I am delighted to
receive the Second annual `Report to the People` of the National
Innovation Council. The Council, with eminent personalities from diverse
walks of life, was constituted to realise the vision of the Government
of shaping the next decade as India`s `Decade of Innovation`.
2. In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, ‘Innovation’ is
the key driver of growth and development. An innovative approach becomes
even more imperative in our context, where there is a huge reservoir of
unmet needs in areas such as health, education, water, food security and
energy. Innovation can provide solutions to such challenges and, in the
process, also enable many more people to harness the gains from India`s
3. India has tremendous untapped potential for innovation. Not only does
our demographic dividend and thriving democracy provide fertile ground
for innovation, but our population of 550 million persons aged below 25
makes it imperative that we innovate to meet their needs in a
sustainable manner, while also creating new opportunities for them.
4. As brought out by the National Innovation Council in its ‘Report to
the People’, we have to evolve our own model of development – which must
be based on our unique needs and challenges, especially the challenge of
equitable growth. The prime focus has to be on affordability,
sustainability and scalability. India today needs to innovate products
and services that are affordable and which do not compromise on either
efficiency or quality. This model of innovation must pervade our working
environment if we are to truly empower people of our nation. It can also
serve as a model of sustainable development for the rest of the world.
5. I am happy to note that the National Innovation Council has
undertaken several initiatives to set the country firmly on the path to
innovation, with a special focus on inclusive growth. The Council has
been working towards creating mechanisms to finance innovative
enterprises focussed at the bottom of the income pyramid and is geared
to launch the India Inclusive Innovation Fund. The Fund is proposed to
be operationalised with an initial corpus of Rs. 500 crore. Government
of India has already made a provision for allocating Rs. 100 crore as
seed money for the Fund.
6. India has an estimated 5,000 small and medium scale regional industry
clusters which are unable to utilize their full potential and whose
productivity needs to be optimised. The National Innovation Council has
been working towards seeding innovations in these industry clusters,
while focussing on small and medium enterprises, by facilitating the
creation of Industry Innovation Clusters to drive job creation and
productivity. The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and
the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research are also supporting
the National Innovation Council in this effort. We look forward to the
results of these interventions in enhancing the innovation quotient of
the clusters and in boosting job creation.
7. Inculcating and promoting the spirit of innovation in educational
institutions can lay the groundwork for enhancing the impact of
innovation in society and in realising our demographic dividend.
National Innovation Council has also been taking steps to nurture
innovation in schools and colleges through improvements in curriculum,
spotting talented innovators among students, and awarding Innovation
Fellowships. The Council is also working closely with the Ministry of
Human Resource Development to give shape to these initiatives. I am
pleased to learn that the Ministry plans to launch 1,000 scholarships
under the National Innovation Scholarship Scheme from the academic year
8. I am told that the National Innovation Council and the Ministry of
Human Resource Development have been working together towards the
creation of a Meta University, as a global first. The Meta University
will ride on the National Knowledge Network and will promote
multi-disciplinary learning. I am happy that the Ministry has already
facilitated the establishment of a Meta University in Delhi, in which
Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi University and
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi are participating.
9. I am happy to know that Ministry of Communications and Information
Technology is working on the rural broadband plans of the Government,
which aim to connect all 250,000 panchayats in the country on a
broadband network. This rural broadband network will constitute an
unprecedented opportunity for unleashing grassroots innovation by
empowering rural citizens not only through access to information, but
also through relevant applications in areas such as education, health
and skill development.
10. While innovation is a result of networks and collaborations among
multiple actors, Governments can play a key role in facilitating the
right enabling framework in which these actors can interact. The
National Innovation Council too has been working to create an
institutional framework for promoting innovations in Government by
facilitating the setting up of State Innovation Councils in each State,
and Sectoral Innovation Councils aligned to Union Government Ministries.
I am hopeful that this will encourage various arms of the Government to
think out of the box.
11. I compliment Mr Pitroda and his team at the National Innovation
Council for these pioneering initiatives. I also appreciate the full
support that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
has extended to the Council`s endeavours. I wish the National Innovation
Council all success as it goes forward in its task of catalysing
innovation in the country.