SIH was launched on Nov 9, 2016 for crowdsourcing innovative solutions to real-world governance problems from students and providing an opportunity to citizens to directly participate in solving a variety of problems facing India today. The event is organised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is a ‘Premier Partner’.
AICTE arranged 26 awareness workshops across India, along with multiple online training sessions. As part of SIH, 29 government ministries and departments, posed 598 problem statements to 3 million students from recognised technology and engineering institutions across India.
Sample problem statements from the Ministry of Railways (top) and Ministry of Rural Development (bottom)
A total of 7531 responses were received from over 2100 institutes. The maximum number of responses were received for problem statements from AICTE, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Out of these, 1266 were shortlisted for the finale. A few examples of the shortlisted ideas: Inventory management of lost and found items at Airports, Tool for online career counseling – A Machine Learning Approach, Solution Proposal Towards The Problem "Secure distribution of restricted documents outside the organization", interactive Application mapping pin codes of entire country, app similar to taxi-hailing applications for calling ambualnce sharing location and updating nearby hospital, Implement secure data transfer using steganography (concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video).
During the 36-hour event, over 10,000 youngsters, with 6 students & 2 mentors per team, are working to build products/ solutions.
The winners will receive a cash prize of INR 100,000 (~USD 1543), while the first and second runners-up will receive INR 75,000 and INR 50,000 respectively. They will get the opportunity to be part of of National Association of Software & Services Companies’ (NASSCOM) 10,000 Startups programme.( Around 500 entrepreneurs selected under this programme will be eligible for funding ranging from INR 2.5 million to INR 20 million through leading angel investor networks of the country. Selected start-ups will also be offered 3 to 4 months of incubation at leading incubators of India, along with co-working space at affordable cost. They will also be provided with a startup kit worth INR 1 million comprising of business tools from Microsoft, AWS and Google.)
Intellectual property (IP) of the idea would belong to the college/institute and the team members jointly. The government institution for whose problem statement they are working will consider adopting the solution (they will be able to use it for free), after further exploration and development to productise, in collaboration with the selected teams.
The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi addressed the participants through video conferencing on April 1. Saying that the government does not and cannot have solutions to all problems, he stressed upon the importance of citizen participation, calling it the true essence of democracy. Citizens’ responsibility goes beyond casting a vote once every five years to participating in pro-actively seeking solutions.