(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Make in India Catalysing Growth of Students and Youth
Make in India Catalysing Growth of Students and Youth
With India’s growth performance being fueled by the services sector, the growth rate of the manufacturing sector was lower than that of the overall GDP growth rate, resulting in the share of manufacturing in GDP stagnating at around 16%. Realising the macroeconomic importance of manufacturing (a large volume of employment opportunities were created outside the agricultural sector to provide an array of sustainable living opportunities for the expanding population) and the unconventional development path India was treading on, multiple initiatives were launched by policymakers. The National Manufacturing Policy was launched in 2011 followed by the ‘Make in India’ initiative to make the country not only ‘Aatmanirbhar’ but also job-rich.
- India, with its diverse population and rapidly growing economy, presents a mix of opportunities and obstacles for its youth. While the system is improving through a range of initiatives, significant challenges still exist on the axes of the education system, infrastructure, business environment, and society and culture.
- In the realm of education, the Indian system has faced criticism for its emphasis on rote learning and grades, rather than nurturing creativity and critical thinking. This has hindered the development of innovative thinking among students, stifling their potential to come up with novel solutions.
- Moreover, practical exposure remains limited, with a gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world applications. Many educational institutions lack access to advanced technology, practical training, and exposure to industries, restricting students' ability to apply their knowledge practically. Furthermore, India's investment in research and development falls short compared to other nations, hampering the growth of innovative ideas and technologies that could drive progress.
India’s Steps towards Nurturing Young Talents to Make in India
With the above challenges in context, there have been multiple efforts by the Government to solve these and provide a boost to the students to think about making, creating, tinkering, and solving the challenges in the country themselves.
Addressing the Challenge of Rote Learning
- The world undergoing rapid changes in the knowledge space and dramatic shifts in science and technology, it is important for the Nation to produce a skilled workforce. The rise of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will take over many unskilled jobs; hence, it is important to nurture the workforce better in mathematics, data science, computer science, etc. in conjunction with multidisciplinary abilities across social sciences and humanities.
- This led to the birth of the National Education Policy in 2020, which addresses the challenge of ‘rote learning’ faced by the Indian education system. This policy is aimed at not only recognising and identifying the unique skills and capabilities of each and every student but also promoting creativity and critical thinking, which are important to develop in students at a young age. It is through this policy that the curriculum and pedagogy will become more holistic, integrated, and enjoyable, which will then allow more youth to venture into the fields of research and development.
- The introduction of reforms in the education system is promoting experiential learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills and encouraging project-based learning, practical training, and collaborations with industries to bridge the gap between theory and application.
Instilling Behavioural Change at a Young Age
- With the aim of bringing about a mindset shift in students at a young age, the Government of India, through the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), established the Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL). These 10,000 labs established across India, with 60% coverage in government schools and 40% in private schools, are essentially maker spaces where students from 6th to 12th grade can bring ideas to life.
- The idea behind establishing these labs was to foster curiosity, creativity, and imagination amongst these young kids so that they could tinker using the do-it-yourself and get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Developing Infrastructure for Innovation and Access to Resources
- For any young innovator to traverse the innovation cycle, they have to travel through the entire process of ideation, prototyping, product development, redevelopment (according to customer needs), and patenting, which requires hand-holding support and mentoring.
- Through the Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) programme at Atal Innovation Mission, the Government has provided support for the establishment of new incubators that focus on nurturing innovative start-ups and helping them grow into scalable and sustainable businesses.
- To provide support to young innovators on their journey, the ‘Mentor India’ initiative was launched, wherein the students at the ATLs and startups at AIC can request support from professionals and academicians who are well-equipped with innovation, marketing, product development, patenting, etc.
Ease of Doing Business and Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
- Investment in innovation and R&D offers large payoffs in terms of economic growth and competitiveness in a global economy.
- The “Start-up India” initiative was launched with the aim of fostering entrepreneurship and promoting innovation by creating an ecosystem that is conducive to the growth of startups. In order to simplify the process of enrollment and compliance, multiple initiatives under this initiative have been undertaken, which have resulted in a boost to the spirit of entrepreneurship.
- Since then, the number of startups in the country has increased from 452 in 2016 to 84,012 by November 2022, which is relatively higher than the rest of the world.
Addressing Local Needs by States
- States in India also play a crucial role in implementing initiatives to support students and young innovators. Each state has the flexibility to design and implement its own programmes based on local needs and opportunities. These state-level initiatives may include additional funding schemes, incubators, skill development programmes, and innovation challenges specific to their respective regions.
- Various State Governments in India have also launched initiatives to support students and young innovators. For example, the Kerala Startup Mission, T-Hub in Telangana, and Gujarat Startup and Innovation Scheme have been successful in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation at the state level.
New Age of Make in India: Success Story
- India is a leading contributor to tech innovations, and we have added one more feather to the cap. The students from five different states of India, all of whom have established Atal Tinkering Lab, have developed an AI-IoT platform designed to regularly monitor the groundwater and effectively communicate the information not just to the authorities but also to the community.
- The platform has hardware (a cellular enabled, low-powered plug-and- play unit that checks for different water parameters and sends it to IBM Watson IoT Platform), and a dashboard, both connected via a backend on IBM Cloud. The team has won IBM ‘Code for Challenge’ and has been awarded USD 200k for deploying the system, having received more than 20,000 ideas from 180 different countries.
- Nine years of ‘Make in India’ represent a transformative vision that has set India on a path of economic resurgence and self-reliance. As we move forward, it is crucial for all stakeholders, including the Government, industries, educational institutions, and citizens, to collaborate synergistically to build a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive manufacturing ecosystem. By harnessing the collective potential of its people, resources, and entrepreneurial spirit, India can truly emerge as a manufacturing powerhouse, driving economic growth, generating employment, and contributing significantly to the world economy. With unwavering determination and continuous efforts, ‘Make in India’ can pave the way for a brighter, prosperous, and self-sufficient India for generations to come.