Social innovations grab attention at NSCI 2017 Conference

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The National Conference of Social Innovation (NSCI) organized by Pune International Centre has become the hub for recognizing and rewarding some of the most deserving social innovations across India. Several urban, rural and tribal innovators have been showcased in the previous NSCI conferences and they have been funded by corporate houses to continue their endeavors. In continuation, the fifth NSCI 2017 conference was jointly organized by Pune International Centre, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) on November 17 in Pune.

Apart from the Dengue detection kit maker, Dr Navin Khanna, the NSCI 2017 conference felicitated 17 urban, rural and tribal innovators, who also showcased their social innovations. Several corporate organizations evinced interest to fund these innovations and take them forward including Mercedez Benz, Tata Trust, Cummins India and ONGC. Here is a gist of some noteworthy social innovations showcased at the NSCI 2017 conference that are created by tribal, rural and urban innovators from across India:

Niharikaa N’s integrated library for tribal children

While working at BAIF Maharashtra, Niharikaa N realized that the children of tribes living in Jawhar in Palghar district were not exposed to the outer world and learning. Since they were not reading books, they could not broaden their vision and had little general knowledge about the world. So Niharikaa employed novel methods to kindle their interest in reading by inviting them to participate in skits, painting and story-telling sessions. Tribal girls were initially not forthcoming, but they later joined the project. Instead of imposing a project on them, she guided them through to set up a library at a corner in the school. Initially, she collected books donated by people from Mumbai. However, they need reading material in their own language.

Adharsh Radhakrishnan’s electric fencing to repel wild animals

Wild animals cause huge losses to crops across the country. This problem is frequently faced by farmers in around wildlife parks. However, the conventional electric fencing with high voltage may cause serious injury to both humans and wildlife. Adharsh Radhakrishnan from BAIF conducted a pilot project in Champavat district in Uttarakhand for potato growers. He created an innovative fencing that addresses various issues. It releases power in short bursts as soon as it is touched. These shocks do not harm wild animals severely. Besides, its alarm is activated, which not only scares wild creatures but also alerts farmers in the vicinity.

Saathi’s eco-friendly sanitary napkin

Massive amounts of non-biodegradable solid waste is generated due to conventional sanitary pads made from 70% plastic raw material. Realizing this problem, Saathi Pads created an eco-friendly sanitary napkin is made from natural material, banana fiber. The Gujarat-based company started the production of this biodegradable sanitary napkin in 2015, which not only costs less than the pads available in the market but also passes the quality test. Ranu Kala from Saathi said the company is ready to provide these napkins to rural and poor women at a low cost. She also expressed readiness to involve rural underprivileged women in its production and supply. However, Saathi sanitary pads are only available online at present.

Hand-cranked defibrillator by Jeevtronics


A defibrillator is a specialized equipment that is used by hospitals in cases of sudden cardiac arrests. The treatment is also costly, so only one device is used for an entire floor in big hospitals in India. The death rate due to cardiac arrests in India is four times more than the developed countries. Recognizing the rising need, Ashish Gawade and Aniruddha Atre, two software engineers from Jeevtronics have innovated a hand-cranked defibrillator that does not require power and is four times cheaper than the conventional one. This defibrillator is portable as well as durable. It can be easily carried in an ambulance. This device can be a boon for remote villages and hamlets across India.

My Child App by Harsh Songra


Developmental disorders are rising in India and many children are born with them. However, due to stigma, lack of awareness and shortage of psychotherapists, such children suffer. Harsh Songra himself went through such trauma as his disorder, Dyspraxia could not be detected till the age of 10. Harsh developed a mobile application named My Child App, which can track a child’s mental and physical growth. On the basis of data fed in the app, it can alert parents about any issues regarding growth and development of a child.

Dr Pavan Kohli’s gadget for women’s self-defense


Nearly 40% women feel threatened at least once in their life worldwide. They may suffer life-long trauma after such incidents. However, women who resist such assault attempts are more likely to recover faster. Dr Pavan Kohli and his orthopaedic surgeon colleagues from Samidha felt the need for a self-defense device. So they created Bhavani, a holistic, legal, portable device that can act as a deterrent against culprits. Made from electronic, electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering techniques, it can send distress signals at the press of a button; activate the siren and a torch that can blind the vision of culprits temporarily giving the victim an opportunity to escape.

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