[Gist of Yojana June 2020] AIM: Fostering Innovation

Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Atal Innovation Mission
Mains level: Initiatives under Atal Innovation Mission

The Rise of Social Entrepreneurship:

• Sustainable development is the practice of improving human life while protecting the environment. It is perhaps the most important and the most formidable long-term challenge that the world faces. Creative thinking has always been essential for improving national well-being.

• New inventions and innovations in agriculture, mass production, transportation and communication during the Industrial Revolution were largely responsible for proving Economist, Thomas Malthus wrong, who predicted that the world couldn’t support an exponentially increasing population.

• Social entrepreneur is a creature of his or her time—a hybrid that combines the driving passion for improving a lot of excluded groups with the practical, innovative and opportunistic traits of the entrepreneur.

• Social entrepreneurs are focused on the delivery of public goods using business approaches. They are too busy finding the solutions that will allow all people to participate as active producers and consumers in the local, national and global economies.

India, The Innovator: Gathering Momentum

• India, as a country is surrounded with challenges that demand.

• The last few years have seen innovation in India reach a tipping point with the emergence of innovative Indian companies, the large-scale social innovations and now the big impact innovations in public service. Social enterprises are beginning to leverage Innovation.

• SKS Microfinance has successfully innovated on the Grameen Bank Microfinance Model. This Business Model Innovation has figured out a unique way to ‘scale up’ the penetration and impact of a Microfinance organisation. SKS has acquired a membership of 5.7 million, across 16 States in 11 years.

• Akshay Patra is the world’s largest NGO-run school meal program–it reaches 10 million children across five States of India, six-days a week. And they serve freshly cooked meals at Rs. 1.50 per meal. This was achieved through a ‘technological Innovation: to prepare meals on large scale in a short time’ and a ‘logistics innovation-to reach the meals to the schools’. A number of other large scale Innovations like Goonj– creating rural value from urban waste in a manner that is mutually dignified and MV Foundation–a new way to take kids out of child labour and into schools are bringing through Non-linear solutions for the country’s huge developmental challenges.

Atal Innovation Mission:

• The Government of India has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the
country.

• AIM’s objective is to develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy, provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, create awareness and create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country. Six major initiatives taken in first year of its establishment:

• Atal Tinkering Labs- Creating problem-solving mindset across schools in India.

• Atal Incubation Centres- Fostering world-class startups and adding a new dimension to the incubator model.

• Atal New India Challenges- Fostering product innovations and aligning them to the needs of various sectors/ministries.

• Mentor India Campaign- A national Mentor network in collaboration with public sector, corporates and institutions, to support all the initiatives of the mission.

• Atal Community Innovation Centre- To stimulate community centric innovation and ideas in the unserved /underserved regions of the country including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

• ARISE- To stimulate innovation and research in the MSME industry.

Initiatives under Atal Innovation Mission:

1. Atal Tinkering Labs – at School Level:

• Over the last two years, AIM has launched the establishment of thousands of Atal Tinkering Labs enabling students from grade 6 to grade 12 to have access to and tinker with innovative tools and technologies like 3D printers, robotics, miniaturised electronics do-it-yourself kits, thus stimulating a problem solving innovative mindset to solve problems in the community they are in.

• Atal Tinkering Labs are being established in schools nationwide with 4880+ operational in 650+ districts and over 2 million students having access to ATLs. Some activities related to ATL Operational Excellence, Proactive Promotion of Innovation and Thought Leadership, Collaborations and Partnerships and New Initiatives by AIM:

• 2000+ ATL Teachers Trained with Corporate Partners.

• ATL Gandhian Challenge – launched in all schools along with UNICEF.

• India Stamp Creativity challenge- launched with UNICEF and India Post.

• PM India Innovative Learning DHRUV Program –AIM invited as key partner by MHRD.

• Russia AIM SIRIUS ATL Student Innovation Exchange finalised.

• Singapore Inspreneur 3.0 ATL showcasing of Top 6 Innovations.

