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The Ventilator Project by S Srikant Sastri, Amitabha Bandyopadhyay: book review

Life-saving Innovation during COVID-19

Remember the clarion call of the prime minister of the country, Aapda mein avsar? WHO projected that one out of six people would be seriously ill that would need ventilator support. There was an ongoing pandemic and a great demand for low-cost ventilators that would ultimately save millions of lives. Then, PM announced the innovation challenge, and IITK’s startup Nocca Robotics took the lead.

This book tells us what innovation really means. A bunch of talented individuals from the IITK consortium coming together to solve a problem and helping those who are in dire need. They achieved this unbelievable feat in just 90 days and the best thing is, all this happened when the country was still dealing with the pandemic. This “little” ventilator project broke the monopoly of a handful of foreign companies. Stories like this should be told because of the sheer hope that they provide. It is very easy to criticize anything and everything, respect is earned when you rise above the hate and bring actual change in the society and for this project, they deserve that respect.

If you follow the news, you must have seen that Nocca Robotics had to ask for the Centre’s assistance because of the sudden increase in demand. That’s how successful their product was. The book discussed the problems they faced during the process, from ideation to team management to production to certification. The book will make you feel proud as a citizen of this country and will make you believe again in the power of start-ups. The goal went from fulfilling a need to building a world-class product that could be exported and could match international standards.

The authors are Srikant Sastri and Amitabha Bandyopadhyaya, two great minds who were involved in entrepreneurship and bioengineering respectively. This amalgamation of academia, business, and technology helped The Ventilator Project see the daylight.


On 24 March 2020, a nationwide lockdown was imposed in India in the face of a formidable adversary, the Covid-19 pandemic. With the number of cases increasing exponentially, hospitals were faced with a dangerous shortage of life-saving equipment and personnel. In response to the imminent crisis, Amitabha Bandyopadhyay and Srikant Sastri formed the IIT Kanpur Ventilator Consortium as a task force to assist a young startup, Nocca Robotics, in building affordable high-quality ventilators for India’s cash-strapped hospitals. Under the mentorship of reputed industry leaders, the task force and the Nocca team worked tirelessly against unprecedented odds – trammeled by a ban on imports and telecommuting through Zoom and Whatsapp in the face of stringent lockdown restrictions – to manufacture the Noccarc V310 in record time. This is the incredible story of its conception, creation, and success, in the words of the task force co-leaders themselves. Inspiring and riveting, The Ventilator Project also offers an unmatched blueprint for business in the post-Covid era through first-hand lessons gleaned during the task force’s phenomenal ninety-day run. It proves that India, with its deep recesses of talent and ingenuity, has the potential to be a world leader in both business and social impact.

The Ventilator Project by S Srikant Sastri, Amitabha Bandyopadhyay is published by Pan Macmillan and to order your copy buy here.


Srikant Sastri is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta and wears many professional hats. He is Chairman, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, and a board member at several other incubators. As an entrepreneurship evangelizer, he created the ChaloStartup web series and is on several government advisory bodies. As Chairman, I3G Advisory Network, he trains and advises corporations on accelerated business transformation.

Amitabha Bandyopadhyay is a scientist trained at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, and Harvard Medical School, Boston. He established his independent research group in 2006 at the Biological Sciences and Bioengineering Department of IIT Kanpur. In 2012, Amitabha got involved with the institute’s technology business incubator, the Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre. In 2018, he became the first occupant of the Kent Chair for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Professor-in-charge of Innovation and Incubation at IIT Kanpur.

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