New Delhi: Industry
and traditional design are closing ranks in India, with plans to
set up four new National Institutes of Design (NIDs) to meet the
growing need for industrial designers, especially at the regional
The commerce, industry and textiles ministry will announce NIDs in
Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana to push the
growth of regional design and train more youngsters as designers,
said Pradyumna Vyas, director of the National School of Design in
"We produce nearly 400,000 engineers and 100,000 managers every
year. In contrast, we hardly produce 1,000 industrial designers to
address the growing need to make design competitive," Vyas told
IANS at the CII-NID Design Summit Dec 8-9 in the capital.
The new NIDs are expected to become operational in the next five
years. "The new NIDs will cater to regional requirements - and
combine traditions with industry to meet global needs," he added.
"Sustainable design that carries forward a balanced and aesthetic
equilibrium between our social, economic and environmental
structures is where design innovation in current time rests," Vyas
The Twelfth Five-Year plan will give a boost to the process of
commercialising indigenous designs from regions and make it
Designer Nachiket Thakur is one such "dual knight" of design who
exemplifies this inclusive trend in new Indian design.
As founder-president of Pune-based Vishwa Bamboo, he promotes
bamboo craft from the Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Nasik regions
of Maharashtra as industrial products - for corporate and
Thakur has created 150 bamboo and clay products, of which 15 are
mass manufactured on shop-floors. The craftspeople provide the
design and a tech team assembles them in the works.
He also heads the design at Mahindra Composites where he innovates
on user-friendly hardware design.
"Traditional and industrial designs have been seeing a parallel
growth of late. One has dexterity while the other has skill - but
strangely, both are learning from each other. Craftspeople are
realising the need for standardisation of designs and their crafts
for mass use," Thakur told IANS.
Explaining why traditional crafts were facing a growth block, he
said: "Craftspeople are generally happy with their work so long as
they get a good price for it."
"They do not look beyond the scope of the ordinary - and
livelihoods. People like me who are working in the crafts sector
educate them to customise the products - by making them
industrially manufacturable to ensure that the quality of the
first product and the 1,000th product is the same," he said.
Man-made crafts cannot be mass produced without qualitative
variations, Thakur pointed out.
The design environment in India is also changing - as grassroots,
traditional and industrial design try to meet on common ground to
set up new linkages.
"An entire eco-system for product development is taking roots in
India with various entities (like design, production, innovation
and resources) coming together to create one Indian design," Sunil
Sudhakaran, the owner of Bangalore-based Icarus Design, told IANS.
The design incubation centres - education and support centres for
design innovators and entrepreneurs - are an example, he said.
The NS Raghavan design and product incubation cell at the Indian
Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore helps young innovators
and designer-entrepreneurs from the grassroots develop viable
start-ups with mentoring, marketing support and resource
generation, Sudhakaran said.
"Several engineering colleges across India have set up incubation
centres to educate and guide innovators," he said.
The Design Clinic - a micro-level design intervention programme
between the National Institute of Design and the commerce,
industry and textiles ministry - has been helping micro, medium
and small-scale industries to increase their competitiveness by
exposing entrepreneurs to design-related thinking, intervention
and application since February 2010.
The scheme has a budget of Rs.73.58 crore ($14 million), of which
Rs.49.08 crore is government contribution, a ministry spokesperson
The government has turned the spotlight on design education with
aesthetics and innovations.
The National Design Policy version of 2011 is encouraging the
creation of departments of design in all the Indian Institutes of
Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) as
well as private colleges.
Under its objectives for the coming year, the policy is stressing
on teaching of design in vocational, primary and secondary schools
oriented to the needs of small-scale and cottage industries -
under the theme "Designed in India, Made For the World" to
integrate India's rich traditions, ethnicity with contemporary
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)