oxygen shortage: SIIC, IIT-Kanpur launches Mission Bharat O2 challenge to combat shortage of oxygen

KANPUR: Rising to the grave health crisis due to the second Covid wave resulting in acute shortage of oxygen and life support equipment in the country, the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre of IIT Kanpur has launched Mission Bharat O2, a 45-day open challenge for manufacturing high-quality indigenous, rapidly scalable oxygen generation units to help combat the emergency.

Last year also, SIIC had supported its incubated companies to develop indigenous products like Swasa N-95 mask and Noccarc V310 ventilator.

The manufacturing challenge task force will be led by Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Professor In-charge, Innovation & Incubation, IIT Kanpur, Srikant Sastri, President, TiE Delhi-NCR, and Rahul Patel, Head of Strategic Initiatives, SIIC, IIT Kanpur.


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Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur, has appealed to entrepreneurs to apply for the challenge.

“IIT Kanpur carries a legacy of serving the nation in times of urgent need. When the first wave of Covid-19 hit India, SIIC incubated companies stepped up to deliver Swasa N-95 masks, which became a household name for protection and the Noccarc V310 ICU ventilator. Both products, developed locally, were testament to India’s capability to innovate at par with global standards. As the second wave hits India, IIT Kanpur and SIIC have decided to support more indigenous innovators, this time to address the oxygen crisis in the country. I urge all eligible entrepreneurs to participate in Mission Bharat O2.”

Prof. Bandyopadhyay said, “SIIC and IIT Kanpur have a history of delivering quality products as per the country’s needs. We did it with the Noccarc ventilator; we will do it again with Mission Bharat O2. We urge young innovators to come up in large numbers to support the nation at this time.”

Oxygen concentrator is a medical device with limited scope for product innovation, and hence SIIC plans to decentralise the manufacturing process by engaging quality SMEs across states.

An ideal case scenario would be to work with a set of manufacturers in different regions with the target production capacity of 100 units per day initially and scale up gradually.

Srikant Sastri said, “Entrepreneurs usually get carried away by a big idea without acknowledging whether the problem it solves is as big. With Mission Bharat O2, SIIC IIT Kanpur has taken a step toward solving a major crisis the country is grappling with today. We believe the team will make a mark with its combined entrepreneurial experience and vision to serve the nation.”

All eligible Indian SME manufacturers can apply online on the website to participate. The initiative will help ease the pressure on hospitals and save lives.

Mission Bharat O2 makes a strong case for leveraging local, indigenous talent to innovate the manufacturing and supply chain for oxygen concentrators and plants.

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