Putting entrepreneurship at forefront of economic agenda is need of hour, says President

New Delhi, Mar. 13 (ANI): The first day of the Festival of Innovation in Rashtrapati Bhavan concluded with a summary of the discussions in the global roundtable on inclusive innovations being presented to the President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said the Indian economy needs to generate 115 million non-farm jobs over the next decade, to gainfully employ its workforce and reap its ‘demographic dividend’.

“We need to focus on “inclusive innovation” projects which are initiatives that directly serve the welfare of lower-income and excluded groups. India will have to encourage creation of new SMEs focused on manufacturing, while spurring grassroots innovation and growth. Putting entrepreneurship at the forefront of the economic agenda is, thus, the need of the hour,” he said.

The President said many of the advanced nations have capitalized on their educational network to assume leadership positions in the area of innovation, start-ups and research.

India with an educational network of over 700 universities and 35,000 colleges is optimally placed to capitalize on its intellectual seed capital. In the conference of vice chancellors of central universities in 2013, the President had called upon them to consider setting up innovation clubs that would act as a platform for exchange of ideas between the students and faculty, and grassroots innovators.

He has reiterated this call in the conferences of heads of other central institutes of higher learning held subsequently.

Highlighting the issue of low levels of investment by Indian firms and businesses in R&D, the President said that current investment levels in R&D are a fraction of what world class companies spend.

“The major contributor of R&D expenditure is the Government. Without a substantive stepping up of these expenditures, we cannot expect to be at the higher end of the value chain,” he said.

He called upon the private sector and institutes of higher learning to devote a larger part of their resources for R&D to enable innovation and job creation across the economy.

President Mukherjee on Saturday inaugurated the Festival of Innovations at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

The week-long festival is being organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan in collaboration with the National Innovation Foundation. A total of 65 grassroots innovations will be part of the festival. (ANI)

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