Funds crunch hits scheme for innovators

NEW DELHI Dec. 25. An ambitious programme launched two years ago to promote innovators at the grassroots levels and tap the traditional knowledge had remained a dream in the absence of adequate financial support.

At the time of its launch in March 2000, the programme envisaged the setting up of incubators to convert the innovations into products and ``eventually make India a global leaders in sustainable technologies'', but the progress had been confined to identification of such innovations and recognition for the innovators in the form of awards for the best among them.

The authorities of the special National Innovation Foundation, set up to implement the scheme, were unsuccessfully trying to establish a micro venture fund to help convert the innovations into products. After a series of discussions, the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) had offered an one time contribution of a Rs. 5 crores with the promise of an additional Rs. 5 crores from the National Equity Fund.

The NIF authorities said this was hardly adequate as there was a large number of grassroots level innovations waiting to be tapped. In the last two years alone, the NIF had been able to identify about 7,000 innovators and 15,000 innovations and traditional knowledge examples with the help of a network of volunteers.