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Small, medium firms looking for smart, cheap designs


New Delhi : Small and medium manufacturers in India are looking for designs that are cost-effective, energy-friendly, sleek, portable and easy to connect to people, a presentation-cum-showcase of 12 new industrial designs developed under the Design Clinic Scheme — a government design and arts intervention project — has revealed.

The scheme was introduced last year by the micro, small and medium enterprises ministry with the help of the National Institute of Design (NID) for the micro-small-medium industry sector. The showcase took place here Monday.

Estimates by the government cite that the sector contributes about 45 percent of India’s total manufactured output and close to 40 percent to the country’s exports.

It provides employment to about 60 million people through 26 million enterprises and contributes eight percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“A little more than a year after we launched the design clinic scheme Feb 17, 2010, we have submitted 80 designs to the government. Of them, 33 have been approved,” NID director Pradyumna Vyas told IANS.

Four design clinics in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Guwahati are serving as nodal centres to help industries in the hinterland, he added.

Vyas said the design clinic scheme sought to enhance the understanding and application of design and innovation in the micro-small-medium (MSMEs) industry sector.

A small group of designers and design firms, enrolled under the scheme, lend their expertise to companies to promote design as a value-added activity and integrate the same into the mainstream business and industrial processes of MSMEs.

The clinic has also designed a jingle on Radio Mirchi to promote the scheme to small and medium businessmen.

The total scheme, which offers subsidy to beneficiary companies, is estimated at Rs.73.58 crore. The government supports the scheme with Rs 49.08 crore while the balance will be funded by the companies.

“The focus is on orientation programmes so that local industries and operations can handle the scheme, identify needs of buyers and reap the benefits of the scheme. The scheme takes a holistic look at designs,” Vyas said.

Design plays an important role in making a product competent, he said.

“In traditional industries, the scheme is offering expertise to manufacturers to make them viable in the international market. We are looking at the world markets to sell Indian products today,” Vyas said.

A designer hand pump on display explained the dynamics of the scheme.

A hand pump designed by Sunil Sudhakaran of Bangalore-based Icarus Design for Ventura Pumps kept the “urban scenario in mind” while giving the humble hand pump a trim metallic exterior in monochrome shades.

“In an urban scenario, people want their pumps to look good. Earlier, the plumber had to be told to make the pump look good. Now a pump has to stand out among 10 different brands to sell without incurring additional cost,” Sudhakaran said.

The design cost medium-scale entrepreneur K.K. Rajan, the managing director of Ventura Pumps, nearly Rs.5 lakh. “I have invested Rs.14 lakh to commercially manufacture the pump,” he added.

The government has subsidised 60 percent of his costs.

Said the NID director: “The Design clinic has potential to bring about a design movement in the country.”

Vyas promised to exhibit 100 designs in the Design Clinic showcase next year.

According to Madhav Lal, the additional secretary and development commissioner of Ministry of MSME, the “clinic was a national manufacturing competitiveness programme launched to upgrade productivity of the sector”.