Select students from across India receive awards for their innovative ideas

60 young students from schools across India received awards for their Science and Technology based innovations from the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh at Vigyan Bhawan today.

“The creative minds of the young innovators need to be encouraged and their creativity sustained with guidance of mentors and the government will support and followup with them so that they are chanelliesed in the right direction to build effective capacity for India,” said Dr Singh said while distributing the INSPIRE Awards – MANAK to the student innovators selected through a rigorous process from among 6.53 lakh applicants this time.

He insisted on a retrospective study to follow up on the winners of previous years and trace their progress over the years.

“More than 550 innovative technologies selected under INSPIRE Awards MANAK have been witnessed by us from each State and Union Territory of our country for the past two days at ITPO, where the selected students have assembled to demonstrate the merit of their innovations. Few years from now, when these participants will cross their teenage years and enter their professional lives, it would potentially be a leapfrog moment for India because suddenly the world would have lakhs of innovative professionals who were once innovative students,” the Union Minister pointed out.     

“They would have inspired several more lakh students around them to adopt the same path leading to innovations. Cumulatively, every year when few lakhs innovative professionals would start knocking the entrepreneurship clubs within the country, then India would be a very different, very innovative and perhaps an elevated knowledge economy,” he added.

“I take immense pride in the fact that under the able leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi ji, we have achieved tremendous progress in the area of science, technology and innovation and PM has also provided a great impetus to startups. Now it is time to sustain these startups,” Dr Singh stressed.

He underlined that the perception about India in the rest of the world has completely changed. “India is moving rapidly ahead with the innovative spirit of its youth. I am sure many of you would have discovered a reflection of such promises in the innovative technologies that our students have exhibited as a part of this NLEPC,” Dr Singh elaborated.

He urged every school of the country to draw some lessons for benefit of their students from this NLEPC and let students know more about the projects. This would inspire the students to arrive at something innovative. Dr Singh also highlighted the icrease in applications from girls for the awards and said that it is time to accept girl leadership.  

“Earlier this month we became 5th largest economy of the world by outperforming UK. Four years ago, in July 2018, we outperformed France to be 6th largest economy back then. Experts believe that by 2027 or sooner, we would be 4th largest; by 2031 we would be the 3rd largest and in second half of this century we would perhaps become the largest economy of the world. If our students continue to innovate at the pace and scale in which they are currently doing. I have no hesitation in believing that India will be the top country by 2047,” Dr Singh emphasised.

Secretary Department of Science and Technology (DST) Dr S Chandrasekhar highlighted that students are getting their much required lessons in refining indigenous solutions which they are attempting to pioneer and simultaneously drawing some important lessons like harnessing available resources to deliver best possible solutions. He said that students working on similar areas can reconnect with each other and initiate start-up companies which can become unicorns in the next 25 years.

The National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC) is an important milestone under the annual INSPIRE Awards –MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge), a flagship scheme jointly implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the DST. Its underlying purpose is to nurture the ideas and innovations of school students and motivate them to pursue Science and a career in Research. The scheme also aims to help build a critical human resource pool for strengthening, expand science and technology system and increase the research & development base on the same.

During the year 2020-21, while the country like rest of the world was battling with the severe impact of COVID-19, students of our country were deeply engaged in preparing themselves for participation in the annual INSPIRE Awards – MANAK competition. An unprecedented participation was attracted, and a total of 6.53 Lakh ideas and innovations were received from all States and UT’s of the country. The scheme touched an unparalleled level of inclusivity by representing ideas and innovations of 702 districts of the country (96%) including 123 out of 124 aspirational districts, 51% representation from girls, 84% participation from schools located in rural areas of the country and 71% of the schools were run by the State / UT Governments.