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Subsidies and freebies killing innovation instinct of people: NIF chief

Rutam Vora Anand | Updated on November 26, 2019 Published on November 26, 2019

Goel addresses the IRMA's 8th Dr Varghese Kurien memorial lecture at Anand

Making strong observations on the existing development process in context of rural economy, Dr P S Goel, Chairman, National Innovation Foundation (NIF) stated that by adopting populist policy decisions such as free water or subsidised electricity to farmers and poor is actually killing the creativity of the people of the country and making them mentally slave.

Delivering the eighth Dr Verghese Kurien memorial lecture on the subject of "Innovations and Advanced Technology-led transformation of Rural Economy" at NDDB, Anand, Goel stated that by way of politics of subsidies and freebies, we are creating "a society that becomes dependent. By giving them things free, we are actually killing the creativity of the people and making our people mentally slave. This is not just in rural areas, but also true in cities," he said addressing a gathering of academicians and rural management students on Tuesday.

The Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) had instituted the annual Dr Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture in honour of its iconic founder in 2012.

In his lecture, Dr PS Goel said that satisfaction with status quo leaves no inspiration to innovate. He stressed on the importance of instilling the desire for change and nurturing the instinct of innovation in everyone. He pointed out that India’s innovation per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Rejecting the idea of populist development measures to please the rural mass, Goel termed the Centre's ambitious employment guarantee programme, MNREGA an "anti-thesis of Dr Kurien."

"Actually, it encourages not to work... If you are satisfied with what you have then you have nothing else to do. You have no inspiration to innovate or work hard. That is one of the root causes, and on top of it, when you start giving things free, then you are killing all the enthusiasm or innovation instinct of the people, " he stated.

He maintained that the concept of development means finding ways to reduce the gap between the quality of life in the villages and cities.

"Why people are running away from villages to cities and why do we see exodus from villages is ever increasing, because, the quality of life in cities can't be sustained in villages," Goel said pointing at the need to find solutions by way of rural management. There is an urgent importance for three forms of connectivity to enable and accelerate innovation i.e. road, electricity and digital connectivity – as important means to an end.

Published on November 26, 2019
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