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1. Evolution of technological developments


Scientific Innovations in the Service of Society

  • Digitalization enables us tbuild a new virtual world from which we can steer the physical world.Innovation mostly indicates advancements; however, it is important that such advancements should be novel too. This is because, at time, the advancement is more about the progression for the existing technology than having discovered something new or original.

  • For example, if conventional computing system gets replaced by quantum capturing system in future then it can be concluded that a new innovation has occurred as the processes of undertaking computations are different. Besides, quantum computing has been projected tbring in major change tthe existing structures of computing processes.


Historical Perspective of Innovations:

  • Manifestation of various technological development have resulted in various industrial revolutions since 17th/18th century onwards. The beginning of the industrial revolution had British industry at the centre.

  • However, during the last few decades, one century that has shown remarkable progress towards industrialization is China. Countries like Israel and India are known thave made some contributions too, with Israel playing a major role in the realm of technology development.

  • The main features of these industrial revolutions are as follows:

  • The First Industrial Revolution: 1760 – 1840. It was a period which witnessed the emergence of steam engine, textile industry and mechanical engineering.

  • The Second Industrial Revolution: 1870 – 1914. The revolution was about emergence of railways and steel industry.

  • The Third Industrial Revolution: 1969 – 2000. Electric engine, heavy chemicals, automobiles and consumer durables made their presence felt during this period.

  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution: the digital revolution, since 200 or a few decades prior. This is an ongoing phase of this industrial revolution which has alsbeen called as Industry 4.0.


Innovation in Various Sectors:

  • Biology, Biotechnology, Pharmacy and Medicine are the areas which have witnessed various important innovations over the years.

  • Invention of Penicillin during 1928 by the Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming could be considered as the beginning of the modern era of medicine.

  • The discovery of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) has totally revolutionized the field of biology and demonstrated that this discovery would help humans tresolve various challenges beyond medicine. Today, DNA profiling has major utility for confirming if people are related teach other. It alshelps the law enforcement agencies towards solving crimes.

  • The research on the stem cell is alsan important innovation. Such cells have the unique ability tdevelop intspecialized cell types in the body, which could be used treplace cells and tissues that have been damaged or lost due tdisease.

  • In the power sector, from nuclear power tsolar power tspace based solar power tbiofuels, various clean options have been made available. A major innovation with regard twind turbines is getting discussed where a start-up is working on an environmentally friendly aero-generator which needs nblades.

  • Presently, much work is happening in the arena of development of nuclear fusion reactors. In southern France, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is getting developed. This technology, when fully operationalised, is expected tchange the global energy habits.


Innovation in Modern Technology

  • Robotics is one area, which is associated both directly and indirectly with the AI and has already made many inroads in various human activities over the years. For many years one of the best approaches tindustrial production was considered as CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine.

  • It is being used tproduce significant quantities of large, heavy, precision-crafted products having applicability equipment, machines, and engines.

  • Today, with the additive manufacturing (AM) sector it is expected that a major change is at the doorstep of global manufacturing processes. This technology, which is commonly known as 3D printing, is a mechanism of direct digital manufacturing. This would allow object creation by simply using a digital file which is having the design of the product.

  • Internet of Things - Internet 2.0 is expected tbring in major changes in the present day setup of doing various things.

  • The idea of using internet differently and by using diverse effects (normally “thing” or “object” are viewed as any possible items in the real world that could join the communication chain) is expected tupswing tthe model of Internet of Things (IoT). Generally, IoT is considered tbe simply a means of connecting different sensors ta network.

  • Technologies like Fog computing, Distributed computing, Cloud computing, Big Data and Block-chain are expected timpact the future of IoT.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another technology which has been there for many years and is presently found making a lot of impact on the developmental cycle in various disciplines.

  • Issues of ethics dget raised in regard tthe applicability of AI. However, globally it has been observed that AI could bring in various advantages in very many fields associated with human growth and progress.

  • The most fascinating aspect of modern S&T innovations has been its evolutionary and adaptable nature. It is important tappreciate the fact that despite being developed for a specific purpose, some technologies have witnessed modifications and have provided innovation for altogether different purposes.

  • For example, cell phones (mobile phones) were originally developed as a unit for remote wireless communication. Since then, however, phones have been implanted with GPS chips that provide information about the device’s geographic position.

  • Developments in the field of Outer Space have been fascinating. Today, communication, navigational, remote sensing (earth observational), weather and scientific satellites actually almost fully control humans lives.



  • Largely, technology could be said thave evolved as a response tthe various requirements of society and it is expected that the S&T innovations happening in the future towould help humans tlive more peacefully and happily.


