New Delhi, December 2023.

 Leading Indian Public Policy Think Tank Centre for Knowledge Sovereignty (CKS) and Esri India Technologies Pvt Ltd, an industry leader in end-to-end Geographic Information System (GIS) solutions, today joined hands to launch the ‘Master Mentors Geo-Enabling Indian Scholars’ (MMGEIS) program in the country. The program targets students from 8th grade to undergraduate levels and aims to make India a global skilling and innovation hub for geospatial technology.  The program will also work towards fostering a strong IP framework to enable more patents from India in its journey towards becoming a global geospatial innovation hub. The MOU was signed by Shri Vinit Goenka, Secretary, Centre for Knowledge Sovereignty and Shri Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India, in the presence of Shri Kiran Kumar, former Chairman of ISRO here today.

With the aim of enabling up to 1 lakh students per year, the program is designed to spread geospatial awareness at the school and college levels and set the stage for next-generation geospatial research and innovationby mentoring promising students under the guidance of leading scientists and innovators like Shri Kiran Kumar, former Chairman of ISRO; Dr K J Ramesh, former Director General of IMD and Shri. Girish Kumar, former Surveyor Generalof India. The program will tap pan-India talent through a comprehensive process and will provide students with vision talks and interaction with Master Mentors, one-on-one mentoring by expertsand interactive activities. The pilot project is being launched in January2024, and the full-fledged program will be rolled out from June 2024.This is also in line with the focus of the National Education Policy (NEP) on experiential learning and applying information to real-world circumstances.

Shri Vinit Goenka, Secretary, Centre for Knowledge Sovereignty, highlighted, “A skilled mentor has the power to significantly enhance a student’s life. When we conceived MMGEIS, our intention was to extend this idea and offer students a platform to develop skills that would shape them into thought leaders. Through MMGEIS, we aim to nurture the personal growth of students by fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Ultimately, our goal is to establish a robust foundation that inspires our children to become innovators and make meaningful contributions to the development of our nation.”

Shri Agendra Kumar, Managing Director, Esri India, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration and stated, “We’re delighted to join hands with the Centre for Knowledge Sovereignty on this significant initiative. GIS technologies are poised to play a critical role in India’s development trajectory with applications across sectors like Urban Planning, Natural Resource Management, Agriculture and Land Records, Disaster Management and others to improve the lives of citizens. The MMGEIS program reflects our shared vision to empower school and college students to think spatially, innovate and

create intellectual property in the geospatial space. This will play a crucial role in achieving our goal of making India a developed country by 2047 and enhancing India’s presence on the world stage.”

Shri AS Kiran Kumar, Member, Space Commission and Former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), shared his views, “The introduction of the Master Mentor Geo-Enabling program marks a significant step in India’s journey towards becoming a leading innovator. We anticipate this initiative will lead to a surge in patents filed by young Indians, showcasing their creativity and the program’s effectiveness. These patents, expected to cover a range of fields from environmental solutions to technological advancements, will highlight India’s growing stature in global arena.”

The MMGEIS program is designed to nurture students’ spatial thinking from an early age to enable them to develop the capacity to analyse and interpret spatial data, ultimately leading to the generation of innovative solutions and the creation of new intellectual property. The initiative shifts geospatial innovation to significantly enhance India’s future standing on the innovation index, stimulating intellectual property creation and, in turn, driving economic growth and societal progress.