New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) R.A. Mashelkar Thursday urged India Inc to look towards reaching out to the poor through innovation to offer affordable medicines, products and services.
'It is good that the Indian corporate has started to look away from innovation only for competition to innovation for social inclusion. There has to be a sincere desire to help bring about changes at the grassroots levels,' Mashelkar said while addressing a meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
From using nanotechnology for disease diagnosis, to creating a single dose vaccine for children that does not require repeat visits to doctors and vaccines that don't require refrigeration or use of needles, Mashelkar pointed out there are many ways in which research efforts could be directed to help the poor.
The CSIR is currently working on providing affordable medicines to the poor through reverse pharmacology process to establish the scientific basis and efficacy of traditional Indian medicines instead of the route followed by the pharma sector in the West.
Several such medicines are in the process of being tested including one for treatment of psoriasis, a disease that affects the skin and joints and causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin. India is in the phase two trial of the drug for psoriasis.
Mashelkar also referred to the work being done by the National Innovation Council, which is promoting work done by institutions and individuals that hold promise of changing lives of people. In many of the cases, poor farmers and handicapped people have come up with innovations that have improved their capacity to work life.
Mashelkar, scheduled to retire by the yearend, is planning to go back to active research at Pune based National Chemical Laboratory. He will also be at the helm of the Global Research Alliance, which coordinates scientific research done by leading institutions in several countries, in India.
He urged the CII to emulate the example of TCS, which through innovation has broken away from the traditional teaching methods to help 40,000 people literate at just a nominal cost of Rs.100 per person.
India currently has around 200 million illiterates of which 130 million are women.
Chief mentor to CII Tarun Das assured the industry body would scale up its literacy mission 'through dialogue with TCS and other corporate leaders'.
The industry lobby is currently working with NGOs like Pratham in Bihar for promoting primary education.