President of India, Pranab Mukherjee gave away the awards to grassroots innovators and outstanding traditional knowledge holders of the country in an event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. These innovators were identified for recognition by National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF) during its 9th National Biennial Competition, which ran from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2015 and witnessed over 33,000 submissions. The President also inaugurated a National Innovation Exhibition of grassroots innovators from across the country on the occasion. The day marked the beginning of 3rd Festival of Innovation (FOIN) and 4th in-residence programme of ten days for innovation scholars, artists and writers at the President’s House.
The much awaited award function was organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre (RBCC) on 4th March 2017 at 10.30 am. A total of 62 awards were given to 77 innovators, traditional knowledge holders and community representatives in the function, coming from 22 States and Union Territories of the country. Pranab Mukherjee gave away the 29 National, State, one lifetime achievement and one posthumous scout award. The National Exhibition of Innovations will remain open till March 10, 2017 between 1000 to 1700 hours for the public. All visitors to the Mughal Gardens will be able to visit the Exhibition.
These grassroots innovation awards have been decided after a rigorous screening at different levels. All the entries were subjected to technical and patent prior art search to ascertain the novelty/distinction and/or cost effectiveness. The Research Advisory Committee comprising the Heads of the top R&D institutions, experts from engineering, agricultural and veterinary colleges, the vice chancellors of various universities from all parts of India screened the short-list of potential awardees.
The awards were given in four categories such Life time Achievement (1), National (15), State (12), Consolation and appreciation (26) awards. Along with the grassroots innovators, awards were also given to scouts identifying innovators from different parts of the country with one scout being given the award posthumously, journalists for their support to the grassroots innovations movement, and a Research and Development institute and a KVK helping in verification/validation of technologies.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the global economy continues to remain weak. The industrial growth is becoming more jobless in nature, even in emerging economies. In such a scenario, the Gandhian model of decentralised, distributed and diversified innovation-based enterprises is perhaps the best way forward to solve the problems.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology, said that that Science & Technology has to be more responsible to the society. We should start working on solutions that can improve the lives of people. He also insisted that all state councils and scientific bodies should work coherently with National Innovation Foundation - India (NIF) and other institutions for solutions.
National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, is built on the philosophy akin to the behaviour of a honey bee. NIF has taken major initiatives to serve the knowledge-rich but economically poor people of the country. It is committed to making India innovative by documenting, adding value, protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of the contemporary unaided technological innovators as well as of outstanding traditional knowledge-holders and disseminating their innovations on commercial and non-commercial basis.