2. Capitalizing on Technology for Farmer’s Welfare

  • Farming is both a way of life and means tlivelihood for nearly 60 per cent of our population, a majority of whom are women and youth. However, today, farmers are facing serious problems from climate change.

  • While looking at the problems of farmers there should be equal attention tthe families living and cultivating in the following ecosystems: Arid zone, semi-arid dry farming areas, irrigated areas, groundwater farming and plantation crops in hilly areas.

  • The support extended tfarmers should be according tthe requirements of those cultivating in above mentioned ecosystem.


Innovations in Agriculture:

  • Wheat product in India has gone up from 7 million tones in 1947 tover 100 million tones in 2018. Such an impressive progress has been rendered possible due tinteraction between technology and public policy.

  • Ever since the publication of Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance in 1865, many innovations have taken place in the effective use of genetic knowledge for improving productivity and profitability of crops.

  • Among the innovations introduced by plant breeders, mention may be made of induced mutation, chromosome doubling through colchicines and genetic medication through the application of the new knowledge in molecular biology.

  • Genetic modification has made it possible ttransfer genes across sexual barriers. Breeding helps tdevelop strains with a higher yield potential.

  • New scientific innovations, farmer friendly economic policies and farmer’s own enthusiasm ttake tnew technologies are all important for achieving the desired goal of a quantum jump in production.

  • As early as in 1962, Rachel Carson in her classic book titled Silent Spring pointed out that pesticides including DDT can result in long-term harm because of their long residual toxicity.

  • This is why, before taking the new technology tthe field, it is important that they are assessed for their positive as well as potentially negative effects.


Goles for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

  • The National Commission on Farmers (NCF) made the following goals for ensuring sustainable agriculture and food security

  • To improve the economic viability of farming by ensuring that farmers earn a “minimum net income”, and ensure that agricultural progress is measured by the advance made in improving that income.

  • To mainstream the human and gender dimension in all farm policies and programmers and give explicit attention tsustainable rural livelihoods.

  • To complete the unfinished agenda in land reforms and tinitiate comprehensive asses and aquarian reforms.

  • To develop and introduce a social security system and support services for farmers.

  • To protect and improve the land, water, biodiversity and climate resources essential for sustained advanced in the productivity, profitability and stability of major farming systems by creating an economic stake in conservation.

  • To foster community-centered food, water and energy security systems in rural India and tensure nutrition security at the level of every child, woman and man.

  • To introduce measures which can help tattract and retain youth in farming by making it both intellectually stimulating and economically rewarding, by conferring the power and economy of scale tsmall and marginal farmers both in the production and post-harvest phases of farming.

  • To strengthen the biosecurity of crops, farm animals, fish and forest trees for safeguarding both the work and income security of farmer families, and the health and trade security of the nation.

  • To restructure agriculture curriculum and pedagogic methodologies for enabling every farm and home science graduate tbecome an entrepreneur and tmake agricultural education gender sensitive.

  • To make India a global outsourcing hub in the production and supply of the inputs needed for sustainable agriculture, and products and process developed through biotechnology and Information and Communication Technology.

  • The NCF report was submitted in 2006. During the last four years, several significant decisions have been taken timprove the status and income of farmers. Some of them are:

  • Designating the Ministry of Agriculture as Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare tstress the importance of keeping farmer’s welfare as the measure of agriculture progress.

  • Issue of Soil Health Cards (SHC) tall farmers tpromote the adoption of balanced nutrition. Promoting micro-irrigation through the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

  • Conservation and sustainable use of indigenous breeds of cattle through a Rashtriya Gokul Mission. The Prime Minister alsinaugurated the First International Congress on Agro-biodiversity.

  • Promoting online trade through electronic national agriculture market which helps tbring together different agriculture markets. The creation of Gramin Agriculture Markets (GrAMs) will provide scope for direct sales tconsumers in both retail and bulk form.

  • Introduction of Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2017 and Agricultural produce and Livestock Contract Farming Services Act, 2018 supported by electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (eNWR) system for increased institutional credit tthe farm sector.l

  • Determination of Minimum Support Price (MSP) based on the recommendation of the NCF. Integration of protein rich pulses and nutri-rich millets intwelfare programmes including Public Distribution System (PDS), mid-day meals, ICDS etc.

  • Increase in the income of farmers through activities like apiculture, mushroom cultivation, bamboproduction, agro-forestry, vermin-compost and agro-processing for generating additional jobs and income for farm families.

  • Prime Minister has alssuggested that we should develop methods by which farmers’ income can be doubled within the next five years.

  • The recent announcement of remunerative price based essentially on the recommendation of NCF is a very important step tensure the economic viability and attractiveness of farming.

