A cash prize of up to Rs 30 crore for innovative entrepreneurs and setting aside 1 per cent of corporate profits to encourage out-of-the-box thinking are some of the proposals suggested by a NITI Aayog panel to the government.
Constituted by NITI Aayog, the panel was led by noted academician Tarun Khanna to suggest ways to promote innovation and build an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem to drive job growth.
“The panel is finalising its report and will soon submit the same containing detailed recommendations for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and contours of Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Self-Employment & Talent Utilisation (SETU),” a source privy to the development said.
“The panel has also given its detailed suggestions on structure of AIM and SETU explaining about the scope of role those will play in future.”
The panel has said AIM will seek inputs from ministries concerned, including Science and Technology, to vet the decision to run specific Grand Challenges (Award).
According to the panel, each challenge (award) should carry a prize of Rs 10-30 cr for achieving a specific target in a time-bound manner.
It also suggested that AIM should mark a portion of the prize money to place orders for products and services of the winners as it would help create a market for those products, bringing the innovations to life.
The panel is high on research and development, which it says can be financed by harnessing corporate funds.
Making out a case for linkages between large corporates and research bodies in universities to promote innovation, the committee suggested that one per cent of corporate profit be directed towards research labs in universities or industry-university collaborative research.
Providing tax sops to boost such investments by corporates, the panel thinks, can be one of the ways to transform universities into a breeding ground for new technology and ideas.
To boost the spirit of collaboration, it has mooted a ‘Make in Universities’ programme which would involve setting up 500 tinkering labs with one 3D printer per institute and trained people to operate the same.
The idea is simple. Corporates stand to gain as winning in such competitions would create brand value within the university.
The panel is also in favour of a percentage of corporate profit to be used for creation of corporate venture capital funds, subsequent investment in start-ups or incubators and tax credits against this. All contracts worth above USD 5 billion with foreign defence companies should include a clause for 5 per cent of the value to be used for setting up research-centric universities, it suggested.
The panel is of the view that these measures will allow India to develop a number of top-class research institutes with high-quality faculty within a few years and kickstart the process of industry-university collaboration in a meaningful way.
The panel also pitched for an increase in investment in business incubators with up to Rs 200 crore public spending per year and roping in private sector for the purpose.
Half of the Rs 1,000 crore under the SETU fund be spent in upgrading the system of incubators already in place in the country, it added.