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State Additional Chief Secretary Debashish Sen on Saturday said that “rent-free space’’ would be provided by the government to innovators “for churning out big ideas and designing innovative models.” Speaking at a conference on ‘Innovation 2017 – Next Big Idea’ organised by the CII in Kolkata, Sen said, “The new Centre for Innovation at IT park in Bantala is currently being built for this purpose…This centre will involve top academics, scientists, industry members as mentors.”
Sen, who is the Additional Chief Secretary in the department of IT and Electronics, added, “The State IT and Electronics Department has prepared a blueprint, which will soon be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. The Centre is expected to be operational in the financial year 2018-19,” he said, adding that a screening process will be conducted for aspiring innovators which will be done by a team of experts at IIIT, Kalyani.
The team of experts will be headed by IIT-Kharagpur Director Prof. Partha Pratim Chakraborty. “Interested graduates will have to submit a short project report. The merit and quality of the report will determine selection. As per the government policy, the IT and Electronics Department will encourage projects that will be good for the common masses. The government’s vision is to improve the living standard of the common man,” said Sen.
The department will evaluate the performance of an innovator every six months and decide whether he/she can continue. “The government will also consider offering scholarships to the best and the brightest. Prof. David Gann, CBE, Vice President — Innovation, Imperial College, London, speaking at the conference said that “innovation is the driving force of any economy as well as society’’.
“For any country to progress, prosper and make an impact on world stage, it is important that all stakeholders come together and create a strong platform. Among the corporates too, large and small firms need to form an alliance to create a strong and enduring eco-system of innovation,” he added.
At the event, as many as 22 prototypes were presented by students from engineering institutes across the state. Some of the innovations included a portable insulin cooler, artificial intelligence wheelchair, on spot blood separator, plant algae and automatic rotating bridge, among others. Students Ankita Buniya and Deb Kumar Maity presented a ‘smart cap for the blind’ to ensure smooth navigation. Priced at approximately Rs 2,000, the smart cap has in-built sensors, which spread waves in the direction the person is going by scanning 4-5 meters. As the obstacle is detected by the sensor, it sends the distance between the obstacle and the sensor, to the device which generates an automated voice in the earphone connected to the person’s ear so that he/she can move as per the information.
Sudipta Mondal, Pranibesh Mondal and Swarnendu Sen of the mechanical engineering department of Jadavpur University presented a portable air conditioner, which is an air-conditioned jacket. The students have built a small air conditioning unit to be used inside a shirt or a jacket.
The conference was organised by the CII in association with NITI Ayog with the primary objective of enabling stakeholders to have a closer look at the best global innovative practices. It was attended by funding agencies such as InQube Innoventures Private Ltd, Neoleap Business Ventures, Unitus Seed Fund, Precog Innovation.
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