MUMBAI: Stressing on the need to adopt ecologically sustainable and pragmatic solutions, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today said there is a need to create a 'ministry of invention' at the government level to encourage proprietary work.
"What we need in India is not just a ministry of skill development, we need a 'ministry for inventions'. We need to pay for people to do inventions," she said while addressing financial sector participants at the BSE here.
Citing the case of IIM-Ahmedabad professor Anil Gupta, who has 800 patents to his credit, Gandhi said a country like ours need solutions for addressing a diverse set of problems.
She said a 'gobar' or cowdung collecting initiative, one such frugal innovation, is helping her earn Rs 60,000 a month from her 'gaushala' or cowshed in the national capital.
From being a "problem", the dung has now become an asset that is being monetised and is being used for the ecologically beneficial invention of 'cow-dung bricks' or as manure in farms and cremations in form of 'cow-dung logs', she said.
In the over 27-minute speech, the minister who has been closely associated with animal rights' causes, also informed the audience about progress done by Indian-origin scientists in creating alternatives for meat from cells created in labs and asked the financial world to back such ideas with resources.
She also spoke strongly for organic farming, illustrating the damage done by the pesticides like Bayer-manufactured (chemical, health care MNC) neonicotinoids pesticide is causing in death of bees which are the prime
agents for pollination of seeds.
The minister said the dwindling numbers of bees have resulted in many western powers taking regulatory action against such pesticides, but its usage in India continues because of the obsession to have higher yields in cotton, where it is used.
She said the celebrated green revolution has had "terrible fallouts" like upping the number of people affected with cancer and making the land heavily dependent on water.
For water, corporations are drilling down into the crust in Himachal Pradesh to make packaged drinking water, she said, warning that this cannot continue for long.
Similarly, food processing company Al-Kabeer is using scarce water for washing the carcasses of culled cows in Hyderabad, she rued.
She also alleged that American multinational Coca Cola is drilling for water deep in Rajasthan, which receives low rainfall, and called for much rapid adoption of solutions like turning salt water into potable one.
On the health front, she said the presence of antibiotics through dietary preferences like eating chicken "is making us more unhealthy as the birds are given the antibiotics for higher profits".
"You have to look at solutions, which don't cost money but are so radical that they change the way we live," she said, adding that there is a need of "inventive bankers and investors" to back up innovative ideas financially.