collective power of technology and grassroots-level partnerships. Through video-based learning, it has reached thousands of villages, enhancing food security and improving livelihoods.
- Kisan Credit Card (KCC): Introduced in 1998, the KCC provides farmers with timely access to credit. It’s a unique initiative that helps farmers buy seeds, fertilizers, and equipment without facing financial constraints.
- Smartbell: It is an animal health monitoring solutions platform. The startup has developed sensors that can be mounted on collars or ears of cattle to monitor their movement and health.
Space & Aerospace
- Aryabhata: Launched in 1975, Aryabhata was India’s first satellite, marking the nation’s entry into the space age. It was named after the ancient Indian mathematician and was primarily an experimental satellite for deriving technological data.
- ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission: Launched in 2013, this mission made India the first Asian country to reach Martian orbit and the first nation globally to do so in its maiden attempt. It was a significant achievement in showcasing India’s prowess in space technology.
- Chandrayaan: Launched in 2008, Chandrayaan-I was India’s first mission to the Moon. It aimed to survey the lunar surface in various spectrums, including X-ray, visible, and infrared. The mission confirmed the presence of water/hydroxyl on the moon. In 2023, the third mission (Chandrayaan-3 mission) was launched as a stepping stone towards ISRO’s future interplanetary missions and to demonstrate the crucial capability to soft land on lunar South Pole surface safely.
- Astrosat: Launched in 2015, Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory. It observes the universe in visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray wavelengths, helping scientists understand celestial sources and phenomena.
- Jugnu Nanosatellite: Developed by students and faculty of IIT Kanpur, Jugnu is an experimental satellite with imaging and solar energy experiments. It showcased the capability to develop compact satellites with advanced technology.
- Mangalyaan: Officially called the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), it’s India’s first interplanetary mission. Launched in 2013, it made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and showcased India’s capability in complex space missions.
- Gaganyaan Mission: An upcoming manned space mission, Gaganyaan aims to send Indian astronauts, called vyomanauts, to space. It underscores India’s ambitions in human spaceflight.
- Reusable Launch Vehicle: An initiative by ISRO to develop a reusable launch system. It aims to reduce the cost of access to space by reusing certain elements of the spacecraft.
- Mission Shakti: In 2019, India conducted an anti-satellite missile test, named Mission Shakti. It showcased India’s capability to intercept and destroy satellites, marking its entry into an elite group of countries with such capability.
- GSLV Mk III: The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III is India’s heaviest rocket launcher. It’s designed to carry heavier payloads into geostationary transfer orbit.
Automobile, Transport, & Infrastructure
- Tata Nano: Launched in 2008, the Tata Nano was dubbed the “world’s cheapest car.” Designed to be affordable for the average Indian family, it revolutionized the automobile industry with its compact design and price point.
- Train 18/Vande Bharat Express: Vande Vharat Express, introduced in 2019, is India’s fastest train. It’s a semi-high-speed train that runs between major cities, showcasing India’s advancements in rail technology.
- FASTag: FASTag is an electronic toll collection system implemented in India. It uses RFID technology to make toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it, ensuring non-stop movement of vehicles at toll plazas.
- Howrah Bridge, Kolkata: It is an iconic suspension-type balanced cantilever bridge that spans the Hooghly River in West Bengal, and one of the world’s busiest pedestrian bridges.
- Chenab Bridge, Jammu and Kashmir: Once completed, it will be the world’s highest railway bridge. Located in the Himalayas, it’s an engineering marvel and is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link project.
- Pamban Bridge, Tamil Nadu: Connecting the town of Rameswaram to mainland India, this cantilever bridge spans the Palk Strait. It’s India’s first sea bridge and stands as a testament to the country’s engineering capabilities.
- Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad (Gujarat): Erstwhile, Motera Stadium, the Narendra Modi Stadium was expanded in 2020, and it now stands as the largest sports stadium in the world. With a seating capacity of 132,000, the cricket stadium is home of the National Indian cricket team, as well as the Gujarat Titans (IPL) domestically.
- The Statue of Unity, Kevadia (Gujarat): Erstwhile, Motera Stadium, the Narendra Modi Stadium was expanded in 2020, and it now stands as the largest sports stadium in the world. With a seating capacity of 132,000, the cricket stadium is home of the National Indian cricket team, as well as the Gujarat Titans (IPL) domestically.
