ASEAN-India launched 3rd Grassroots Innovation Forum-2022 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (19 December, 2022)
Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India and the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI) in partnership with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India launched the 3rd ASEAN-India Grassroots Innovation Forum 2022 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 19 December, 2022. The launch kicked-off a three-day forum on 19-21 December, 2022 at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The forum also celebrates ASEAN-India Friendship year as both sides commemorate 30 years of partnership.
“Indian Mission to ASEAN worked towards realizing this project as it believed that this event would boost inclusive innovation approach at the grassroots level among the youth of ASEAN and India that brings affordable, niche solutions for everyday problems of life, making day to day life of the people in the region easier. When the resources are limited to meet the needs of growing population, innovation plays a very important role. The grassroots innovation brings solution to the local problems, thus significantly contribute in improving the quality of life of the local population. Keeping in view the success of previously organized ASEAN-India Grassroots Innovation Forums, it was decided to once again bring the youth of ASEAN and India together to address the issues faced by our region by developing common understanding. This is yet another event after successfully organizing Startup Festival in Jakarta in October, 2022 involving and encouraging youth to contribute to the prosperity of the region by putting together newer ideas and innovations
We are happy that National Innovation Foundation (NIF) of India, which has collaborated in organizing this event, scouts, supports and spawns' grassroots innovations developed by individuals and local communities in any technological field, helping in improving of quality of life. NIF helps grassroots innovators and outstanding traditional knowledge holders get due recognition, respect and reward for their innovations. NIF has pooled a database of over 3,25,000 technological ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge practices from over 625 districts of India and have recognised 1093 grassroots innovators and school students at the national level.”
Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community Satvinder Singh highlighted the significant contribution of grassroots innovators. “Grassroots innovators often operate as informal businesses and contribute to the informal economy,” he said. “On average, in 2021, the informal economy represents 35% of GDP in low- and middle-income countries and 15% in advanced economies. In this regard, public and private institutions need to understand grassroots innovation sociocultural dynamics and encourage innovation, particularly towards advancing the circular economy. Policymakers, especially the local government, must acknowledge grassroots innovators as valuable contributors to creativity, employment, and productivity,” he added.
Meanwhile, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, Dr Srivari Chandrasekhar pointed out, “India attached high importance to grassroots and student innovations in our science, technology, and innovation policy as these are not just integral to it but also its significant driving forces. I urge our friends in ASEAN Member States (AMS) to continue their commitment towards social innovations and collectively ensure that tomorrow is better than today for each one of us. It is heartening to note a similar thrust amongst AMS, hence, it is one of the finest instances of like-mindedness that nations could think of in today’s world as the benefits of such policies cumulatively touch a billion lives in Asia alone.”
Dr. Kan Channmeta, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI) Cambodia, further addressed, “The 3rd ASEAN-India Grassroots Innovation Forum 2022 is an international pioneer event in Cambodia organised not only to promote science, technology, innovations, entrepreneurship and the development of the IR 4.0 but also to create opportunities for students and grassroots innovators to learn from each other’s innovation during competitions.”
The three-day forum provided a platform for participants to share experiences and best practices in grassroots innovation among ASEAN and Indian communities. The event comprises seminar sessions, innovation competitions, and an exhibition. By bringing together key players, namely government officials, grassroots innovators, student innovators, academics, business actors, and the wider community, this forum provides a platform to promote and strengthen the development of the grassroots innovation ecosystem.