India to have an innovation cell

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In the Global Innovation Index, India has moved up 6 notches for the second consecutive year.

India has improved its ranking in the Global Innovation Index—from no. 66 in 2016, it has climbed up by six positions to no. 60 in 2017—amongst 127 countries. This increase in ranking has happened for the second year in succession.

This has inspired the Government to take steps in this direction, with the Ministry of Human Resource Development deciding to create an ‘Innovation Cell’ that will further strengthen the innovation efforts.

The innovation cell will be headed by a scientist and comprise a senior official from the Ministry of HRD and young professionals, who will bring to the table new ideas in promoting innovation.

This was stated by Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Human Resource Development, after a high-level review meeting.

“There has been considerable improvement in India’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index 2017. Since the large part of the Global Innovation Index relates to education, the setting up of an Innovation Cell in the Ministry will lead to more focussed attention on innovation and research efforts,” Javadekar said.

Under the Global Innovation Index 2017, India has improved its standing in innovation inputs and innovation efficiency. The strongest points for the country happened to be a large number of science and engineering graduates, the increased investment by global R&D companies in India, the improved QS University rankings and high rank in the highly cited research publication, global leadership in terms of IT service experts and leadership in export of creative goods.

“The Government’s renewed emphasis on innovation as a measure to improve the economic growth and the standard of living, is bearing fruit. Six new research parks have been sanctioned in various premier institutions. There are more than 120 technology business incubators covering all the institutions in the country,” Javadekar said.

The Government has focussed on allocating more funds through the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) for fast tracking innovation and research infrastructure in the country’s top central technical institutions. Also, the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) has been offered to 1000 top students from these institutions, to further push India’s innovation and research efforts, and also help prevent brain-drain, the Minister added.

Tinkering labs have been introduced in all higher-education institutions. Under the NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission, tinkering labs have been sanctioned at the school level too.

The Smart India Hackathon 2018 has seen a huge increase in participation with more than one lakh students submitting innovative inputs for the problems posed. The Hardware Hackathon has been added in the current year, thereby making way for new product creation. More than 20,000 students have participated in the Hardware Hackathon contest, which is being led by IIT Kharagpur.

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