  • Government has ensured in its notification that from Kharif 2018 onwards, the MSP of the notified crops would be minimum of 150 per cent of the cost of production.

  • It is alsnoteworthy that it ranges from 150 teven upt200 per cent for coarse cereals which will provide an incentive tthe farmers in achieving our objective of improving the nutritional intake of our population.


Anticipatory Research in an era of Climate Change

  • Mangroves have helped tsave both lives and livelihoods particularly of fisher and coastal communities. The beneficial impact of mangroves has been observed by the local community on several occasions including the recent Gaja in Tamil Nadu. Earlier, the damage caused by Tsunami as well as the super cyclone in Odisha were alsconsiderably less in mangrove rich areas.

  • A Charter for Mangroves was prepared and with the help of the Government of Japan and IITO, an International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME) was formed in 1990.



  • Rather than waiting for these calamities thighlight the importance of such species, we need tpromote anticipatory research.

  • New Technologies are the basic raw material for productivity improvement. There are adequate opportunities for anticipatory research involving new technologies. We would capitalize on them tensure the well-being of farmers and farming.


3. Space Programmes: Spin offs for Humanity

  • India has launched its largest and heaviest communication satellite intorbit. It weighs nearly 6 tons and has capability tsupport high-speed data transfer tremote parts of the country.

  • This mission GSAT 11 will fulfill yet another goal of using high technology for the benefit of the common man.

  • The Indian space program, although started late, has emerged as one among six nations (USA, Russia, Europe, China and Japan) having total indigenous capability in building space satellites as well as launching them intorbits around earth and even take them tmoon or Mars.

  • While perfecting these high technology ISRO’s focus was on making use of them for the benefit of society. Direct thome transmission of TV signals, connectivity tbanks and financial organizations, telemedicine, tele-education and disaster warming system are a few examples of that.

  • Space is going tbe the next frontier for human exploration and presence of humans in outer space and planets is going tbe the next challenge. Though USA, Russia and China have already taken a lead, India is yet tmake an entry intthis field.

  • India will be having its own human space flight in 2022. Important developments related tthe human space flight are the Crew module, life support system, Crew escape system and improvement in the overall reliability of the launch vehicle.


Reliable Vehicles

  • The PSLV and GSLV have emerged as reliable satellite launch vehicles globally.

  • Demonstrated reliability of these launchers are around 95 per cent but not adequate tcarry the manned capsule. Space Shuttle had estimated reliability level of 99 per cent, still NASA took the risk of sending astronauts in that.

  • The Space shuttle is decommissioned and further efforts are on tdevelop a new launch system in USA. At present the only launcher available for the free world for human space flight is Russian Soyuz rocket. Though the Chinese Long March can dsuch missions it is used only for their national needs.

  • Though the GSLV MkIII recently developed by ISRcan take the manned capsule weighing nearly 10 tonnes tlow earth orbit, improvement of reliability of the launch system is a must before it carries human on board.


Recovery System

  • While will attempts will be made thave a reliable launch system there is remote chance there could be some chance of failure. In such a case how tbring back the astronaut has tbe addressed.

  • Recently, ISRhas demonstrated a crew recovery experiment using which astronauts will be ejected from the launch system and brought back tearth in case of a mission abort.


Need For Space Technologies:

  • Developing space transportation system and enabling humans tstay in earth orbit for few days and bringing them back is only a small step forward.

  • It will provide a platform for detailed observation of planet earth, scientific observation and studies of stars and galaxies, conducting chemical or biological experiments under zerG condition tgenerate new molecules are some of the benefits.

  • Climate change and associated changes in weather, sustainable development with optimum use of natural resources etc are some of the priority areas. India has done well in making use of earth observation satellites, IRS.

  • The recently launched hyper spectral imaging satellite is going tbe a powerful tool for monitoring natural resources and supporting agriculture in a big way.

  • Satellite images can strengthen the security system and for continuous monitoring of sensitive regions high resolution imaging from gestationary platform will have tbe developed.

  • Warnings on cyclone, drought weather phenomena can be met using precision multi spectral images from gestationary satellites.

  • But there is nproven technique for advanced warming of earthquakes. There are concepts suggesting variation in magnetic and electric field around the earth which can be monitored using satellites which give indication of eminent earthquakes but this has tbe validated and a lot of efforts are required in this area.

  • Digital Connectivity- Today’s knowledge society is totally dependent on digital connectivity. Gestationary satellites always provided solutions for this.

  • The recent launch of GSAT11 is a clear example of how space is supporting the needs of the country in this area of high speed digital connectivity.

  • While access tknowledge is extended, sare the services like health care through telemedicine.



