The 8th National Conference on Social Innovation was organized online by Pune International Centre (PIC) in association with the National Innovation Foundation and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), on the 4th and 5th December 2020.
In addition to applications from Maharashtra, we received 100 applications of Social Innovators from 18+ states including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Nagaland, etc. It is also heartening to know that we continue to see healthy participation from women. The two-day conference recognized 18 social innovators from urban, rural, and tribal categories out of 100 entries from various sectors including Education, Health, Agriculture and Environment.
18 innovators from the Urban, Rural and Tribal category presented their innovations in different streams on both the days to around 250+ participants which included CSR heads, Impact Investors, Corporates, Incubation Centre heads and others.
Mr. Shrikant Vaidya, Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation, spoke as Chief Guest at the conference in the presence of Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, President, PIC, Dr. Vijay Kelkar, Vice President PIC, and Mr. Prashant Girbane, Hon. Director, PIC.
“Despite having finance to invest in industries, technical support and availability of credit post-independence, entrepreneurial growth is yet to take off in India. To generate and accelerate the economy and create more jobs, we have to embrace innovation and empower entrepreneurship among locals particularly in the rural areas,” said Mr. Vaidya.
Dr. Mashelkar said, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many lives were lost and livelihoods were affected. Now it is time to recover and for this, social innovation is the key. We need disruptive innovation, which is sustainable. Young India is progressing now and we have access to talent and technology, which is going to change the course of the future.”
Mr. Vijay Mahajan, CEO and Director, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, PIC, Dr. Kiran Kulkarni, Director, Urban Development, Mr. Prakash Apte, Chairman, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Dr. Vipin Kumar, Director, National Innovation Foundation were present at the conference on Day 2.
“We have to stop thinking in terms of jobs and opt for entrepreneurial self-employment. We need 10 lakh new micro-enterprises per year with an average of 10 workers, which can create employment to the extent of 1 crore every year,” Mr. Vijay Mahajan added.
Pune International Centre (PIC) announced winners under three categories – Urban, Rural, and Tribal. The winners at the 8th National Conference on Social Innovation under these three categories included Nitesh Bhardwaj, Founder of Ulgulan Foundation in the Tribal category, Ayush Nigam, Founder of Distinct Horizon in the Rural category and Shashank Nimkar, Founder of Earth Tatva in the Urban category.
Ulgulan Foundation in Tribal category is working to create social awareness and raising local issues by using mobile films in tribal areas of Maharashtra, while Distinct Horizon in the Rural category is innovating agricultural machinery that can double the profits of farmers and reduce GHG Emissions at five times lesser cost than solar panels and half the time.
Earth Tatva in Urban category works to reduce mining for natural resources by making products from recycled ceramics under closed-loops zero-waste manufacturing process.
The winners won a cash prize of Rs 50,000/- each.