Written by : IFD Rohan Singh (Batch 2012-13)
On Government schemes and policies:
- Recasting the employment guarantee programme structure; not just providing menial jobs. Why should 250 million people for 100 days be engaged in only menial jobs? Does not each poor person also possess knowledge? How can we build upon his knowledge about local resources, map knowledge and resources? We can definitely attempt to pool the best practices, develop products/services, market them, and create at least 25 million contemporary innovations, traditional knowledge, and skill-based entrepreneurs. Within ten years, we should not need an employment guarantee programme. Young volunteers in colleges will help in mapping the resources and knowledge with the help of these knowledge rich –economically poor people. In place of NSS ( now almost defunct), we should try to bring in National Innovation Service ( NIS) which will be mandated to engage with 250 million poor in urban and rural areas, workers, mechanics, farm labourers and farmers, crafts people and cultural artists.
- Not even one percent of the savings of the micro finance groups are spent on the purchase of the product made by them. A lot of research has been done on verticals, it is time that we start doing research on horizontal markets. While I do realize the need for us to allocate part of our purchasing power for the products made by poor people (through verticals), there is a need for similar allocation among the poor people as well. Food processing is one area where traditional foods can create tremendous environmental, health and nutritional advantage. The food that rich people take is often poor and some of the food poor people consume is actually rich. Can we create demand for such foods and give impetus for creativity, conservation, and healthy consumption?
On Culture and Art:
- There are so many renderings of Ramayana or for that matter other folktales, songs, and plays in local language for which market exists. People will listen free for 25 sec or more and then if they download, the money say, one rupee per local song will go to the artists’ account. Enrichment of cultural landscape, creation of markets for folk cultural artists and conservation and augmentation of diversity will be some of the outcomes. We need to design a portal of creative cultures in India. A large number of knowledge and culturally rich, economically poor people whose cultural skills and repertoire can enrich our life, and provide income transfer from our pocket to their pockets.
On National & International space:
- Grassroots to Global: Can India take the leadership in providing low cost affordable solutions to the developing countries and provide a new model of benevolent super-power mindset. Western solutions are costly and often inappropriate. Chinese solutions are low cost but often mass manufactured within China, and therefore they meet affordability criteria but do not generate local manufacturing and entrepreneurship opportunities. India has to develop an alternative vision of providing open source solutions as a part of its diplomatic policy after compensating the creative people (through technology acquisition funds), create investment SPV (special purpose vehicle) which will invest in the small ventures in the developing countries and generate local jobs. As the income increases, it is likely that the second order needs so arising might be met by Indian companies/products and services. This will not only provide linkage between innovation, investment, and enterprise within the country, but also internationally. NIF has marketed grassroots innovation based products to all the six continents. A new model of Globalization is on the anvil.
- Markets seldom monitor the misery. The state tries to mask it. It is the civil society and social movements, which articulate it. Every protest, whether creative or destructive is a signal of a need not met. We have to make our antenna more samvedansheel. How can we use the energy underlying in social protest movements; harness it to generate feedback and responses from the state? If we track such movements and create a national portal on social protests, we will institutionalize opportunity to learn from social dissatisfaction. No other country will do it. State will get a chance to share its response on every such response. The centralization of arena of protest will be reversed. Dissent is the salt of civic life. India alone can do it.