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Innovation is critical to create jobs: Sam Pitroda

Source: CIOL, September 24, 2012

NEW DELHI, INDIA: As India is emerging as one of the vanguards in innovations and creativity, the National Innovation Council has set aside Rs. 5,000 crore fund to facilitate talent. This, coupled with mega fiber rollout at grass-root levels by 2014 could be staggering for innovators.

The Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) today organized an international conference on ‘Towards a Better Innovation Ecosystem’ in collaboration with the department of Science and Technology and National Innovation Council, and supported by the CyberMedia’s research (CMR) wing.

Speaking at the event noted innovator and policymaker Sam Pitroda, advisor to the PM on public information, infrastructure and innovation, said that innovation is critical to create new jobs for growth. “Government has recognized 2010-20 as a decade of innovation,” he said.

The National Innovation Council is focusing on inclusive innovation that could facilitate affordability, scalability and sustainability. As a novel scheme, each Member of Parliament has been suggested to give away three awards in his or her constituency that could boost innovation, Pitroda informed.

The Internet, Pitroda said, has changed the business models and delivery systems. “We have impressive mobile penetration, and software and services export is pegged at US$100 billion,” he added. The irony, he believes is that domain experts are not coming to the fore.

“No government across the world has such a huge fund dedicated to facilitate public infrastructure,” Pitroda said. The government has also earmarked Rs. 20,000 crore to the National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) project which envisages to connect 250,000 village panchayats (units).

“There will be 55 trials within 30-40 days and in 18 months timeframe, fibre network will be laid,” he said. This, Pitroda feels, will boost innovation in a big way. The government, with 10,000 software engineers, is developing applications for payment, procurement and cyber security, he informed.

Pitroda said that they are also in the process to digitalize all the police stations, prisons and courts. National GIS is another mega project wherein all the national assets will be tagged.

The government has intent to initiate e-service delivery in all federal states by 2014, but the Bill is yet to sail through the Parliament. The idea, he said, is to improve access and transparency, and facilitate information to the people.

Over 550 million individuals who are below the age of 25, are our core strength, stressed Pitroda who feels that creating 50 million jobs every year is the real innovation challenge.

Global Research Alliance president professor RA Mashelkar feels that inclusive innovation leads to the inclusion of the excluded. “Inclusive economic growth eliminates social disharmony,” he said.

There is a trend of Gandhian innovation which, he believes, signifies accomplishing more from less for more. Mashelkar said that inclusive innovation is achieved through technological novelty combined with research, business, workflow and delivery system novelty innovation.

He said that policy support for innovation is very critical and he believes that innovation, passion and compassion could create an incredible solution. Mashelkar also believes that in today’s compelling scenario, ‘ultra-low cost’ products are significant.

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