  • Today, space based services are efficient but expensive. The cost of launching satellites contribute a major share in this. If schemes are developed trecover and reuse the launch hardware considerable saving in cost can be achieved.

  • Also, use of new propulsion systems using less expensive fuel like kerosene could bring down costs. Development of new generation launched vehicles along these lines poses several technology challenges before ISRO.


4. Online Portal tFacilitate DBT Launched

  • An online portal – “ENSURE” – National Livestock Mission – EDEG, Developed by NABARD and operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries was launched recently.

  • The National Livestock Mission has been conceived by the government for the sustainable development of the livestock sector. Under the Mission’s component called Entrepreneurship Development and Employment Generation (EDEG), subsidy payment for activities related tpoultry, small ruminants, pigs etc. through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) goes directly tthe beneficiary’s account.



  • The NanMission is an umbrella programme of Government of India for overall development in the field of Nantechnology through studies, research and innovations.

  • Nantechnology deals with variety of applications in medical, space, telecommunications, food processing and environmental protection.

  • Acknowledging its vast potential, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) launched a programme called NanScience and Technology Initiative (NIST) in 2001. The NanMission is successor of this programme. The Government approved NanMission in 2007.

  • Today, India has emerged 6th worldwide in terms of scientific publications.


Objective Of The Nano-Mission

  • Basic Research Promotion-

  • Infrastructure Development for NanScience and Technology Research- it is proposed testablish a chain of shared facilities across the country.

  • NanApplication and Technology Development Programmes- The Mission proposes tpromote application-oriented Research and Development (R&D) Projects.

  • Human Resources Development- The Mission shall focus on providing effective education and training tresearchers and professionals in diversified fields.


International Collaborations

  • Dist Activities In Nanscience And Technology Sfar Establishment of Centres of Excellence- Eleven Units/Core Groups on NanScience have been sanctioned across the country.

  • International Collaborative Programmes- Joint R&D activities are already taking place with several countries. For example, with the US, several projects have been funded on CNTs in composites, nano-encapsulating materials, etc. under the DST-NSF programme.

  • With Germany, a programme on engineered functional nancomposites has started which could focus on magnetic properties, magnetic interactions, gas-solid interactions including catalysis, etc.

  • Programmes are alson with Italy, EU and developing with Taiwan. ARCI, Hyderabad, which is an autonomous institutues of DST has active programme in nanmaterials with institutions in Russia, Ukraine, Japan, Germany and USA.


Inspiring Innovators of Tomorrow

  • INSPIRE Awards- MANAK is world’s biggest idea and innovation competition for school children jointly implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF) and aligned with the action plan for the Start-up India.

  • The key purpose underpinning INSPIRE Awards- MANAK is thelp the country build a critical human resource pool for strengthening, expand science and technology system and increase the research and development base by inviting students from all government and private schools throughout the country and enabling them tsend their original and creative technological ideas and innovations.


Few successful ideas:

  • The idea of a manual Garbage Dumping Cart by Master SikantMandal from Mathura scouted through this programme, was value added and prototyped by NIF.

  • Later it was licensed tGujarat based Sarjan Innovations Private Limited, a Start Up establishing that innovators and entrepreneurs are connected through an Institutional mechanism in the country.

  • Not only it will ensure that “every idea is attended irrespective of the source” but alschildren will start contributing tthe nation in a more direct way relatively early and for good which alsmeans that the country will invest in abilities of its children sooner which will further strengthen teco-system.

  • Contributing ta Knowledge Based Revolution With over 1.3 billion+ people, 1.4 million + schools, 10500+ engineering related institutions, 150 + million youth of India entering the work force, we need tensure that our youth can alsrealize their true potential through the creation of a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in this country.

  • Towards this end, a strategic national flagship initiative Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has been set up under the auspices of the NITI Aayog.

  • AIM’s focus is tcreate and promote a world class innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the length and breadth of our country and tprovide such an innovation ecosystem that will alstransform our job seekers tjob creators of the future.


Holistic Framework Adopted by AIM:

  • The Atal Innovation Mission has adopted a holistic framework tachieve its objectives. It intervenes at school level, at university level as well as tpromote entrepreneurship.

  • At the school level there is a tremendous need for creation of an innovative, problem solving mindset in the students of the high schools.

  • At the university and industry levels, there are a growing number of startups thanks tseveral startup initiatives in the country both from the private sector as well as from the government. But there is a growing need for world class Incubators in various institutions of the country tfoster and nurture start-ups enabling their success.

  • Finally a cultural shift in attitudes towards entrepreneurship is needed.


About Atal Tinkering Labs

  • Practical knowledge, access ttinkering with latest tools and technologies ignites the imagination of children as they learn tapply abstract concepts learnt in the classroom treal world solutions.

