National Innovation Foundation (NIF), an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, organized the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards 2019 function on 30 November 2019 in which 21 students from 9 States and Union Territories were awarded for their 18 ideas and innovations for the IGNITE 2019 competition. In the current edition, the annual competition saw over 60,000 submissions from 544 districts of all the states and Union Territories of India.

Giving away the awards at NIF Gandhinagar campus in Gujarat, former President of India Pranab Mukherjee appreciated the efforts of NIF in the promotion of innovation in the country. He urged the students to follow the path of “creative thinking” as shown by Mahatma Gandhi and called upon them to “internalize the mantra of 3 I’s- Impatient India, Innovative India, and Inclusive India”.

He pressed upon the innovative minds of the country to keep trying, trying again until the time when efforts result in the success of an endeavour.

An exhibition to showcase the prototypes of all award-winning ideas by the young, creative minds was also organised at the event. These prototypes have been developed by the engineering team at NIF which will also file a patent in the name of the children.

Students exhibits showcase how the spirit of scientific inquiry imbibed in children can develop ideas and transform lives.

These students once again proved that the secret of all triumphs lies in the ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance.

For instance, Padmashree G, a 6th Standard student of GKHPS Doddabompalli, who hails from a poor family of remote village-Keeramande, Kolar district of Karnataka, a younger sibling of her parents, after receiving the national award for her idea “Expandable food plate”, described her experience as confounding. She said, “My responsibility towards invention raised much more now and my friends are very much enthusiastic to work with me in new projects.”

The idea struck her mind at the age of 11 after noticing that most of the children find it difficult to eat with lunch box comfortably and also carrying plates while on educational tours.

She visualized a food plate which can be compressed /folded when not required and expanded whenever required. She also suggests writing health-related advisory at the back of the plate for people to read. An additional objective of the invention is to provide a portable and convertible food container which is made of food-grade material and quality has a good locking and sealing property, airtight, and leak proof.

In future, she wishes to join Indian Armed forces and serve the country. She gave all the credit to her parents and teachers for her success, especially to her science teacher who always motivates students to participate in competitions like this and also to NIF. “I’m grateful to National Innovation Foundation for giving such a platform to exhibit my idea. Right now our idea is in the prototyping phase. We are planning to make it more feasible and desirable,” she added.

Speaking to The Statesman, class IX student Sidhant Kumar of Nalanda district of Bihar described his experience as encouraging. “I never thought I will be able to reach this far. This has inspired me to do a lot more in the field of innovation and can present my idea in front of the world,” he said. He has received the award for his idea “Easy cleaning water tank”.

Environment conscious Sidhant, son of a farmer, said, “Rainwater harvesting should be done by everyone in order to save water in every house. We waste lots of precious water while cleaning water tank as well as time and sometimes it becomes difficult to clean as dirt gets settled at the bottom over a period of time”.

“In order to easily clean the water tank, if the base of the tank be made inclined or slope towards a point in the tank, the dust particles in the water tank will be accumulated at that point, from where unwanted particles can be taken out through a gateway” he explained. He wants to become the superintendent of police and serve society.

Another winner, Archit Aryaman, a ninth standard student studying at Army Public School Narangi in Guwahati, Assam was awarded for his innovation “Quick finger duster for whiteboard”.

He said, “I feel to be ignited after winning ignite award. By winning this competition I am at my peak of confidence and highly motivated to move ahead and I want to become a researcher in life to explore the unexplored in the world”.

His idea is to have a small duster attached to a person’s hand to erase some minor mistakes while writing on the whiteboard, thereby keeping the hands safe. He got this idea when he was attending regular tuition classes one day. He saw his teacher rubbing small mistakes on the whiteboard with his naked hands. Later, he was consuming food without washing his hands which is very harmful and greatly affect one’s health as marker inks are poisonous.

The most eye-catching invention came from Vishwa Goswami, a UKG student from Gandhinagar, Gujarat who gave the idea of “Plate with inbuilt detachable glass”.

It is difficult to carry a food plate and a glass of water/drink together using one hand. If both are carried separately then both the hands get occupied. Having observed this in many functions, she suggests having an inbuilt glass in a food plate so that both can be held/carried together using only one hand. The glass, which would be fitted in a slot on the food plate, can be detached and used whenever required. She likes reading books and dancing in her free time and wants to become a teacher.

Vinisha Umashankar, a class 8 student from Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu has designed a “Mobile ironing cart” which uses solar panels to power a steam iron box. This can be powered by pre-charged batteries, electricity, or diesel-powered generator in the absence of sunlight. The most important benefit of solar ironing cart is that it eliminates the need for coal for ironing. The vendors can move around and offer services at the doorstep for increasing their daily earning.

Vinisha, has an inquisitive mind, likes science and technology and looks at things in a different way. She wishes to become a scientist and invent useful products which can improve the living standards of people, increase their comfort level, and make them happy.

Another student Swadha Krishn of class 7 of Bengaluru invented “Modified broom with dust collector for cleaning the ceiling”. She noticed that while cleaning the ceiling with a broom, the dust falls on the person cleaning and on the ground. The idea is to have a broom with an inverted umbrella-shaped attachment for collecting dust so that dust doesn’t fall on the person or ground and can be easily collected.

Among other innovations, Innovative shading tool for drawing by Raktim Das from Kamrup Assam and Fast drying shoes by Devjit Prasad Majhi of Khordha, Odisha are worth to mention.