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Fifth Meeting of the National Innovation Council

The fifth meeting of the National Innovation Council (NInC) was held on 18th January 2012 at the Planning Commission, to outline the agenda for this year and also review the progress of various initiatives since the last meeting.

Fifth Meeting of the National Innovation Council
Committee Room 122, Planning Commission
18th January 2012


1.   The Chairman welcomed the members and gave an overview of the last one year.  The agenda of inclusive innovation, which NInC has focused on has now gained global acceptance with charters of many global institutions explicitly providing for inclusive innovation. The Chairman felt that two major initiatives in which NInC is playing  the lead role could be major gamechangers—the National Knowledge Network and connecting all 2,50,000 panchayats through optical fibre under the National Optical Fibre Network Plan (NOFN).

Government has committed substantial resources to both and work is underway.  Under NKN multi-gigabit connectivity is being provided to all major knowledge institutions and the plan is to connect all identified 1500 institutions including all universities by end December2012.  By the end of January over 700 institutions would have been connected. This is complemented by connectivity being provided to colleges under the NMEICT of the Ministry of HRD.

The NOFN providing rural broadband connectivity is funded from the USO fund and the plan integrates all existing fibre networks owned by multiple institutions like BSNL, Powergrid, Railtel etc.  The time frame for execution is 24 months.  Once in place, it makes India a nation of 1.2 billion connected people with transformational impact on governance. Both these initiatives collectively contribute to democratization of information and innovation on an unprecedented scale.

2.  Giving details of the activities undertaken in 2011-12, Member Secretary NInC informed that most issues have been green lighted in policy and will form part of the 2012-budget or the 12th Plan.  Those that have received closure include:

(a) India Inclusive Innovation Fund. FM had declared support of Rs 100 crore as initial contribution which would be part of budget 2012-13. IIIF will be a professionally managed fund and government contribution will be limited to 20 percent of the total. Conversations are in progress with prospective investors and Mr. Saurabh Srivastava gave details of the work under way.  The plan is to commence operations in June/July with an initial corpus of around Rs 500 crore.

(b) Innovation Clusters have begun work in 7 pilot clusters and two University Clusters. In  2012-13, this will be expanded to around 40 covering all major states and by adding the sectors of Handlooms and Handicrafts. Mr. Samir Mitra gave details of the effort.

(c) NKN needs a major application for use in addition to mentoring and the proposal of NInC to start a Meta University using NKN for multi-disciplinary learning through co-registering in institutions of NKN operating as a network model has found the acceptance of MHRD and hopefully a beginning could get made in the 2012 academic year.

(d) MHRD has accepted NInC’s proposal to give 1000 Innovation Fellowships to students of Classes 9-12.  NInC has suggested that 50% of these scholarships be reserved for children studying in rural schools and 50  % be reserved for students from non-science stream, given the fact that both the Talent Search Scheme and the INSPIRE fellowship are either science-biased or exclusively for science stream.

(e) State and Sectoral Council work is in progress. Chairman has scheduled a meeting with heads of State Innovation Councils in January. It was suggested that CII & FICCI can play anchors to the Sectoral Innovation Councils where possible.

(f) Proposal of NInC to start 20 Design Innovation Centres has been accepted by Planning Commission for inclusion in the 12th Plan.  These will be co-located in IITs, IISERs, NITS and good fine arts institutions/Universities. A meeting has subsequently been held with design professions who are developing proposals.

(g) Work on pilot project on Math education in select schools in Ajmer under the guidance of Prof Sujatha Ramdorai is in progress.

(h) To spread the culture of innovation, a programme called “India Innovates” catalyzed by NInC will begin broadcast on 26 January 2012 through National Doordarshan and on the same day, under the same title, local DD stations will begin presenting local innovations.   

(i) The work on a comprehensive GIS has been completed under the supervision of Dr. Kasturirangan and is being presented to EFC and Cabinet. It is expected to be cleared by April 2012.

(j) The call for proposals by NInC to suggest innovations to end drudgery of working class population elicited a response of over 400 proposals. These have been shortlisted to around 40 by NInC to be placed before a committee of professionals for final selection and award.

(k)  The India Innovation Portal launched on 15 November 2011 has begun to grow in strength as a forum for exchange of ideas on innovation. Chairman indicated that possibility of translation into at least 10 Indian languages to be explored.

3.  Members to lead flagship ideas they choose

Members of NInC were requested to lead flagship programmes identified by them which would be supported for execution by NInC. The following members gave suggestions:

Dr Devi Shetty: Developing a Global Medical University to create medical professionals, nurses and paramedics (NInC, Yashaswini Trust, Stanford University)

Dr. Kasturirangan: Developing Lakshadweep as a model island through value addition to local products (fish, Coconut and its byproducts) and use of Exclusive Economic Zone.

Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan (Tata):  Developing Pune through collaborative effort as a “medici region”. Dr. Samir Brahmachari and Dr Naushad Forbes offered to contribute towards this effort.

Dr. Arun Maira: Governance Reform in the area of HR practices and Financial delegation.

Dr. Sujatha Ramdorai: Strengthening existing Science Museums on the three parameters of interactivity, outreach and innovation.

Ms Kiran Majumdar Shaw: Creating a Secondary Stock Exchange to allow technology driven, innovative companies to access capital markets.

Mr. Shekhar Kapur: Exploring Innovative New Media Opportunities for India through a team of new media professionals.

Dr. Naushad Forbes (representing CII): Assisting in setting up Sectoral Innovation Councils and developing relevant innovation metrics.

It was suggested by Chairman, NInC that FICCI & CII may submit a whitepaper on what they could collectively do to impact growth in sectors of interest to NInC.

4.  India Grand Challenge 2012

In the year 2012, NInC will launch a grand challenge for which some themes were suggested and members were asked for suggestions for a list of 10 items. These are meant to be national challenges for which solutions will be invited. A list was circulated at the meeting and based on inputs a final list is being prepared which will be sent shortly.

5. Plan of Action 2012

Themes are being identified for the next set of action items for 2012-13 and suggestions are requested.

Names of Attendees

Mr. Sam Pitroda

Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan

Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan, Tata

Mr. Saurabh Srivastava

Dr. Sujatha Ramdorai

Mr. Kiran Karnik

Mr. Arun Maira

Dr. Samir Brahmachari

Mr. Shekhar Kapur

Dr Naushad Forbes (representing CII)

Mr. Anjan Das, CII

Representatives from FICCI

Representatives from Office of Adviser

Ms. Kalpana Awasthi

Mr. Samir Mitra

Ms. Sukhman Randhawa

Mr. Rahul Nayar

Mr. Vikas Bagri

Mr. Keerthi Laal Kala

Ms. Bindeshwary Rai

Ms. Deepti A Dinkar

Ms. Aashima Chaney

Mr. Himanshu Thakur

The following members could not attend:

  1. Dr. Ramesh Mashelkar
  2. Dr. K. Kasturirangan
  3. Ms. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
  4. Dr. Anil K Gupta
  5. Dr. Devi Shetty
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