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Down to Earth

India: Universe of frugal innovation

When India launched its first missile bound for Mars last November, the endeavour was considered as much a financial accomplishment as a technical milestone. The Indians had somehow managed to keep the cost of the mission to 55 million euros, or one-tenth of the price paid by American space agency NASA a few weeks later.

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This kind of low-cost solution is an example of a growing trend in India that has become known as ‘frugal innovation’ or in other words ‘doing more with less’. It often involves technological or engineering ideas with the unnecessary frills stripped out.

This week Down to Earth heads to the Indian state of Gujarat to follow Professor Anil Gupta. He has been travelling across the country for more than 20 years in search of unsung innovators who have found creative, affordable solutions to local problems. His Honey Bee Network is renowned for connecting grassroots entrepreneurs and bringing their inventions to the world.

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