Honouring Innovation: New Scheme By Centre Throws Out The Middleman, Looks To Partner With Ideators Directly
PRISM allows direct-bank-transfers of funding to the innovator to reduce bureaucratic impediments while spending the funds.
This is quite a revolutionary step as the government is indicating that it is going to trust the passionate innovator and is ready to make every effort to ensure good ideas are converted into useful solutions.
On 30 March, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) which is under the Ministry of Science and Technology announced a major scheme ‘PRISM’ (Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups and MSMEs) which I believe is very unique and will give a huge impetus for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship amongst Indians.
The scheme was launched by Union Science and Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan in presence of Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre.
Usually, when the government launches any scheme, it comes with a lot of terms and conditions, but PRISM is very unique in this regard.
In other schemes, innovators keen on seeking funding support need to be associated with some recognised company, education or research institution or incubator and funding is usually channelised through these entities.
But PRISM allows direct-bank-transfers of funding to the innovator’s bank account to reduce bureaucratic impediments while spending the funds. This is quite a revolutionary step as the government is indicating that it is going to trust the passionate innovator and is ready to make every possible effort to ensure that good ideas are converted into useful solutions in the most hassle-free manner.
The innovator can work in his own workshop or garage.
More importantly, every Indian is eligible to submit ideas for getting funding under this scheme. Even an illiterate or semi-literate person having a great idea can apply and to help such innovators (who are not capable of writing their proposal or convincingly expressing their ideas) DSIR has established 11 TePP Outreach cum Cluster Innovation Centre (TOCIC) across the country.
The job of the TOCIC is to provide all the help and support to these innovators to ensure that their proposals are at par with the requirements of the scheme.
Currently, TOCICs are IIT-Guwahati, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Kanpur, SPMVV, Tirupati, University of Madras, Chennai, College of Technology an Engineering (CTAE), Udaipur, CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat, CSIR- CGCRI, Kolkata, CSIR-CSIO, Chandigarh; CSIR-NAL, Bangalore and Gujarat State BioTechnology Mission (GSBTM), Gandhinagar.
Under the PRISM scheme, DSIR will provide technical, strategic and financial assistance for idea development, prototype development and pilot scaling, and patenting.
The grant is given in two phases: Phase I and Phase II, catering to both the initial innovation stage and the advanced enterprise setup phase through the TOCIC, which is available throughout India.
The grant amount in Phase I is around Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh, while for Phase II, the maximum grant is up to Rs. 50 lakh.
More importantly, the Intellectual Property (IP) generated under this scheme completely belongs to the innovators, which is again a big differentiator as compared to other schemes of the government.
Huge synergy exists between our work at the Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell at AICTE and PRISM scheme.
We organise multiple national innovation initiatives like Smart India Hackathon, Yukti, Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC), etc.
Smart India Hackathon has now evolved into the world’s biggest open innovation model while through Yukti-2.0, we are trying to systematically assimilate information about innovative technologies having commercial potential developed by major higher education institutions in India.
Our Institution’s Innovation Councils (IIC) are now established in more than 2,000 institutions and are helping these institutions establish innovation ecosystems.
So, now my team is helping the PRSIM team in identifying great projects which we have identified through our various our national innovation initiatives.
To conclude, I believe that considering our emphasis on Atma-Nirbhar Bharat, initiatives like PRISM have tremendous potential in generating rural livelihoods, inclusive innovation and socio-economic benefits.
They will also help alter the techno-socio-economic landscape of our country and help impress upon our people that we Indians can create wonders and should not rely on the western world to offer solutions to our problems.
We need to tell the world that India is just not a country with 1.3 billion mouth to feed, but a country with 1.3 billion minds and 2.6 billion hands capable of creating wonders.
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