SPEECH BY THE RA MASHELKAR AT THE PRESENTATION OF DR. APJ ABDUL KALAM IGNITE AWARDS 2015

30-11-2015    Dr R A Mashelkar

Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukjerjee ji, Hon’ble Governor of Gujarat Shri O P Kohli ji, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Smt Anandiben Patel ji, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Prof Ashish Nanda, Prof Anil Gupta, eminent guests, young students, teachers, parents, ladies and gentlemen

At the outset let me thank our Hon’ble President for kind consent to give away the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards. I must mention that in the last few years, under the leadership of The Hon’ble President, the President House has taken some wonderful initiatives to foster the inclusive innovation ecosystem in the country by bringing together grassroots innovators, technology students, academia, and industry. NIF, a partner in many of such initiatives, will continue to work together to serve the resource poor and knowledge rich people of the country. I have no words to express my gratitude for Hon'ble President for his gracious presence in Silver Jubilee  year of Honey Bee Network.

NIF with motivation and guidance of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam initiated the IGNITE competition nationally in 2008. I am very happy to mention today that NIF has been able to harness the creativity of young children from all parts of the country with increasing participating of children every year. NIF had been blessed to have Dr Kalam’s continued guidance and advice since 2002 when as the President of the country, he honored grassroots innovators in NIF's Second National Awards. He had been closely associated ever since and gave away the Third and Fourth National awards in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Beyond NIF events also, at different fora, Dr Kalam used to propagate the ideas of common people and urge academia, policy makers and industry to support them.

He continued to motivate the young and old alike, giving away the IGNITE student national awards since its inception in 2008 till the last awards in 2014. Dr Kalam used to meet all the award winners in the award exhibition and address the gathering mostly comprising students from various schools, urging them to be creative, compassionate and knowledgeable while retaining humility. NIF renamed IGNITE Awards as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards so that children can continue to draw inspiration from him.  

With IGNITE being hosted by the Indian Institute of Management, a premier management institute, in this land of entrepreneurship, Gujarat, I hope that the creative ideas of these children will find suitable mentors to take them forward. Hon’ble Chief Minister, Smt Anandiben ji, Gujarat Government may take lead and identify student innovations from the pool of about 200 awarded ideas for implementation in the state for which NIF would provide all the support. Let Gujarat lead the country in assimilating useful and practical ideas in policy and practice, signaling a paradigm shift in the way governments treat ideas and innovations of the common people.

I congratulate all the award winners for their work and also their parents and teachers for allowing them to think independently.

With my good wishes to all

Thank you