UPSC MAINS 2019: Cabinet approves Continuation of Atal Innovation Mission

Cabinet approves Continuation of Atal Innovation Mission


Topic: Cabinet approves Continuation of Atal Innovation Mission


Cabinet approves Continuation of Atal Innovation Mission


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved Continuation of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), and for incurring expenditure up to Rs. 1000 crore till 2019-20 by Atal Innovation Mission for expanding Atal Tinkering Labs to 10,000 schools in view of their huge success at school level.



  • AIM has multiple programs to encourage and support innovation in the country.
  • State of the art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) are being established in thousands of schools, world class Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) and Atal Community Innovation Centers (ACIC) are being established for universities and industry,
  • Promotion of product development in areas of national relevance and social importance is being supported through Atal New India Challenges (ANICs).


Financial implications:

  • Each ATL receives a grant in aid of Rs. 12 lakhs in the first year, and upto 2 lakhs per year for subsequent 4 years, for maintenance of the ATL equipment and operational expenses.
  • Each selected AIC would be receiving grant in aid upto Rs 10 crore over 3-5 years in tranches per year, based on review and evidence of planned milestones reached.
  • Innovators will receive commercialization and technology deployment grants upto Rs. 1 crore under the ANICs.



  • The Mission has undertaken many bold and forward-looking initiatives such as Alal Tinkering Labs (ATL) and Atal Incubation Centres (AIC), which have received great traction;
  • Many Ministries/Departments of Government of India have initiated innovation related activities with the help and technical support of AIM.
  • Under the ATL program, more than 10,000 schools are expected to establish these labs by 2020.
  • More than 100 Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) are likely to established around the country, supporting at least 50-60 startups each over the first five years.
  • More than 100 innovators/startups are expected to receive some support for productizing their innovations.
  • Other programs being supported through Ministries will have even more beneficiaries.
  • Each incubator is expected to foster 50-60 technology driven innovative Startups every four years.
  • The 100+ Incubators set up would thus foster 5000-6000 innovative Startups and this will multiply with new incubators being set up.
  • The potential for employment generation from these innovations driven Startups is quite high.



The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country.

AlM’s objectives are to create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country at school, university, research institutions, and MSME and industry levels.


More about on Atal Innovation Mission:

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is Union Government’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • AIM is mandated to create an umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.
  • AIM envisions the creation of a collaborative ecosystem, where students, teachers, mentors and industry partners work to facilitate innovation, foster scientific temper and an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs), Atal Incubation Centre and Established Incubation Centre will take the innovations to the market and a network of incubators will help create enterprises around these innovations.
  • So far, AIM has already announced selection of 2441 schools across India to establish ATLs covering 93 percent of the total districts in India and 98 percent of the upcoming smart cities.



The Atal Innovation Mission has following two core functions:

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.


Implementation framework:


Atal Tinkering Laboratories



  • With a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.
  • The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.



  • The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds and inculcate skills such as design mind – set, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing, rapid calculations, measurements etc.
  • Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand what, how and why aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).


Key Features of ATL:

  • ATL is a work space where young minds can give shape to their ideas through hands on do-it-yourself mode; and learn innovation skills. Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
  • ATL would contain educational and learning ‘do it yourself’ kits and equipment on – science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers.
  • Other desirable facilities include meeting rooms and video conferencing facility.
  • In order to foster inventiveness among students, ATL can conduct different activities ranging from regional and national level competitions, exhibitions, workshops on problem solving, designing and fabrication of products, lecture series etc. at periodic intervals.


Financial Support:

AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.



  • Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society to set up ATL.
  • The applicant school would have to provide at least 1,500 Sq. Ft. of built up space. Applicant schools from hilly / Himalayan and island states, UTs would have to provide atleast 1,000 Sq. Ft. of built up space.
  • The existing facilities for meeting rooms and video conferencing among others can be used to supplement the laboratory.


