On the maiden edition of the Smart India Hackathon 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the participating students and aspiring innovators at Ahmedabad and across the 26 locations all over the country via live video conferencing.
“India is a youthful nation. The youth of India has come together with enthusiasm for this programme,” said Modi. According to Modi, there is a need to motivate youngsters to think innovatively and there should be conditions to promote and reward this kind of thinking.
Calling the true essence of democracy as ‘Jan Bhagidari’ (public participation), Modi said that the technology driven solutions can be arrived at if everyone works together.
Smart India Hackathon 2017, an initiative of Digital India, has a clear cut focus to get solutions to around 600 problems that have been identified by the 29 ministries and departments of the governments across states. From the initial response from around 7531 teams comprising around 42,000 students all across India, about 1266 teams comprising 10,000 students were shortlisted.
Modi touched upon some of the problems that have been presented to the finalists of the Smart India Hackathon. These include artificial intelligence, internet of things, 3D technology, disaster recovery management and more. According to Modi, the issues placed before the finalists are challenging, but also present them an opportunity.
“I have seen that a lot of our youngsters do not like monotonous work. But that in turn leads to smart and innovative thinking. I have also heard that youngsters ask many questions. This is a good thing. We need to get out of the rut and identify new ways of solving our problems. I am confident that the youth of India will find solutions that are quick and credible,” said Modi.
Modi said that a lot of youngsters of this generation prefer to be job creators rather than work for someone. “Keeping this potential of the New India in mind, the government has programs like Startup India”, said Modi.
Stressing on the need to provide quality solutions, Modi said that he is all for forward thinking and the youth should not just run after money, but try and find innovative solutions to the problems presented.
“When you are innovating you may face setbacks but do not let those setbacks lower your morale or dampen your spirits,” said Modi.
Modi also spoke to participants from Coimbatore, Nagpur, and other centres via live video conferencing.
One finalist from Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering in Nagpur expressed his team’s idea to develop an app like Uber or Ola, to help people quickly call up ambulance services in cases of emergency. “When accidents take place on the highway, the victims do not know the exact location or any landmarks. Our idea is to develop an app which will send the exact location to the ambulance driver who can easily track the victim and provide help,” said Atul Modi, the project leader from this team.
The Smart India Hackathon 2017 is an event which was kicked off at 8 AM on 1 April by Union Human Resources Department (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar in Mumbai. The event will go on till 8 PM on 2 April (for 36 hours), across India in 26 centres. This is evidently the largest hackathon arranged not just in India, but anywhere in the world, according to Javadekar.
The event has been organised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and in collaboration with i4c, MyGov, Persistent Systems, Nasscom.