In order to realize PM Modi's ambitious initiative 'Startup India', Department of Science & Technology (DST) has committed Rs 500 crores. With its programmes DST aims to bring both speed and scale to transform the Startup ecosystem in the country and has committed Rs 500 crore to implement these new programmes in next few years.

This was announced by Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan, while addressing the media here yesterday.

The Minister also mentioned that various successful and high growth stories in affordable health care, diagnostics, and applications of unmanned aerial vehicles, renewable energy, and service oriented online platforms and payment gateways have emerged out of these incubators.

NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations), a Rs.100 Crore program to support startups in India, is pioneered by the DST for nurturing ideas and knowledge-based and technology-driven innovations into successful startups.

NIDHI focuses on building a seamless and innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem especially by channelizing youth towards it and thereby bringing in the positive impact on the socio-economic development of the country. The program aims to provide technological solutions not only to the pressing needs of the society but also targets to create new avenues for wealth and job creation.

There are eight components of NIDHI that support each stage of a budding startup from idea to market. The first component PRAYAS (Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring Innovators & Startups), launched on September 2, 2016, aims to support innovators to build prototypes of their ideas by providing a grant up to Rs.10 lakhs and an access to Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab).

The final component is the Seed Support System which provides up to Rs 1 crore per start-up and is implemented through Technology Business Incubators.

So far, DST has established more than 100 Technology Business Incubators in academic and R & D institutions of repute. These institutions include IITs, IIMs, NITs and other institutions. Each of these incubator is focused on a technology domain and all of these combined together house more than 2000 startups currently and offer a total incubation space of approximately 7 lakh square feet.

Ten more incubators to be supplemented with Seed Support Systems for startups include Startup Oasis-Jaipur, Amrita TBI -Kollam, Venture Center, NCL -Pune etc. establishing a Research Park at IIT Gandhinagar . In addition, a variety of other new programs including a fellowship programme for entrepreneurs -- Entrepreneurs in Residence, scaling up of startups through accelerator program and women empowerment through entrepreneurship.

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