The Smart India Hackathon 2019 Grand Finale which saw the most innovative students from all over India competing for the final prize was held on March 2-3, at Chitkara University, Punjab, followed by a live interaction with Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi.

Smart India Hackathon, an initiative by MHRD Innovation Cell at the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi, was a non-stop 36-hour software product development competition, where problem statements are modeled to technical students for innovative solutions. The initiative is perceived as a building block for ‘Start-up India’ campaign, crowdsource solutions for improving quality of life, and providing an opportunity for the people to provide innovative solutions for problems faced by our country. Chitkara University had been selected as one of the 48 Nodal Centres for the grand finale, and a total of 26 student teams from all over the country converged at the University for the event.

The first two editions SIH 2017 and SIH 2018 were successful in promoting innovation, out-of-the-box thinking in young minds, especially engineering students from across India. This year is the third edition of the event. AICTE and MHRD had collaborated with i4c, Persistent Systems, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, UGC, NIC, MyGov and other multi-national companies to organise Smart India Hackathon-2019.

The inaugural function, held on March 2, at Chitkara University witnessed domain experts, senior professionals from the IT sector and those assigned to judge, in full attendance. The lamp lighting ceremony was initiated by Guest of Honour, Wg. Cdr.(Retd) RS Gill; Dr. Archana Mantri, Pro-vice-chancellor, Chitkara University; Dr. S C Sharma, Registrar; Mr. Deepak Chobey, Rep, AICTE. Dr. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE; and Shri Prakash Javadekar addressed the participants, through video conferencing. During his VC address, HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar motivated and urged the participants to ‘become owners of innovation’. “A country which does not innovate, cannot progress forward,” he said.

Day-1, of the non-stop 36-hour software product development competition, started with Hackathon participants working on creating world-class solutions for problems formulated by Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd, Mahyco, Adani Power and MSME-DI, Ahmedabad. The participants worked on challenges faced within these organisations and created world-class solutions. SIH 2019 included themes such as Smart Communication, Smart Vehicles, Agriculture and Rural Development, Food Technology, Healthcare & Biomedical Devices, Clean Water, Waste Management, Renewable Energy, Robotics and Drones, Security and Surveillance, technology ideas in tertiary sectors like Hospitality, Financial Services, Entertainment, Tourism and Retail.

Dr S S Sandhu, Addl. Secretary, Technical Education, MHRD; Dr Mohit Gambhir, Innovation Director, MHRD Innovation Cell, Govt. of India; and Mr R K Soni, Regional Officer, AICTE, Chandigarh; visited Chitkara University, Punjab, to overview the preparations and proceedings of Smart India Hackathon 2019. They met with Hon’ble Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Vice-Chancellor, Chitkara University; and also sat through the interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The highlight for the day was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with Chitkara University students and participants of SIH, using VC facility. The PM discussed India’s daunting problems thus providing opportunities to crowdsource innovative solutions from

the bright young citizens of India for improving governance and quality of life. The Prime Minister said, “As per global innovation index I want to see India in top 50 in the world, and I am delighted to see how young minds are using technology for making difference to peoples’ lives.”

His interaction with Chitkara University focused on IoT and AI enabled solutions for agriculture problems. He specifically discussed how these technologies can help farmers increase crop productivity, avoid wastage and economize the use of water and fertilizers. He was particularly impressed by the innovation such as Bhugoal (local weather prediction using low-cost IO applications for farmers) and E-deweeder (automatic farm traversing machine killing weeds without the use of chemical fertilizers) innovated by students of Chitkara University. He further encouraged the students to harness their creativity and expertise, which would further lead to building a funnel for ‘Startup India’.

Day-2 of the event saw the participants continue the non-stop 36-hour software product development competition, coding with superb enthusiasm! The event concluded with a glittering valedictory function, where prizes were distributed in three categories – In the ‘Complex’ problem-solving category, Team Cybor from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, cracked the problem, “Virtual reality training program” for the Adani Group; Team JAPNAS from Dr. Vishwanath Karad Mit World Peace University, cracked the problem, “Video Analytics software” for the Adani Group; and Team Agronomists from Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology, cracked the problem, “AI Solution for Farmers” for RCF. All three teams bagged Rs 1 lakh, each, as the prize money. In the ‘Complicated’ problem-solving category, Team Backstreet Hackers from Vellore Institute of Technology cracked the code for “Market Databank Generation and Sharing Platform” for MSME-DI Ahmedabad; Team Clay from Vellore Institute Of Technology cracked the code for “Integrated Crop protection Management” for RCF. Both teams bagged Rs 75,000, each, as the prize money. In the ‘Simple’ problem-solving category, Team NEPER fromC.V.Raman College of Engineering worked on “Crowdsourcing of diseases and pests information” for Mahyco; and Team Versatile from Vidya Academy of Science & Technology worked on “Farm to Fork traceability of Farm Produce” for Mahyco. Both teams bagged Rs 50,000, each, as the prize money. Vice Chancellor Dr. MadhuChitkara, on behalf of the Industry and MHRD, gave the prizes to the winners.

The judges for the event included Mr. Aashish Barwale, Mahyco, Director, and team including Dr Harikrishna, Mr. Arjun Jagtap, Mr. Mahendra Patil, Mr. Anand Deshpande and Dr Pankaj Biyani; Mr. Rajesh Deoli and Mr. VarunBhavsar, both from Adani Group, Ahmedabad; Mr. Dhananjay Kulkarni, RCF, Mumbai; Mr. Deepak Chaubey, AICTE; Mr. Chetan Sharma, Assoc. VP, TT Consultant; Mr. Shivam Arora, Team Leader, TT Consultant; Mrs. Sunita Mehta, HoD CSE, Chandigarh College of Engg. & Tech., Chandigarh; Dr. Pradeep Walia, Prof., HoD, Comp. Appl. PG College for Girls, Chandigarh; Mr. Amit Dogra, ORION E-Solutions; Mr. Gagandeep Singh, Sr. Consultant, Infosys Ltd., Chandigarh; Mr. Gaurav Goyal and Dr. Sheifali Gupta from Chitkara University. The participants were evaluated according to the novelty of the idea, complexity, clarity and details in the prescribed format, feasibility, practicability, sustainability, the scale of impact, user experience and potential for future work progression. The prize money and rank was accorded on the level of complexity of the innovation idea.

Thanking all the participants for making the event a success, Dr. Madhu Chitkara, said, “I am overwhelmed to see the building of new India at the hands of the young innovative minds. This generation not only thinks positively but also possesses the knack of finding ‘never-

thought-of’ solutions to industry problems. This is a great initiative by MHRD and AICTE, as it has brought brilliant minds to the forefront, breaking barriers of geographical boundaries. Chitkara University is extremely happy and privileged to be involved in this event.”During the valedictory function, the sponsoring industries and jury members from local academic institutions were also honoured for their contribution in evaluating the teams.