- Fly-Ash Buildings: Fly-ash bricks are sustainable building materials made from the ash produced from burning coal in thermal power plants. They are lightweight, have high strength, and are environmentally friendly compared to traditional clay bricks. States like Maharashtra, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh have adopted them extensively in construction projects.
- Plastic Roads: Roads made by mixing shredded plastic waste with asphalt. This technique not only helps in recycling plastic but also enhances the quality and longevity of roads. Pioneered in Tamil Nadu by Dr. R. Vasudevan, these roads can now be found in various parts of India, including cities like Pune, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.
- Bamboo Reinforced Concrete: Bamboo, due to its high tensile strength, is used as a reinforcing material in concrete, especially in areas where steel is scarce or expensive. It’s sustainable and has a lower carbon footprint than steel. These are predominantly seen in the northeastern states of India, where bamboo is abundant.
- Stabilized Mud Blocks (SMB): SMBs are masonry units made from soil mixed with stabilizers like lime or cement. They are energy-efficient, cost-effective, and reduce the carbon footprint compared to fired bricks. SMBs are popular in southern states like Karnataka, especially in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, where sustainable construction practices are promoted.
- Ferro Cement Panels: These are thin panels made from wire meshes and cement mortar. They are lightweight, durable, and offer flexibility in design, making them suitable for roofs, walls, and water tanks. Organizations like the Auroville Earth Institute have promoted its use.
Digital & IT Innovations
- Aadhaar: Introduced in 2009, Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system. It provides a unique 12-digit identity number based on biometric and demographic data to residents of India, facilitating various services.
- Unified Payments Interface (UPI): Introduced in 2016, UPI revolutionized digital payments in India. It’s a real-time payment system that allows multiple bank accounts to be linked to a single mobile application.
- Simputer: Launched in 2001, the Simputer was an early handheld computing device designed for use in environments where Western-style personal computers are unsuitable.
- Akash Tablet: Introduced in 2011, the Akash was an affordable tablet computer aimed at students, making digital learning accessible to many.
- Jio: Launched in 2016, Jio is a telecommunications company that revolutionized mobile internet in India. It offered affordable 4G services, leading to a massive increase in internet usage across the country.
- e-Nivaran: An online platform where taxpayers can lodge their grievances related to tax services and get them addressed.
- Mobile Seva: A government initiative to deliver public services through mobile devices. It aims to leverage the massive mobile phone penetration in India to enhance public service delivery.
- NIXI (National Internet Exchange of India): Established in 2003, NIXI facilitates the exchange of domestic Internet traffic, ensuring that local internet traffic is routed locally.
- DigiLocker: A cloud-based platform for the issuance, storage, and verification of documents and certificates. It promotes paperless governance and provides easy access to official documents.
- Digital Village (DigiGaon): An initiative to connect rural communities with the digital economy, providing access to services like telemedicine, online education, and digital financial tools.
- RuPay: An Indian card scheme developed by the National Payments Corporation of India. It provides an alternative to international card networks and promotes the use of electronic payments.
- Digital Sky Platform: An online platform for drone operations in India. It facilitates the registration of drones and their operators, ensuring safe and legal drone operations.
- GeM (Government e-Marketplace): An online procurement platform where government agencies and departments can purchase goods and services. It promotes transparency and efficiency in public procurement.
- Bhavishya: An online pension sanction and payment tracking system. It simplifies the process of pension sanction and payment, ensuring timely disbursements.
- Setu Bandhan: A software tool for bridge engineering. It aids in the design and analysis of bridges, promoting efficient infrastructure development.
Health & Medicine
- Polio Eradication Campaign: A massive public health campaign aiming to eradicate polio from India. Through widespread vaccination drives, India was declared polio-free in 2014.
- Rotavac: India’s first indigenously developed vaccine for rotavirus infections, which are a leading cause of severe diarrhea in children. The vaccine has played a crucial role in reducing child mortality.
- Chitra GeneLAMP-N: Developed by SCTIMST, Trivandrum, it’s a rapid diagnostic test kit for COVID-19. It offers faster results compared to conventional tests, aiding in timely treatment and isolation.