  • Revolutionary technological advancements are transforming the world and giving rise tnew technologies and business innovations at an exponential rate.

  • All such tools and technologies are available today and very affordable too. Unless children in our schools have access tthese technologies and get familiar with them, tinker with them, experiment with them, they will be left far behind.

  • AIM has already launched the implementation of 5441 + Atal Tinkering Labs across 715 districts of the country.

  • The results of these interventions are amazing tsee, 10th grade girl students from a government school have been able tdevelop solar panel IoT device based irrigation management and water conservation solutions using soil sensors.

  • Another student from one of these Tinkering labs was a winner in a World Robotics Olympiad by designing a Robotic waste segregation and management system.


Atal Incubators

  • The Atal Incubators initiative is tcreate world class incubators tsupport the burgeoning number of startups in the country.

  • These incubators will provide the necessary ecosystem of access ttechnology labs, hiring, training, mentoring, finance, venture capital networks and corporate networks.

  • The long term vision is thave world class incubators in the Top 10 academic and engineering institutions of every state and in every city identified as a smart city for development.


Atal Challenges

  • There is, an urgent need tincentivize relevant problem solving innovations at local, regional and national levels across the country.

  • The Atal Tinkering Challenges at a school level, the Atal New India Challenges at Industry levels, the Atal small Business Innovation and Research challenges at a national level will incentivize relevant problem solving.

  • 24 Atal New India Challenges stimulating product innovations in five sectors have been launched in areas such as drinking water and sanitation, urban housing and development, climate smart agriculture, rail safety and transportation which can have great benefit for the country.


Promoting Collaboration

  • Collaboration will be key tthe success of these initiatives. AIM has, therefore, launched a Mentors of Change – Mentor India Network across the country and plans textend it worldwide.

  • Over 10000 mentors have already registered as mentors of change, and many corporate have adopted Atal Tinkering Labs.


Long Term Goals

  • AIMS’s future initiatives include establishment and promotion of Small Business Innovation Research and Development on a national scale for accelerating innovation on a large scale in small businesses/startips/MSME sector.

  • AIM would alscollaborate in Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Rejuvenation (AIMS STEER) of innovations in major research institutions of the country like Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) , Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Medical Research (ICMR) aligned tnational socio-economic needs.



  • India got left behind in the Industrial Revolution that swept the world in the last century. But India does have a unique opportunity tcontribute in the knowledge based revolution that is sweeping the world today.

  • That is why Atal Innovation Mission initiatives are simportant and need tbe embraced by all.


5. National Challenge for Youth

  • A National Challenge for Youth, “Ideate for India - Creative Solutions using Technology” was launched in New Delhi recently.

  • The aim of this National Challenge is tgive school students across the country a platform and opportunity tbecome solution creators for the problems they see around them and their communities.

  • “Ideate for India” will empower and enable these students ttransition from being ‘users’ of technology tbecome ‘creators’ of new indigenous technologies tsolve local problems in their community by re-imaging solutions twork out critical local issues.

  • The National Challenge is open tstudents of classes 6-12 all across the country.

  • There are 11 crore theme areas on which students can share their ideas. The challenges requires students taccess online videos and understand how tidentity problems and share a 90 second videexplaining the problems and their proposed solution.


Innovation-Oriented Initiatives in Higher Education

  • India for its 1.25 billion people offers higher or tertiary level education through nearly 800 universities. These are mostly governed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and nearly 100 Institutes of National Importance (INIs) which were created through Assemblies whdirectly report either tthe Central or State Government.

  • The later group includes the famed Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), All India Institutes of Medical Science (AIIMS) etc. Like all other seats of higher learning, engineering institutions toprimarily deal with and focus on a single entity – knowledge, which they either disseminate (by teaching) or create (by research).

  • MHRD Initiatives on Promotion of Innovation


A. Research and Innovation:

  • Startup Indian Initiative for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

  • Tpromote the culture of ‘innovation’ in tune with the declaration of 21st century as the century of innovation, India desire tdedicate 2010-20 as the ‘Decade of Innovation’.

  • MHRD has launched MHRD Innovation Cell (MIC) and Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA).

  • The initiative envisages creation of 1000 Institute Innovation Centers across the country tspread awareness, promote the culture of innovation among students and create an effective ecsystem for ushering in ‘New India’ that can compete with the likes of Standard and MIT.


B. Global Initiative for Academic Network (GIAN)

  • GIAN in Higher Education aims tconnect the Indian academia with the international talent pool of scientist and entrepreneurs by inviting them tteach and participate in research in Indian HEIs.


