In the present climate of innovation in India, there is support available for both R&D of ideas and commercialization of products, especially that which is provided by STEPs and TBIs promoted by NESTEDB of DST. However, the primary aim of the STEPs and TBIs is to tap innovations and technologies for venture creation by utilizing expertise and infrastructure already available with the host institution, be it an academic, technical, management institution, or a technology and research park.

There is a profound lack of support for early stage prototyping in the country, causing many innovators to lose interest in their ventures in the absence of support at that critical juncture. Even the seed funding mechanisms present in STEPs and TBIs, while in-house or government-supported, tend to focus more towards commercialization and the market side of venture, rather than on technology development, idea formation, proof of concept, prototyping, IPR and the remaining intellectual sides of the startups and clients of the incubators.

There is a definite need to address the gap in the very early stage idea/ proof of concept funding. PRomoting and Accelerating Young and ASpiring technology entrepreneurs (PRAYAS) is one of the 9 programs, specifically to support young innovators turn their ideas into proof-of-concepts. This support shall allow the innovators to try their ideas without fear of failure, hence allowing them to reach a stage where they have a ready product and are willing to approach incubators for commercialization. Hence NIDHI-PRAYAS can be considered a pre-incubation initiative and a source of pipeline for incubators.

Objectives of NIDHI-PRAYAS:

• To enable translation of an innovative idea to a prototype.

• To provide a platform for faster experimentation and modify approaches in the idea to market journey.

• To generate innovative solutions relevant to the local and global problems.

• To attract a large number of youth who demonstrates problem solving zeal and abilities

• to work on their new technology/knowledge/innovation based startups.

• To enhance the pipeline in terms of quality and quantity of innovative startups to the incubators.

• To build a vibrant innovation ecosystem, by establishing a network between innovators, academia, mentors and incubators.  

The PC shall be a place where innovative ideas are supported through physical infrastructure, technical guidance, business mentorship and a prototype grant for converting the idea into a prototype. A furnished and well equipped space of about 3000 sqft will be set up at the host TBI. The innovators would approach one of the PCs for seeking support under the programme. The PC would setup a transparent screening mechanism for selecting the innovators based on the potential of the idea/innovation. The selected innovators would get access to the infrastructure, prototype grant and mentorship.

A dedicated Fab lab is required to be set up in a PC to facilitate mechanical and digital fabrication in the event of a TBI/STEP not having such facilities and infrastructure. The Fab lab would enable innovators to go through a cycle of imagination, design, prototyping, reflection, and iteration as a part of process to find solutions to challenges or bring their ideas to reality.
Suggestive equipment in Fab Lab would generally include:

• Laser cutter that makes 2D and 3D structures

• Sign cutter that plots in copper to make antennas and flex circuits

• High-resolution numerically controlled milling machine

• PCB fabrication equipment

• Suite of electronic components, microcontrollers and programming tools for low-cost prototyping

• 3D Printer

• Essential design softwares

• Basic manufacturing tools

• Any other equipment for prototype building

The proper capacity utilization of equipment in the Fab Lab should be ensured by each PC. The charges of using the equipment and consumables specific to an innovator would be decided by PC and be would be built into the grant to be provided to the PC innovator. The condition and usability of the equipment in the Fab Lab would be reassessed at the end of five years for obsolescence and for possible replacement.

A total of 10 PCs will be approved each year and each PC shall supported for 5 years.

Grants allotted to PC:

• INR 1 cr Capital Expenditure for Fab Lab if facility is not present in the institute.

• INR 1 cr each year for grants to innovators (INR 10 lakh each for 10 innovators)

• INR 20 lakh each year For annual operations, management of Fab Lab including a dedicated team, technical experts etc, furnishing costs, I.P databases, consumables, utilities and administrative costs for management of PRAYAS program.

Max support to a PC over 5 years: INR 7cr (2.2cr in first year, 1.2cr in subsequent years)

The PMU of NIDHI-PRAYAS is the central agency in charge of the program, and is responsible for the smooth and timely functioning, vetting of proposals and grievance redressal.

