Today, the Biennial National Grassroots Innovation Awards, held in Mughal Gardens, goes into its seventh round. In his speech, Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that we are in a decade of innovation that needs prudent solutions to persistent problems. The President pointed out that the state indeed cares for knowledge-rich but unknown people of this country. The Union Minister of Science and Technology Shri S Jaipal Reddy praised the extraordinary achievements by grassroots innovators.
The Award shows that whether old or young, poor, or rich, brilliant ideas and innovations can come from people of any age, socio-economic background in any part of the country and even the world. But these creative people in the informal sector need support. May this support be workshop facilities which allow for in situ incubation of grassroots innovations and entrepreneurs. May it be micro venture innovation funds, which helps innovators in the risky idea generation, prototyping and market research stages of the innovation life-cycle. May it be a multi-media, multi-lingual, open access, open source innovation and collaboration platform that brings together ideas, knowledge and the creativity of people from all sectors of society.
The work of the National Innovation Foundation, SRISTI, GIAN and the Honey Bee Network show that there is huge scope for grassroots ideas and solutions to become successful enterprises and products or services. These solutions can help people in the informal sector to overcome hardships not with external aid, but with their own robust, frugal, accessible and efficient solutions. Especially, through the younger generation in schools, colleges and universities, this innovative spirit can be spread and intensified. Every school textbook should have a chapter on grassroots innovators and every university a chapter of the National Innovation Club.
We are also happy to see that the number of women awardees amounts to 20% this year and we are hopeful that this number will go further up in future. The wisdom, creative ideas and traditional knowledge of the country’s invisible women needs to be given visibility. Documentation, material and non-material attribution, and public accessibility of their knowledge need to be intensified so as to motivate more women to step forward and share their knowledge. They know best about the many hardships that they and we have lived with for too long.
Also the State Awards for Grassroots Innovations was given by Dr Mashelkar and the NIF’s publication” India Innovates”, which is the country’s biggest print collection of grassroots innovators and their solutions, was relaunched. The exhibition of grassroots innovations in Mughal Gardens is openly accessible until 12th March.