President of India Pranab Mukherjee honoured the 31 creative and innovative students from across the country with 9th Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi today.
The competition is organised every year by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. An exhibition to showcase all award-winning ideas by young, creative minds of this nation was also organised at the the lawns of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
This year, students from 25 districts of 16 States and Union Territories were awarded for their ideas and innovations. Overall, more than 55,000 submissions were received from 458 districts of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that for the awardees, it must be a very special feeling to be one among the chosen few. However, those not in the list must not lose heart. What matters most is to make the pool of ideas rich, diverse and fertile. No one can say when any such idea can make a significant difference to our society.
In is address, the President added, having grown up in a small village, I am aware of what hardships many children have to go through at an early age. Implementation of many of the ideas of the children can make the lives of not only elderly, women and youth better but also improve the learning environment. I am happy to hear that some of the leading publishers abroad are incorporating stories of innovative children awarded here in their school text books.
He further added, I call upon educationists, corporate and community leaders to explore ways of extending recognition to creative and innovative children and other such minds. Our collective efforts, I am sure, will have far-reaching effect on the inclusive innovation eco-system of the country.
Mukherjee complimented the NIF for successfully identifying, recognising and nurturing young talent, including those from the rural, tribal and other far flung areas. He said that the plans of DST to partner with NIF in INSPIRE-MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) scheme would boost the IGNITE model developed by NIF and Honey Bee Network in the last decade. The President said that he was delighted to witness the range of creative ideas and innovations displayed at the exhibition prior to the award function. These exhibits not only promise to preserve our diversity but also benefit various sections of the society. He could very well envision that some of these are meant for including the excluded ones in the development process. They augment the potential for unaided grassroots innovation.
Prof Anil Gupta, Executive Vice-Chairperson, NIF, urged that the ideas of IGNITE winners should be incorporated in our textbooks which would inspire more children to come forward and suggest more innovative ideas and solutions. He explained the journey of 28 years of the Honey Bee Network and expressed his joy over receiving several significant ideas during this year’s competition.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology, on the occasion, said that from receiving 900 submission in the first IGNITE competition in 2008 to receiving over 50,000 submission now, NIF has been successful in mobilising more and more creative minds across the country.
The minister further said that the children should realise that this is just not an award, but also a responsibility to take the creativity forward and help Indian society in day to day challenges. It is your duty to make the environment innovative and creative.
One of the awardees, belonging to Komdha tribe in Raigada district of Odisha, Sebati Kukruta, a class 8 student at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar has made a sweet potato cultivator. Earlier, it used to take 15 days to her father to cultivate sweet potato manually in his field. The cultivator made it possible to cultivate the sweet potato within 3-4 days. It saves the labour cost and time. And thus, Sebati’s father can focus on other remunerative jobs in rest of the days.
Another awardee and class 8 student from the same institute, Dhanurjaya Dehury, has developed a vegetable cutting machine. Earlier, 50 girl students of the institute used to cut vegetables for 25,000 students in two hours. Now, 10 machines make it possible to get the job done within 30 minutes. It saves the time of the students which enables them to give this time to their studies.