Modi to address finale of largest-ever online hackathon in the world on August 1
Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ chairing a high-level meeting on Smart India Hackathon in New Delhi on July 27, 2020.

Modi to address finale of largest-ever online hackathon in the world on August 1

New Delhi, July 27, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the finale of the largest ever online hackathon in the world, from 7 PM onwards on August 1 through video-conference, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said here on Monday.

The Grand Finale of Smart India Hackathon 2020 (Software) will be held from August 1-3, the Minister said.

The hackathon is being organized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Persistent Systems and i4c.

Earlier in the day, Pokhriyal chaired a high-level meeting on Smart India Hackathon and discussed the achievements of the previous hackathons. The meeting was attended by Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare, AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe, MHRD Additional Secretary Rakesh Ranjan and Chief Innovation Officer Abhay Jere.

The Minister described the hackathon as a unique initiative to identify new and disruptive digital technology innovations for solving the challenges faced by the country. It was a non-stop digital product development competition, where problems were posed to technology students to suggest innovative solutions. The students will have the opportunity to work on challenges faced by the Government departments and private sector organizations for which they could offer out-of-the-box and world-class solutions.

For SIH 2020, the first-level screening of the students’ ideas took place in January through a college-level hackathon. Only the winning teams at the college level were eligible for the national round. At the national level, the ideas were screened by the experts and evaluators and only the shortlisted teams will be allowed to compete in the Grand Finale.

Pokhriyal said that considering the Covid-19 pandemic, the Grand Finale for SIH 2020 will be held online by connecting all the participants throughout the nation over a specially-built advanced platform.

“This year, we will have more than 10,000 students competing to solve 243 problem statements from 37 central government departments, 17 state governments and 20 industries. Each problem statement carries prize money of Rs 1,00, 000 except the student innovation theme which will have three winners for the first, second and third positions with prize money of Rs 1,00,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.

The Minister said, so far, three editions of SIH have been held successfully. The first edition of SIH-2017 saw the participation of 42,000 students which substantially increased to 1 lakh in SIH 2018 and later to 2 lakh in SIH-2019.

SIH 2020 is even more massive as compared to SIH 2019 and the first round saw the participation of more than 4.5 lakh students. “We are keen on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship culture in our education institutions. Our flagship initiative, Smart India Hackathon has now evolved into the world’s biggest open innovation model. Moreover, SIH is also one of the best examples of public-private partnership.

As an outcome of Smart India Hackathons till date, around 331 prototypes have been developed, 71 startups were under formation and 19 startups successfully registered. Further, 39 solutions have already been deployed at various departments and around 64 potential solutions have been funded for further development.

The Minister called for constant tracking of the ideas received through SIH. “For developing Atma Nirbhar Bharat, we need to ensure that the teams are carefully mentored from the ideation stage to the prototype stage.

“Once the idea has come from the student, it should be the responsibility of the mentor to ensure that it gets implemented either through the startup or the department. Ideas should never go waste and the Department/Ministry should ensure that they get a launch platform,” he added.

The gap from the prototype to the establishment of startups should be filled so that ideas turn into startups. He also suggested that an ecosystem should be created by coordination with Ministries so that successful ideas in the hackathon could be mentored and implemented properly.

Pokhriyal said the MHRD Secretary will coordinate with all secretaries to ensure that selected ideas reach the ground. MHRD will be the coordinating ministry for ensuring implementation of ideas in SIH. Around 90% of ideas which do not form startups will be given to the department to implement. Enabling provisions will necessarily be developed. The Minister also said that he will request the Cabinet Secretary to include the ideas developed in the SIH in the agenda of the Committee of Secretaries.

To promote innovative culture in India, innovation should start at the school level itself and ATAL tinkering labs should be harnessed for this purpose. A proper linkage should be made between school students and engineering college curriculum, Pokhriyal added.


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