New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved continuation of Atal Innovation Mission till March 2023. The objectives of the Mission are to create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country via interventions at school, university, research institutions, MSME and industry levels. The Mission shall work on its intended target of creating an innovation culture and entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country. This will be done by the Mission via its various programs. The intended targets that will be achieved by the Mission are establishment of 10000 Atal Tinkering Labs, 101 Atal Incubation Centers, 50 Atal Community Innovation Centers and supporting 200 startups via the Atal New India Challenges, a government release said. The total budgeted expenditure of more than Rs 2000 crore shall be incurred in the process of the establishment and supporting the beneficiaries, it said. The Mission has been set up under the NITI Aayog, in accordance with the declaration made by the Finance Minister in the 2015 Budget Speech. “Over the past years, the Mission has worked to provide an institutional mechanism to integrate innovation activities across the country. Through its programmes, it has brought innovation to lakhs of school children. The AIM supported startups have raised 2000+ Crores from the government and private equity investors and have created several thousand jobs,” a Cabinet release said. The programmes of the Mission cover 34 states and Union Territories with the goal of leveraging India’s demographic dividend by inspiring greater participation in the innovation ecosystem, it added.
Cabinet approves distribution of fortified rice
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the supply of fortified rice throughout the Public Distribution System in all states and Union Territories by 2024 in a phased manner, Union Minister Anurag Thakur announced on Friday. The entire cost of rice fortification (around Rs. 2,700 crore per annum) will be borne by the Central government as part of the food subsidy till its full implementation up to June 2024. The approval has been given under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman-PM Poshan and other welfare schemes of the government. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies are already engaged in procurement of fortified rice and nearly 88.65 lakh tonnes of fortified rice have been procured for the supply and distribution. Modi announced last year fortification of rice to provide nutrition to every poor person of the country to overcome malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in women, children and lactating mothers.