At the Genpact NASSCOM Social Innovation Honours, the winning concepts reach out to kabadiwalas and the visually-impaired
Computer Mouse, Kabadiwalas, Blind Readers and Same-Language subtitles. It was a mix of different innovations that were seen at the Genpact NASSCOM Social Innovation Honours this year. While most of them concentrated on disability, and came up with interesting concepts for the visually-impaired, there were others too that met a larger social concern.
When the kabadiwalas went out of fashion and contracted garbage disposal became the norm, it took two 25-year-old management students to remind us why the rag-pickers were so special. And for their pilot project, which is still in its initial stages, Gayatri Hegde and Pawan Murali of S.P. Jain Institute of Management won honours for ‘Innovative Student Concept'.
“The Kabadiwala Project is an online customised portal and SMS solution that connects kabadiwalas with households and recyclers. We are the intermediaries, so that people on the generating side have incentive to segregate the waste and give it to them. The stakeholders (wholesalers, kabadiwalas and homemakers) get in touch with us, and we introduce them to each other,” says Gayatri.
While the duo began on the project in April 2010, they expanded by including more students. They are currently building revenue generation and implementation models. “We have been interacting with waste collectors and producers to understand the situation in India. The kabadiwalas face many business and social issues which curtail their ability to collect and sell bigger volumes of recyclables. By connecting them we ensure that greater quantities of waste are diverted from the landfills and converted to useful material,” she points out.
The Computer Mouse is another innovation that was a finalist at the honours. Designed by M.S. Raju, who started Vision-Aid, a charitable institute for the visually impaired, it helps senior citizens and people with low vision see through illumination, magnification and contrast.
“This camera mouse will help them better their vision. The device enables them to read and write with magnification up to 20X. It is available to Indian customers at a tenth of the price charged by imported devices of comparable features. It is light-weight, consumes less power and is safe,” Raju explains.
While the innovation has been tinkered to suit Indian needs, Raju assures that it is still compact, user-friendly and can be used on the TV, unlike the imported model. He also says that there is no other invention that is comparable to it.
“The Department of Science and Technology has mentioned Camera Mouse among the best innovations and gave us a Rs. 50,000 cash award to meet its development costs. In fact, we've already sold around 300 pieces and haven't had a single complaint. This has got us thinking about giving the product a life-time guarantee.”
The Camera Mouse is available at a subsidised rate of Rs. 2,400 and is door-delivered anywhere in India, with secure packaging, user literature, returns guarantee and repair warranty. For more information, call Vision-Aid's 24-hour helpline at 098494 98800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.