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Railways sets up innovation promotion group

business Updated: Sep 07, 2008 21:03 IST
Srinand Jha
Srinand Jha
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The Indian Industry’s case has been about the enormous difficulties in getting the bureaucratic monolith of the Indian state to move - cutting through labyrinthine and complex procedures.

At least one government department – the Indian Railways – has made constructive moves to effectively counter such perceptions.

Aiming to imbibe new techniques and ideas from the Industry – as also from other organizations, bodies and individuals – the Indian Railways has set up the Innovation Promotion Group (IPG).

Having established contacts with industry forums including the CII and FICCI, the IPG is well on its task of forging linkages with educational institutes such as IITs and IIMs, national and international railway organizations - besides customers and citizens.

There has never been a crisis of ideas to bring about system efficiency and productivity of resources –or to provide value addition to customer services. “Now an effort has been initiated to channelize the task of actualizing workable concepts, said a senior Railway Board member associated with the IPG.

Innovation promotion is a key strategy adopted by governments and corporations all over the world. For the past sixty years, the Swiss government has had an Innovation Promotion Agency – which works towards furthering the objective of “science to market”. The United Kingdom has its “department of Innovation, Universities and Skills”, while Hong Kong has its steering group on the promotion of innovation and design.

The World Intellectual Property Organization also pursues innovation promotion activities, while – in the area of public service delivery – the Charter Mark of UK and Malcolm Baldrige of USA are acclaimed models.

The India government’s Science and Technology department has also set up the National Innovation Foundation (NIF): A body aiming to promote grass-root level innovations for sustainable development. Activities of the IPG will be conducted in close coordination with the NIF, officials said.

Since last week – when the IPG held its first meeting – hundreds of suggestions have poured in. These pertain to various aspects of the functioning of railways including matters concerning civil, mechanical and electronics sectors – besides those relating to passenger amenities. “The response has been truly overwhelming and – after initial scrutiny and tabulation – some of the innovations proposed will be analyzed by the Research, Design and Standards Organization (RDSO)”, a ministry official said.