Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Chintan Vaishnav to replace R Ramanan as Atal Innovation Mission director

With the Union government clearing the name of top socio-technologist Dr Chintan Vaishnav as mission director of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), the government’s flagship initiative under NITI Aayog is set to fast track key projects.

Vaishnav who is currently serving at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US is likely to assume charge later this month. Vaishnav, a PhD in technology, management, and policy from MIT will succeed Ramanathan Ramanan who has been leading AIM as its first mission director since June 2017.

Vaishnav, an engineer trained to understand and build large-scale systems, with both human as well as technological complexities in the past decade has been busy between teaching and research at MIT. He is also known for his knack to get the first-hand experience on rural complexities to building solutions that can overcome constraints fundamental to improving human conditions.

Vaishnav has also co-founded both commercial and non-profit organizations and advised startups, corporations, and governments on tackling challenges at the intersection of technology and systems, development, and public policy.

Meanwhile, AIM’s mission is to create and promote a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. Over the past four years, since its inception, AIM’s various initiatives have achieved notable successes.

So far, AIM has established 72,59 Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across 650 districts, providing over 3.5 million students access to emerging technologies. It has also operationalised 68 Atal incubators, fostering over 2000 startups, of which 625 are led by women. AIM selected 56 Atal New India and ARISE Challenge winners for product innovations with socio-economic impact, and initiated the establishment of 20 Atal Community Innovation Centres to spur community-centric innovations addressing the needs of rural India.

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