NITI Aayog grant

The Govt. of India has been pushing the Indian companies to lessen their dependence on imports by advocating for Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-sufficient India).

The think tank of the govt., NITI Aayog announced on 9 September 2020 that the govt. will give a grant of US$ 68K (50 lakh rupees) to startups or MSMEs (Micro, small and medium enterprises) that solve any of the 15 challenges posed by NITI Aayog.

Three challenges each have been announced by five ministries – Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  under Department of Space, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Food Processing Industries as per the sectors they operate in.

“The MSME sector plays a very critical role. It’s a vibrant sector, it’s one of the fastest growing sectors and it plays a critical role in Atma Nirbhar Bharat which is being envisioned by the honourable PM,” said R Ramanan, the mission director of the Atal Innovation Mission.

Each challenge will have two winners and each of them will receive the grant. The grant will be given in three tranches. Only those projects will be selected that are in their advanced stage of research and development or have a prototype.

The list of challenges posed by various Ministries for startups and MSMEs to address are the following:


  • Propulsion: Green propellants, electric propulsion and advanced air-breathing.
  • Geo spatial information: Using ML/AI useful in crop monitoring, weather forecasting, and program evaluations.
  • Robotics/AR/VR: To support space exploration and outer space monitoring.

Ministry of Defence

  • AI-based predictive models: AI-based predictive maintenance of plant machinery.
  • Auto stabiliser system: Design and development of latest technology auto stabiliser system as form, fit & function (FFF) replacement of existing auto stabiliser system.
  • Communication modems: Wide band HD data communication modem with 4G automatic link establishment data throughputs of the order of 120 kbps.

Ministry of Food Processing Industries

  • Waste to wealth: Effective utilisation of commercial food processing industry waste streams.
  • Alternative food packaging materials: Against the use of single use plastic — materials from food waste to bio-sources.
  • Machines for indigenous food products: Optimised processing conditions and machinery for bulk production of native Indian products.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

  • Health data analytics: Use of data analytics to identify early breakout of epidemics based on the historic curve and data.
  • AI solutions: AI-based solutions for antimicrobials resistance (AMR) surveillance.
  • Health care monitoring: Monitoring the logistics of cold chains in immunisation program.

Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs

  • Project water: Water pressure sensing systems to monitor leakage, illegal activity and help manage planned pressure in water supply lines.
  • Project clean air: Development of smart technology to reduce pollution through construction dust by at least 25%.
  • Project move: Development of usable smart technology to create a real-time mobility decision support system for Indian cities.


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