Source: The Assam Tribune Relevance: GS- III (Environment and Bio-diversity), GS III (Indian Economy), GS-V (Assam Economy, Environment)

Context: Consistent with the country's goals to encourage and advance green technologies, the Assam Government has launched the Green Innovation Fund as part of its 2023-24 Budget. This effort is designed to support innovations in green technology, enhance the research and development infrastructure, and raise environmental consciousness within the state. The Assam Science Technology & Environment Council (ASTEC) has been appointed as the executing body for this project.

Objectives of the Green Innovation Fund :

  • Foster the development and adoption of sustainable green technologies within the state by identifying, creating, and supporting innovations at the grassroots level that utilize natural resources.

  • Facilitate the growth and widespread adoption of environmentally friendly grassroots innovations to address socio-economic and environmental challenges.

  • Encourage independence through the establishment of businesses focused on innovation and the implementation of eco-friendly technologies.

  • Cultivate an interest in and understanding of green technologies and innovations among students.

  • Enhance public understanding and appreciation of the advantages of utilizing green technologies in both commercial and social endeavours.

Components of the Initiative and their focus areas :

1. Research and Development for Green Technologies (RDGT):

  • Focus on addressing climate vulnerabilities and providing regional climate predictions.

  • Emphasize technologies based on traditional knowledge.

  • Incorporate disruptive technologies for innovative solutions.

  • Develop techniques for climate-resilient farming.

  • Promote technologies related to eco-tourism.

  • Advance technologies powered by green energy.

2. Implementation of Green Technology and Innovation (GTII):

  • Concentrate on managing waste and developing products and technologies derived from waste.

  • Develop products and technologies that utilize renewable energy.

  • Focus on the development of green infrastructure.

3. Promotion of Awareness and Building Green Capacity (AGCB).

Eligibility Criteria:

Under RDGT:

  • R&D proposals based on green technologies in the initial ideation stage relevant to society.

  • R&D/academic institutions/government and non-government institutions in the state are eligible. Individual innovators may apply only through a recognized institution or NGO.

  • The final project outcome should be associated with the development or upgrade of technologies/products with the potential for industrial linkage.

Under GTII:

  • Proposals in the proof of concept/prototypes stage for green technologies relevant to society will be supported.

  • R&D/academic institutions/government and non-government institutions in the state are eligible. Individual innovators may apply only through a recognized institution or NGO.

  • Projects should focus on upgrading prototypes in accordance with market demand and capturing market share.

  • Projects should generate products/technologies of scalable nature to satisfy market demand.

Application Process:

1. Project proposals should be submitted under both components to The Director, Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC), Bigyan Bhawan, Guwahati.

2. Soft copies of the proposals should also be sent to

Advantages of the Green Innovation Fund Initiative:

1. Advancement of Sustainable Technologies:

  • The initiative is committed to fostering the growth and wider acceptance of sustainable, eco-friendly technologies, thereby aiding in the preservation of the environment and ensuring the longevity of natural resources.

2. Emphasis on Grassroots Innovations:

  • By identifying, creating, and supporting innovations at the community level, the initiative enables local populations to engage directly in the creation and application of sustainable technologies.

 3. Impact on Socio-economic and Environmental Goals:

  • Focusing on green grassroots innovations leads to solutions that not only meet societal and economic requirements but also address environmental issues, generating comprehensive benefits.

4. Promotion of Independence:

  • Encouraging businesses focused on innovation and green technologies aids in achieving self-reliance within the community, diminishing reliance on exhaustible resources.

5.Fostering a Scientific Mindset in Youth:

  • Educating students about green technologies cultivates a future generation that is knowledgeable, environmentally aware, and responsible.

6.Enhancing Public Understanding:

  • By raising awareness about the importance and utility of green technologies, the initiative helps to increase public knowledge of their benefits in both economic and social contexts.

7. Clear Direction Through Strategic Focus:

  • The initiative's well-outlined focus areas, including R&D and implementation of green technologies, offer a targeted strategy to tackle climate issues, embrace traditional and innovative technologies, among others.

