The government think tank NITI Aayog has reportedly given permission to 3,000 additional schools to set up Atal Tinkering Labs under its Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).

This will bring the total number schools with Atal Tinkering Labs to 5,441.

“The selected schools shall receive a grant of INR 20 lakh spread over the next five years to establish Atal Tinkering Labs for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurial spirit among secondary school children across India,” NITI Aayog said in a media statement.

NITI Aayog further looks to establish Atal Tinkering Labs in every district of the country in line with its vision of enabling an innovation ecosystem which will facilitate transformational change in technological innovation and pedagogy.

According to a Startup India status report dated January 4, 2018, 941 Tinkering Labs have been approved and 374 have received grants of INR 12 Lakh each. Besides, pre-incubation training through over 25 mentorship sessions have been conducted, the report said.

Earlier, in May this year, NITI Aayog announced its deadline to establish 5K Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) across schools in India by March 2019. The government think-tank has set a target to set up tinkering labs across 30K schools in India in the next three years.

The Startup India Action Plan facilitated the launch of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) with the Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) programme in order to foster innovation.

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) was launched to serve as a platform for the promotion of Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, startup businesses and other self-employment activities focussed on technology-driven areas.

The AIM was stated to have two core functions:

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through the Self-Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) programme, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs
  • Innovation promotion by providing a platform where innovative ideas are generated

Recently, the AIM, on the occasion of National Technology Day on May 11, organised an event where it showcased the top 30 innovations by students, mentors, teachers. These top-30 teams will get a chance to participate in a three-month-long Atal Tinkering Lab Student Innovator Programme (ATL-SIP) being organised by AIM in partnership with industry and startup incubators.

Under the initiative, an amount of $14.8K (INR 10 Lakh) would be provided for each ATL over a maximum period of five years for operation of the ATLs, maintenance of equipment, purchase of consumables, organising popular science lecture series, innovation events, and other scientific activities, competitions, and payment of honorariums to the faculty and mentors involved.

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