C. Scheme for Academic Research and Promotion by Collaboration (SPARC)

  • SPARC is a new and logical follow up initiative of MHRD after GIAN for improving the research ecosystem of India’s HEIs by facilitating between Indian academia and best institutions in the world.

  • Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be funded for 2 years tfacilitate strong international research collaboration with leading foreign universities. Lack of international faculty and scholars in Indian institutions adversely affects our ranking.


D. Digital India-e-learning

  • The main objective of this virtual classroom initiative is tenable millions of youth outside the university campus taccess best quality teachers.


E. Research and Innovation

  • It is envisaged that design-centric innovation can be a force multiplier that can help India move up the value chain and make its industry globally competitive.

  • Under this initiative, 20 new Design Innovation Centres, one Open Design School and a National Design Innovation Network (NDIN) are planned tbe set up with interlinks.


F. Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY)

  • UAY promotes industry sponsored, outcome-oriented research projects for a period of twyears beginning 2016-17. The project cost is met tthe extent of 50 per cent by MHRD and 25 per cent each by the Industry and host Institute.

  • The objectives of UAY scheme are tpromote innovation in IITs, connect with manufacturing industries, spur innovative mindset and promote collaboration and cooperation between academia and industry.


G. Innovation in HEIs – IMPRINT

  • The Government of India, in order tpromote the culture of innovation in India, particulary in the technology institutions like IITs, NITs and all other HEIs, recently formulated a new and unique scheme called Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) Its primary goal is translation of knowledge from research intviable technology (product or process).

  • Why was IMPRINT conceived?

  • India with its over $ 2.5 trillion eyeing a double digit growth is a mighty economic force in the world supported by a formidable 1.25 billion population with more than 800 million below the age of 35.

  • However, it is alsa reality that our nation faces multitude of daunting challenges in terms of energy /physical/cyber security etc. A vast majority of these tasks demand engineering intervention and technological innovation.

  • Thus, the initial version of IMPRINT was conceived as a national initiative of MHRD through an inclusive and sustainable mode of translational research.

  • What is different about IMPRINT?

  • IMPRINT is a different from usual research initiatives because (i) it is meant not only for creation but for translation of knowledge intviable technology, (ii) it addresses not just one but all technology challenges faced by the nation , (iii) it relies upon a total inclusive model of crowd sourcing and involving all concerned stakeholders from Ministry tindustry.

  • A new KNOWLEDGE PORTAL has been created in the IMPRINT website tdisplay the recent exploits and progress under the on-going IMPRINT I research project.



  • Encouraged by the success of IMPRINT I, a newer version called IMPRINT II, was planned in a more inclusive manner.

  • It is being done by expanding the catchment of implementing institutions, by adopting a more demand-driven strategy of solution development and by incorporating the specific requirements of the states of India sas tmake end-user translation and technology adoption easier.

  • The SERB (Science and Engineering Research Board) in the Department of Science & Technology (DST) was made the nodal agency for implementing the IMPRINT II initiative working along with the National Coordinator.

  • Core mandate of IMPRINT II has been:

  • Develop products/processes and viable technologies for addressing the identified challenges in different domains. Formulate and develop focused translational projects against identified technology thrust areas. Evolve new technology transfer models for enabling technology diffusion tindustry and stakeholders.


Improving Governance in Public Systems

  • Government agencies around the world are constantly innovating new ways of managing operations and rewarding people for innovative work.

  • Public systems tend tadopt innovations which enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and ensure cost reduction.


Types of Innovation

  • For a better understanding, innovations in public systems may be broadly categorized under the following heads:

  • Service Innovations- intend tintroduce a new service, product or improvement in the quality of an existing service or product. For example, Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM).

  • Service Delivery Innovations – aim at improving accessibility, tagetting user needs more accurately, bringing in simplification of procedures etc.

  • For example, Common Service Centres (CSC’s) are the access points for delivery of essential publilc utility services, social welfare schemes tcitizens in rural and remote areas of the country.

  • Administrative/Organizational Innovation target tchange the hierarchical structures and administrative routines in the Government.

  • For example, Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-Nam) is a Pan-India electronic trading portal launched in 2016 completely funded by the Central Government and implemented by Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). It creates a national network of physical mandis which can be accessed online thus enabling buyers, situated even outside the State, tparticipate in trading at the local level.

  • Policy Innovations bring about the systemic culture of nurturing fresh ideas. Best practices that have a proven record of sustainability may be incorporated and be advocated as a policy. Drafting a policy for promotion of innovations itself is a policy innovation.

  • For example, National Policy on Biofuels (2018) was first drafted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in 2009 but later was shifted tthe Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2017 and was finally launched in 2018.

