In an interview with Newsline,NID Director and Member-Secretary of the India Design Council (IDC),Prof Pradyumna Vyas talks about the councils plans,the expansion and setting up of more NID centres across India,the state of design,copyright in design and what design can do to make the country greener
* The Centre has announced setting up NIDs in Orissa,Madhya Pradesh,Andhra Pradesh and Assam. Where and when will these institutes come up and what will be NIDs role in setting them up?
In Madhya Pradesh,it will either be Bhopal or Gwalior. In Assam,it will most probably be in Jorhat. In south,Hyderabad is practically confirmed. We want to start Hyderabad first; maybe,in a years time. Till the buildings come up,our programmes will start in a temporary campus. Jorhat will come up in another years time. As far as NIDs role is concerned,we will consider the locations and focus on the strong points,as well as immediate results in terms of economy and employment. In the North-East,the focus will be on bamboo,while in Hyderabad it will be IT and so on. The faculty here will be consulted in the process of institution building,although the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will be directly in-charge of setting them up. The new NIDs will have a capacity of at least 1,000 students each.
* One of the most pressing issues of our time is Climate Change and Global Warming. The National Design Policy (NDP) also mentions a cradle to grave environmentally friendly approach. When you talk about green buildings,eco-friendly machinery,it all starts at the drawing table,which is NID. What are the avenues you are looking at in terms of Green?
Green essentially means the energy consumption in creating and running a product. We must retain our traditional sharing community and bring it into the way the new generation lives as it will help us in policies like public transportation. We must attempt to imbibe this in our education programmes. We can have policies encouraging this sharing and use it in our public transportation. Our energy consumption will come down. Our country is blessed with sunlight and we must take advantage of this.
* Where do designers come into this?
Designers can influence policy in system level thinking where user,producer,technology and environment meet. What is happening today is that we are not really mapping the 50 or 60 years since the birth of this consumeristic society. What will happen to our children and our grandchildren if this is the way we are going? Our line of thinking goes like this if we consume more,we produce more. But if we produce more,we consume more.
* Can these systems be designed?
Absolutely. Design is all about anticipating things. If I create something good,will it lead to something bad? If I use this energy,will it lead to wastage? That is system-level thinking.
* NDP mentions encouraging the culture of protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the field of design. But there is a view that design schools and designers themselves exploit craftsmen,tribals and artisans by using their work and making money while the original craftsmen are left with nothing. What is your view on this?
I fully endorse the view. The designs belong to the people who develop them. They should be partners in sharing the profits. A designer may create an offshoot of that design into a contemporary design,but they must have a share. We must create awareness about giving credit where it is due.
* What are IDCs main plans?
Three working committees are looking at three core areas. One is looking into design promotion,like I-Mark,design exhibitions,sensitisation programmes and how to take these designs to different sectors and fields. This involves sensitising industries to use design by setting up design museums.
Another committee is formulating how to standardise design institutions. Several management institutes have mushroomed and we dont want the same for design education. A debate is on whether there should be a ranking of design institutions.
The third committee will have policy implications. One of the ideas is tax incentives to encourage industry to do R&D activities. If an organisation or industry is using design services,can they be entitled for tax exemptions? Can the provider of design services also get exemptions?
* Can you elaborate a little bit on I-Mark?
I-Mark is a certification we are planning on the lines of Red Dot in Germany and the G-Mark in Japan. It is somewhat like the ISI mark,but while ISI looks only at the technical aspects of a product,I-Mark will look at the entire process of production. G-Mark is seen on various products that have been approved by an eminent jury that looks into various criteria like whether child labour was used in the production,the product’s carbon footprint,social benefits,usability,interface,recycling value,safety and so on. We will set up our own design criteria for I-Mark.