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PM Modi to address the Grand Finale of Smart India Hackathon 2020

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the grand finale of Smart India Hackathon 2020 (Software), the largest-ever online hackathon in the world, on August 1, through video-conference. 

Announcing this, Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said on Monday that the grand finale of the hackathon will be held from August 1 to 3, 2020. This hackathon is being organised by the HRD ministry, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Persistent Systems and i4c.

Describing Smart India Hackathon as a unique initiative “to identify new and disruptive digital technology innovations for solving the challenges faced by our country”, the minister, who was chairing a high level meeting on Smart India Hackathon here, said it was a non-stop digital product development competition, where problems were posed to technology students to suggest innovative solutions. 

“Students would have the opportunity to work on challenges faced by Government departments and private sector organisations for which they can offer out-of-the-box and world-class solutions.”

For SIH 2020, the first level screening of students’ ideas has already taken place in January through a college level Hackathon and only the winning teams at the college level were made eligible for the national round of SIH. Again at national level, ideas were screened by Experts and Evaluators and only the shortlisted teams will compete during the Grand Finale.

Mr Pokhriyal said considering the Covid-19 pandemic, the grand finale for SIH 2020 would be organised online by connecting all the participants throughout the nation together 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 a prize money of Rs 1,00,000 except the student innovation theme which will have three winners, 1st, 2nd and 3rd with prize money of Rs 1,00,000, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively, an official release here said.

Referring to its popularity, Pokhriyal said three editions of SIH had been conducted successfully. From 42,000 students taking part in the first edition of SIH-2017, the number substantially increased to 1 lakh in SIH 2018 and later to 2 lakh in SIH-2019. SIH 2020 has seen massive enthusiasm and already the first round saw participation of more than 4.5 lakh students. 

“We are very keen on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship culture in our education institutions. Our flagship initiative, Smart India Hackathon has now evolved into world’s biggest open Innovation model. Moreover, SIH is also one of the best examples of public private partnership,” he said. 

Till date, around 331 prototypes have been developed, 71 startups were under formation, and 19 startups were successfully registered. Further, 39 solutions have already been deployed at various departments and around 64 potential solutions have been funded for further development.

The HRD Minister said that there should be constant tracking of the ideas received through SIH in order to develop an Atma Nirbhar Bharat, by ensuring the teams were mentored from ideation stage to prototype stage. “Once the idea has come from the student, it should be the responsibility of the mentor to ensure that the idea gets implemented either though the start up or the department ” so that ideas turn into startups. He also suggested that an ecosystem should be created by coordination with Ministries so that successful ideas in hackathon can be mentored and implemented properly with Secretary MHRD coordinating with all secretaries to ensure that selected ideas reach on the ground. 

Stating that MHRD will be the coordinating ministry for ensuring implementation of ideas in SIH, he added that 90 per cent of ideas which did not form startups will be given to the department to implement and requested the Cabinet Secretary to make ideas developed in the SIH as a part of the agenda of the Committee of Secretaries.

To promote innovative culture in our country, the Minister said that 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 students of schools and engineering college curriculum.

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