State Innovative Council: An Enigmatic Project

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Original Source: The Imphal Free Press

Dear Sir,

‘INNOVATION’ according to Wikipedia generally ‘refers to the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that affect markets, governments, and society’.

Probably keeping this alluring meaning of innovation in mind, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh started a novel venture of constituting the National Innovative Council (NInC) in September 2010. Shortly afterwards, the Government of India (GOI) has instructed the state governments to set up their respective State Innovative Councils keeping in focus on the following:
1.0 Support your Government to promote innovation in the State;
2.0 Encourage young talent and local universities, colleges, Medium and Small Scale Industries (MSME), R&D Institutes;
3.0 Map opportunities for innovation in the State;
4.0 Identify and reward talent in innovation and disseminate success stories;
5.0 Organise seminars, lectures, workshops on innovation and create State innovation portal to educate;
6.0 Help create innovation eco-systems;
7.0 Organise risk capital and prepare an Innovation Roadmap 2010-2020 for the State.

Accordingly, the Manipur government constitute the Inter Departmental Coordination Committee in the Planning Department on 16 December 2010 with the Chief Secretary as the Chairperson, to implement the policy decisions of the State Innovative Council, ‘to harness core competencies, local talent, resource and capabilities to create new opportunities’.

In March 2011, the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, Finance Commission Division, GOI, released the Grant-in-Aid for District Innovation Fund (DIF) for all state governments along with issuing the Guidelines for grant release and utilisation of the Grant-in-Aid under recommendations of the Thirteenth Finance Commission for the award period 2011-15. These guidelines and Performa are also accessible on this Ministry’s website: http://www.finmin.nic.in/TFC/guidelines.asp. Under these guidelines the grant will be released in two instalments during 2011-15. The first instalment, amounting to 50% of the amount allocated to a State, will be released in 2011-12 and the allocation of District Innovation Fund for Manipur is 9(nine) crores, one crore for each district.

Now, what intrigues me is the devious nature of the State Planning Department in the implementation of policies of the State Innovative Council and the District Innovation Fund. I am surprise not to find any mention on the constitution of the State Innovative Council or implementation of the District Innovation Fund in the official website of the Planning Department, Manipur. Or has it not been updated/uploaded since Dec 2010? Why is the department making it so confidential on the fund allocation and implementation of various innovative programmes in the nine districts of Manipur when the UPF government in the centre and the SPF government in the state are celebrating the success of their flagship programmes? Why there has been no publicity on the various innovative projects recommended by the department for funding under the DIF in the nine districts of the state? I have not even come across any Government notification or news item from our able ‘investigative reporters’ on this particular programme and its implementation. Pardon me if I have missed such reports and enlighten me on the issue.

Or, do we smell a rat in the state Planning Department? Is it a deliberate action of the people in power to conceal this novel initiative of the GOI from the eye of the common people so that they can manipulate the District Innovation Fund for ‘not so innovative’ projects of their own preference and profit without even looking into the guidelines of the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, Finance Commission Division, GOI, for utilisation of the mentioned fund.

We the common people would, therefore like to request the Planning Department, Government of Manipur and the Inter Departmental Co ordination Committee headed by the Chief Secretary, to make a sincere and genuine effort in implementing this promising venture of the GOI and distribute the DIF to bona fide innovative projects adhering to guidelines other than reducing it to another flop show. We would also like the Planning Department to make public the list of work programme allocated for each district under the District Innovation Fund before any RTI activist opens the Pandora’s Box.

Yours faithfully,
Somorjit Yenkokpam,
somorjityenkokpam AT yahoo.in

Posted: 2011-07-23

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