- COVAXIN: Developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, COVAXIN is India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine. It plays a pivotal role in India’s vaccination drive against the pandemic.
- Ayushman Bharat: Also known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, it’s a health insurance scheme that aims to provide free access to healthcare for over 500 million people, making it one of the world’s largest health insurance programs.
- eVIN: The Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network is a technology solution that digitizes vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application. It’s crucial for maintaining the quality of vaccines.
- Jaipur Foot: Developed by Dr. P. K. Sethi, the Jaipur Foot is a rubber-based prosthetic leg for amputees. It’s affordable and offers mobility similar to a natural leg, transforming the lives of thousands.
- Project Dhruv: Developed by IIT Bombay students, this platform converts 2D X-ray images into 3D bone structures, aiding in medical diagnosis and treatment.
Defense & Security
- Tejas Light Combat Aircraft: An indigenous multirole light fighter developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It’s designed to replace the aging fleet of fighter jets in the Indian Air Force.
- BrahMos Missile: Developed jointly with Russia, the BrahMos is the world’s fastest cruise missile. It can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or land and is known for its precision and devastating power.
- INS Arihant: India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine. It’s a ballistic missile submarine, giving India a second-strike capability and strengthening its position in the nuclear triad.
- INS Vikrant: India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier. Once operational, it will significantly boost India’s maritime defense capabilities.
- KALI (Kilo Ampere Linear Injector): A directed energy weapon developed by the DRDO. It’s designed to destroy enemy missiles and aircraft by emitting powerful pulses of energy.
- Kaveri Engine: Developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, it’s an afterburning turbofan project aimed at producing a propulsion system for the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft and other future projects.
- RISAT: The Radar Imaging Satellite series is designed to provide all-weather surveillance using synthetic aperture radars. They play a crucial role in agriculture, forestry, and disaster management.
- Prithvi Defence Vehicle: An advanced exo-atmospheric interceptor missile. It’s part of India’s initiative to develop a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system.
- Nag Missile: An anti-tank guided missile developed by DRDO. It’s designed to destroy modern main battle tanks and other armored targets.
- Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter: Developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, it’s a multi-role helicopter that can be used for transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation.
- Garuda UAV: An indigenous drone developed for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It enhances the situational awareness of the armed forces.
- Rustom Drones: Medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles developed for surveillance and reconnaissance. They play a crucial role in modern warfare.
- Netra UAV: An aerial surveillance drone developed by DRDO. It provides real-time intelligence to security forces during operations.
- Naval Anti-Ship Missile: An advanced missile system developed to target enemy ships. It enhances the naval strike capabilities of the Indian Navy.
Education & Literacy
- Super 30 Program: Founded by Anand Kumar, Super 30 is an educational program in Patna, Bihar. Every year, it selects 30 underprivileged students and provides them with free coaching for IIT-JEE. The program has achieved remarkable success rates.
- TARA Akshar+ Program: A computer-based functional literacy program. It has successfully taught reading, writing, and arithmetic to thousands of illiterate adults, especially women, in a short span of time.
- Swayam: An online education platform developed by the Government of India. It offers courses from school to postgraduate level, enabling students from all over the country to access quality education.
Public Welfare & Governance
- e-Courts Project: An initiative to digitize the judiciary system. It aims to make the justice delivery system more efficient and transparent by making all court-related information available online.
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: Launched in 2014, it’s a financial inclusion program aiming to provide affordable financial services to the underprivileged. It has led to the opening of millions of bank accounts.
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: An initiative to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households. It aims to reduce health hazards associated with the use of unclean cooking fuels.
- Sugamya Bharat App: An app developed for differently-abled individuals. It allows users to identify and mark places with accessible features, promoting inclusivity.
- Bio-toilets in Railways: An eco-friendly waste disposal system used in Indian Railways. It uses bacteria to break down human waste, reducing environmental pollution.
The journey of India post-1947 is a testament to its indomitable spirit, vision, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. These innovations and achievements underscore India’s multifaceted contributions to the global landscape. As India continues to forge ahead, it remains a beacon of hope, innovation, and progress, inspiring nations worldwide.