Involvement Of Youth In The Innovation Process In India
Dr. W.M. Dhumane and Poorva Sharma
17 Jan 2023 3:37 AM GMT
As stated by the Prime Minister of India ‘Innovation is the key to realizing the dream of a new India’. The vision is to encourage the younger generation to develop technological wonders, and stimulate rational and analytical thinking.
The youth are considered as the spine of a country and future relies on how a country nurtures, inspires, educates and makes them skillful and knowledgeable human resources. Youth represents a key role in the process of development of a country.
Scientific research has proved that young minds have the highest ability to take risks and complete tasks in short durations. Today, the youth are an incredible source of creativity and ingenuity. The world is home to 1.8 billion+ young people between the ages of 10 and 24, the largest generation of young people in the history of the world, out of which 90% of them live in the developing countries. The youth are digital natives. They grew up in a world connected with the Internet, where the lines the physical and virtual world is blurred. This has shaped a generation that is possibly the most entrepreneurial, innovative and creative.
In contemporary times, the concepts of Startup, Entrepreneurship, seeding has become a prevalent topic of discussion among the youth. Despite the fact that young people have the energy, intellect and willingness to change the world for the better; it is possible only if they are provided with the right set of skills, opportunities, and empowerment tools. Here the role of stakeholders such as Governments, the Private Sector, Civil Society and Media becomes vital. Society needs to have faith in the youth and understand that young people are our future innovators, creators, builders, and leaders. There is a need of a facilitatory eco-system in which young minds can access the tools to not only cope with the present, but transform the future of the society by learning to wrestle with the uncertainties and vulnerabilities.
India being a fast-growing economy is determined to lead in the global economy by defeating challenges such as unemployment, rote learning by different governmental initiatives. Many government led programmes emphasizing youth to improve upon their skills have brought together the voices of all its stakeholders that include member states, the United Nations System, private sector, civil society, academia and other organizations. The focus of these programmes is to advocate for skills to improve young people’s transitions to decent work and to highlight the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing today’s challenging global issues.
In 2018, as part of the UN Youth Policy 2030, UNICEF launched the global Generation Unlimited movement to meet the urgent needs of young people between the ages of 10-24, expanding education, skill development and employment opportunities. In 2019, the Indian chapter of Generation Unlimited known as YuWaah was launched as a multi-sector partnership to accelerate the young people’s agenda to empower over 300 million young people in the country.
For a young innovator to become skillful, the journey starts as soon as a child takes admission in the school and finally ends by taking a job after completion of college. Since beginning young minds are brought up with a mindset that they have to do something for earning and a government job for the same is considered as a secure and safe one. But today’s young generation knows that the capabilities matter as compared to a secured job. Initiatives as Samridh, Aspire, Atal Innovation Mission, Mudra Bank, Start-Up India initiative have broken the glass of old ideology and started creating new bench mark for the upcoming generation. In 2016, the Start-Up India initiative was started with the objective of supporting the entrepreneur and robust startup ecosystem. The Government of India introduced the Atal Innovation Mission in 2016 to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
More than 2 million students have access to the state-of-the-art resources for learning and stimulating their creative thinking with 5100+ ATLs already established. It is known that in 2020, more than 2.5 lakh trademarks were registered. In 2015, India ranked at 81 in the World Innovation Index whereas it stands at 43 today. India has grown from nurturing merely 500 start-ups in 2016 to a gigantic 60,000 in 2021.
It is seen that the investors are dissatisfied with their current investment portfolio and opportunities. They want their investments to earn financial returns while concurrently impacting the world in a positive manner. The gap can be filled by the young people who are bursting with innovative ideas to tackle the complex challenges of today’s society. Yet without an established credit history, assets, and business experience required by traditional investment models, young social entrepreneurs face challenges securing the necessary funding to accomplish their desired goals.
The time for innovation has arrived and the youth now needs to become the facilitator in terms of creating a huge number of jobs instead of just being facilitated by the government agencies for the same. For the development of the nation through invention and innovation in science and technology, harvesting of young energy is a must. Many opportunities are available at every step for starting innovation journeys. The Department of Science & Technology granted Rs 10 lakhs for prototyping for pre-incubation period, seed money up to 1 crore Rupees per startup. It has been found that for every one rupee given by the government as grants to startups boosts the confidence from investors to the tune of 11.5 rupees.
The L2Pro app is developed by CIPAM-DPIIT in collaboration with Qualcomm and National Law University (NLU), Delhi. To involve the youth in the innovation process in a country, more R&D encouragement from the Pvt. Sector, schemes and recognition is required. The country needs better training of the students at schools and college levels and establishment of incubation hubs in colleges. Education programmes should aim to teach and young minds right from the school level the importance of education and innovation in the economic development of the country. These programmes should also be aimed at teaching the young minds about the importance of choosing the right people who would take charge of governance.
Youth has the power to change. NITI Aayog desires the young generation to use the existing form of technologies, apply innovative mind and create new technologies that will take India and the world on a progressive path. Indian youth is connected with NITI Aayog through the Atal Tinkering Labs community to step up, learn, and innovate. India must encourage the spirit of innovation among the educated enterprising youth as it has an effective and robust intellectual property protection regime.
The number of Start-ups is increasing in the country which is majorly run by the youth giving a boost to the economy. Therefore, the knowledge of intellectual property and its’ filing system becomes necessary. Trainings for the same maybe provided by the government and its’ agencies for awareness as well as about the importance and effective usage of the existing government schemes. Start-up incubators can be seen as a one-stop solution that supports growth and development of a Start-up in its initial and developing stage. An incubator should focus on and educate the potential entrepreneurs about the significance of IP in the economic growth of India and major advantages of owning IP.
The future is going to be disruptive and the country must build the capacity to unlearn, learn, relearn and move forward with the understanding and willingness to adapt and/or change in the coming years.
Authors: The authors are Dr. W.M. Dhumane, Ex. Sr. Jt. Controller of Patents & Designs and Ms. Poorva Sharma, Research Assistant, DPIIT IPR Chair, both working at Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai.
 World Intellectual Property Organization