- The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the country at school, university, research institutions, MSME and industry levels.
- Partnering with the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways, Housing and Urban Affairs, Agriculture and Family Welfare, Drinking Water & Sanitation and the Railway Board, AIM will attempt to harness the potential of India’s innovators.
- AIM has multiple programs to encourage and support innovation in the country.
- Atal Tinkering Labs-Creating a problem-solving mindset across schools in India.
- Atal Incubation Centers-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 the public sector, corporates and institutions, to support all the initiatives of the mission.
- Atal Community Innovation Center– To stimulate community-centric innovation and ideas in the unserved /underserved regions of the country including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
- ARISE-To stimulates innovation and research in the MSME industry.
Brief on activities carried out under Atal Innovation Mission
Atal Tinkering Laboratories
- With a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, NITI Aayog under the Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.
- Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
- The objective of this scheme is to:
- foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and
- inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.
- To date, 2441 schools have been selected across the country to establish ATL.
- ATL would contain educational and learning ‘do it yourself kits and equipment on – science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers.
- Other desirable facilities include meeting rooms and a video conferencing facility.
- Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society to set up ATL.
- It aims at promoting entrepreneurship in universities and industry.
- At the university, NGO, SME and Corporate industry levels, AIM is setting up world-class Atal Incubators (AICs) that would trigger and enable successful growth of sustainable startups in every sector/state of the country, addressing both commercial and social entrepreneurship opportunities in India and applicable globally.
- AIM is also providing scale-up support to existing incubators for scaling up their operations.
- AIM will provide a grant-in-aid of up to Rs. 10 crores for a maximum period of 5 years to cover the capital and operational expenditures to establish the AIC.
- The applicant would have to provide at least 10,000 sq. ft. of ready-to-use, built-up space, for the exclusive use of the AIC.
Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges
- These are to promote technology-driven innovations and product creation for social and commercial impact.
- Atal New India Challenges/Atal Grand Challenges are being launched in specific areas and sectors of national importance – such as Renewable Energies, Energy Storage, Climate-smart precision agriculture, Universal drinking water, Swatch Bharat, Transportation, Education, Healthcare using Robotic, IoT technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Block-chain, Augmented and Virtual reality, Battery Technologies etc.
- Researchers have long talked of the ‘Valleys of Death’ at the early stage and commercialization stage in taking innovations to market.
- The Atal New India Challenge aims to address the second Commercialization Valley of Death, in which innovators are unable to access resources for piloting, testing, and market creation.
- The successful applicants will get a grant of up to Rs 1 crore for Atal New India Challenges and larger grants of up to Rs 30 crores for Atal Grand Challenges.
- The vision of ANIC is two-fold:
- Help create products from existing technologies relevant for national and social causes (productization);
- Help new deep-tech products find markets and early customers (commercialization) in the context of India.
- The programme is open to Indian companies registered under the Companies Act 1956/2013, primarily Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as defined in the MSMED Act, 2006.
- It is also open to:
- Start-Ups, as defined by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP),
- Government or private R&D organizations (other than a Railway R&D organization),
- Academic institutions,
- Academicians or even individual innovators are encouraged to apply, provided they partner with entities with appropriate manufacturing capabilities.