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All About Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2020 – Software Edition

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  • Last Updated : 19 Oct, 2020

Smart India Hackathon is a nationwide 36-hour Hackathon organized by the MHRD, Govt. of India. It started in the year 2017 and gaining huge success, it is now an annual event with SIH 2020 being the 4th edition. It is the World’s Biggest Hackathon having reached out to over 10 Lakh+ students across 7218+ institutes in India. There are 2 editions of this Hackathon: Software and Hardware, here, we discuss the Software Edition. 

All About Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2020  - Software Edition

From a top perspective it has the 3 main components: 

  1. Organizers: The MHRD Innovation Cell
  2. Problem Statements: By Central & State Ministries, Departments, PSUs, Industries & NGOs
  3. Innovators: The bright minds across the nation who come up with a solution to the problem statements

Process Flow

  1. Problem Statements submission by Central & State Ministries, Departments, PSUs, Industries & NGOs.
  2. Problem Statements (PSs) Finalized and displayed on the website.
  3. Registration of College SPOCs on SIH portal
    Single Point of Contact (SPOC) is the person (mostly a faculty member) who will represent the institute and carry out the registration process. The SPOC has to give a list of problem statements that the teams from the institute are interested to work on for the internal hackathon as well as the main event. SPOC registration started on 1 December 2019.
  4. Internal hackathon in College
    An internal hackathon was conducted in the first week of February within each institute to select the top 5 whose ideas will be presented at the National Level.
  5. Registering for SIH
    Team leaders of the shortlisted teams had to be registered in the SIH portal by the SPOC. Here, they had to submit their idea solution document for the problem statement they had chosen. Extended deadline 20 February 2020.
  6. SIH Grand Finale Teams Announced
    The list of the top 4-7 teams selected for each problem statement to compete in the SIH 2020 Grand Finale among all the colleges was published on the SIH website in the first week of March 2020. Congratulations! If your team name appears on this list, you have got a taste of victory at a national level competition.
  7. SIH 2020 Software Edition Virtual Grand Finale 
    Earlier scheduled to be conducted in the first week of April 2020, it got rescheduled to 1-3 August due to the COVID19 pandemic. Not just that, but it got converted into the virtual mode where all the participants worked with their other team members from their homes or other convenient locations.


Participating in SIH 2020


  • The first step is to get a faculty member from the college registered as the SPOC on the SIH portal. 
    The students selected in the Internal Hackathon can be registered on the SIH portal by their college SPOC only. Students cannot directly register themselves.

Team Formation:

  • A team of 6 members with one team leader.
  • At least one female team member.
  • All students should be from the same college. Inter-college teams are not allowed.
  • Students from different branches of the same college are encouraged to form a team.
  • Team Name should be unique and not contain the name of their institute in any form.

Working on Problem Statement:

Once the Problem Statements are out on the website, teams can start working on them and come up with their own ideas as solutions to the chosen problem statement. The college SPOC conducted an internal hackathon for the teams that submitted their ideas.

Student Innovation Category is an open category, where the teams have to address a real-time issue faced in India and propose an out-of-the-box digital or product development solution, under the mentioned technology bucket. This problem statement should be different from the ones listed on the portal. Only one team from each category (Software and Hardware) can register under this category from each college.

Internal Hackathon:

  • In the 2020 edition, to ensure the best teams from a college get selected, an Internal Hackathon was conducted in the first week of February 2020 within the college campus.
  • The SPOC along with another Jury member finalized a total of 5 best teams from this internal hackathon.
  • These 5 shortlisted teams from each college were selected to participate in SIH 2020 Hackathon – Software Edition.
  • For the selected teams, 4 problem statements can be from the ones listed on the portal & 1 can be chosen for the Student Innovation category.
  • This internal Hackathon had to be documented and details like details of the Judges and few photos, videos of the event had to be submitted along with the submission of ideas.

Submission of Ideas

The SPOC then register the teams selected from the Internal Hackathon on the SIH portal along with the following details:

  • Team Name
  • Name, gender, Email id, Mobile No. of team leader and all other Members
  • Chosen Problem Statement and its proposed solution with a title, description & presentation PDF.
  • College authorization letter

This registration process was open till 20 February 2020.

The names of the teams selected for the grand finale of the Software Edition were announced in the 1st week of March.

Selection Criteria

The proposed solutions are evaluated by experts on points like the novelty of the idea, complexity, clarity, detailed document, feasibility, practicability, sustainability, the scale of impact, user experience, and potential for future work progression.


Grand Finale

All the teams whose name appeared in this list qualified to participate in the Grand Finale.

Nodal Centers:

  • Usually, the Grand Finale is conducted at various Nodal Centers (colleges and universities) across India and the teams need to travel to the assigned Nodal Center.
  • Each nodal Center works with a few ministries/organization and their proposed problem statements are managed by that nodal Center.
  • They take care of the logistics, lodging, boarding, and are in contact with the team leaders, providing all the necessary details from time to time.
  • The shortlisted teams are also eligible to receive reimbursement for to and from journey via 2S (2nd Class sleeper) railway fare.

But, due to the 2020 pandemic, all the teams were asked to participate from their native places and the nodal centers had the responsibility to conduct the event completely online bringing all the stakeholders together on one common platform (for e.g. Slack) and conduct the required meetings via web conferencing.


  • The shortlisted teams have an option to select at most 2 mentors from the industry or academia.
  • A mentor is expected to have at least 4+ years of Industry/Academic experience to qualify as a mentor.
  • He/she is supposed to guide the team members before the grand finale to convert the idea into a working prototype.
  • They can work along with the members as a team to build the working prototype during the grand finale

Mentoring and Evaluation Sessions:

During the 36 hours long Hackathon, the teams work on converting their ideas into a working prototype. There are 3 mentoring and evaluation sessions each spread across 3 days. 

  • During the mentoring session the team members interact with the judges and representatives from the organizations gaining valuable feedback on the progress of their work and how can it be improved.
  • The evaluation session in the evening is the time when the teams give a presentation of their application and answer the jury’s questions.

Each team had a scheduled time slot of approx. 10-20 min for each of these sessions conducted via web conference.

For the final evaluation session, the teams had to give a complete walkthrough of their application developed during this hackathon and also submit a final presentation document. 
Teams had to give the vigilant officers access to the GitHub repositories they worked on during the hackathon. They were asked to commit their code every few hours to ensure that all team members were seriously working on SIH activities and making steady progress.


  • One winning team for every problem statement posted on the portal.
  • A winner would be selected and given the prize money only if the organization likes their idea. If they don’t like any idea they may not announce any winner.
  • Prize money for the winning team is Rs. 100000/- per problem statement.
  • In case of a tie, the final decision on prize money distribution will be taken by the problem statement creator alone.
  • Once a decision is made, it won’t be changed further.
  • For the Student Innovation category, there are 3-4 nodal centers and 3 teams from each center selected:
    • 1st prize: Rs. 100000 /-
    • 2nd prize: Rs. 75000 /-
    • 3rd prize: Rs. 50000 /-

What Next

  • Intellectual property (IP) of the winning idea would be split equally between the industry that gave the problem statement and the winning team or will be decided on the mutual agreement. More details on this here.
  • Selected ideas will be supported to be developed further so that industries/ government institutions will be able to utilize these ideas.
  • Efforts are being done to convert most of the winning ideas into startups, to support the government’s aim of creating more job creators than seekers.
  • Government has plans to conduct more international Hackathons and the teams winning in SIH Grand Finale will get the first preference for participating in these.

For More Details

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