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The six biennial grassroots innovation award was recently given by President Pratibha Patil at President House. Out of the last five awards, four were given by former and current Presidents of our country.

The six biennial grassroots innovation award was recently given by President Pratibha Patil at President House. Out of the last five awards, four were given by former and current Presidents of our country.

This was the first time when an award function itself was held at President House. It was a rare opportunity for common but creative people of our country to have been recognised in this manner.

Amrutbhai Agravat of Pikhor, Junagadh was honoured with lifetime achievement award. He was one of the first volunteers to join Honey Bee Network and has in fact mobilised the largest number of Yatris - walkers for the last 28 shodhyatras. Except one, he has attended all the rest. His own innovative contribution is no less significant. He developed more than a dozen innovations including tilting bullock cart, self-locking water pulley, groundnut diggers, wheat-sowing box and many others.

Beginning his life as a farm labourer, brought up by a widow mother, he not only became adept as a workshop mechanic but also a deeply religious person.

He organised more than two dozen shodh sankals - chain of experimenting farmers. He has represented Honey Bee Network in South Africa along with Mansukhbhai and Dhanjibhai.

His son, Bharat has developed a reciprocating windmill, an improved stove, a small tractor and many farm implements. Amrutbhai has also been supported by National Innovation Foundation for a community workshop at Pikhor to help budding innovators in the region.

There is no doubt that he will inspire many more communities and individuals to innovate in the coming years. His journey from farm labourer to a President awardee illustrates that it is possible for creative people to be recognised, respected and rewarded in their own life time.

He has served on the Board of SRISTI and he is a compassionate collaborator of the Honey Bee Network.

Arkhiben Vankar received community award for developing herbal formulation for controlling cotton pests. Another traditional healer, Ramaji Bhimaji Parmar also represented his community for recognition for developing herbal medicine - Zematic for skin diseases.

The third community award went to Naval Kishor Singh for sharing herbal medication for curing ephemeral fever. This was the first time when community awards were given at national level for herbal technologies, as it takes long time for validation and value addition in herbal claim. In future, more and more communities will be recognised for their traditional knowledge.

Among other notable awardees were Mehtar Husain and Mushtaq Ahmed whose windmill has been modified with significant impact in Gujarat.

The Choudhary fabricators in Ahmedabad were given a partnership award for improving windmill. Gurmail Singh Dhonsi was honoured for innovating a rapid compost maker and a tractor operated tree-pruner.

Balwan Singh from Haryana was recognised for developing an improved onion variety that Haryana University, Hisar has confirmed was better than their variety. Md Fajilul Haque from Assam developed a paddy thresher for green paddy which does not damage the straw.

V Jayaprakash from Kerala developed an efficient wood stove and TT Thomas a black pepper variety. Sib Sankar Mandal from Assam modified an auto engine to achieve higher mileage, a claim verified by IIT Guwahati.

Suryanarayan Prajapati from Rajasthan developed another kit to improve mileage in two-wheelers. Abhishek Bhagat developed a food-making machine which is under design improvement by a private company.

Along with Jahangir Ahmad of J&K, he is one of the youngest recipients of the national awards. Jahangir has developed a paint dispensing brush which saves paint and improves efficiency. 
I will share more about the awards in the next column.


Entrepreneurs and investors are invited to engage with innovators and join hands to bring their ideas to market. We also hope that who could not visit Delhi exhibition will be able to see them here, provided we get some place around Ahmedabad to create a permanent exhibition. Younger generations must be inspired to innovate even more, they deserve it.

News Link : http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-nurturing-innovations-for-further-growth-1664006