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1400 Innovations & More: A Challenge to Help Kids Solve India’s Biggest Problems!

1400 Innovations & More: A Challenge to Help Kids Solve India’s Biggest Problems!

We aim to identify such innovations by young talented Indians who are solving pressing community challenges and take them forward.

“Innovation is seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Nobel Laureate Dr Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.

With over 50 per cent of the population below the age of 25, there is an immense potential for innovation in India. And the best place to start with is our schools because the country’s young, ignited minds have time and again addressed serious issues plaguing India through their simple, yet innovative solutions.

For instance, Arul, a class 6 student from Chennai, came up with a brilliant anti-pollution mask that used native roots as filters. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Haaziq from Pune devised the prototype of an ocean cleaner ship that could suck out plastic from the surface of the ocean!

Such innovations could quite literally change the fate of our country. But what often deters these aspiring innovators from pursuing their ambitions further is the lack of platforms that can identify and nurture their visions to actuality.

Atal Innovation Mission and The Better India are collaborating to change this narrative with a nation-wide challenge called ATL Tinkering Innovation Marathon, 2018.

We aim to identify such innovations by young talented Indians who are solving pressing community challenges and take them forward.

Atal innovation mission is a flagship initiative of NITI Aayog to promote the spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial mindset in the country with various programmes such as the Atal Tinkering Labs, Atal Incubation centres, and organising challenges such as Atal New India Challenge, Defence Innovation Startup Challenge, etc.

The marathon is based on the philosophy that recognition, encouragement and industry support are excellent enablers to create an exponential wave of innovation and entrepreneurship among children at a young age.

“This is truly a remarkable platform that has brought together key stakeholders of driving innovation in India –government, industry, academia and most importantly, young innovators who dare to dream. At GE we have always celebrated the potential of innovation. We are excited to collaborate with The Better India and Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Ayog for ATL Tinkering Innovation Marathon that will not only identify the young innovators but will provide them guidance to refine, develop and amplify their ideas,” says Rachana Panda, Chief Communications Officer & Citizenship Leader, GE South Asia.

With this initiative, we not only hope to recognise these children and bring to life their ideas, but we also want to use the power of the media to take their stories to millions of people and in-turn make ‘innovation-thinking’ a household idea.

To do this, we reached out to schools and educational institutions across the country for submissions from students. In its first phase, the Innovation Marathon received more than 1,400 entries across various categories. The top five states with most numbers of entries include Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. Of these, 200 best innovations have been shortlisted by our esteemed judges.

Here are seven of the areas identified under the ATL Tinkering Innovation Marathon that solutions were submitted for:

1. Clean Energy

Picture for representation only. Source: Unsplash

The pace at which we are depleting our natural reserves makes our future seem very bleak. Which is precisely why the need for alternative energy sources, that are sustainable and non-damaging to the planet, are quite crucial at this juncture.

From powering streetlights through rainwater harvesting to using urban garbage to generate electricity, these are just some of the student innovations we had covered last year and we hope to tap into this underexplored scope of clean energy through more such solutions.

2. Water Conservation and Management

Picture for representation only. Source: Pixabay

The fact that more and more regions across India are facing droughts and severe water scarcity with each passing year should worry us all enough to seriously start using water more frugally.

A 2018 study ranked India first among 10 countries facing an acute shortage of potable water. 16.31 crore people live without access to safe water close to their home in this country. Which means, just about 19 per cent of the country’s population has access to clean water.

3. Smart Mobility

Picture for representation only. Source

Traffic jams, delay in trains and ever increasing pollution—every Indian population centre is plagued by never-ending commutation issues! How do we solve this while offering an inclusive way of mobility for one and all?

Use of technology, better designs and green fuel are some of the existing options but what we really need at this point in time are smart solutions that can resolve all these issues – without excluding anyone.

4. Architecture and Design

Picture for representation only. Source: The Better India

What difference can good design make? Practically everything!

In India, we don’t give design much thought whereas, across the world, it is considered the foundation of any project.

If planning and designs for any architectural projects are given a little more thought and more so, on the lines of innovation, we could have cost-effective and sustainable structures that are safe as well.

5. Health Tech

Picture for representation only. Source: Pixabay

If technology is being efficiently used in our workplaces, schools and even for our entertainment, why should the health sector be left any behind?

Across the world, cutting-edge technology is being progressively implemented in the medical field and this is giving people new hopes. In India, while urban regions have no dearth of tech-aided medical solutions, it is the rural expanses that desperately need to be pulled out of ‘health poverty.’

6. Agri Tech

Picture for representation only. Source: Pixabay

In this time of cutting edge technology being implemented across all spheres, what could be more innovative than bringing agriculture and technology under one umbrella?

Analysing weather patterns, soil fertility checks, and sustainable irrigation methods—the possibilities are endless and the younger generation of farmers have to get access to these solutions as easily as possible.

Impact-making and powerful ideas from these young champs could quite literally change the fate of thousands of farmers in India.

7. Waste Management

Picture for representation only. Source: TheBetterIndia

We cannot close our eyes to the gargantuan waste crisis that India has been suffering in recent decades.

Without the implementation of proper waste management solutions, not only are we harming our own health, but also are leaving behind a very precarious world for the future generations.
While there are solutions being pitched by people across the world, it is even more heartening to see young children come up with impactful ideas to manage waste because of their cognizance of the consequences.

8. Sustainable Development Goals

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Innovations under this category will include those that aim to reach any of the 17 goals including no poverty, zero hunger quality education, gender equality and more. These are the 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030 and different organisations across India are working towards achieving them.

“At GE we work at providing solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges and we are delighted to be associated with the ATL Tinkering Innovation Marathon 2018 which will honour pioneering thinking and valuable innovations that have the potential of solving India’s most pressing challenges. We would like to wish all the participant the very best for the duration of the marathon,” concludes Rachana.

The Top 200 entries have now been shortlisted, find all details here.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

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