Speech by Ashutosh Sharma at IGNITE 2015

30-11-2015    Prof Ashutosh Sharma

Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukjerjee, Hon’ble Governor of Gujarat Shri O P Kohli, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat Smt. Anandiben Patel, Dr RA Mashelkar, Prof Anil K Gupta, Prof Ashish Nanda, distinguished guests, students, ladies and gentleman.
I begin by extending my deepest gratitude to our Hon’ble President for gracing this award function and motivating the student award winners. They come from 18 states of the country, including Nagaland, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, and the Andaman & Nicobar islands. This shows how pervasive is the culture of innovations in our country and how creative our children are in their thinking!
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award is an effort to focus primarily on the creativity of the children and promote inclusive, innovative and compassionate thinking among them. The ignited minds of our students are indeed a befitting tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.I congratulate NIF team for mobilizing over 28,000 students in creative pursuitsby networking with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and State Educational Boards of School Education such as from Haryana, Nagaland, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, etc. I like to share a very happy news in this context. The INSPIRE Program of DST together with NIF is now working on a country-wide scale up of scouting of innovations from the top students selected from 5 lakh schools and several thousand ITIs.This is a turning point in furthering our inclusive innovation system that addresses the needs of our nation. In the years to come, we will not only witness huge jump in the creative and relevant ideas, but also a whole new generation that has internalized the lessons of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Some of the innovations I saw in the exhibition today were really intriguing. Many contain the seeds of innovation and entrepreneurship.  My hearty congratulations to all the award winners. I hope that they will continue to surprise us with the range and depth of their imagination. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad has hosted the IGNITE award function since its inception and I hope students and faculty of the Institute would engage with these young creative minds and the National Innovation Foundation to nurture these ideas and take them to the next levels of innovation and startup ecosystem.
NIF with strong support of the Rashtrapati Bhavan has taken a number of wonderful initiatives to nurture and strengthen the inclusive innovation system of the country by linking public sector, industry and academia. Honourable President has inspired setting of more than 114 National Innovation Clubs in the top technological institutions and the Central Universities.NIF also organizes the Festival of Innovation hosted by the Office of the President in the month of March at Rashtrapati Bhavan. India is perhaps the only country where the Head of the state hosts such an event. As a part of the Festival of Innovations (FOIN), the Global Roundtable on Innovations brings together thought leaders from all parts of the world, together with our leaders in banking and finance sectors. The National Innovation Foundation (India) and other institutions and programmes of Department of Science and Technology have been contributing to building a complete innovation ecosystem, which is indeed a national priority of our forward looking government.Other notable programs of DST that complete the innovation landscape are INSPIRE programme, TDB for commercialization of indigenous technology, TIFAC for patent facilitation and technology foresight, and some 80+ TBIs that house 2000 S&T driven startups. We will work for greater synergies among these and NIF for completing the circle of innovation and entrepreneurship.
I hope that together we will be able to achieve the targets we have set forth for ourselves in this decade of innovation.
I end with my compliments to all the stakeholders who are doing a tireless job. May the force be with us.
Ashutosh Sharma