Looking to foster innovation, the government on Wednesday launched the Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges programme to support MSMEs and start-ups for making India innovative, resilient, tech-driven, and research and development (R&D)-oriented. The Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), in collaboration with ISRO and four ministries, will focus on challenges in 15 sectors through the programme.
“This support for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and start-ups in product development would make India innovative, resilient, tech-driven and R&D-oriented,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said at the launch of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges programme. He added that the programme provides a great opportunity for the government to become the first buyer of indigenous Made in India technology solutions. Kant also expressed hope that the Atal Innovation Mission, through the ARISE-Atal New India Challenges, will help in breaking new ground and this will be a path-breaking approach for driving India in the field of innovation.
Also, speaking at the event, Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said this is a red-letter day for the country, as the Atal Innovation Mission’s ARISE-Atal New India Challenges brings together some of the brightest scientific minds of India to work together for the prosperity of the country’s MSME sector.
Besides ISRO and Niti Aayog, representatives from ministries of defence, health and family welfare, housing and urban affairs, and food processing industries also participated at the event. A grant-in-aid of up to Rs 50 lakh for 9-12 months has been earmarked for start-ups to develop a minimum usable prototype. The AIM is a flagship initiative of the Niti Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, based on detailed study and deliberations on innovation and entrepreneurial needs of India in the years ahead.
Speaking at the event, MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari urged the Niti Aayog to formulate a digitised system where the decision making process related to the programme can be completed in 15-20 days. “We need to remove speed breaker in government programmes. We have to stop corrupt people in the system and encourage good people in the system,” Gadkari said.
He also noted that government officials are not willing to adopt new technologies because they fear if something goes wrong, they will be held accountable and punished. “If you do something new, you are bound to commit mistakes. Therefore, the Niti Aayog should formulate a system where those who commit bonafide mistakes are pardoned and only those making malafide mistakes are held accountable,” the minister said.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan said the flagship programme will promote innovations and entrepreneurship across the length and breath of our country. (Source: PTI)