Source: Business Line, 4 April, 2012
NEW DELHI, APRIL 4: The National Innovation Council (NIC) felicitated six winning innovations here on Wednesday. The inventions are: a novel design of a rickshaw, a human-powered motor, display unit for street vendors, a low-cost cycle for the physically challenged, devices to reduce the drudgery of construction and sanitation workers
Stating that the NIC's focus was on driving innovation for the common citizen, NIC Chairman, Mr Sam Pitroda, said, “For too long, innovation has focused on the problems of the rich”.
He said he felt “frustrated” seeing images on television showing workers carrying huge gunny bags or women carrying bricks on their heads. “India has developed great technology, great inventions and great scientists”, but “we can't fix simple things for the working class,” he said.
Speaking after the function, Rural Development Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, said the innovations were “really meant to improve dignity of labour and reduce drudgery... We make labour more remunerative, but we don't worry about the dignity of labour,” he said.
The winning entries by innovators belonging to IITs, other institutions, individuals and professionals, attempt to reduce the drudgery of people at the bottom of the pyramid. The winners were selected from over 450 proposals received by the NIC and would receive focused support from the Council, a Planning Commission release said.
The innovation challenge, launched in October 2011, sought ideas from Indian citizens in the areas of design improvement of work implements, models for business opportunities, better processes, new equipment and techniques for different occupational groups like blue-collar workers, street-vendors, and construction workers.