With an aim to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the key sectors across India, the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) announced that it has received 6,708 applications for the Challenge Hunt under Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS) by Advancing Uninhibited Technological Intervention (CHUNAUTI). In August 2020, CHUNAUTI was launched by Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The program aims to identify around 300 startups working in selected areas and provide them with a seed fund of up to Rs 25 lakh and other facilities.

According to a report by PTI, the government has earmarked an amount worth Rs 95.03 crore over three years for the programme. About 1,820 applications qualified and 111 applicants were selected for the presentation round, a statement said. The consolidation of scores and the finalisation of results is underway. The final list of selected startups will be announced soon that will be incubated by STPI and be provided with stipends/seed funding and other facilities to set up their venture, it said.

The report said that maximum applications were received for edtech, agri-tech and fintech sectors (767), followed by jobs and skilling, linguistic tools and technologies and healthcare sectors at (312) and (308) applications, respectively. In terms of regions, Maharashtra leads the tally with 215 applicants followed by Uttar Pradesh (199), Odisha (138) and Madhya Pradesh (129).

"The initiative aligns with our vision to foster an innovative ecosystem for the development of indigenous software products. The selected startups will receive end-to-end support through financial assistance and mentorship that will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the key sectors," Omkar Rai, Director General of STPI, said.