Atal Incubation Centres:



  • AIM intends to support the establishment of new incubation centres called Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) that would nurture innovative start-up businesses in their pursuit to become scalable and sustainable enterprises.
  • The AICs would create world class incubation facilities across various parts of India with suitable physical infrastructure in terms of capital equipment and operating facilities, coupled with the availability of sectoral experts for mentoring the start-ups, business planning support, access to seed capital, industry partners, trainings and other relevant components required for encouraging innovative start-ups.
  • AICs would be established in subject specific areas such as manufacturing, transport, energy, health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation etc.


Objectives of the Scheme:

  • The objective of the scheme is to promote and establish world class incubation centres in specific subjects/sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation etc. in India.
  • These incubation centres would support and encourage innovative technology based start – ups that have an application and/or impact in the core sectors of the economy.
  • The incubation centres would provide the start – ups with necessary guidance , tech support, infrastructure, access to investors, networking, and facilitating a host of other resources that may be required for the start – up to survive and scale.


Expected Functions of the AICs:

  • Assist the incubatees in creating a sustainable, scalable & profitable business model
  • Provide physical infrastructure and value – added support services
  • Create a strong network of mentors who would provide sector specific knowledge & real world practical guidance
  • Conduct events and inspirational programs
  • Provide trainings and mentorship to entrepreneurs
  • Forge partnerships and networks with academia, industry, funding sources, existing incubators and others for the start – ups to leverage.
  • Enable access to prototyping facilities, test beds, markets, and pilot implementation for the product /services.
  • Build a strong team with adequate knowledge and experience in guiding start-ups, building business plans, facilitating investments, building networks etc.


Features of the Scheme:

  • The applicant pool for the scheme include a wide category of entities, such as higher educational institutions, R&D institutes, corporate sector, alternative investment funds registered with SEBI, business accelerators, group of individuals, and individuals. The applicant would have to provide at least 10,000 sq. ft. of ready-to-use, built-up space, for the exclusive use of the AIC.
  • AICs can be established by one or more collaborating entities.
  • AICs are encouraged to focus on a limited number of areas, which align with their core strengths.
  • The AIC should have up to a maximum of three primary sectors of focus. To access an illustrative list of sectors, click here.
  • Successful AIC applicants will be required to incorporate a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), either a Section 8 company or a private limited company registered under the Companies Act, 2013.


Financial Support:

AIM will provide a grant-in-aid of upto Rs. 10 crore for a maximum period of 5 years to cover the capital and operational expenditures to establish the AIC.


Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges

  • To promote technology driven innovations and product creation for social and commercial impact.
  • Atal New India Challenges / Atal Grand Challenges are being launched in specific areas and sectors of national importance – such as Renewable Energies, Energy Storage, Climate-smart precision agriculture, Universal drinking water, Swaach Bharat, Transportation, Education, Healthcare using Robotic, IOT technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Block-chain, Augmented and Virtual reality, Battery Technologies etc.
  • The successful applicants will get a grant of upto Rs 1 crore for Atal New India Challenges and larger grants of upto Rs 30 crores for Atal Grand Challenges.
  • AIM is also partnering with corporates and other institutions to launch such challenges to stimulate new product and service development in various sectors.


Industry, Academia, Government, Global Collaborations:

  • To enable a vibrant ecosystem of innovation, AIM is promoting active collaboration between Government, Academia, Industry, Individuals and Societal focused NGOs.
  • AIM has set up one of the largest Mentoring networks in India called Mentor India from the professional and industry community who can help mentor students at Atal Tinkering Labs and AIC Incubators / startups.
  • Qualified mentors will be assigned to various AICs.
  • A number of industry leaders and corporate organizations have volunteered to adopt ATLs/AICs in their vicinities to ensure close mentoring and success of these initiatives.
  • AIM is also actively working on establishing collaborations with innovation systems and entities in other countries in APAC, Europe, UK, USA, Africa and Latin American Countries.


Sample Question:

Discuss how the Atal Innovation Mission initiative will promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

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