The following is the list of duties of the PMU:

a) Maintaining the online portal which is being used for all tasks of NIDHI-PRAYAS

b) Screening of applications of PCs before forwarding them to PMC. This is to ensure that only complete and correct applications are reviewed by NSTEDB at the PMC Meetings

c) Organizing PMC Meetings biannually to review PC applications

d) Transfer of funds to all PCs and monitoring the utilisation

e) Monitoring of innovators listed by PCs, progress, utilization of funds awarded to them

f) Documentation of PC success and failures, innovators’ success and failures

g) Reporting all above data to PMC on quarterly basis

The PMU chosen by DST for NIDHI-PRAYAS is Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) IIT Bombay. For information about SINE, please log onto www.sineiitb.org


STEP 1 : TBI fills application form, including uploading scanned copies of relevant documents onto the portal. Forms will be accepted online till 25th September 2016 (00:00 hrs midnight).

STEP 2 : Printable application will be auto-generated. TBI will sign 2 copies of the printout and post the same with the additional documents to the following 2 addresses:

Ms Poyni Bhatt,
Chief Operating Officer,
Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,
3rd Floor CSRE Building,
IIT Bombay, Powai,
Mumbai 400 076

Mr HK Mittal
The Member Secretary,
Department of Science & Technology,
Technology Bhawan,
New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi 110 016.

STEP 3 : PMU will verify and forward completed applications to PMC. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

STEP 4 : TBIs with verified applications will be informed via email for presenting their case to the PMC.

STEP 5 : Approval for PC will be given by the PMC during a committee meeting in October. The decision of the PMC will be firm and binding.

LOGIN Creation » Registration » Verification of online profile by PMU » Verification of online profile by PMC » Mail hard copies to PMC and PMU » PMC Meeting » Approval

Application for funds: Once the approval for PC is given, the PC is allowed to apply for funds using their login.


Who is eligible to apply for PC? / What are the eligibility criteria?

STEPs/TBIs promoted by Government of India are eligible to apply under the Prayas Centers(PC). The STEP/TBI should have been in existence for at least 3 years. This limit of time period will not apply to entities created by the central government or state governments. Detailed eligibility criteria can be found here.

What is the procedure to apply for Prayas Centre?

Step 1 : Check eligibility criteria.

Step 2 : Create log in. Password will be sent via email

Step 3 : Log in using your PAN no, and password. Fill the application form and upload the requisite supporting documents. List of document can be found here.

Steps 4: Print 2 copies of the completed application form. Sign and Stamp the form and send one copy each along with the supporting documents to PMU and DST.

Step 5: Verified applications will be called for a meeting with PMC and the final decision will be conveyed

Our Incubator is a cell/part of Host Institute and is not incorporated as a separate entity. Can we still apply for a Prayas Centre?

Yes, incubators which are not incorporated as a separate entity can apply. However during the registration please include the details of the Host Institute.

What is the last date for application for Prayas Centre?

The last date for the online application of the first cycle is *25th September 2016.

The last date for sending the hard copies of the documents is *30th September 2016.

*Dates are subject to change.

I have completed the online application. What is the next step?

You are required to send one hard copy each of the signed and stamped application form and other documents (refer the list of documents) to the SINE, IIT Bombay and PMU. For more details refer section “Application Process”. Please send the hard copy documents by Courier or Speed Post.

What are the documents we need to send along with the application form?

For the detailed list refer “List of Documents” given in Application Process. The forwarding letter also has the list of documents to be sent.

Are there any application fees to be paid?


How will we come to know the status of our application?

You can view the status of your application on the dashboard (after logging into your account) which will appear after you have submitted the online application.

How will we be intimated about our meeting with PMC?

You will receive an email regarding the meeting schedule with PMC. The email will also include the details of the presentation/Executive summary to be prepared.

