A National Workshop on Grassroots Innovation organized by Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, New Delhi, India and National Engineering Research and Development Centre, Colombo, was held recently.
Dr. R. Ramanathan of APCTT India said that this workshop is a very important component on promoting grassroots innovations. The APCTT is at present involved in providing technology transfer support services for small and medium enterprises, capacity building in technology development, providing provisions for new emerging enterprises to promote grassroots innovations in the Asia Pacific region with the support of Indian government.
Professor Anil K. Gupta of the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technology and Institution (SRISTI) of India said that the purpose of this workshop is to build national capacity for scouting, development of document data bases and dissemination of grassroots innovation.
“Technology transfer abilities are important vehicles for socio economic development. APCTT is a promoter of regional and inter regional cooperation in technology development and transfer of them is a dynamic role to play.” APCTT is actively engaged in strengthening the technology transfer capabilities of member countries of UNESCAP focusing on promoting and strengthening networks for appropriate national and private institutions.
Professor Tissa Vitarana, the Minister of Science & Technology stated that Sri Lanka is way behind harnessing technology for development of economic and social development. “The efforts hitherto have been in importing technologies from abroad It was due to the political thinking that we had. One of the experiences has been that we get not the most cutting edge frontier technology, but technologies that have been used and may be in the process of being discarded. We are living in a highly competitive world in which there is the struggle between countries so that our goods and services have to compete with those from abroad in the interest of even sustaining our own economy.
In the context of open economy, good quality relatively cheap goods are flooding into our market through the multinational corporations who create the demand and what is produced to meet that demand. That may not reflect the real need. The real needs are with the needs of people in villages which are not expected through this money motivated demands, Therefore, if we are to survive ourselves, we have to work out what their problems are and what really needs to be done to improve the living conditions of our people.
There are innovative and creative rural people. We need to work out what their problems are and what really needs to be done to improve the living conditions of them. We have to stimulate that and harness whatever is emerging from them in an effective manner that will benefit the society and people in general.