Union Minister Jitendra Singh presents INSPIRE Awards to 60 startups

Union Minister Jitendra Singh says the annual INSPIRE Awards competition attracted an unprecedented 6.53 lakh ideas and innovations from all states and UTs of the country in 2020-21.
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Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh presented INSPIRE Awards to 60 startups along with financial support to 53,021 students, the Ministry of Science & Technology said in a statement.

The award is instituted by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, and these innovators will be extended complete incubation support for their entrepreneurship journey.

According to the Minister, the annual INSPIRE Awards - MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) competition attracted an unprecedented 6.53 lakh ideas and innovations from all states and UTs of the country in 2020-21.

He said the scheme achieved an unprecedented level of inclusivity by representing ideas and innovations of 702 districts (96%), including 123 out of 124 aspirational districts, 51% representation from girls, 84% participation from schools located in rural areas of the country, and 71% of schools run by State/UT Governments.

Out of 6.53 lakh, a total of 53,021 students were identified for financial support of Rs 10,000 each so that they could develop prototypes of the ideas that they submitted for the scheme, Dr Jitendra Singh said.

They competed in District-Level Exhibition and Project Competitions (DLEPCs) and State-Level Exhibition and Project Competitions (SLEPCs). A total of 556 students advanced to the 9th National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC). 

"These 556 students who will be part of NLEPC are the country's most promising scientists, researchers, scholars, and an overall group of S&T talent in the making," he said.

According to the minister, dedicated mentoring workshops are organised at the top technological institutes such as the IITs, BITS', and NITs etc for these students. This will not only raise their exposure level to latest trends in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) but also coach them to make right decisions for their innovative technologies and gain insights into what will help their innovation most.

The scheme aims to help build a critical human resource pool for strengthening, expanding, and increasing the science and technology R&D base, the minister said. 

Edited by Teja Lele