  • The policy encourages the use of biofuels by extending appropriate financial incentives under various categories which results in reduced import dependency, a cleaner environment, employment generation etc. The role of twelve Ministries has been specified for effective implementation of biofuels programme in India.

  • Systematic Innovations employ new or improved ways of interacting with the citizens and engage them in service design which encourages a participative approach in governance and improves the magnitude of stakeholder consultation in decision making.

  • India Innovation Growth Program is a public, private partnership of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

  • Centre for Innovation in Public System (CIPS), is a national body established by the Government of India in 2010 as an autonomous centre at ASCI, Hyderabad with a mandate tpromote innovations in public systems.

  • CIPS alsacts as a platform for sharing and disseminating knowledge on themes of critical importance.


Promoting Innovations in Public Systems

  • Following steps are very helpful in promoting innovations in Public System:

  • Understanding Opportunities and Problems

  • Generating and Sharing Useful Ideas

  • Collaborating with Like-minded Stakeholders

  • Documenting Innovations

  • Potential Challenges –

  • The Following challenges are likely tbe encountered while identifying documenting and replicating innovations:

  • Resources mobilization

  • Departmental silos and lack of convergence mechanism

  • Fading away of the innovations due ta change in the personnel

  • Lack of institutional memory

  • Transfer of ownership

  • Lack of domain expertise

  • Internal animosity between different wings of Government/Organization

  • Innovative Practices: High Potential for Adoption/Replication


A. Ecological Sanitation

  • Ecological Sanitation offers an economical and simple-to-use option in contrast tthe conventional waste transfer methods where the human excreta and body was water dnot gwaste.

  • ECOSAN toilets are much more helpful in flood-prone areas for being a remarkable alternative in the sustainable use of water.


B. Use of Plastic Waste in Road Construction

  • The utilization of plastic waste timprove the properties of the bituminous mix offers a very promising alternative with its bulk and eco-friendly usage.


C. Urban Greening Activities by Kochi MetrRail Limited

  • Kochi MetrRail Limited (KMRL) is in the process of adding greenery tthe infrastructure being created, thereby contributing tthe enhanced green cover in and around Kochi.


D. Mother Tongue Based-Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE)

  • MTB-MLE is an approach taddress the educational challenges faced by the indigenous population. In this approach, children start learning in their mother tongue in early grades with a gradual transition tregional language and an international language.


E. Establishment of Vision Centres

  • Establishment of Vision Centres in rural villages with tele-ophthalmology connectivity with Base Hospitals is an effective model treach patients whotherwise dnot have access tquality eye care.

  • Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai (Tamil Nadu) has successfully implemented this model covering a total population of over 3 million.



  • It is fair tconclude that innovations in public systems are indispensable and it is both a continuous process as well as result. It is alsa specific area of high importance where tools, methods and approaches are in constant evolution tfacilitate identification, documentation and replication of innovations.


Improving Competitiveness in SMEs

  • Small and Medium Enterprises play a highly significant role in India’s developing economy, They contribute teconomic growth, employment, reduction of poverty and thus aptly are considered as the engines of growth.

  • Given the paramountcy of the sector, it is critical tensure that our SMEs remain competitive both nationally and globally. Indian SMEs face a formidable challenge in this regard.

  • The updation of GOI Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2013, provided a big impetus tbuild an innovation ecosystem and tenhance the role of the private sector tdthe same.

  • The Mistry of MSME, runs various schemes and programs tsupport the technological and other innovations in Indian SMES.



  • First and foremost is the huge allocation of Rs. 3794 crore in the current FY Union Budget, for enhancing the financing and innovative capacity of the MSME sector.

  • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana is another milestone for the sector.

  • Reduction in tax rates t25 per cent made by the Government during the last financial year, again, has proved tbe a positive step which has paved the way for making available additional capital tthe SME sector.

  • Budget allocation for setting up ultra-modern technology centres, is alsworth mentioning here. Promotion of Khadi Udyog, is alsgoing thelp the growth of this sector.

  • A scheme for promotion of innovations, rural industry and entrepreneurship (ASPIRE) was launched on 16th March 2015. The most important component of this scheme is setting up 100 livelihood and 20 technology related incubators.

  • With a view tgenerate employment opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of the country through setting up of new self-employment ventures/projects/micrenterprises. Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme was launched in August 2008.

  • Another boost provided by the Government for the growth of MSME sector is the CGTMSE (credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micrand Small Enterprises) the whole idea behind which has been tprovide financial assistance tthese industries without any third party guarantee/or collateral.

  • These schemes provide the assurance tthe lenders that in case of default by them, a guarantee covere will be provided by trust in the ratiof 50/75/80/85 percent of the amount sgiven.

  • The Revamped Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) launched in August 2014 for developing 71 clusters (including coir).



