To promote innovation among students, the NITI Aayog will set up 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) by March 2019 covering all districts in the country, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Thursday.
Kumar's remarks came during an event showcasing top 30 innovations by school students which emerged out of the six-month-long nationwide Atal Tinkering Marathon conducted in over 2,000 such labs set up till now.
NITI Aayog had in December selected an additional 1,500 schools for setting up ATLs under the government's flagship programme Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) taking the total number of such labs to 2,441. Kumar said the government aims to increase the number of labs to 30,000.
The government think-tank had organised the innovation marathon to identify India's best student innovators across six different thematic areas including clean energy, water resources, waste management, healthcare, smart mobility and agri-tech.
While releasing a booklet on the eve of the National Technology Day featuring the top 30 innovations by students, mentors, teachers and schools, Kumar said if India continues on the path of innovation, a new era will come where India will become "an innovative society rather than an imitative society".
AIM Mission Director Ramanan Ramanathan said the top 30 teams were being awarded with several prizes including a three month-long Atal Tinkering Lab Student Innovator Programme (ATL-SIP) in partnership with industry and start-up incubators.
"The goal of the student innovator programme is to test the innovations in the community. Students will be trained on business and entrepreneurship skills, including intellectual property, effective communication, making an elevator pitch and so on," he said.
"Additionally, ATL schools will be offered a participation voucher to World Robotics Olympiad (WRO), which is a global innovation challenge," he added.
From over 650 innovations, top 100 were shortlisted based on novelty and prototype functionality, which were further shortlisted to 30 innovations.
Atal Tinkering Labs are innovation play workspaces for students between grade 8 to 12, stimulating innovations combining science and technology. Their aim is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in schools, universities and industry