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Make quality products, services affordable: Pranab

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Report to the people: President Pranab Mukherjee flanked by Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations and Chairman of the National Innovation Council, and the Union Minister for Communication and IT, Kapil Sibal, during a function to present the Report to the People 2012 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. — Ramesh Sharma
Report to the people: President Pranab Mukherjee flanked by Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations and Chairman of the National Innovation Council, and the Union Minister for Communication and IT, Kapil Sibal, during a function to present the Report to the People 2012 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. — Ramesh Sharma

India must concentrate on affordability, sustainability and scalability, and pioneer affordable products and services that do not compromise on efficiency or quality. This was stated by President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday, while speaking on the needs of innovation in the country.

The Chairman of the National Innovation Council, Sam Pitroda, presented the second annual report — ‘Report to the People 2012’ — to the President.

“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,” Mukherjee said.

The Council is taking steps to launch the India Inclusive Innovation Fund with an initial corpus of Rs 500 crore, which would provide finance to ingenious enterprises that focus on the bottom of the income pyramid, said Pitroda.

The Union Government would allocate Rs 100 crore as seed money for the Fund.

Highlighting the importance of such a fund, Mukherjee said, “India has an estimated 5,000 small and medium scale regional industry clusters which are unable to utilise their full potential and whose productivity needs to be optimised.”

School, college curriculum

The Council is also taking steps to improve school and college curriculum, spot talented students and award Innovation Fellowships to nurture the scope of innovation in the country.

The Council plans to launch 1,000 scholarships under the National Innovation Scholarship Scheme from the academic year 2013, in association with the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

“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,” Mukherjee said.

The Minister of Communications and Information technology, Kapil Sibal, said that in the 21st century, innovation is the most important determinant of economic growth and development.

“Innovation carries spin-off benefits and yields social dividends through enhanced quality of life, reduction in poverty, improved health, better education and empowerment of weaker sections of society,” Sibal said.

He added that it leads to new product development and greater technology-based productivity which results in growth of value-added industries, which ultimately results in higher standards of living.

aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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