Historically, technology has always enabled a society to transform itself and help people lead a better life. Today, we are living in the times of the digital age, which is characterized by the role technology is playing in our day to day activities and communications. In the 21st century, people are more connected, inter-dependent on each other and are also collaborating to a greater extent, all thanks to technology. At the same time, Governments are also using technology to drive development and improve the well-being of its citizens. Initiatives such as Aadhaar, Digital Locker, Jan Dhan Yojana and the larger impetus on going ‘cashless’ and ‘paperless’ is improving the efficiency of our administration. The focus must be to continue this momentum, scale things up, enable deeper integration of technology with development initiatives and make the average Indian ‘smarter’. To do this, we also need to revisit the role technology is playing to solve our most pressing problems of today, be it irrigation, improving air quality, public distribution system, reducing medical negligence etc.
Keeping with the time, Digital India Foundation organized a first of its kind tech competition called “Solve4India” to seek cutting edge ideas from the country’s youth in the quest to solve the most pressing problems of the day.
The competition saw registration from more than 1300 students and the received entries in the areas related to women issues, solving agricultural problems, healthcare issues, solutions that can improve livelihood and remove poverty, enhance delivery of utilities as well as transform the rural sector. Out of the total number of ideas received, we shortlisted 10 participants to present their ideas. 7 teams in whole presented their ideas in front of the jury and the crowd on 21st February at Gopal Tripathi Auditorium, IIT-BHU. The long term objective of the competition was to drive the spirit of innovation in the youth.
To announce the winner of the competition and to motivate them towards taking the concept to the next level, the event was organised to celebrate the spirit of grass-root innovation. Mr. Arvind Gupta, CEO of MyGov, Mr. Rahul Sharma, MD Amazon Web Services, Mr. Prabhakar Singh, Head Department of Physics, Mr. Ajay Suman, EkSoch Sandbox and Mr. Rohit Mittal, Co-Founder Aquvio was the jury at the competition. The event brought together like-minded individuals with a focussed vision. It was a consortium of insightful ideas in the areas such as agricultural economy, healthcare, sanitation, education, environment, etc. The core idea is to deliberate upon the technological advancement and how it could foster the growth by addressing several governance challenges faced on a daily basis.
The winning entries touched upon the most pressing developmental challenges of today. Entries were awarded into the following categories:
- Overall Winner – Best Idea
- Women Empowerment Award
- Most Scalable Idea
- Most Innovative Idea
The winner of the competition was Avinash for the best idea, who was awarded for his idea titled “Do it Yourself”. It’s objective was to help ITI’s and Diploma colleges students to spread awareness in rural remote areas to leverage the use of technology for enhancing knowledge and skill in the field of upcoming technologies, be it machine applications using AR and VR Learning Modules. This idea addressed a crucial challenge of lack of skills.
The best idea in women category went to Srijita. She addressed the problem of availability of sanitary pads for women in rural India. Through the idea, she proposed a platform wherein sponsors can fund NGOs by providing them with sanitary pads. Her app would channelize the flow of free sanitary pad distribution in rural areas through volunteers from among various NGOs and local hospitals in rural areas. These volunteers would distribute the pads as well as would spread awareness about usage of pads and proper disposal and hygiene conditions to be maintained.
The most scalable idea went to Nikhil for his idea titled “Smart Bazaar”. It is a smart interface to monitor and analyze construction projects. It will assist the Civic Development Agencies by providing them with the Smart Analytical tools for Construction Projects.
The most innovative idea award went to two participants – Shashwat and Pradyumna. Pradyumna’s idea was to develop Smart Emergency Response Systems, while Shashwat’s idea was to develop a low cost smart dustbin along with an effective garbage collection system.