Entrepreneurship and innovation are two constituents which go hand in hand for shaping the economy. To promote the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India, established Atal Innovation Mission in 2016 with the focus of developing a world-class entrepreneurial system and created platforms at two levels- School Level & University Level. Under Atal Innovation Centre’s, the Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) were instituted which would look into the implementation of the programs related to promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship culture. AIC aims at providing world-wide environment through incubation facilities providing the required infrastructure and equipment’s to the potential start-ups by mentoring their business plans. It was set up by NITI Aayog- National Institution for Transforming India.
Looking into the need of encouraging innovation among the young generation, Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) were formed. Over the last 4 years, AIM launched Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) programs in schools with a goal to nurture and encourage curiosity among young minds between grade 6th to 12th across the country through new technologies and tools, such as Internet, 3D printing, rapid prototyping tools, robotics, miniaturized electronics and many more. Under ATL schools get shortlisted and are made responsible to conduct various activities which would encourage children to think and bring innovative solutions through the technologies available to them.
The basic need for Tinkering Labs is resource building hence human resource and logistical resources are its pillars. When students at young age show their curiosity towards new ideas and innovation, it motivates the schools to increase the pools of these resources with diversity and inclusivity. The scheme offers grant-in-aid up to Rs. 20 lakhs to selected schools for the purpose of setting up the labs. It is mandate on the schools that they are supposed to use the given funds for a specific period within the maximum period of 5 years. The bifurcation of the funds goes as Rs.10 lakhs are to be used for the capital expense and the remaining amount for operational and maintenance expenses.
The Atal Tinkering Labs enables children to shape their ideas through hands-on do-it- yourself mode. Young minds are provided opportunities to work with tools and equipment understanding the concept of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Several range of activities from regional and national level competitions, exhibitions, problem-solving workshop, designs, lecture series etc are conducted by ATLs.
Today ATLs have been established in 87% of the districts, resulting in establishment of 5000 laboratories across country. These labs are established both within private as well as public schools. More than 100 top companies in India as reported in 2013, as their CSR strategy have extended their support towards facilitating the Tinkering Labs at Schools.