  • As a result of the above initiatives taken by the Government, a positive revelation has been made in a recent survey done by **American Express in collaboration with Oxford Economics – India’s small and medium businesses are using their advantages such as size, agility and innovation as their top three strategies for driving revenue growth in 2018.

  • Thus, the efforts of the Government have started bearing positive results and showing remarkable improvement and India has succeeded in attaining 57th rank in 2018 Global Innovation Index.


Adding More Meaning tMoney

  • Invention is challenging but innovation is equally or sometime more challenging. Normally invention starts with uncertainty and end result could be different from what an inventor had visualized or conceptualized.

  • However, this may be not be the same with innovation as it is an act of making changes tthe existing product or the process by introducing new ways or ideas.

  • Following are some recent innovations in financial and banking sectors which have impacted the economy and benefited the common man:

  • A. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY):

  • Launched in August 2014 the scheme aims tensure access tvarious financial services like availability of basic savings bank account (nneed tmaintain minimum amount in the account), access tneed based credit, remittances facility, insurance and pension tthe excluded section i.e., weaker sections and low-income groups.

  • This scheme was an innovation as significant changes were made in the then scheme, Swabhimaan, and made it more practical.

  • PMJDY focuses on coverage of households as against the earlier plan which focused on coverage of villages.

  • Under PMJDY whole country is tbe covered by extending banking facilities in each Sub-Service area consisting of 1000-1500 households such that facility is available tall within a reasonable distance, say about 5 kms.

  • PMJDY was implemented with more of machine than a concrete structure. The scheme alsprescribes plastic currency in the form of RuPay card for all such accounts making a bigger impact in digital payment system. The scheme envisages channelizing all Government benefits tthe beneficiaries account and pushing the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) scheme of the Union Government.

  • The Government, on September 5, 2018, decided not just tcontinue with PMJDY but also improve it further. Now existing overdraft limit will be Rs. 10,000 as against Rs. 5,000.

  • Accidental insurance cover for new RuPay card holders tbe raised from Rs. 1 lakh tRs. 2 lakh tnew PMJDY accounts opened after August 28, 2018.

  • B. Insurance and Pension Scheme for Social Security

  • Learning from various shortcomings of existing schemes, Government innovated schemes and introduced three schemes, twfor insurance and one for pensions.

  • 1. Scheme for Life Insurance: The Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) is a one-year life insurance scheme, renewable from year tyear.

  • It offers coverage for death due tany reason and is available tpeople in the age group of 18 t50 years (life covere uptage 55) having a savings bank account.

  • Life cover of Rs. 2 lakhs is available for a one year period at a premium of Rs. 330/- per annum per member and is renewable every year which means premium of less than Re 1 per day. It is offered/administered through LIC and other private Life Insurance companies.

  • 2. Death and Accident Cover through non-life insurance scheme:

  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) is aimed at covering the uncovered population at highly affordable premium of just Rs. 12 per year i.e Re 1 a month. The scheme will be available tpeople in the age group 18 t70 year with a savings bank account.

  • Under the said scheme, risk coverage available will be Rs. 2 lakh for accidental death and permanent total disability and Rs. 1 lakh for permanent partial disability, for a one-year period.

  • 3. Pension Scheme:

  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is open tall bank account holders. However, the Central Government is co-contributing 50 percent of the total contribution or R.s 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, teach eligible subscriber, for a period of 5 years, whare not members of any statutory social security schemes and whare not tax payers.

  • Such a move will encourage pension culture among people in the unorganized sector. The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years.

  • C. MUDRA:

  • MUDRA (MicrUnits Development & Refinance Agency) is another financial innovation that aims help micrindustries. It is a refinancing Institution and does not lend directly the micrentrepreneurs/individuals.

  • Borrowers can alsnow file online application for MUDRA loans on depicted portal. Loans can be availed uptRs. 10 lakh under three products namely ‘Shishu (loan up tRs. 50,000), ‘Kishore (loan between Rs. 50,000 tRs. 5 lakhs) and ‘Tarun (loan between 5 lakhs and Rs. 10 lakhs) tsignify the stage of growth/development and funding needs of the beneficiary micrunit/entrepreneur.

  • D. Stand-Up India: In order tpromote entrepreneurship among Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe and women, it is an innovation over existing credit mechanism of various banks.

  • It is intended tfacilitate bank loans between Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 crore tat least one SC/ST borrower and at least one women borrower per bank branch for setting up Greenfield enterprises which may be in manufacturing, services or the trading sector.



  • These financial innovations have made life made easier for a larger section of people. And the best thing is that changes are being incorporated based on field experience making these schemes more effective.

Yojana January 2019

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