India, US launch new initiative to fund innovators

India and the US have launched a joint initiative to fund grass root innovators to solve developmental problems, particularly in the areas of providing basic education and ensuring food security.

The joint initiative - Millennium Alliance - will also test technologies developed in India for providing cheap and effective solutions that could be deployed in other developing countries, particularly in Africa.

The focus sectors of the Alliance are basic education, water and sanitation, family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, agriculture and clean energy.
The Alliance will also leverage the rural innovations identified by the Honeybee Network of the National Innovation Foundation.

It would fund innovators in two stages - the first tranche of upto Rs 50 lakh to demonstrate financial, administrative and technical viability followed by an award of upto Rs 3.75 crore for implementing a project at a sufficiently large scale to allow for rigorous impact testing. The funds will be provided in the form of a grant, debt or equity or a combination thereof.

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