Government schemes inspire children to dream of future with S&T

New Delhi : Several government schemes are instilling confidence among children to think innovatively, look at out of the box S&T solutions for numerous problems and also to break barriers and initiate their adventures in science.

“Innovation is the key to realizing the dream of new India,” Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said at a recent conference and school children from remote areas are taking advantage of numerous schemes of the government to bring about innovative solutions to day to day problems.

Navshri Thakur, a student from Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh developed a multi-useful kitchen machine which she submitted at the INSPIRE MANAK AWARDS, a programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and bagged the first prize for it. In the same competition, a stretcher embedded with shock absorbers by Owais Ahmed from Karnataka bagged the second prize.

The MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) awards programme under the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research’ (INSPIRE) scheme, a flagship programme of DST targets to generate one million original ideas/innovations rooted in science and societal applications to foster a culture of creativity and innovative thinking among school children specially between Class 6 to 10. It calls on schools to participate in it every year. The awards are being executed by DST with National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), an autonomous body of DST.In the year 2020-2021 it brought 6.53 lakh ideas from more than 2 lakh middle and high schools across the country. The best of them are shortlisted for showcasing at district, state and then at the National Level Exhibition & Project Competition.

Rashmi Kumari hailing from a rural background from Uttar Pradesh who earlier lacked the confidence and decision about her future, is keen to pursue a career in STEM—thanks to VigyanJyotiprogramme of DST.

The programme is encouraging around 10000 young girls of Class IX-XII in 100 districts of the country to pursue higher education in underrepresented areas of STEM, in higher educational institutions of excellence. It provides a scholarship, visit to nearby scientific institutions, science camps, lecturers from eminent women scientists, and career counseling.

Other programmesto inspire science learning in children are Kishore VaigyanikProtsahanYojana (KVPY), Science Olympiad Programme, and the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP).

TheKishore VaigyanikProtsahanYojana (KVPY), mentorship and scholarship support is provided to pursue study in Basic Sciences. This programmeadministered and implemented by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore,identifies students with talent and aptitude for research, helps them realize their potential to attract exceptionally motivated students to study science and pursue careers in research.

National Science Olympiad Programmeaims at promoting excellence in Science and Mathematics among pre-university students. HomiBhaba Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai is the nodal organization for selection and training of students is done through Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT) for participation of students at various International Olympiads meet.

The India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP)is a tripartite initiative of DST, Lockheed Martin and Tata Trusts and aims at selecting innovations to create large scale social impact and bring industrial transformation in India. It aims to support Government of India’s ‘Start-up India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.Grants to winners seek to enable their prototyping the proposed technology solutions and begin the process of evaluating and applying these technologies and solutions for social, commercial and industrial benefit.

All of these have played a critical role in inspiring young minds in finding creative solutions through S&T and fructifying the dream for New India.