The Government of India, with a mission to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India, started Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). National Institution of Transforming India or NITI Aayog was entrusted with the task of setting up AIM with an initial sum of ₹150 crores. The objective was to provide a platform for researchers, academicians, and entrepreneurs for innovation and research.
They should employ the national and international experience gained in developing a culture of scientific research, R&D, and innovation to help meet the future requirements of the country.
AIM strives to develop an ecosystem of scientific prowess in the industrial and entrepreneurship sectors at various levels, including the MSME sector, SMEs, NGOs, Higher secondary schools, Corporates, and Science and Engineering Institutions.
Functions of Atal Innovation Mission
The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has two main features –
- To promote and encourage entrepreneurship, employing self-employment and talent utilization. Here, the innovators are financially supported and guided to become successful entrepreneurs.
- To provide an innovation platform for new ideas to take shape.
Activities of Atal innovation mission (AIM)
AIM is engaged in five key activities these are:
- Atal Tinkering Labs
- Atal Incubation Centers
- Atal New India Challenges
- Mentor India Campaign
- Atal Community Innovation Centers
Achievements of Atal Innovation Mission
- There are 102 shortlisted incubators spread across 23 states, out of which 47 have already received funding.
- Through constant support and mentoring, over 600 start-ups have become operational. Out of these, 100 start-ups are spearheaded by women.
- Nine hundred events and over 350 training programs are conducted so far to create the ecosystem required for innovation and research.
- AIM has so far provided the seed fund of around ₹ six crores.
- More than 350 collaborations are already established for developing a vibrant ecosystem.
Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs)
ATL is a visionary step to in still creativity and imagination in young minds. Keeping kids in mind, AIM sets up ATLs in schools across all the districts in the country. These labs are dedicated workplaces to enhance the children’s skill sets related to design, physical computing, computation thoughts, and adaptive learning. ATLs labs are equipped with modern kits and equipment such as computers, 3D printers, Robotics, Sensors, Internet of things to let students better understand the latest concepts of science and technology.
The government provides a grant of ₹20 lakh to establish ATLs in schools and allow children in higher secondary to tinker with the latest technology. Introduction to the latest technology enables children to develop problem-solving creative mindset at a young age.
ATL program encourages the students and teachers to undertake on the ground activities and identify the problems faced by local communities. Thereby leveraging the technology using labs to drive innovative solutions. To further the campaign, tinkering challenges are conducted in schools along with monthly AIM challenges to ensure student’s active involvement in the program.
ATLs are established in Higher secondary schools (Class 6th to 10th) managed by government bodies, society, a private trust, local bodies, etc. AIM’s financial grant of ₹20 lakh is to establish a lab (one-time establishment cost) with ₹10 lakh and another ₹10 lakh as operational cost for five years tenure. The idea is to ensure that every school in the country has access to at least one ATL and to scale up this model going forward with the help of other stakeholders such as state governments.
Atal Incubation Centers (AICs)
To promote entrepreneurial skills in Universities and Industry, AIM strives to establish state of the art Atal Incubation Centers (AICs). Atal incubators would help Universities, SMEs, NGOs, and the Corporate sector develops new ventures in every industry and state of the country that are sustainable and scalable. The new start-ups would help to create more job opportunities and provide a social and commercial model in India that is applicable globally.
AIM is also financially supporting the existing incubators to scale up their operations. Successful applicants who are trying to set-up greenfield incubators or scaling up existing incubators are given a grant up-to ₹ ten crores by AIM. Women entrepreneurs are further encouraged and given preference by AIM. The vision behind the AICs is to promote the top 5-10 Industrial Institutions in every state to set-up their incubators helping youth to establish new start-ups.
In the longer term, these business models should align with other Ministries, State or Public sector organizations to scale up their operations and thus generate a substantial number of jobs.
Atal New India Challenges or Atal Grand Challenges (Focus Areas)
Technology-driven innovations and its impact on a social and commercial sphere are at the center of Atal New India Challenges (ANIC). These challenges are kicked off in national interest areas such as water, energy, hygiene, housing, and health. ANIC incentivizes the research and promotes the creation of products required for social causes.
Some of the targeted focus areas of ANIC are:
- Alternate fuel-based transportation
- Cleaning sewage & septic tanks
- Climate-smart agriculture
- Digital solutions for Grey-water management
- Anti-fog system for Road and rail transportation
- Garbage composition system
- Quick portable water testing kit
- Waste management
- Electric mobility
Under Atal New India Challenge, the successful applicants receive a grant of up-to ₹ one crore. There is a provision to provide significant grants up-to ₹30 crore under Atal Grand Challenges. AIM also collaborates with the private sector and various institutions to develop new products and related social good solutions.
To stimulate R & D’s vibrant ecosystem, AIM actively promotes close coordination between Government, Industry, NGOs, Academicians, Scientists, and Individuals. Through concerted efforts, AIM has successfully created a mentor network called Mentor India comprising professionals and industry. It is entrusted with the task to guide students at the Atal Tinkering Labs and Atal Incubation Centers. More than 10000 mentors are currently registered, and around 5000 mentors are actively working with ATLs across the nation.
This initiative is also supported by industry leaders and corporate in general who have voluntarily adopted ATLs and AICs in their vicinity. AIM is also forging partnerships with different countries such as the USA, UK, Singapore, Germany, etc.to collaborate and work in unison for innovative solutions.
Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC)
AICC’s main objective is to spur growth through community innovation in the most backward or un-served areas of the country. The aim is to promote innovation and generate jobs in these areas.
Proposed focus area: Under-served areas of tier-1/ metro cities, tier -2, tier-3, smart cities, aspirational districts, N-E states, J&K state, and tribal and rural areas of India.
Purpose: To incentivize unique solutions that encourage students, academicians, researchers, or any organization/group to design such novel solutions.
Atal Research and Innovation for Small Enterprises (ARISE)
An initiative to spur research, innovation, and competitive spirit among start-ups, micro, small, and medium entities. The main objective is to facilitate research, innovate, and find sustainable solutions to various sectoral programs. The initiative is supported by GOI ministries/departments who will purchase the solutions (first buyer) developed under the ARISE program.
The novel initiative will be a multi-stakeholder, multi-phase, and multi-sector program. It will help in identifying, funding, mentoring, and also procure solutions from Indian enterprises. The objective is to inculcate research culture and change the mindset that will eventually benefit in areas like:
- Country’s import substitution
- Enhancing exports
- Indigenous solutions to local problems
Focus Areas: The focus areas under ANIC are as follows:
- Agriculture and related sector
- Health sciences
- Education sector
- Railways modernization
- Water and sanitation solutions
- Green energy
- Green transportation solutions
- Food processing sector
- Affordable housing
- Power and energy
Learning lessons from history prompted India to step up its efforts and be at the center-stage of the knowledge-based revolution, which is sweeping the world today. To overcome the deficit of holistic innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, AIM was conceived and launched. Its objective is to stimulate, inspire, and support innovations at our schools and colleges. By leveraging the advanced technologies available at AICs and ATLs, young minds are supported and mentored to realize their dreams through society’s collective good.
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