The Hi-Tech Pune Maharashtra 2008 conference got underway today. Organized by Suresh Kalmadi backed Pune Vyaspeeth, this is the 5th installment of this conference, and in addition to IT, the focus this time is on Bio-Technology and Animation. The conference is spread out over three days (18th June to 20th June) and there is a fairly interesting schedule of presentations by a diverse set of speakers.
I am live-blogging this conference so, 1) refresh on a regular basis if you’re reading this on Wednesday evening (Pune time), and 2) please excuse the terse and ungrammatical language.
The event is being live-webcast by the organizers. Go to the Pune Vyaspeeth homepage and click on the broadcast link at the bottom of the page.
The first day is mostly talks by dignitaries – Suresh Kalmadi, Jyotiraditya Scindia (Minister of State for Communications & IT Government of India), Dr. Ashok Kolaskar (VC UoP), Narayan Murthy, Dr. K. I. Varaprasad Reddy (MD, Shantha Biotechnics).
- Missed talks by Deepak Shikarpur, Suresh Kalmadi and Dr. Kolaskar
- Anand Khandekar Director Pune Development Center & Chief Mentor NVIDIA: “Animation is going to be the next big thing. Especially in Maharashtra and Pune. And it is not restricted to the elite – it will create jobs for the rural sector too. The government must extend the same incentives for the budding animation industry as it did for IT industry earlier”
- Mr. Ashish Kulkarni, CEO, BIG Animation: “Animation for a bunch of recent movies was done in Pune. Dashavatar, Golden Compass. All of the animation for the upcoming Krishna movie will be in Pune.
- Lifetime achievement award for Narayan Murthy
- Lifetime achievement award for Dr. Reddy.
- Dr. Reddy heard comments that India was a beggar country begging for vaccines from the west. At that time one of the vaccines (I forgot which one) cost $28 – completely out of the reach of most of the poor Indians. Stung by the criticism, he gave up his career in Electronics and started Shanta Biotech. He tried to acquire the technology and was told by the company that recombinant DNA technology was so far ahead of the capabilities of Indian scientists that it would take them 20 years to absorb the technology – and hence there was no point in transfering the technology to India. Miffed, Dr. Reddy hired local scientists and developed the technology indigeneously in about 5 years and introduced it at a price of Rs. 50. Today it sells for Rs. 20.
- But Dr. Reddy worries that the situation today is less than ideal. Due to the booming IT sector and the huge salaries offered there, people are no longer opting for careers in sciences. (At least not people that you would actually want to hire.)
- Jyotiraditya Scindia: is a great speaker. Spoke very well about innovation. Spoke about India’s tradition of innovation and education. Said that in modern times, our temples should be the IITs and other great educational institutions. Spoke about the need for greater collaboration between industry and educational institutions. I am not doing justice to his speech – maybe someone else who attended will do that tomorrow.
- William A. Haseltine, President, Haseltine Foundation: India is not a subset of the world. India is a representative of the world. You have everything, from large business, and high tech to tribals and poverty. You solve the problems in India and you solve the problems of the world.
The scheduled presentations are over and I am heading off to the “networking dinner”. I hadn’t expected on getting an invitation for this conference, so I have not really made place in my calendar for the attending the next two days of the conference. I might drop in for a couple of hours each day, but can’t stay the whole day. If anybody reading this is attending the conference and would like to write a report on the sessions, please let me know.