Innovation holds key to future progress: Pranab Mukherjee

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 19, 2013 14:00 hrs

Asserting that innovation holds the key to future progress, President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said India's record in innovation is not very encouraging.

The number of patent applications filed in India in 2011 was around 42,000. This is far below the 5 lakh plus applications that China and the US each filed in 2011. With 17 percent of the world population India's share in the number of patent applications filed world-wide is only about 2 per cent," he added.

Stating that the thrust on research and innovation in our higher educational institutions is lacking, President Mukherjee said: " Out of the 260 lakh students who were enrolled at the under-graduate level and above in 2011-12, only one lakh or 0.4 per cent had registered for PhD. Therefore, innovation has to be aggressively promoted by our institutes of higher learning, apart from research and development centres."

" We must set up industry incubation parks, increase the number of research fellowships, promote inter-disciplinary research through inter-university and intra-university collaboration, and adequately empower our centres of excellence," he added.

Pointing out that our academic and research positions in important institutions of higher learning suffer from talent deficiency, President Mukherjee said: " Our systems are not conducive to retaining talents, and hence, lose many of them to organizations within and outside the country."

"By an adequate system of incentivization, we should be able to discourage this outflow of intellectual capital and at the same time encourage scholars of Indian origin working abroad to return to the country for determined periods of time. Such a policy could yield higher results in the form of transmission of ideas and new methods of teaching and research," he added.

President Mukherjee further there are many grass-root-level innovators in our country whose ideas could be developed into marketable products through technological and commercial support.

"These innovators need mentoring and our universities, as the fountain head of knowledge, should take the lead," he added.

Expressing his delight to note that the University of Delhi has established an inter-disciplinary platform called 'Cluster Innovation Centre', President Mukherjee said : " I hope the students undertaking hands-on projects find the journey from the grassroots to the classroom worthwhile and are able to focus their education to the needs of the country more effectively."

"The founder of post-Apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela, had once observed and I quote: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" (unquote). I am delighted to learn about the initiative of the University of Delhi to use the challenges faced by our country as a core theme in creating new syllabi," he added.

President Mukherjee, who attended the 90th Annual Convocation of University of Delhi and conferred medals to meritorious students here today, said 'it would also be necessary to promote a culture of excellence in our universities'.

"A beginning in this direction could be made by identifying at least one centre in each of the universities. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, the University Grants Commission and each university could join hands for creating such centres within one or two years," said President Mukherjee.

"Topics such as water, environment, health, education and urbanization require in-depth data collection, analysis and research. The University's efforts at providing an academic framework to these issues would significantly contribute to the understanding of our policy makers and the formulation of effective schemes," he added. (ANI)

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