NITI Aayog has come up with three new initiatives on the eve of the second anniversary of the NDA government, to encourage and foster innovation. It has launched a new initiative aimed at establishing 500 Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India and 100 Atal Incubation Centers (AICs) in both academic and non-academic space.
In a bid to encourage innovation through its flagship Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog is now inviting applications from eligible schools, organisations and individuals to apply for the three major schemes under Atal Innovation Mission
- Establishing tinkering laboratories in schools
- Establishing new incubation centres
- Scaling-up established incubation centres
Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs)
To foster creativity and scientific temper in students, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) will establish 500 Atal Tinkering Laboratories in schools. It will provide one time establishment aid of Rs. 10 lakh for establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL) in schools (grade VI – XII) across India. An amount of Rs. 10 lakh would also be provided for each ATL over a period of 5 years for operational expenses. A total amount of Rs. 20 lakh per ATL in each selected school will be spent. Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Competitions at regional and national scale will also be organised to showcase the innovations developed by the children.
ATL is a work space where young minds can give shape to their ideas through hands on do-it-yourself mode; and learn innovation skills. 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.
ATLs can be established in schools (Grade VI – XII) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society. A minimum 25% of the ATLs would be set up in schools managed by Government (Central or State).
Atal Incubation Centres (AICs)
AIM will also provide financial support to academic and non-academic institutions (companies/technology parks/group of individuals) to establish new incubation centres across India. These will be called Atal Incubation Centres (AICs). They will be established in subject specific areas such as manufacturing, transport, energy, health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, etc. These incubation Centres will provide pre-incubation facilities, common infrastructure and services such as technology development assistance, networking and mentoring, funding access, training and development, business support services (entrepreneurship development, marketing, finance and accounting, research, legal, regulatory, etc.) to innovators and startup entrepreneurs for developing solutions. AIM’s objective is to setup 100 AICs during 2016-17.
AIM will provide a grant-in-aid of Rs. 10 crore for establishing a new AIC over a period of 5 years towards capital investment as well as operational and maintenance expenses.
AICs can be established either in public/private/public-private partnership mode. These can be established in
- Academia – This includes higher educational institutes and R&D Institutions.
- Non-academic – This includes Companies/ Corporates/ Technology parks / Industrial Parks/ any individual/ group of individuals.
AIM will also provide scale up support of Rs. 10 crore over a period of two years to established incubation centres for augmenting their capacity. They will be shortlisted on the basis of key performance indicators.