ANAND (GUJ): Doles and schemes like the MNREGA have made people less creative and in turn stops their progress as they are satisfied with status quo, chairperson of National Innovation Foundation (NIF) Dr P S Goel said here on Tuesday.
Delivering a lecture on the 98th birth anniversary of Dr Verghese Kurien, fondly remembered as "milkman of India," Goel added that those who will innovate would survive while those who don't will perish.
"What we are doing is we're providing subsidised electricity, free water and doles to our rural population. By providing these things, we are making our people less creative to innovate new things. It makes people satisfied with their status quo and stops their progress," Goel said.
"Dr Verghese Kurien empowered people and brought great change in rural India. The present MNREGA programme, which is touted as a huge programme, is I think, an anti-thesis of the principles of Dr Kurien," he added.
He stressed on the importance of instilling the desire for change and nurturing the instinct of innovation in people, pointing out that India's innovation per capita is one of the lowest in the world.
Claiming that rural parts of the country remained stuck in the "1960s and 70s" when compared to cities, Dr Goel said, "The first thing to do is to establish connectivity.
This government is working on it. Physical connectivity by roads is a necessity, second comes electricity connectivity and third is digital connectivity. This will be done by 2022."
"After establishing connectivity, we need to do much more and innovation can play a key role in development of rural areas. We need to integrate innovation and industry and connect it with people to change their lives," he said.
Goel said several interventions are implemented but their effect is not seen as they are unable to take off.
"We at ISRO started telemedicine project 30 years ago but it has not taken off the way it should have. It would have provided quality medical service to our rural population at par with what our urban residents get. Same is the case with tele-education," he said.
Goel said innovation can transform the quality of lives in villages only if it is outreach and impact driven.
Earlier, a 2,700-kilometre bike rally comprising 50 riders, which started from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and reached Anand on Tuesday, was welcomed by Amul chairman Ramsinh Parmar and Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) managing director M S Sodhi.
Sodhi said Dr Kurien will be remembered as the man who changed the destiny of the country.