4 things in India that France and other Western countries should draw inspiration from

Benoit Lamouche
4 min readDec 26, 2023

After spending a few years of my life in India, I bring back with me four principles and concepts that would be interesting to import into our Western countries.

Medications Sold Individually

If the doctor prescribes one tablet per day for 10 days, the pharmacist will sell you only 10 tablets, no more. Moreover, in the majority of cases, tablets are sold on shelves without cardboard packaging, significantly reducing the amount of material consumed for a medication package.

When I see the quantity of medication lying around in our drawers, there is certainly room for optimization in this regard with multiple benefits: less waste, less self-medication, fewer risks for young children, less paper, and overall less pollution.

I could also compare the prices of medications between India and France because, for the same molecule, prices are often multiplied by 10…

Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

UPI is the acronym for Unified Payments Interface. It is an interface established in India by the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) that allows for payments from a mobile device from any bank to any other bank. Transactions are fee-free and have no lower limit.

This system is implemented in the majority of popular applications (Airtel, PayTM, GooglePay…) and more recently, WhatsApp has added it to its application. In practical terms, if you use WhatsApp in India among people with bank accounts in India, you can easily send money within WhatsApp without any effort. It costs nothing, and there is no limit on the amount.

In fact, this system is almost everywhere. You can pay street fruit vendors, your bottle of water, or your electricity bill using this method.

If you want to learn more about this technology, you can visit Wikipedia and the NPCI website.

While in France, we still have taxis that don’t accept credit cards or merchants who refuse cards below a threshold of 10 euros, believe me, this system truly changes life. No need for credit cards or cash. Everything can be done by phone.

Repair vs. Replacement

In India, almost everything is repairable. It’s quite striking because in France, there’s often a tendency to discard non-functional devices, usually due to a lack of spare parts, after-sales service, or the complexity of finding a repairman. The system encourages consumption, and the priority is often given to new items at the expense of repair.

In India, it’s the opposite. The assumption is that everything is repairable, and repair will always be the first option explored before considering replacement. And the Indian magic works — it works.

Personally, I had a turntable that took a hit during my move. It was a modern turntable, full of electronics, and especially a model unavailable in India. It seemed like I had to give up on using it. However, I found a small store in the center of the old town that sold some audio/hi-fi devices, a small store that didn’t look like much. I left my turntable there without much hope, and a few hours later, it was repaired. Without manufacturer spare parts, without even knowing this turntable, they managed to fix it. Five years later, it still works.


I’ve already talked about Jugaad in this article some time ago.

Jugaad is the culture of resourcefulness, of tinkering. In a country where the majority of the population lacks the means to equip themselves and get supplies (for financial or logistical reasons), this Jugaad culture is everywhere, in all strata of the population and in all areas.

Jugaad is finding simple solutions to everyday problems, using what one has.

Is it beautiful? Often not. Is it perfect? Often not. However, does it work? YES!

This culture is also one of creativity, ingenuity, curiosity, and personally, I have sworn to be much more Jugaad in my everyday life.

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