Special thanks to Sahida Kamri who is a blogger on the Gen-X blog – a blog created by the budding IP and technology management professionals of India. Bloggers are students of PGD-IPTMA Course, National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), India. The following post was written and submitted by Sahida Kamri for the CAS-IP blog:
Father of Grass Root Innovation: Prof. Anil K. Gupta and His Ideologies
Professor Anil Kumar Gupta, a senior faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad is successfully blending knowledge of grassroot innovators with corporate houses. He is the executive vice-chairman of NIF (National Innovation Foundation). In an interview with The Wall Street Journal | India he talks about cross-pollination work of grassroots innovations, ideas on globalization, technology commons and his experience with big industries as well as Government. The persistent and dedicated work of NIF under his leadership has more than 120,000 grass root innovations and traditional knowledge practices. These are documented from fields such as agriculture, animal and human medicines, herbal drugs, mechanical devices, rural technologies from the informal and unorganized sector of rural and urban India. Prof. Anil K Gupta’s contribution for grass root innovators and rural people has been also recently discussed in the blog Gen – X ideas on IP.
How did it start?
In 1986, after a tour of Bangladesh Prof. Anil K Gupta seriously thought about helping poor rural people. He worked hard to create recognition and awareness around the importance of grass root innovators in the formal system. He also took the initiative to document traditional knowledge, some of which is now on the edge of extinction. This vision developed into the National Innovation Foundation. Established under the Department of Science and technology, Government of India on 28th February, 2000, the main aim being to scout, document and scale sustainable innovations, and to help innovators from the informal sector get their products to market through incubation and business development. NIF helps in protecting Intellectual Property rights of grass-root innovators and documents their various innovations and traditional practices. It also helps in the technology transfer of suitable technologies. 57 technologies have been already licensed. The former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has been a great supporter and guide to NIF since its inception and highly appreciates Prof. A.K. Gupta’s efforts. A database of innovations and medicinal plants in various languages is maintained by NIF. Two appendages of NIF are SRISTI and GIAN which provide complete support to it in all its activities.
Shodh Yatra – A journey to reach knowledge
More than ten years ago Prof. Anil K Gupta learned about a creative idea called “Shodh Yatra”, one he has continued. Shodh Yatra is a journey on foot through the remote areas of India for the exploration of knowledge, creativity and innovations at grassroots. The main aim of the journey is to understand and document traditional knowledge and grassroots innovations that have not only simplified the lives of men, women and farm workers but have also significantly contributed towards the conservation of bio-diversity. Prof. Gupta used to conduct Shodh Yatra twice in a year especially in summer and winter to share knowledge across rural India. Our Organization NAARM (National Academy of Agricultural Research Management) with NIF had organized Shodh Yatra (we called it Gyan Shodh) for students of PGD IPTMA (Post Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property and Technology Management). It was a great experience and learning for us, the report of the Gyan Shodh is available on the internet. His work and noble thought inspired us to join the Shodh Yatra.
India is really blessed having a son like Prof. Anil K. Gupta. He is a true role model to be followed by the youth of nation. His many ideologies such as respect to traditional practices as well as grass root innovations, belief in sustainable technologies etc match with that of the Father of Nation – Mahatma Gandhi. He works for India but his essence of work has spread globally.