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NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations)


During a recent Rajya Sabha session, the Minister of State for Science and Technology emphasized the NIDHI program’s diverse aspects. They stressed its role in boosting innovation, aiding startups, and fostering the incubation ecosystem nationwide.


  • NIDHI, launched in 2016 as part of the Startup India initiative led by the Prime Minister, is a key program by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in India.
  • Initially allocated Rs. 500 crores, NIDHI covers everything from idea generation to market implementation, supporting a wide range of stakeholders like entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, mentors, investors, and others in the innovation ecosystem.


  • Foster creativity, risk-taking, and problem-solving among youth to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Support startups in scaling and sustaining through access to funding, mentoring, incubation, networking, and other essential resources.
  • Tackle complex societal and economic issues by harnessing technology-driven solutions with positive impacts across multiple sectors.
  • Enhance India’s economic competitiveness by increasing its innovation capacity and facilitating wealth creation.

NIDHI has eight components that address different stages and aspects of startup creation and growth:

  1. NIDHI-PRAYAS: Offers grants up to Rs. 10 lakhs and access to Fab Labs for innovators to prototype their ideas.
  2. NIDHI-EIR: Provides fellowships up to Rs. 30,000 per month for one year to full-time startup entrepreneurs.
  3. NIDHI-TBI: Supports the setup and operation of TBIs, offering infrastructure, mentoring, networking, and training to startups.
  4. NIDHI-SSS: Grants seed funding up to Rs. 1 crore to TBI-incubated startups for product development, validation, and scaling.
  5. NIDHI-Accelerator: Backs accelerator programs providing intensive mentoring, coaching, and exposure to investors and customers.
  6. NIDHI-CoE: Aids in establishing and enhancing CoEs as innovation and entrepreneurship hubs across various sectors.
  7. NIDHI-GCC: Organizes competitions and grand challenges to discover and reward innovative solutions to societal problems.
  8. NIDHI-SPICE: Facilitates the development of a supportive policy environment for innovation and entrepreneurship at national,


  • NIDHI inspires young people to think innovatively and become entrepreneurs, paving the way for a future filled with creative ideas and solutions.
  • It supports startups, building a strong entrepreneurial community that not only boosts the economy but also creates job opportunities and wealth.
  • NIDHI tackles tough societal and economic issues with technology-driven solutions, leading to real progress in key areas.
  • By promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, NIDHI boosts India’s competitiveness globally, making it a dynamic player on the world stage.
  • It brings together academia, industry, government, investors, and mentors to collaborate and drive innovation for everyone’s benefit.


  • Awareness and Outreach: NIDHI’s impact is limited by a lack of widespread awareness, highlighting the need for strategic outreach to engage potential beneficiaries effectively.
  • Mentorship and Expertise: Shortages in experienced mentors, experts, and trainers hinder effective startup nurturing, emphasizing the importance of initiatives to bridge this expertise gap.
  • Coordination and Standardization: Without standardized processes and cohesive coordination among stakeholders, NIDHI’s seamless functioning faces challenges that require attention.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Inadequate mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation hinder the measurement of NIDHI’s progress, necessitating improved systems for fine-tuning initiatives.
  • Market Access and Investor Connectivity: Startups’ difficulties in accessing markets and attracting investors underscore the need for efforts to facilitate these connections and opportunities.
  • Regulatory and Policy Environment: A supportive regulatory and policy framework is crucial for startups’ growth, highlighting the importance of efforts to create a conducive ecosystem.

Way forward

  • Launch targeted awareness campaigns across various media platforms to ensure potential beneficiaries are well-informed about NIDHI’s offerings and benefits.
  • Develop mentorship and training programs aimed at cultivating a qualified pool of mentors, experts, and trainers to provide enhanced support to startups.
  • Establish a unified framework to promote coordination and standardization across NIDHI’s components and stakeholders, facilitating streamlined operations.
  • Create a transparent and rigorous monitoring and evaluation system to enable data-driven decision-making and continual improvement of NIDHI’s activities.
  • Forge strategic partnerships to provide startups with access to markets, customers, and investors, thereby accelerating their growth trajectory.
  • Collaborate with policymakers to simplify regulatory processes and create a conducive policy environment that nurtures the startup ecosystem.


NIDHI serves as a dynamic force for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in India, serving as a crucial hub for cultivating imaginative thinkers. Despite encountering obstacles, its diverse strategies offer the potential to convert concepts into influential enterprises. Through encouraging partnerships among academia, industry, and emerging entrepreneurs, NIDHI lays the groundwork for economic development and societal progress. Sustained backing, flexibility, and a commitment to inclusivity are essential for unlocking NIDHI’s complete capabilities and propelling India towards a more innovative and prosperous tomorrow.

Read Also: Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023 (GSER 2023)

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