November 8, 2011: The world population has crossed 7 billion, of which 1.2 billion lives in India. Out of the 1.2 billion half of them are under the age of 25, who forms the future of India. In India there is a cell phone tower with in every few miles and new buildings are popping up now and then. One could see sign boards saying schools, engineering colleges, business schools more often across most parts of the country.
The huge young population together with large number of educational institutions and over 600 million cell phone connections forms the backbone of India’s dream of becoming a developed economy. This will means for India to make the life of the masses better with the help of technology and the young brains. But it is often considered that it will remain as a dream due to many reasons, but there is one reason which will make it happen.
There is a positive sign which shows that positive change is happening. Even though India is the leader in outsourcing services, the trend shows that young techies are moving away from the outsourcing arena. Techies who used to work on projects from the western countries have now started to move into the forefront with Indian companies offering creative solutions which are cost effective to the Indian masses. ‘Gandhian innovation’ was the title given by the late C K Prahalad for this movement. There are many examples for Gandhian innovation in the country.
Vijay Pratap Singh is the CEO of Ekgaon, a firm which offers services to the Indian farmers. The farmers form a considerable part in the Indian population and form a huge market for such service providers. The firm has developed a software program which runs in the cheapest mobile phones and gives advices to illiterate farmers in the form voice or text. The advices will be regarding the right time for planting crops, the composition of fertilizers and pesticides, the appropriate time for applying fertilizers and pesticides, and the amount of water to be added.
According to Aditya, Indian farm land are scattered and it is difficult for the officials from the agriculture department to access these farms and give them advices. Without proper expert advice, the framers will go ineffective methods of cultivation which will lead to reduction in productivity and soil desertification. Ekgaon provides customized solutions to farmers based on the nature of the soil, crop and climatic conditions. It currently provides service to 12,000 customers at a charge of $5 per annum. They target to provide solutions to 15 million farmers in five years.
Another example for Gandhian innovation is Mr K. Chandrasekhar. He is the CEO of Forus Health, a firm which concentrates on avoidable blindness in the rural population of India. In India there are about 12 million blind people, which form 25 per cent of world’s blind population. The major reason for this is the lack of proper treatment and lack of ophthalmologist in the rural India. Forus has developed an eye prescreening device which gives a report which can be either a normal one or a Need to See a Doctor report.