App to verify student identity wins tech contest

An app that verifies student identity and eliminates impersonators for online tests came out triumphant among over 1,400 entries in an online hackathon, one of the largest organised to showcase the innovative possibilities atop the Government’s ID platform Aadhaar.

Anantha Padmanabha, an employee of online financial services portal who developed the student ID verification called TrueScholar, will get a prize money of Rs. 1 lakh for winning the hackathon. A total of eleven ideas, including an app for use by Anganwadi workers and seeking to eliminate malnutrition in children, were shortlisted for final presentations.

This followed a two-day online hackathon earlier this month, in which over 5,000 people, consisting mostly of techies and tech entrepreneurs, participated.

The hackathon was conducted by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), in collaboration with venture capital fund AngelPrime, tech firm HackerEarth and IT industry body Nasscom. Aadhaar is a 12-digit individual identification number issued by the UIDAI.

Smart Chip employees Pankaj Chhabra, Supriya Saini, Ishrat Khan, Sachin Arora bagged the second place for Aadhaarical, an app that enables people to drive without any documents and allows complete verification in real-time via Aadhaar.

A successful showcase of technology on the Aadhaar platform doesn’t, however, guarantee it real-world success. That’s why the shortlisted teams are planning to showcase their products to the government and are looking for support, so that they don’t wither away post the competition.

Scaling up

“We are glad to connect them with investors and mentors,” said Ravi Gururaj, chairman of Nasscom Product Council.

“If the idea is sticky enough, they will get a support from a network of investors, mentors and industry experts to convert these ideas into start-ups,” said Pramod Varma, chief architect of technology to UIDAI.

Sanjay Swamy, who worked with the government on UIDAI and now runs AngelPrime, said, “Many of the participants will convert these innovations into business opportunities like start-ups and they may even get absorbed in private in tech firms as products.”

Raj Mashruwala, Sanjay Jain and Vivek Raghavan, who worked with Infosys co-founder and billionaire Nandan Nilekani on the unique identification project, shortlisted the teams. One innovative idea came from a team of Accenture Technology Labs employees, led by Senthil Kumaresan. The team built an app aimed to eliminate malnutrition among children. About 1 million children under the age of five die of malnutrition-related causes in India, according to data from United Nations Children’s Fund.

Mr. Kumaresan, 29, said Anganwadi workers are burdened with the tasks of collecting data to track the growth of children on a weekly basis, leaving them hardly any time to focus on core activities such as providing education, nutrition and supporting pregnant mothers. The app deals with this by automatically filling up growth monitoring charts by collecting the height and weight of every child. It identifies, reports and tracks cases of malnourishment.

“Most of the participants of the hackathon were in the age group of 20-35. Many of them will get validation for their products in this hackathon and may launch their own ventures later,” said Sachin Gupta, founder of HackerEarth, a startup which helps multinational companies like Amazon and Target hire programmers. The Bengaluru-based firm provided its technology platform to conduct the online hackathon.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 3:44:09 pm |