New Delhi: Advancement in technology and innovations has mostly helped the rich without adequately solving problems of the poor. This state of affair must change, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday.
    
Taking the first major step in this direction, government announced infusion of Rs 100 crore seed money for a Rs 5,000 crore innovation fund for supporting new ideas which will be of useful for the masses.
   
"We have made innovations in areas such as space technology, atomic energy and automobiles. But innovation in our country has focused mostly on the needs of rich and not adequately on solving problems of the poor. We wish to change this state of affair," Singh said while releasing a report of the National Innovation Council.
   
Innovation, he said, can be "a game-changer to move from incremental change to radical change. And therefore it is our resolve to build an enabling environment for innovation to flourish."
   
To encourage innovation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced that government would provide an initial capital of Rs 100 crore to the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF).

The Council has chalked out a plan to raise Rs 5,000 crore for promoting innovation.
   
The country, Singh said, needed models of innovation to address problems in areas such as poverty alleviation, health, rural communications, agriculture, animal husbandry, green energy and so on.

Noting that innovation has a critical role to play in India's growth and development, the Prime Minister said, "the set of challenges that we as a nation face is not only diverse but also unique. It is only through creativity and innovation, by coming up with novel solution appropriate to Indian context, that we can meet these challenges effectively."
   
The country, he added, was currently witnessing innovation experiment in rights-based delivery through Right to Work, Right to Information and Right to Education, while Right to Food Security was on the anvil.
   
Speaking on the occasion Mukherjee said, "... I propose to make an initial contribution of Rs 100 crore to kickstart the India Inclusive Innovation Fund (IIIF). I expect it will be a global leader in pioneering low cost innovation."
   
Innovation, he stressed, could significantly help in raising productivity of the informal sector, which suffers from various problems.
    
"Our informal sector, where the majority of our workforce employed has low productivity and low skilled activities... They could benefit from innovation if they would exploit the existing knowledge base, including product design and connectivity with markets," the Finance Minister said.
    
The government has taken various initiatives like tax concessions for encouraging scientific research, he said, adding that the first multi-disciplinary meta-university will be rolled out in 2012.

(Agencies)