Govt looks to higher education to boost economy

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. PTI

Modi government has come up with an ambitious plan to promote startups and entrepreneurship among higher education students and faculty members in a big way, hoping to enable India achieve the target of becoming 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024.

To set the ball rolling, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has formulated a new national policy for innovation and startup to be “suitably” adopted and implemented by all higher education institutions.

“India aspires to become 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024. To reach the mark, it needs to evolve systems and mechanisms to convert the present demographic dividend into high quality technical human resource capable of doing cutting edge research and innovation and deep-tech entrepreneurship,” the National Student and Faculty Startup Policy 2019 noted.

The policy document, which envisions an educational system that is oriented towards startups and entrepreneurship opportunities for student and faculties, was released by Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on Wednesday.

“Higher educational institutions should encourage research for the development of such products and techniques which are commercially viable and can be introduced in the market,” the minister said.

Underlining that innovation was the most important requirement in building “a new nation”, he said it will not only explore talents but also improve the economy of the country and create new employment opportunities

This comes at a time when the HRD ministry is working on a proposal to bring about drastic changes in the curricula of all non-technical and non-professional undergraduate programmes so as to make 20-35% of their course content vocational.

The policy guidelines provide for developing entrepreneurial agenda in the higher education institutions, managing intellectual property rights (IPR) ownership, technology licensing and equity sharing in startups or enterprises to be established by the students and the faculty members.

“Minimum 1% fund of the total annual budget of the institution should be allocated for funding and supporting innovation and startups related activities through creation of separate Innovation Fund,” the national policy provides.

“All higher education institutions are advised to create facilities within their institution for supporting pre-incubation, incubation and acceleration facilities by mobilizing resources from internal and external sources,” the policy guidelines stipulate.

The incubation-cum technology commercialization unit’ (ITCU) should be a separate entity registered under the Company Act or under the Society Registration Act with an independent governance structure.

“This will allow more freedom to incubators in decision making with less administrative hassles for executing the programs related to innovation, IPR, and startups. Moreover, they will have better accountability towards investors supporting the incubation facility,” the national policy provides.

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