To boost innovations from rural areas and take them to the next level of scientific testing, the National Innovation Foundation is partnering with various government research organisations.
Since those in rural areas largely depend on livestock, innovations and solutions to various problems have emerged in the area of veterinary and so detailed tests need to be conducted.
“Considering these innovations arise from the grassroots level, further testing is needed and will be done in these laboratories,” said R.A. Mashelkar, scientist and foundation chairman. “Otherwise these innovators are helpless. These tie-ups are a way of leveraging their contributions.”
On Friday, Mashelkar was at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Colaba, addressing scientists, students and public on ‘Gandhian Engineering: More from Less for More’. The talk centred on the need to design and manufacture facilities in health care, technology etc at relatively low cost so that it can be accessed by all.
“If you create a product for the rich, the poor cannot buy it. But if you make a product for the poor, the rich will also buy it,” said Mashelkar. “We need to have inclusive innovations that are ultra low cost and with extreme affordability. For this, the nation has to be a laboratory.”
Having tied up with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the foundation is also collaborating with the Indian Council for Medical Research for health-related innovations and is currently in talks with the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
The foundation has submitted a proposal to the Centre for an increase in their funds. Set up in 2000 by the Department of Science and Technology, the foundation has witnessed a huge rise in the number of innovators — from 5,000 to 1 lakh.
“We have asked for a substantial increase in funds. The proposal is pending with the cabinet and will be cleared soon,” said Mashelkar.