Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s keenness on making India an innovation hub would mean a dedicated allocation of over Rs. 5,000 crore every year.
On directions of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Planning Commission has decided to allocate one percent of the Gross Budgetary Support for innovation in the 12th five year plan. Going by GBS of Rs. 5,21,000 crore for 2012-13, it translates to over Rs. 5,000 crore per annum.
Plan panel deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia told HT said the proposal was under “advance stage” of discussion and decision will be taken soon.Indicating that the innovation road map has been firmed up, a senior plan panel official said an announcement is expected in the PM Singh’s Independence day speech from the Red Fort.
Singh in November 2011 wanted innovation to address the issues of problems of poverty, health and environment rather than focusing on the needs of the rich. “Innovation can be a game changer to move from incremental change to radical change,” he said.
The government is set to convert his words into reality with the National Innovation Council headed by Sam Pitroda drawing a national innovation road map.
The HRD ministry will provide 2000 fellowships every year at the school level (class 11th and 12th) for innovation and will set up Meta Universities --- a virtual university offering several disciplines --- in Delhi and Pune. The council has asked the ministry to leverage the National Knowledge Network for Meta Universities.
The government has also agreed to set aside a corpus of Rs. 500 crore for the India Inclusive Innovation Fund to help entrepreneurs start business based on their innovations. “There will soon be a national innovation and entrepreneur policy to promote innovation,” a senior official of the council said.
The council is also working on innovative cluster initiative with a target to increase the clusters to over 100 by end of this financial year and 500 by end of next financial year from present 10. Each cluster would support innovation in a unique sector such as information technology, renewables and textiles and will cater to local industry needs, the official said.
The India innovation plan also includes showcasing the innovations in science museums across the country with the help of National Council of Science Museums.