Why India plans to update National Design Policy 2007 ?

In our daily lives, we utilize a variety of goods and services. These goods and services are first conceptualized, then created, produced, and distributed through an appropriate supply chain. At conceptualization stage, designers play creative role about all its components before a finished product is finally produced. Therefore, the design phase of product development is very significant as it provides the end users and customers a tangible and distinctive experience.

Design has become intricately woven into every aspect of industry, from business strategies to customer experiences to various communication channels like advertisements, websites, logos, social media presence, etc., defining the perceptions of the customers and the value they place on the company’s goods and services.

Why Design matters to Industries?

The design process has been effectively embraced by major Indian companies such as Tata Group, Tata Consultancy Services, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), automobile companies operating in India, and many more. GVK Industries, Titan, Ergo, Future Group, Ginger Hotels, Godrej Interio, Larsen & Toubro, and Philips are just a few companies that use design as a differentiator to obtain competitive advantage.

International brands like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Samsung, Nestle, and others became well-known in India while domestic brands like Tata, Godrej, ITC, Dabur, and Reliance began to earn popularity on a global scale. Businesses began placing a high priority on the design of their brand story and imagining innovative ways to make their products distinctive and appealing.

Indian Economy & National Design Policy 2007

Thus, the need was felt to have a policy for promotion and regulation of design industry in India. In his article titled “Design as a State Policy—Imperatives for India and Other Developing Countries,” Professor K. Munshi of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai discusses the fundamental goals of governments when formulating policies to achieve a particular set of socioeconomic accomplishments over a given time frame. Professor Munshi also highlights how India’s Science & Technology Policy of 1987 gave rise to a design policy that was primarily concerned with raising people’s quality of life.

Therefore, considering all above-mentioned aspects of design, the government of India on 8th February 2007, approved the National Design Policy 2007. Its goals include promoting Indian design through the establishment of specialized design centers or innovation hubs for various industries, as well as a well-defined and controlled legislative, promotional, and institutional framework.

This policy prioritizes sectors such as automotive and transportation, jewellery, soft goods, digital goods, toys & games, and leather etc. Along with enterprise incubation and financial support through avenues like venture funding, loans, and market development assistance.

Salient features of National Design Policy 2007 of India

Design is a catalyst for innovation and is acknowledged as a crucial differentiator for giving goods and services a competitive edge. The following goals were set forward in the National Design Policy of 2007:

  • Making “Designed in India” synonymous with quality and usefulness alongside “Made in India” and “Served in India” is a strategy for promoting and branding Indian designs internationally
  • To promote “Designed in India, Made for the World” perspective
  • Increasing the competitiveness of Indian industries
  • Making use of India’s rich craft traditions and cultural heritage to create unique Indian designs for goods and services
  • Increasing India’s industrial and export competitiveness
  • To create a “design-enabled innovative economy” by making India a significant centre for exports, outsourcing, and creative processes.
  • To provide common facilities and enabling tools like rapid product development, high performance visualization, etc. for start-up design-led ventures and young designers’ design firms/houses.
  • To develop a plan for the establishment of design centers or innovation hubs in certain regions, industrial clusters, or underdeveloped states, especially in the North Eastern states of India. 

On 2nd March, 2009, the Government of India formed the India Design Council in compliance with the National Design Policy 2007.

Market size & potential opportunities for Design industry in India

According to the report “Future of Design Education in India” published by the British Council and the India Design Council, the estimated market for the design industry in India was 21 billion rupees for 2016 and 188.32 billion rupees for 2020. While the potential market size for the design sector in India was pegged at rupees 116.81 billion in 2016. Thus, the Indian design sector barely utilized 20% of the market’s potential in 2016.

The potential market for Indian industrial design was also estimated at rupees 50 billion in 2016 and rupees 110 billion in 2020. The potential market for the visual, communication, and packaging design industries was assessed to be worth rupees 56.2 billion in 2016, and the market for other design categories was estimated Rs. 10.62 billion.

Growth Drivers of Design Industry in India

  • The factors influencing the design industry in India are favorable demographics, rising educational expectations, openness to pursue alternate careers, unique employment opportunities, and increased access to higher education.
  • Improved access to Information and Communication Technology (ICTs), and dynamic changes to new lifestyles linked to creative goods and services; has been driving design industry in India.
  • Opportunities for international collaboration and government initiatives have been major forces behind India’s design industry.
  • The market demand for expertly managed design firms and designers with formal education is anticipated to be high.  
  • The government’s boosted support for design education in India. However, shortage of qualified and quality faculty is a factor that hampers the quality of design graduates and creates obstacles for more institutions to come up.

