The Telegraph
Friday , January 31 , 2014
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Stage set for social trendsetters

- Innovative ideas to engineer success

Till seven years ago, Bhikari Mehta from Birpur in Supaul was an ordinary tiller relying on agricultural produce. Cut to the present — he now employs more than 100 persons in his agro-based unit.

Mehta’s unit mainly deals with extracting oil from lemon grass, cuscus grass khas and other grasses having medicinal value. Mehta, who was in Patna to attend the second Bihar Innovation Forum summit, claimed that after getting proper training from different forums, he decided to utilise unused grass to extract medicinal value.

Mehta is not alone. Gopi Kumar Verma from Gaya, with help of community participation, has revived the old irrigation system. Verma said: “By reviving old irrigation facilities, 3,200 acres in Tankupa and Fatehpur area of Gaya district are being irrigated. Around 600 families are getting the benefits owing to the system.”

The second Bihar Innovation Forum was inaugurated at hotel Maurya and eminent personalities, including state government officers, World Bank officials, experts, Jeevika members, innovators and self-help group (SHG) members, took part. Arvind Chaudhary, the chief executive officer of Jeevika, said: “The main idea behind organising such events is to identify and promote innovators, in social and livelihood sectors all over the country. Bihar is very relevant to us.”

Based on applications from 1,300 innovators from various districts in Bihar, around 27 have been selected and these trendsetters would be provided technical training as well as funding based on area of specialisation. The area of themes of second innovation forum includes agriculture, livestock, financial services, rural energy, skill development, non-farm sector and others.

Vijoy Prakash, principal secretary, planning and development department, who is also the member secretary of the State Innovation Council, Bihar, said: “Since early ages, Bihar has been a land of innovations. Primary efforts in the state and its people led to the discovery of zero and other arithmetical formulae.

World Bank representative Parmesh Shah said: “Organising such an event is important but the outcome would be more important. Establishing partnerships and providing required support to innovators toward innovations for welfare of the rural masses would be crucial and measure the success of the event.”

Bihar Rural Livelhoods Promotion Society popularly known as Jeevika is an initiative of the Bihar government started with the support of World Bank. The bank, since 2007, has provided Rs 950 crore for development of rural livelihood.

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