Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre, IIT Kanpur launched the Mission Bharat O2 in May 2021 to address the oxygen crisis India, with an overarching objective of promoting indigenous manufacturing at par with global standards. The initiative, led by Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Professor In-charge, Innovation & Incubation, IIT Kanpur, Srikant Sastri, Director, FIRST-IITK and
Chairman, I3G Advisory Network, and Rahul Patel, Head of Strategic Initiatives, SIIC IIT Kanpur will focus on the production of oxygen plants of 250 LPM and 500 LPM capacities. Mission Bharat O2 is a step towards the larger vision of SIIC to nurture a self-sustainable healthcare system in India. Besides selected manufacturers, SIIC is keen to partner with interested organizations to execute the project.
The SIIC team has acted swiftly in the past, during the first wave of COVID-19, to deliver an invasive ICU ventilator in just 90 days with Noccarc Robotics. As the second wave reaches rural areas, the team has decided to change its course to adapt to the emerging requirements of the public health system. A SIIC incubatee, AIPL (https://www.acquainfra.com/), has developed the design for the oxygen plant and is a manufacturing partner as well. SIIC will work with four other partner manufacturers: Avadh Rail Infra Ltd (Tamil Nadu), Pullman Engineering Pvt Ltd (West Bengal), Energy Pack Boilers Pvt Ltd (Gujarat), and International Cylinders Pvt Ltd (Himachal Pradesh).
Each manufacturer has been selected from a different part of the country to ensure widespread availability of the finished product. The plan will form a blueprint for the selected manufacturers, who will set up ten plants by the end of June 2021, and 50 over the coming months. SIIC’s strong ties with the local hospitals and administration will pivot their combined efforts to support the public health system.
With Mission Bharat O2, SIIC IIT Kanpur has taken a step forward to make the Indian healthcare manufacturing ecosystem self-sustaining by reducing dependence on imports. Commenting on the urgency of the situation, Professor Amitabha Bandyopadhyay says, “During the first wave of COVID-19, SIIC and its companies delivered the Swasa N-95 masks and the Noccarc V310 ICU ventilator. Both products, developed locally, were a testament to Indian manufacturers’ capability to deliver in times of urgency. With Mission Bharat O2, we look further to equip healthcare systems with world-class medical infrastructure.”
With the second wave of COVID-19 leading to irreparable loss of human life, the public health systems are still struggling from pillar to post to arrange for life-saving drugs, oxygen, and hospital beds. As the pandemic reaches the hinterlands of India, scarce public health services have become overstretched, with total deaths above 4,000 a day. SIIC’s efforts under Mission Bharat O2 will support healthcare facilities to flatten the curve and provide critical care.
The SIIC IIT Kanpur legacy of delivering purpose with profit stands true to its ground in the global health emergency. Mr Srikant Sastri, the co-lead of Mission Bharat O2, commented, “The true spirit of innovation lies in the innovator’s ability to adapt to the dynamic demands of the ecosystem. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to capitalize on the untapped potential of the local manufacturing landscape to answer India’s healthcare needs. We believe that the Mission Bharat O2 will chart the course for making local manufacturing the new normal.” SIIC, IIT Kanpur aims to turn India into a self-sustainable powerhouse of quality healthcare equipment developed within her borders. Mission Bharat O2 is a crucial step towards that vision.