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Maker Village here has been selected by the Union government as a centre under its SPARSH programme which aims at strengthening the agriculture sector through affordable technological interventions and addressing pressing social problems like air pollution.

The selection, which comes as a huge recognition for Maker Village, would offer greater opportunities to the hardware startups incubated by the facility in their journey from ideas to market-ready products, a press release said on Monday.

Maker Village said it would shortly sign the SPARSH (Social Innovation Programme for Products: Affordable & Relevant to Societal Health) agreement with Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), New Delhi, the release said.

As the country’s largest hardware deep tech incubator, Maker Village has been assigned with the twin task of developing cutting-edge solutions to combat air pollution and help strengthen technological solutions in agriculture within a time-frame of three years, it said.

The scheme shall be operated in two cycles of 18 months each.

The first cycle would focus on developing agriculture technologies and the second cycle on solutions for combating environmental pollution.

The selection gives a golden chance to our startups that are into the areas of pollution control and agritech to get selected for immersion and subsequent development of solutions, said Maker Village CEO Prasad Balakrishnan Nair in the press release.

Also Maker Village is poised to host social innovators from outside the eco system, he said.

Beyond the finacial support, SPARSH centre will immensely benefit the startups with deep expertise provided by the mentoring network and the immersion partners,” he added.

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The SPARSH centre scheme is piloted by the Central governments BIRAC, Department of Biotechnology under Ministry of Science and Technology.

The SPARSH centre would create a unique platform to leverage emerging deep technologies for successful social innovation.

The 2013-launched SPARSH has a component called Social Innovation Immersion Program that is into creating a pool of social innovators.

Through SPARSH centres, they would identify the needs of communities and come up with innovative products and services.

The social innovators are selected after a thorough scrutiny of detailed project proposals. The selected ones must complete the product design and come up with the model within the first 16 months. Their final report should be submitted within 20 months.

The approval for the SPARSH centre comes closely on the heels of the selection of Maker Village as a partner for the defence innovation organisation under the innovation for defence excellence of Ministry of Defence.

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