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Smart India Hackathon 2017: 10,000 students to develop digital solutions

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Hindustan Times | Sanjeev K Ahuja  |  New Delhi | Mar 24, 2017  |

Real-time monitoring of teachers’ attendance and GPS mapping of schools in rural areas could soon be a reality. About 10,000 engineering and management students from across the country would produce digital solutions for these problems in the form of mobile/computer applications and software programmes.  Drawn from 29 institutions, these students will digitally address at least 598 serious problems the people face on day-to-day basis.  The issues include geo-fencing of airports, online toll collection, smart/intelligent traffic management, cyber attacks, real-time monitoring of teachers’ attendance and of cyber attacks, smart drones to make airspace safer and title recognition system for marine animals.  Shortlisted from 42,000 students of 2,183 engineering and management colleges and universities from across India, these students in 1,266 teams will work nonstop for 36 hours to build products based on their ideas across 26 locations in India during the ‘Grand Finale’ of ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ April 1-2, the Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday.

“We have multiple prizes worth Rs 50 lakh for students, we hope the participating ministries will adopt many of the products developed during the Grand Finale. We also expect NASSCOM and other funding agencies like AICTE, DST, DBT and ICMR to select best ideas and support them to convert into start-ups,” Javadekar said. As many as 29 ministries have submitted their problem statements to the human resource development ministry. Ministry of road transport & highways (MoRTH) tops the tally with maximum 672 problem statements followed by department of defence & production (496) and ministry of railways (488). Ministry of HRD, the event organiser, has 360 problem statements whereas other departments include external affairs, steel, postal services, ISRO, NCPCR, etc.  Javadekar said people need good highways and don’t want to wait at toll plazas. “We are losing 1.5 lives every year in road accidents. We need to look at good and safe roads. Use of plastics in road construction could be one of the good ideas.” The HRD minister said ‘Smart India Hackathon 2017’ has been launched to build Digital India and to engage youth directly with nation-building.

About 30 different government departments/ministries such as ministries of railways, external affairs, steel, postal services, ISRO, NCPCR, are involved as partners.  “For the first time, government departments were directly engaging with students and challenging them to build digital solutions to improve their efficiency, plug revenue leakages and corruption,” Javadekar said. The ‘Grand Finale’ of Smart India Hackathon 2017 will be organised simultaneously across 26 different cities and the winners will get support for converting their ideas into startups apart from cash prizes.  The minister said through Smart India Hackathon we hope to create ‘world’s biggest open innovation model’ that other countries can replicate.  Javadekar said that the concept of Hackathon is still new in India, so AICTE has arranged 26 awareness workshops across the country to sensitise students about Smart India Hackathon 2017. These workshops helped connect students with problems of our nation. –  Courtesy


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