New Delhi: Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, today launched one of its most awaited programmes, the Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges, to spur applied research and innovation in Indian MSMEs and start-ups. The programme will be driven by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), four ministries Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Food Processing Industries; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and associated industries to facilitate innovative solutions to sectoral problems. Speaking at the virtual launch of the initiative, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari said, \u201cMSME is the growth engine of the country and there are a lot of expectations from them. I am sure this initiative will help identify and promote innovations necessary for boosting this sector.\u201d Recalling Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi\u2019s vision of focusing on scientific research, he added, \u201cScience should help solve socio-economic problems and scientific research should be extended from the labs to the land.\u201d Agreeing with the Hon\u2019ble Minister, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar said that the initiative will help promote technopreneurs who deserve to be supported because of their immense potential of taking India forward. \u201cThis is a historical day as crucial personalities from the science and technology sector have collaborated with us for boosting the MSME sector,\u201d he said. The Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE\u2013ANIC programme will support deserving applied research-based innovations by providing funding support of up to Rs 50 lakh for speedy development of the proposed technology solution and\/or product. \u201cOther than ISRO, which is a great promoter of technology, Indian departments and big companies never encourage and promote new start-ups that have done unique work. For ARISE-ANIC\u2019s success, the government must become the first buyer. I am sure AIM will be able to break new grounds with these challenges, which will lead to the creation of new Indian products,\u201d added NITI Aayog CEO Shri Amitabh Kant. While it is essential to have science and technology advancing products, it is equally important to have an opportunity to procure those products, said Principal Scientific Advisor Prof. Vijay Raghavan. \u201cGovernment policies have changed dramatically over the years to allow this to happen. Now it needs to permeate across state governments\u2019 procurement mechanism and Indian-made products given a chance to go to market. I assure our fullest support to ARISE on the scientific domain,\u201d he added. Being a crucial part of the ARISE-ANIC initiative, ISRO Chairman Dr K. Sivan said, \u201cISRO has extensively supported the MSME sector. I am sure that there are a number of startups and MSMEs that require handholding to transform their ideas into viable products and with this initiative, we look forward to achieving this goal.\u201d AIM Mission Director Shri R. Ramanan added that MSME is a vibrant and one of the fastest-growing sectors that will undisputedly play a crucial role in attaining the PM\u2019s vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. \u201cThe fifteen Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE challenges are a pioneering initiative to stimulate Make-in-India innovations in the associated MSME start-ups\u2019 sector and a unique opportunity to make advanced research and development ideas market viable, and field-deployable MSME products that can be procured by the government,\u201d he concluded.