New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the finalists of the Smart India Hackathon 2020 through video conferencing on Saturday (August 1). He also spoke on the National Education Policy (NEP).

The hackathon is being organised by the HRD ministry’s All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Persistent Systems and i4c.

While interacting with the students, PM Modi said that holding a competition in these circumstances was a big challenge but the students solved it and he added that he is curious to learn from students.

The prime minister appreciated a finalist who has planned to prepare a rainfall prediction system. Modi said that this step will be a great help to the farmers.

Applauding another student who was working towards reusable and biodegradable sanitary napkins, Modi said that the government is providing a sanitary pad at Re 1 and the reusable sanitary napkin will be a great help for the girls.

Modi also asked a student from MLR institute whether he can create a real time tracker and alert system in schools, offices and police control rooms for women and children.

Impressed by MLR institute, Modi said that he will ask people of IPS Training Institute in Hyderabad to call them as the team mainly focussed on helping the police personnel in crime reduction.

He also said that the New Education Policy (NEP) was drafted after discussing with people from all sectors for the last five years. He added that NEP aims to transform the education system according to the interests of the students. The new education policy is people centric and future centric, PM Modi said.

“The 21st century is the era of knowledge. This is the time for increased focus on learning, research, innovation. And, this is exactly what India’s National Education Policy, 2020 does,” PM Modi said.

He added, “This policy wants to make your school, college and university experience fruitful, broad-based, one that guides you to your natural passions.

“India’s National Education Policy reflects this spirit. We are shifting from the burden of the school bag, which does not last beyond school. To the boon of learning which helps for life. From simply memorising to critical thinking.”

Talking about the most exciting things of NEP, PM Modi said, “Among the most exciting things of the policy is the emphasis on interdisciplinary study. This concept has been gaining popularity. And, rightly so. One size does not fit all. One subject does not define who you are.

“This will ensure the focus is on what the student wants to learn. Rather than what the student is expected to do by society. Interdisciplinary studies gives you control. In the process, it also makes you flexible.”

PM Modi said, “National Education Policy is big on access to education. Starting from primary education. In higher education, the aim is to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio to 50% by 2035.”

The grand finale of Smart India Hackathon 2020 (Software) is from August 1 to 3. This year, over 4.5 lakh entries were received for the competition. Among the 4.5 lakh around 10,000 students have reached the grand finale round in the Smart India Hackathon.

The hackathon is a nationwide initiative to provide students with a platform to solve some of the pressing problems people face in daily lives, and thus inculcate a culture of product innovation and a mindset of problem-solving.