'Our priorities for innovation should be conditioned by our socio-economic realities'
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said India has to unleash its innovation potential to increase capacity, productivity, efficiency and inclusive growth in a globally competitive world.
President Mukherjee, who presented National Technological Awards at a function held here in Vigyan Bhawan to mark the National Technology Day, said that the future prosperity of India in the new knowledge economy will increasingly depend on its ability to generate new ideas, processes and solutions.
"The process of innovation shall convert knowledge into social good and economic wealth," he added.
President Mukherjee said that globalization has rewritten the rules of business.
He said that the most competitive and resilient companies can expect to survive in the fiercely global market, and added that we must make sure we have the capacity to compete, to innovate and to deliver on time.
"If our systems are strong and robust, the world will respect us and be willing to work with us. In this context, the theme of the National Technology Day this year, "Innovation - Making a Difference", is timely and appropriate," he said.
President Mukherjee stated that the needs and requirements of our democratic polity are different from the other nations.
"Our priorities for innovation should be conditioned by our socio-economic realities. The Indian innovation strategy, therefore, has to be different. It should focus on generating ideas that promote inclusive growth and benefit people at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid," he added.
President Mukherjee stated that to conceive a sustainable growth strategy, we must focus on inclusive innovation.
He stressed that innovation in thought, innovation in effort and an all-pervasive innovative spirit can maintain our position and status in the fast changing world, where technological obsolescence is the order of the day.
Welcoming the President, Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said technological developments in the global history have also led to economic asymmetries within the society.
"Technology has made a difference to global societies; but some what inequitably on account of differentiated access. The nations have come to be categorized as developed, developing and emerging.
The question is whether these classifications relate to the differential access of people to technologies. In modern times, innovation is expected to make even greater difference to people than technology," he said.
The Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister said true celebration of development rests in providing equitable living choices to all people in the country. The question ahead of the Government is
"How to make technology render equitable access to developmental choices to people?"
Reddy said in modern economy, where innovation is likely to emerge as the next driver of change, access to knowledge more than labour might become a key.
He said the DST in all three departments and Ministry of Earth Sciences are actively engaged in development of an ecosystem for innovation.
"We have described in our STI policy of 2013 innovation as a tool for conversion of knowledge into societal value or wealth. Open Source Drug Discovery and CSIR 800 of CSIR, Millennium Alliance and Grass Root Innovation System of DST, Vaccine programmes of DBT and Ocean Information System of MoES are all indicators of the commitment of my two ministries to the cause of Innovation making a difference to all," he added.
Reddy said work on development of a system that will enable online submission and tracking of all competitive grant proposals in our science ministries has been started.
"This will ensure that all such proposals are scrutinised in time bound manner and will bring greater transparency in the system. This online system will be in place in the next few months and will be adopted by all the departments under the S & T and Earth Science ministries," he added.
Reddy further said our Science, Research and Innovation must evolve into a System which paves a High Technology-led Path for India as evinced in the New STI policy 2013.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were S Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Prof. S.K. Brahmachari, Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and Director General Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.