Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said that scientific and innovative aptitude should be inculcated among children from initial stages of schooling.
Singh, while presenting the 8th INSPIREMANAK Awards at a virtual ceremony here, said innovation in science and technology has a bright future and it will make India self-reliant.
Innovative learning will also contribute to India's USD 5 trillion economy goal, he said.
While INSPIRE is the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research scheme, MANAK is Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge.
Citing India's prowess in launching as many as three vaccines besides developing a DNA-based vaccine in a short time to fight COVID-19, Singh said in the 21st century, a nation's economic power is determined by its scientific growth and related technological application.
In the times to come, India will reap the demographic dividend by grooming these young innovative minds and pooling their resources together, he said.
The minister said the INSPIRE scheme is helping create a scientific temper as every year there is an increasing number of aspiring students competing for the awards.
More than 3.92 lakh students from across the country submitted their projects this year, of whom 581 were shortlisted and 60 awarded, Singh said.
Over five lakh schools have been reached out under the MANAK awards since the scheme was launched. This proves that the phenomenon of grooming young Indian scientific minds is catching up, he added.
Singh said the ministry for science and technology will write to state governments and Union Territory administrations to sensitise them about the awards and awardees.
This will help inculcate a wholesome scientific and innovative aptitude and learning process from the initial stages of schooling, he said.
He suggested focusing on three different age group brackets below 25 years, 25-35 years and above 35 years -- for building a scientific mindset in the country.
The INSPIRE awards MANAK is a flagship programme of the government and is implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
In 2016 the INSPIRE scheme was revamped and aligned with the action plan for the Start-up India initiative launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Through MANAK students are encouraged from all schools, government or private, throughout the country, to send original and creative technological ideas or innovations focusing on common problems and come up with solutions on their own.
The shortlisted projects are also displayed at the National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC).
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