If our PC application is not approved this year, are we eligible to apply next year?

TBIs may apply again provided they meet the eligibility criteria

What is PMC and PMU?

The PMU is the program management unit, which is in charge of carrying out all tasks related to the Set up and Execution of the NIDHI-PRAYAS program. More details can be found here
The PMC is the Prayas Management committee, which is the body in charge of approving the prayas centres and monitoring the progress of the NIDHI-PRAYAS program including the utilization of funds by the Prayas centres, the quality of innovators and the overall management by PMU.



Kanan Dhebar – SINE

Prasad Shetty – SINE

Project Management Committee (PMC) Team

Chairperson :

Dr. A.S. Rao

Members :

Prof. C. Amarnath

Shri H. K. Mittal

Dr. P.K. Dutta

Prof. T. Prasad

Dr. Premnath Venugopalan

Ms. Poyni Bhatt

Prof. Ashok Banerjee

Prof. B. Ravi

JS & FA / Representative IFD,

Member Co-ordinator:

Shri Praveen Roy - DST

Ms. C.V. Krishnaveni – SINE, IIT Bombay


Department of Science & Technology [ DST ]

Department of Science & Technology (DST) was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of Science & Technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S & T activities in the country. Over the last forty three years, DST developed several streams that later established themselves as departments or even ministries with focused goals.

The DST serves as a nodal agency connecting the science sector to the Government verticals. The roles played by DST are varied and these evolved with time. DST is accordingly (a) Develops S&T policies, (b) Strengthens human resources and institutional capacities, (c) Enables development & deployment of technologies, (d) Creates opportunities for societal interventions through S & T & (e) Establishes and engages in mechanisms of cooperation, partnerships & alliances. These approaches that reflect its mission ensure a holistic systemic influence, immediate, medium and long term relevance/ gains. It enables cross cutting impacts across sectors to sustain growth/ development and synergies to optimize on time, human, institutional and financial resources.

The DST has consistently enabled transformational changes through appropriate responses and often non-participative roles. DST accordingly played the role of an extra mural research funding agency wherein competitive grants for research was provided to investigators based on technical merit. This system was in vogue for nearly three decades. DST also took cognizance of several changes in approaches around the world, over the years and evolved its own systems adapted to India’s needs. This resulted in some directional changes that evolved into proactive functions and participative actions. These are evident in DST’s robust facets including proactive identification of gap areas and development of new programmes and schemes, evidencebased approaches to define gaps / needs balancing competitive and development models, championing for larger resource allocations for science, expansion of stakeholder variety and base, interactions centered on value of stakeholder engagement, internal connectivity of various programmes, effective planning and coordination to optimize use and delivery of resources, gain a deeper understanding of local needs and establish a dynamic balance among three basic priorities of an integrated vision to synthesize equity, expansion and excellence in the science sector.

DST ensures a synthesis of the outcome of policies, plans, programmes and projects through appropriate forward and backward linkages. International S&T cooperation with friendly countries had become a national priority and DST was assigned the task. Thus, DST establishes strategically important systems / mechanisms to stimulate and foster excellence and leadership in scientific research and development. These are aligned with India’s developmental aspirations and will further help consolidate the niche it has established in several frontiers at the national, regional and global levels. 

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations [ NIDHI ]

National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) is an umbrella programme conceived and developed by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship division, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups. The programme would work in line with the national priorities and goals and its focus would be to build an innovation driven entrepreneurial ecosystem with an objective of socioeconomic development through wealth and job creation.

NIDHI aims to nurture start-ups through scouting, supporting and scaling of innovations. The key stakeholders of NIDHI includes various departments and ministries of the central government, state governments, academic and R & D institutions, mentors, financial institutions, angel investors, venture capitalists and private sectors. NIDHI is developed keeping in line the new national aspirations and on the basis of DST’s experience of three decades, in promoting innovative start-ups.

