Friday, September 10, 2010

NIC plans Rs. 50 billion fund to boost innovation

The National Innovation Council (NIC) plans a Rs. 5,000 crore (Rs. 50 billion) fund to foster the culture of innovation in the country with an aim to improve lives of the poor. NIC Chairman Sam Pitroda said the fund will promote the new initiative with the money coming from the government, institutions, corporate and other private investors.

"The broad idea is to start a fund with a corpus of Rs. 1,000 crore (Rs. 10 billion) that would gradually be scaled up to Rs. 5,000 crore. The government will only provide seed capital and 80-90% of the money will flow from others," he said. "It has been decided that the proposed fund will invest realizing special innovative ideas that promote inclusive growth," he said.

The NIC will meet at regular intervals to keep at tab at the developments on the innovation front and devise strategies suited to achieve its goals, he said. The council also proposes to launch a country-wide outreach programme to develop innovation clusters at universities with the help of industry.

As a first step towards promoting the idea of innovation, the Council has decided to identify a day that would be celebrated as National Innovation Day, he said. On the suggestion of NIC member and renowned film producer and director Shekhar Kapur, the Council has also decided to rope in interested parties to launch a reality show based on innovation.

"We want to create a constituency where government, academia, industry and the citizenry are all participants in the innovation movement," said Dr. R Mashelkar, Member NIC and Chairman of National Innovation Foundation. "This will also involve creating an innovation echo-system not only concerned with developing high-tech products, but with enhancing the quality of life for everybody by creating sustainable solutions and changing processes and mindsets," he added.

NIC is represented by Planning Commission members Arun Maira and K. Kasturirangan, former NASSCOM President Kiran Karnik, founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Tata Sons Executive Director R. Gopalkrishnana, Biocon Chairman and MD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and CA Technologies Chairman Saurabh Srivastava.

Source: The Economic Times, September 10, 2010

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