8. Comprehensive and Holistic Approach:

  • Incorporating various components like R&D, implementation, and capacity building ensures a well-rounded strategy for encouraging green innovations.

9. Emphasis on Market Viability:

  • Prioritizing the adaptation of prototypes to meet market demands and the creation of scalable solutions ensures the practical application and market relevance of projects.

10. Broad Participation Criteria:

  • The inclusive criteria for participation open doors for a wide array of innovators, both institutional and individual, inviting a rich diversity of ideas and broad engagement in the initiative.

Environmental Issues:

Climate Change Impacts:

  • The area faces significant environmental threats from increasing temperatures, severe weather conditions, and erratic climate changes, which affect agriculture, natural ecosystems, and the community's resilience.

Challenges in Waste Management:

  • Poor waste handling practices lead to environmental harm, pollution, and health risks. The inappropriate disposal of waste jeopardizes land and water ecosystems.

Overexploitation of Resources:

  • The unsustainable use of natural resources, along with population growth, results in the exhaustion of these resources, affecting biodiversity and posing enduring environmental challenges.

Dependence on Fossil Fuels:

  • The dependency on fossil fuel energy sources causes air contamination and hastens global warming. A shift towards renewable energy is essential for the conservation of the environment.

Erosion of Indigenous Knowledge:

  • The rapid pace of modernization and the global expansion risk erasing indigenous technologies and knowledge, affecting local environments and disregarding sustainable methods.

Potential Solutions:

Development of Climate-Adaptive Technologies:

  • Focus on investing in the research and creation of technologies capable of withstanding climate impacts. This includes crafting early alert systems and modifying agricultural methods to be more adaptive.

Effective Waste Management Strategies:

  • Establish comprehensive waste management frameworks that prioritize recycling, composting, and minimizing the use of disposable plastics. Enhance public education campaigns to foster proper waste handling practices.

Conservation of Natural Resources:

  • Apply practices aimed at the sustainable use of resources to curb excessive exploitation. Strategies such as reforestation, protecting wildlife, and employing sustainable farming practices are key.

Advancement of Renewable Energy:

  • Support the shift towards using renewable energy resources, like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Offer incentives for projects that focus on renewable energy to lessen the reliance on fossil fuels.

Safeguarding Indigenous Knowledge:

  • Back efforts to record and conserve traditional knowledge and methods. Encourage the blending of ancient practices with contemporary technologies to achieve sustainable outcomes.

Sustainable Innovations Globally:

  • USA's Solar Highways: Transforming roads into energy-generating solar panels, offering lighting and snow melting capabilities, reducing environmental impact.

  • Netherlands' Ocean Cleanup: Advanced tech to clear plastic from oceans using floating barriers to consolidate and remove marine debris.

  • Denmark's Copenhagen Wheel: Converts standard bikes to electric, harnessing braking energy, promoting green urban mobility.

  • Italy and China's Vertical Forests: Skyscrapers with integrated greenery enhancing biodiversity, air quality, and natural cooling.

  • Africa's Great Green Wall: A tree-planting initiative combating desertification, improving land, and supporting communities against climate change.

  • Australia's Seabin Project: Floating devices capturing ocean litter, aiming to reduce marine pollution and protect ecosystems.

  • Global GreenRoofs: Plant-covered rooftops reducing heat islands, improving air quality, and saving energy in urban settings.

  • France's Wind Tree: Aesthetically pleasing turbines resembling trees, generating wind energy in urban areas with minimal visual impact.

Hence, The Green Innovation Fund initiative is crucial in tackling Assam's environmental issues by advancing green technologies and grassroots innovations. It addresses climate change, waste management, resource overuse, and reliance on non-renewable energy through a unified strategy encompassing research, implementation, and education. This effort aims to secure a sustainable environmental future for Assam. Moving forward, partnership, ongoing innovation, and community participation are essential for overcoming environmental hurdles and promoting a more sustainable, resilient Assam.

Advait IAS