The key components of NIDHI are :

1. NIDHI-GCC - Grand Challenges and Competitions for scouting innovations

2. NIDHI-PRomotion and Acceleration of Young and Aspiring technology entrepreneurs (NIDHI-PRAYAS) - Support from Idea to Prototype

3. NIDHI - Entrepreneur in Residence (NIDHI-EIR) - Support system to reduce risk

4. Startup-NIDHI through Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs) in academic institutions; encouraging Students to promote start-ups

5. Start-up Centre in collaboration with MHRD; Inculcating a spirit of entrepreneurship in National Institutions of Higher Learning

6. NIDHI-Technology Business Incubator (TBI) - Converting Innovations to start-ups

7. NIDHI-Accelerator - Fast tracking a start-up through focused intervention

8. NIDHI-Seed Support System (NIDHI-SSS)- Providing early stage investment

9. NIDHI Centres of Excellence (NIDHI-CoE) - A World class facility to help startups go global

Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship [ SINE ]

Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) is a Technology Business Incubator (TBI) set up with support from DST, Govt. of India, hosted by IIT Bombay. SINE is a broad spectrum technology incubator, incubating startups from varied technology and science areas. Following the success of the alumni-funded pilot IT incubator at IIT Bombay (IITB), SINE was set as a society under Society Registration Act in 2004 with financial and infrastructure support from IIT Bombay and Department of Science and Technology (DST). The IT incubator was funded by distinguished IITB alumni- Nandan Nilekani and Kanwal Rekhi. SINE operates with functional autonomy with its own governing board which is equally represented by IITB members as well as Industry experts. The Director of IIT Bombay is the ex-officio chairman of SINE. A Professor-in-charge is the link between IITB and SINE. The current team managing SINE activities is headed by a Chief Operating Officer and a business team of 5 members.

Current Activities

SINE provides a 3-year incubation support to technology startups with linkage to IITB, comprising of the following:

⇒ Infrastructure:

» Dedicated office space: fully furnished, highly subsidized monthly rental.
» Access to IITB lab resources for tech companies for R&D and fabrication.
» Meeting rooms and conference room within SINE facility on pre-booking basis.

⇒ Funding: We have our own Seed Fund, and facilitate connections with Angel Investors / Venture Capitalists for further funding rounds.

⇒ Mentoring: Access to experts including IITB Alumni, SINE Alumni, Industry Experts, Fundraisers, VCs, etc. i.e. business and tech mentorship.

⇒ Retainer Services: Lawyers, CAs, IP attorneys, web hosting services, design companies, manufacturing, finance management cos, etc.

⇒ Events and Visibility:

» Lectures, workshops, etc. are organized by SINE in order for startup teams to learn crucial aspects such as Team Formation, Fundraising, Market Outreach, etc.
» Startups are encouraged to participate in various Tech and B-Plan competitions, fairs, expos, showcases, etc. to garner clients and investors
» Participation in events and competitions conducted by SINE and/or ecosystem partners

SINE gets over 130 applications each year, of which 5-6 startups are incubated. Some are enrolled in the Regular Incubation model described above. Virtual Incubation is provided for those startups who do not require an office space, e.g. app-based startups, or small teams. The support provided is the same, except office space, and revised consideration model. For startups at a very early stage (pre-prototype) who have not reached market stage, SINE provides a 3-6 months’ Pre-Incubation. All facilities of regular incubation are provided, except seed fund. In return for the support SINE charges a nominal rent, revenue share and small equity stake in each startup.

SINE has, over the past 12 years, incubated 82 companies, of which 28 are in the system and 39 have graduated successfully. About 26 startups are spin-offs of technology developed in IITB, while 24 have an active faculty involvement at either a cofounding or mentoring level. SINE has been self-sustaining since its first year and has earned over INR 3 crore in partial equity exits. For more information, visit www.sineiitb.org


Write to Us

Program Management Unit (PMU)

Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE)

IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai - 400 076, India.

Telephone no: +91 22 2576 7016

Email id : contact@nidhi-prayas.org