With an ambition to empower innovators and entrepreneurs across the country, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog has come up with a first of its kind Vernacular Innovation Program (VIP), which will enable innovatorsand entrepreneurs in India to have access to the innovation ecosystem in 22 scheduledlanguages by the Government of India.
To build the necessary capacity for the VIP, AIM has identified and will be training a Vernacular Task Force (VTF) in each of the 22 scheduled languages. Each task force comprises of vernacular language teachers, subject experts, technical writers, and the leadership of regional Atal Incubation Centers (AICs).
To get the program rolling, AIM NITI Aayog is launching a train-the-trainer program where it will collaborate with the Design Department of IIT Delhi to coach the VTF in design thinking and entrepreneurship and the adaptation of these subjects in the 22 languages and cultures. Furthermore, industry mentors have joined hands to lend design thinking expertise, and CSR sponsors have agreed to generously support the program. Upon training the task force over the period of December 2021 to April 2022, the ecosystem will be opened to vernacular innovators.
Launching the VIP, Vice Chairman NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar said, India derives its identity from the diverse social and cultural fabric with regional languages being one of the most prominent cultural assets.
“Vernacular Innovation Program strengthens the design and innovation capabilities of our communities, thereby assisting local entrepreneurs, artisans and innovators to seamlessly assimilate the knowledge cum technical materials that AIM will develop. This would assist India in building a strong local network of design experts and innovation practitioners,” he said.
Speaking during the launch, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said, the program will be a stepping stone in the journey of the Indian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem which will cement the cognitive and design thinking attitude in young and aspiring minds.
“This one of its kind initiative by Atal Innovation Mission, will help in overcoming the barriers of language and empower innovators in the farthest areas of the country,” He said.
VIP is an initiative to lower the language barrier in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship such that will systematically decouple creative expressions and languages of transaction said Dr. Chintan Vaishnav Mission Director AIM, NITI Aayog at the launch event of the program.
Dr Chintan further said, the struggle of not being able to expose one's idea or innovation to the world is quite important to address, especially in India with its great diversity of languages. The VIP has a national audience owing to the magnitude of the problem that vernacular innovators face.
Quoting the 2011 census, he said only 10.4% of Indians speak English, most as their second, third, or fourth language. Not surprisingly, only 0.02% of Indians spoke English as their first language. Ten years later these numbers are not likely to be very different. “Why shouldn’t we then create equal opportunity for the vernacular innovators who represent the staggering 90% of our population. After all, we know for sure that this excluded population, no matter which Indian language they speak, is at least as creative as the rest,” he stressed.
India may be the first nation in the world to launch such an initiative where an innovation ecosystem catering to 22 languages plus English is being built. By providing access to learning in one’s language and culture, AIM looks forward to enriching the local, regional, national and global innovation pipelines.