2. Atal Incubators at Universities, Institutions, Industry Level:

• To promote creation of a supporting ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs, AIM has been establishing world-class incubators called Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) in universities. Institutions, corporates, etc. that would foster world-class innovative start-ups and become scalable and sustainable enterprises.

• To date, AIM has selected 102 universities / institutions / private players to establish world class Incubators each of which will foster creation and nurturing of 40-50 world class Startups every four years. 50+ of them are already operational with 900+ operational Startups and the remaining will be operationalised during this year.

• Some activities related to AIC Operational Excellence, Proactive Promotion of Innovation and Thought Leadership, Collaborations and Partnerships and New Initiatives by AIM:

o Indo French Knowledge Summit at Lyon – 5 AIC startups – received immediate funding interest by VCs.

o Youth-Co Lab Sustainable Innovation Challenge along with UNDP–based on Gandhian Values.

o Entrepreneur World Cup National Innovation Challenge – CCAMP AIC Startup emerged as India winner.

o Ongoing discussions and interests expressed for Incubator and Startup collaborations by Indo German, Netherlands, Swedish, French, Australian Embassies, US India Business council, etc.

o Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnership in AIC/Startup Training.

o UNLEASH Startups Challenge with Netherlands embassy support.

3. Atal Community Innovation Centres – Serving Unserved and Under-Served Regions of India:

• To promote the benefits of technology led innovation to the unserved/underserved regions of India including Tier 2, Tier 3 cities, aspirational districts, tribal, hilly and coastal areas, AIM is setting up Atal Community Innovation Centres with a unique partnership driven model wherein AIM would grant up to Rs. 2.5 crore to an ACIC subject to a partner proving equal or greater matching funding. Over 300+ Applications have been received across the country and 50+ ACICs will be established during the next two years.

• Some activities related to ACIC Operational Excellence, Proactive Promotion of Innovation and Thought Leadership, Collaborations and Partnerships and New Initiatives by AIM:
o 300+ Applications received to date and over 1300 registrations.
o 25 ACICs to be operationalised during FY2020-21.

4. Atal New India Challenges – Product and Service Innovations with National Impact

• To create product and service innovations having national socio-economic impact, AIM has launched over 24 Atal New India Challenges in partnership with five different ministries and departments of central government. 52 winners have been selected for grant aid and hand holding by Incubators/mentors of AIM out of 950+ applications received for the
same.

• Some activities related to ANIC Operational Excellence, Proactive Promotion of Innovation and Thought Leadership, Collaborations and Partnerships and New Initiatives by AIM:

• 24 ANICs launched, 5 Ministries supported.

• 26 winners selected and announced for first tranche disbursement, 26 shortlisted for handholding with incubators for subsequent disbursement.

5. Applied Research and Innovation for Small Enterprises (ARISE) – to Stimulate MSME Industry Innovation:

• To promote innovation in a phased manner in the MSME/Start-up sector AIM will be launching ARISE along with partner Ministries so that great research ideas are converted to viable innovative prototypes followed by product development and commercial deployment.

6. Mentorship and Partnerships – with Public, Private sector, NGOs, Academia, Institutions:

• To enable all the initiatives to succeed, AIM has launched one of the largest mentor engagement and management program “Mentor India – The Mentors of Change”.

• AIM has over 10000+ registrations nationwide on AIM with 4000+ of them allocated to ATLs and AICs. What’s even more promising is that other government agencies are also leveraging Innovation for Inclusive Growth. The Defence Institute for High Altitude Research (DIHAR) in Ladakh has played an innovative and transformational role in accelerating the socioeconomic development of Ladakh.

• Many initiatives like solar energy based low-cost Green Houses, zero energy based storage have transformed the vegetable and animal productivity and output, and even raised the tree line above 13000 ft.

Conclusion:

• This reinforces our belief that ‘Innovation is for India, what quality was for Japan; a transforming agent’. Let’s build this momentum to the point it makes India the Innovation Capital of the world.

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