To give a further boost to innovation in the country, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided to set up an ‘Innovation Cell’ with a scientist to head its panel comprising a MHRD official and young professionals.
“An Innovation Cell in the Ministry of Human Resource Development will be created to further strengthen the innovation efforts. It will be headed by a scientist and will comprise senior ministry official and young professionals to bring to the table new ideas in promoting innovation,” Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said after a high level review meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The decision to set up the Cell came after India moved 6 ranks up in the Global Innovation Index Ranking from 66 in 2016 to 60 in 2017 in a close race with 127 other countries. The country’s rank is going up consecutively for second year in a row and coincides with the launch of the Smart India Hackathon by the MHRD in coordination with other ministries.
A number of reasons have contributed to India's improved ranking under the Global Innovation Index, 2017. Human capital in the form of a large number of science and engineering graduates and increased investment in India by Global R&D companies have contributed to an improved standing in innovation inputs and efficiency. India's global leadership in IT service experts and the export of creative goods, as well as improved QS University rankings for Indian educational institutions, have also helped India's rise in rankings.
“There has been a considerable improvement in India’s ranking in Global Innovation Index 2017. Since the large part of Global Innovation Index relates to education, the setting up of Innovation Cell in the ministry will lead to more focused attention on innovation and research efforts,” Javadekar said.
“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,” he added.
The minister also said that the focused attention of the government is to allocate more funds through Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) for fast tracking Innovation and Research infrastructure in country’s top central technical institutions.
“Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) to 1000 top students from these institutions will give further push to India’s Innovation and Research efforts and also help prevent brain-drain, he added.
The minister informed that the Tinkering Labs have been started in all higher education institutions and under the NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission, Tinkering Labs are sanctioned at the school level.
“The Smart India Hackathon 2018 has seen a huge increase in participation with more than one lakh students submitting innovative inputs for various problems,” the minister said, adding, “Hardware Hackathon has been added in the current year to make way for new product creation. More than 20,000 students have participated in the Hardware Hackathon contest which is being led by IIT Kharagpur.”