“Groom innovation aptitude in school children” , Innovative learning to contribute to India’s $5 trillion economy goal, says MoS (S&T) Dr Jitendra Singh

New Delhi : While presenting the 8th INSPIRE – MANAK Awards  at a virtual ceremony here today, 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 called for grooming innovation aptitude in school children.

Address on the occasion, the Minister said, Innovation in S&T has a bright future and it will make India self-reliant.  Innovative learning will also contribute to India’s $5 trillion economy goal and fulfil the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

Citing India’s proven prowess in launching as many as three vaccines besides developing the DNA based vaccine in a short time to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Jitendra Singh said, in the 21stcentury, a nation’s economic power is determined by its scientific growth and related technological application. In the times to come, India will reap the demographic dividend by grooming these young innovative minds and pooling their resources together, he said.

The S&T Minister said the INSPIRE scheme is helping create a scientific temper as every year there is an increasing number of aspiring students competing for the awards. More than 3.92 lakh students across different States and UTs submitted their projects this year, of whom 581 were shortlisted and 60 awarded, said Dr Jitendra Singh. More than 5 lakh schools have been reached out under the MANAK Awards since the scheme was launched. This proves that the phenomenon of grooming young Indian scientific minds is catching up, he added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said the Union Ministry for Science & Technology will write to the State Governments/UT Administration to sensitize them about the awards and awardees in their respective state/UT. This will help inculcate a wholesome scientific and innovative aptitude and learning process from the initial stages of schooling, he said. He suggested focusing on three different age group brackets for creating a scientific temper in the country, viz Below 25 years age group, 25-to-35 years old and Above 35 years of age, for building a scientific mindset in the country.

The virtual Awards Ceremony was also addressed by the Secretary, Department of S&T, Dr Renu Swaroop and Chairperson, National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Dr P S Goel. Mrs Namita Gupta, Head – INSPIRE Programme, DST, Dr. Vipin Kumar, Director, NIF and other senior officers also attended the programme.

The INSPIRE Awards – MANAK is a flagship programme of the Government of India and is jointly implemented by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India. In the year 2016, the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) scheme was revamped and aligned with the action plan for “Start-up India” initiative launched by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Through MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge), students are encouraged from all schools, government or private, throughout the country, to send original and creative technological ideas/ innovations focusing on common problems and come up with solutions on their own, be it household or for porters, labourers, society or the likes. The shortlisted projects are also displayed at the National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC).