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U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson Visits Jaipur Foot

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today spotlighted the importance of deepening and broadening the U.S.-India bilateral relationship, during a visit to Jaipur Foot, the world’s largest prosthetic limb fitting organization. Bryson is the first U.S. Commerce Secretary to visit Jaipur, demonstrating America’s strong commitment to fostering partnerships throughout India.

“After seeing the innovation at Jaipur Foot, which improves the quality of life for people worldwide, it is clear to me why people with big ideas want to come here and build here,” said Bryson. “Different people in each of India’s regions have unique perspectives and plans, and I look forward to finding new ways to help U.S. businesses partner with leaders in places like Jaipur in order to strengthen India’s infrastructure, drive innovation, and promote more prosperity and more jobs for both of our countries.”

During the tour of Jaipur Foot, a manufacturer of a polymer-based prosthetic device for below-the-knee amputations, Bryson spotlighted the partnership between the two countries in successfully applying innovative technologies for prosthesis manufacturing. U.S. research institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University are assisting in the commercialization of some of the technologies. In the case of MIT, Jaipur Foot is collaborating with the university on the development of an all-terrain wheelchair that would improve the lives of many disabled people in the developing world.

Jaipur Foot is an example of low-cost engineering and a successful Indian business model. There are many Indian firms that have learned to conduct R&D in highly resource-constrained environments and who have found ways to use locally appropriate technology for humanitarian purposes. This has resulted in the organization's ability to innovatively manufacture prostheses with locally available technologies for $20-$45 when a device with a very similar function can cost thousands of dollars in the West.

Jaipur Foot was established by D.R. Mehta in 1975, with the objective of providing mobility and dignity to the disabled. Jaipur Foot provides artificial limbs, calipers, wheelchairs, hand-paddled tricycles, crutches and related aids and appliances to about 65,000 disabled in a year.

Secretary Bryson is leading 16 U.S. companies on a business development mission in India to advocate for U.S. export opportunities in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, and to promote investment opportunities in America – both key priorities of the Obama Administration.

The mission kicked-off in New Delhi on March 25, and the delegation will travel to Mumbai after wrapping up the visit to Jaipur.

Learn more about the India trade mission.