Impact of Design industry on Circular Economy and Sustainable Development

The National Institute of Design (NID) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) jointly hosted the 21st India Design Summit (IDS) in 2021, which featured the best designers, practitioners, and industries from India and around the world. ISD highlighted the value of designing for a circular economy, which benefits businesses, society, and the environment in the following ways;

  • The advancements in product design and material selection are largely covered by circular design. A product can have numerous life cycles thanks to a strong circular design with little loss of value, quality, or energy.
  • A good circular design also makes use of components and materials that may be recycled for further use. A circular economy is founded on the ideas of keeping goods and materials in use, preventing waste and pollution, and regenerating natural systems.
  • Utilizing design thinking to create goods, services, and experiences that are more useful for customers and businesses and have a reduced end-to-end resource footprint.
  • The Circular Economy is built on the four pillars of collaboration, design, reverse logistics, and business models.
  • The need for consumable goods is driving a multiplication in India’s packaging business, leading to focus on sustainable design. Sustainable packaging is becoming more and more of a focus for both brands and customers in this market.
  • Singapore is actively working to reduce packaging waste and promote the use of goods with little or eco-friendly packaging.
  • Both professionals and academics view the circular economy concept as a fresh approach to sustainable development.
  • The “take, make, dispose” industrial paradigm is being replaced by new ideas about the circular economy. Through better resource management, waste elimination through smarter design, and optimising the recycling of goods, components, and materials in use, enterprises now have the chance to both provide value and protect the environment.
  • Local economic, social, and environmental benefits flow from the circular economy.
  • Circular design calls for a shift in viewpoint from linear to cyclical thinking for design professionals. Designers are now considering a product’s whole life cycle and gather data from all stakeholders to assist them create a genuinely circular product.

Policy interventions for promoting design ecosystem in Indian States

The Government of Karnataka is developing a design policy for creative sectors of the economy. State is also intending to enrich school curriculum through integrating design thinking in few government schools on pilot project basis with the possibility of expanding it to the entire State depending on the results. Further, state is also hosting world’s largest design festival, “Bengaluru Design Festival (BDF),” to bring together designers and creative thinkers to network, exchange ideas, and present emerging trends in the design and creative communities. Over 50,000 design professionals, creative thinkers, architects, thought leaders, policy makers, government officials, members of the general public, and students; are anticipated to participate the month-long festival, which is featuring over 700 activities under the BDF.

This policy level intervention of the Karnataka government is anticipated to have multiplier effect in the economy through driving investments and job creation in creative sector.

Impact of Design Policy on Creative economy in India

The creative economy, which accounts for 3% of the global GDP, is one of the economic sectors with the fastest growth rates. The creative industries includes; publishing, research & development, software, computer games, electronic publishing, TV/radio, architecture, arts & crafts, design, fashion, film, video, photography, music, performing arts and publishing etc. They are also regarded as a significant source of cultural and commercial value.

According to a study by the Exim Bank of India, India’s creative economy accounted for exports of goods and services worth $121 billion in 2019. In 2019, India exported close to $121 billion worth of creative goods and services, with exports of creative services accounting for close to $100 billion of that total. For the entire category of creative goods exported in 2019, the design segment contributed 87.5%, and the art and crafts segment contributed 9%. In addition, the market for creative goods in India has a $16 billion trade surplus.

Further, the consumption of creative goods and services in Indian has significantly increased as a result of COVID-19, but it has also highlighted the sector’s fragility. India’s creative sector looks forward to a promising future thanks to improving demographics, improved access to Information and Communication Technology (ICTs), and dynamic changes to new lifestyles linked to creative goods and services.

On global level, in 2019, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport estimated that the UK’s creative industries generated $115.9 billion for the national economy. More crucially, prior to COVID-19, it was discovered that over 2 million individuals worked in the creative industries, and that number was rising, having increased by more than a third since 2011. These numbers collectively show how this industry has grown to be a thriving one with a wide range of employment opportunities.

Thus, all above mentioned statistics and insights indicate enormous prospects for India’s design sector. The statistics provided by UNCTAD reveal that the design industry has been a major contributor to Southeast Asia’s export of creative goods. The design industry, which accounts for three quarters of all exports of creative goods from ASEAN, has played a crucial role in the export structure of creative goods.

Why India needs Updated National Design Policy 2023?   

The reasons why India needs an updated national design policy are as follows:

  • To capture the untapped export potential of India’s creative economy
  • Increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in creative economy
  • Competing at the global level with creative economy policies of nations having specific ministries or institutions for the sector, as the United Kingdom, Australia, France, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.
  • In India, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector accounts for one-third of GDP thus promoting MSMEs and local artisans through competitive design and enhanced product/service offering to market.
  • According to Morgan Stanley, the manufacturing sector in India will contribute 21% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2031, up from the current 15.6%. Consequently, a well-structured design policy can satisfy the demand for design services in manufacturing industry.

Way forward

Given India’s wealth of creative, technical, and entrepreneurial potential as well as its extensive network of top educational institutions, the government of India is working to promote high-quality design education to create designers who can thrive in the fiercely competitive knowledge economy. On one hand, Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India under Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PMFMFPE), is already promoting Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through One District One Product (ODOP) among 650 districts in 34 states/Union Territories.

Whereas, Indian Railways announced a new waggon design strategy on December 24, 2021, to address the growing demand for more efficient and affordable transportation of already-existing commodities as well as an extension of the commodity basket. Therefore, the Indian government is actively looking forward design policy to reshape the economy.

Thus, design industry is very crucial for fostering both social and economic progress in India.

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