S D Shibulal sets zero goals,' calls them audacious

The most important target, zero discharge, he considers the most challenging.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Co-founder of Infosys and Axilor Ventures S. D. Shibulal has set three ‘zero’ goals, which he himself calls “audacious”, for the state to achieve by 2030: zero cash (cashless economy), zero discharge (total management of solid and liquid waste), and zero carbon (complete shift to renewable energy). “While zero cash is possible, zero discharge is a must,” Shibulal said while delivering a talk on ‘Strengthening the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem’ at the launch of K-DISC here on Saturday. “The third zero is aspirational,” he added.

Nonetheless, the former Infosys CEO said the targets could be achieved. “Kerala already has the highest e-payment usage. By directly going for e-payment without going through the credit card phase, we are already ahead of the game,” Mr Shibulal said. The most important target, zero discharge, he considers the most challenging. “We do not have adequate land, and waste has to be managed at multiple levels,” he said. “If we are to achieve the target, at least one-third of the waste should be recycled at home itself,” he added. However, there is hope. "We have a town, Alappuzha, that is one of the only five global cities to achieve zero discharge,” Mr Shibulal said. (The recognition was granted last year by United Nations Environment Programme.) Though the third target was only aspirational, he said the state should strive to “decarbonise itself” in the next 10-15 years.

And he said that all of this should be achieved using home-born technologies. “We cannot import technology from outside to meet any of these targets,” he said. “They have to be developed in Kerala itself,” he said. Dr Anil Gupta, the chairman of National Innovation Foundation, said that innovation had to be linked to the real needs of the people. Dr Gupta said that young innovators should regularly travel the state and identify unmet needs, underutilised and unused resources before thinking u their innovations.

Dr Shashi Tharoor, too, said that innovations should be socially useful. He called such innovations “frugal”. “India is the world leader in frugal innovations,” he said. “Our Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter) Mission was carried out for less than the budget of a Hollywood space movie,” Dr Tharoor said. As an example of ‘frugal innovation’ he spoke about the test that had been developed by an Indian for glaucoma and cataract that did not ask of the patient to sit for hours in a dilated condition. “For the poor to sit with fuzzy sight and doing nothing for hours while their eyes are being dilated means nothing but the loss of a day’s wages,” Dr Tharoor said. However, he also lamented the poor research output of the country. “Though India holds 17 percent of the world’s brain, it produces just 2 percent of the world’s research output,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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