How India can harness its demographic dividend

December 17, 2019

India has enormous economic potential, given its unique demographic dividend. The steady growth in its working-age population is going to continue till 2055 (or 37 years from its beginning) as per studies. However, India can reap its demographic dividend only if it offers good health, education and employment to its youth population.

With quality education, quality jobs are assured, thus securing the country’s economic stability in the coming decades. So it’s imperative that we have an effective education system in place.


India’s education system is more prescription-based currently. With the world and the global jobs market evolving at an extremely rapid pace, we need a system that is capable of bridging the demand-supply gap in quality education while equipping youth with specific skill sets.

Our institutions do not have a robust system for marketing research. Top research organisations such as ISRO exist in solitary confinement and  do not influence education at universities in their vicinity. IITs are purely academic in nature, and more like exporters of talent. They do not advertise their research work, nor do they carry out any social or economic impact in the regions where they are based. In the next five decades, if we want to make ‘Make in India’ a reality, India needs to invest in its intellectual property.

According to KS Kardam, deputy controller of patents and designs head, patents office Delhi, Union ministry of commerce and industry, “India is way behind in terms of IP applications globally with only 39,400 patent applications in 2010”. As per the 2018 report of the World Economic Forum, India is committed to becoming the “skill capital” of the world, encouraging international mobility, against the backdrop, India is driving unique initiatives to convert its demographic potential into a dividend that will fuel the country’s growth. So we must plan and learn from the best practices across the globe.

Learn from global best practices

In developed economies like the US, UK, the universities have always collaborated with local business communities and development authorities or departments to understand the industry requirements and accordingly, promote the required skill sets among the youth.

This model supports community engagement plus access to investment, innovation, venture development and economic development  of the region where the university is based. 

How organisations like Sam Circle can help

India needs a venture development model instead of the venture capitalist model. Firm, intellect capital and execution need to work together for a country like India because our physical infrastructure is way behind our digital infrastructure. And if we are not able to bridge the gap between these two, we are bound to face challenges in the next decade. We can create jobs in the future only if we have a good venture development model in place right now which aligns with community needs vis-a-vis emerging economic needs.

Sam Circle was incepted in 2010 as a venture development firm to commercialise the R&D of US university systems for solutions required by India as an emerging economy.

Sam Circle Venture partners with university and healthcare systems of developed economies by leveraging their intellectual capital to develop customised solutions for emerging economies. This process enables unique monetisation opportunity for an intellectual or inventor through development of new product and services. The emerging market business partners are thus able to create new assets with huge potential for scale and sustainability.

A virtuous cycle of impact on planet, people and profit is created not only in the emerging economy but also in countries like US and other advanced economies; further fuelling the innovation and economic annuity.

Sam Circle has set up India International Innovation Institute (i4) in the US to promote collaboration on innovation opportunities between its institutional partners for research and commercialisation, impacting healthcare and higher education ecosystem in the US  and make it more cost effective and equitable for local communities. i4 is currently engaged with twelve US universities and healthcare systems in design, development, and delivery of research initiatives, faculty development, and certificate programs. It has set up its Innovation Centre at IIT Delhi and has launched four i4 centres in leading private Indian universities. We plan to expand this to 100 universities in the next decade. 

i4  Aims and objectives 

i4 aims to act as a catalyst to develop an innovation, venture development and commercialisation ecosystem around geographical regions of universities for entrepreneurship and employability. Our collective i4 ecosystem currently has 100,000 students and 10,000 faculty members with an opportunity to participate in different programs, projects, and partnerships for venture development, commercialisation, and training. 

i4 provides Indian institutions access to the intellectual capital of US institutions and the latter an opportunity to the increased access to their products and services. With support from all stakeholders, US universities and health systems would earn $ 400 million as royalty and license fees in the next 20 years from the current i4 network in India.

So far, we have forged alliances with four private universities in India that have achieved a certain scale, including Ansal University, Sharda University, Rayat Bahra University (Punjab) and Techno India University (West Bengal).

Let’s take Sharda University as an example, where we launched a medical school as well as an engineering institute in the same campus, which is unique and rare in India. This can bring a lot of interdisciplinary alignment between engineering and medicine, which we are discussing with them to solutions related to remote management of healthcare, ICU management, preventive healthcare simulation screening programme. 

Besides with other institutions, we are bringing new programmes in healthcare analytics and paramedics apart from programmes in entrepreneurship, automobile engineering, sustainability, environment, etc. 

Future plans

Currently, we have four innovation centres in India and our future plans definitely includes expanding our footprints in the country. Our plan is three-pronged. One is high-end research work and innovation, which is useful for the industry and can be commercialised. Second is our focus on supporting start-ups who could align well with the industry needs while working together with the innovation centres. 


Authored by Amber Malhotra, founder CEO, Sam Circle Venture LLC

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