Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur inaugurates Himalayan Startup Trek 2022 at IIT Mandi

New Delhi : Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today inaugurated the 6th edition of Himalayan Startup Trek 2022 – an annual startup event of IIT Mandi at the IIT Campus. Representatives of stakeholders of the Indian Startup Ecosystem including startups, investors and seasoned entrepreneurs participated in the event.

Chief Minister also inaugurated IIT Mandi Catalyst Co-Work space and iHub and HCI Foundation Office in the IIT Mandi Campus.

While addressing the people on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort this year has given a slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisaan, Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan’, underlining the importance of technology and research in the present era to make India forge ahead on the path of progress and prosperity. He also appreciated the good work being done by the IIT Mandi since its inception.

Chief Minister said that Himalayan Startup Trek was symbolic of the emerging startup ecosystem in Himachal Pradesh with immense support from the State Government over the past several years. He said that top startups from the event would be handpicked for incubation support by IIT Mandi Catalyst. Several startups would get an opportunity to pilot their solutions with help from state departments and explore collaboration.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Electronics has provided Rs 110 crore for IIT Mandi iHub and HCI Foundation. He said that the Department of Science and Technology, Startup India and Himachal Pradesh Government has also provided an amount of Rs. 70  crore for supporting the startup. He said that out of this amount over Rs. 10 crore has been provided to the IIT Mandi by the State Government.

Chief Minister said that the State Government has taken various steps in the last about five years to create a conducive ecosystem for startups in the State for their growth. He said that youth from the State should capitalize on all the support programs being initiated by the State Government and create sustainable solutions that not only benefit the State but the country. He said that the State Government was also seeking inputs from IIT Mandi to revise the startup policy. He said that the objective was to make it more effective and to provide more benefits to startups.

Chief Minister said that IIT Mandi was no doubt the best engineering institution in the State and has taken up the responsibility to seed a vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem in the State.  He said that it was a pleasure to see IIT Mandi Catalyst continuing the Himalayan Startup Trek with more energy and enthusiasm. He said that with the technological advancements, the research particularly for the welfare of the common man, was far more important for the betterment of society.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the environment of the IIT Campus at Kamand Mandi was best suited for studies and research and proper air connectivity would prove boon to flourish this institution. He said that efforts were being made to ensure that the Greenfield Airport comes up in the district at the earliest, which would go a long way in facilitating the students, faculty and others of this premier institution.

Chief Minister gave away prizes to the winners of the startup grand challenge in three thematic areas, namely, Human-Computer Interaction, Build for the Himalayas and Environment and Sustainability.

Jai Ram Thakur also visited various stalls put up by the Startups on the occasion and evinced keen interest in it.

MLA Drang Jawahar Thakur said that the people of Mandi district in general and Drang Assembly Constituency in particular were fortunate that such a national level institution has come in the Kamand area. He also felt the need for setting up a sale counter outside the Campus so that the local people could sell their produce like milk, paneer, curd etc. He said that this would go a long way in strengthening the economy of farmers of the area.

Scientist G, NSTEDB, DST Dr. Anita Gupta also addressed the event virtually.

Scientist F, Director, MeitY Dr. Ajai Garg said that it was pleasing to know that IIT Mandi has a vision to create a sustainable startup valley in Kamand that would attract high-tech startups from across the country. Towards this, IIT Mandi has committed physical and intellectual resources to develop a blueprint for a unique startup destination for Indian startups, he added.

Director, IIT Mandi Dr. Laxmidhar Behera said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to flourish India in startup and for this we need to create a perfect ecosystem. He said that the IIT campus at Mandi was a campus situated in the lap of nature. He said that the startups must also work in redressal of the issues such as climate change, environment conservation, food security for all. He said that agriculture must be associated and linked with technology so as to make this occupation not only economically viable but also dignified.

Faculty In-charge, Catalyst, Puran Singh made an introduction to Himalayan Start-up and welcomed the dignitaries as well as participants. He said that the IIT got over 400 applications for startups which were shortlisted and about 45 faculty members were actively involved in this whole process. He said that IIT Mandi was in constant touch with the Department of Industries to revise the state’s Startup Policy 2022 that would create incentives for various stakeholders to create hard and soft infrastructure in Kamand valley that would be technically world class and culturally Himalayan startup ecosystem.

Dean Academics, IIT Mandi Dr Rahul Vaish presented vote of thanks.

Senior BJP Leader Brig. Khushal Thakur, Chairman Waqf Board Rajbali, Director Industries Rakesh Prajapati, Deputy Commissioner Mandi Arindam Chaudhary, Superintendent of Police Shalini Agnihotri were present on the occasion among others.

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