Defence Planning Committee Formed

The government formed a new thinktank, called the Defence Planning Committee (DCP), to reform the process of higher defence planning and national security strategy. The Defence Planning Committee, under the chairmanship of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, will not only formulate national security strategy and defence strategy but also supervise foreign deals in the defence sector.

While supervising the defence procurement, the high-level panel will take a longer view of acquisitions.

The committee will operate through four sub-committees: on Policy and Strategy, Plans and Capability Development, Defence Diplomacy, and Defence Manufacturing Ecosystem. The government has attempted to overcome the problems of coordination between various ministries on national security by bringing the Foreign Secretary and Expenditure Secretary into the formal planning process of Defence Ministry.

While supervising the defence procurement, the high-level panel will take a longer view of acquisitions and how they fit into current and future scenarios. The committee, which will be a permanent body, is formed to make defence planning and strategy a more integrated and forward-looking process so that security priorities can be defined. The panel will examine “ways and means” across ministries to strengthen defence capabilities.

The idea to create an institutional mechanism for higher defence matter had been under consideration for some time but was not gaining traction. However, post the budget 2018, the three service chiefs and defence ministry officials worked together to get it implemented.

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Annual Community Day

ATLs across the country throw open doors to neighbourhood schools & NGOs

Atal Tinkering Labs, under the Atal Innovation Mission of the NITI Aayog, were envisioned as innovative maker spaces, set up across India, in every school, accessible to every child. Equipped with modern technologies to help navigate and impart crucial skills in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the ATLs are at the vanguard of the promoting scientific temper and an entrepreneurial spirit in children today.

The ATL Community Day initiative is an effort to spread awareness as well as engage the local communities in the neighbourhood of an Atal Tinkering Lab, to come and experience the exciting new world of science and future technologies. The Annual Community Day was held across India, over the course of April 13 – 16, with the larger theme of Ambedkar Jayanti, which was celebrated on April 14. AIM has selected more than 2400 schools in 2017 for establishing Atal Tinkering Labs.

As the world grapples with evolving technologies, a new set of skills have gained popular acceptance and have come to be in high demand. For India to contribute significantly during this age of rapid technological advancement, there is an urgent need to empower our youth with these ‘skills of the future’.

Computational thinking, Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, design thinking, advanced robotics – to name a few – are becoming increasingly relevant today. And Atal Tinkering Labs have evolved as epicentres for imparting these ‘skills of the future’ through practical applications based on self-learning. Bridging a crucial social divide, Atal Tinkering Labs provide equal opportunity to all children across the spectrum by working at the grass root level, introducing children to the world of innovation and tinkering.

The students undertook sessions in Design Thinking and Hands-on Learning activities, which composes of the basic elements of the first Atal Innovation Mission integration module for the Atal Tinkering Labs. The sessions were conducted by trained mentors, teachers and Atal Tinkering Lab students who have completed the Atal Tinkering Lab modules. Innovation for all, by all, peer-to-peer learning mixed with expert guidance and enthusiastic mentors.

Tinkering is to explore, experiment and step beyond your textbooks. Tinkering is to identify problems and create solutions. Tinkering is to try and try again. Tinkering is all about learning and sometimes, failing too. Students are free to explore ideas across sectors like aerospace, medical diagnostics, clean energy, clean water, biotechnology and many more in ATLs. Young student teams from ATL’s in Puducherry and Kolhapur, Maharashtra have been innovating new ways to generate electricity from sewage water. This is one innovative idea. There are more such innovations, ideas, patents waiting to be realized in young minds. ATLs will create many more such young student innovators across every Indian district, and initiatives like ATL Community Day not only amplify the impact but have the potential to effect transformational change at the societal level.

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