Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has invited college students to suggest policy interventions for critical matters such as drought control, smart cities, transportation, rural education and more. This comes after the chief minister began to involve youngsters into the functioning of the state government through fellowships.

Through ‘Transform Maharashtra,’ an initiative launched by Action for Collective Transformation (ACT) — an organisation started by young socio entrepreneurs and aided by the state government — Fadnavis is seeking ideas to solve 11 socio-economic challenges that Maharashtra faces. The ‘Transform Maharashtra’ inter-collegiate competition was launched on December 26 last year and has had 11,500 students participating in 2,588 teams. Each team comprises five to six students.

Nidhi Kamdar, officer on special duty to the chief minister, said, “The winners of the competition will present their ideas to the chief minister. The government will see how these suggestions can be implemented, and also involve the team members in the process.”

The teams have to suggest policy measures that can be implemented across several of the state’s focus areas such as Swachh Maharashtra, drought control, smart cities, promoting start-ups in the state, rural education, zero corruption, empowering urban poor, improving mobility in cities, harnessing technology, citizens’ engagement in governance and digitalisation.

So far, the highest number of entries has been on ‘drought-free Maharashtra,’ ‘Swachh Maharashtra’ and ‘reforming rural education’ themes.

While teams from over 50 colleges across the state have submitted their entries, the College of Engineering Pune (COEP), Pune’s Sinhagad College of Engineering, and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai, have sent the maximum number of entries. Students from COEP have so far submitted 66 entries while there have been 55 entries from Sinhagad College and 54 from IIT, Powai.