IIT, NIT students to brainstorm at 'Smart India Hackathon'
The brightest minds from IITs, NITs and other premier institutes will soon be racking their brains for 36 hours to come up with out-of-box tech solutions for problems faced by various Union Ministries.

In a first, Prakash Javadekar led Union HRD ministry is planning to hold a unique ''Smart India Hackathon 2017'' in January-February next year, which would reach out to 30 lakh students from all technology institutes in the country. "It would be the world''s largest event," official sources told PTI.

Smart India Hackathon is a 36 hours non-stop digital programming competition during which student teams will compete to offer innovative solutions for any given problem statement, sources said.

"And the aim of this initiative is to harness the creativity and technical expertise of young minds studying in technology institutes to think out of the box and come up with innovative and disruptive tech solutions for some of the daunting problems faced by our nation," a senior official said.

Sources said that recently, Higher Education secretary in the HRD ministry V S Oberoi, had written to his counterpart in other ministries asking them to assign officers to identify around 30 problem statements which are of relevance to them so that they can be put to the contestants.

"Already nearly 26 ministries have expressed willingness to participate in this unique contest which would be held simultaneously at 33 centres," an official said.

The HRD ministry has also roped in All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and another body i4c for the event in which prize-winners will get lucrative cash rewards.

"There could be a range of problems from those being faced at panchayat level to those at the level of the Centre. This exercise would help involve youth in finding solutions for these," a senior official said.

The first prize will include a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh while there will be lucrative prizes for the second and third position holders as well, it is learnt.

The initiative is in line with the Modi government''s focus on digital technology and involving youngsters in tackling challenges being faced by the country, sources added.