Science in Combating Poverty Rural India’s Innovations Lead India: Choosing the Future Leader of India Making ICT

work for the Common Man ISRO in Human Development Some Inconvenient Questions for India’s NGO Movement

Mr Anbumani Ramdoss, Minister for Health, Government of India, patting a SCOPE’S World Cycle Tour volunteer, a member of SCOPE’S anti-tobacco campaign team




An insight into complex problems of development and an attempt to provide solutions

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy Chief Editor Ms. Bharati Kalasapudi Ms. Sandhya Rawal Mr. Lakshman Kalasapudi Mr. Ankit Gupta Ms. Aparana Daniel Ms. Padmaja Ayyagari Mr. Rajesh Satyavolu Dr. Srinivasa Rao Editor ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Thomas Abraham Dr. Nirupam Bajpai Dr. Suri Sehgal Mr. M. Chittaranjan Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani EDITORIAL BOARD Dr. Abraham M. George Dr. Ratnam Chitturi Mr. Ram Krishnan

To present people, ideas, news and views periodically to readers to promote networking among NGOs; To publish peer reviewed professional articles on the NGO movement that can promote sustainable development and best practices; To disseminate information on the NGO movement to improve communication that can, in turn, catalyze human development; To provide a platform for all concerned with sustainable development to catalyze the process of human development.

Published by:
Dr. Vasundhara D. Kalasapudi Bharati Seva Sadan Srinivasanagar Colony Saluru- 535 591 Vizianagaram District, AP, India

Dr. Rao V.B.J. Chelikani International Foundation for Human Development (AFHD) Balaji Residency, 12-13-705/10/AB Gokulnagar, Tarnaka Hyderabad - 500 017, AP, India

Dr. Srinivasa Rao Association for Human Development (AFHD) 208, Parkway Drive, Roslyn Heights New York, 11577, USA

Mr. Balbir Mathur Mr. Yogi Patel Dr. Raj Rajaram Dr. Viral Acharya

For all communication please contact:

Editorial Production by
MEDIA INDIA helped in the Editorial Production of all articles published herein and in the design services as well as printing of the eighth issue

Catalyst for Human Development, its Staff or Editor assume no responsibility, directly or indirectly, for the views and opinions expressed by the authors as well as for the pictures used in the articles. Any omission of reference to material from the Internet or other sources is unintentional.

Editorial Coordination by P.S. Sundaram
Former Editor, The New Indian Express & Managing Editor, Media India Editorial Team:

P.S. Sundaram P.R.K. Prasad S. Udayini P. Charitha

Cover & Layout Design: Venkat, Murthy & Veeru CONTACT:
MEDIA INDIA, 103, Patel's Avenue, Lane adjacent to Sierra Atlantic, Road No 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad 500 034 E-mail: Ph: 91-40-2333 1212/1313 Fax: 91-40-2333 1414 m Printed at SVPCL Ltd, 206 A, Concourse, Greenlands Road, Hyderabad - 500 016, AP, India

501c(3) Non-Profit Organization; Federal Tax ID: 20-1848083, USA

Your membership will help in the following ways To publish and provide a platform for NGOs To send Catalyst to relatives, friends, colleges etc in India for $10 per copy and $ 50 towards FIVE subscriptions in India for one year. Thus, you can contribute to the growth of a vibrant NGO movement in India To conduct research on the NGO movement To support the networking of NGOs In Return You Benefit By Having copies of the magazine mailed directly to your address. (Focus areas - NRIs, Water, Poverty, Primary Education, Rural Transformation, Arts, and Human Development) 25% discount on all our publications and meeting registrations
Name E-mail ID m Address City : : : : State: Country:

Zip/Pin Code :

Mail to: CATALYST FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IFHD, Balaji Residency, 12-13-705/10/AB Gokul Nagar, Tarnaka, Hyderabad 500017 AP, India

Rs. 200 Cheques payable to IFHD in India $ 100 Cheques payable to IFHD in USA


Mail to: CATALYST FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AFHD, 208, Parkway Drive Roslyn Heights, NY, 11577, USA

In Collaboration with

Head Office: 2-2-647/8/11 & 14, Saibaba Nagar, Bagh Amberpet, Shivam Road, Hyderabad - 500 044, AP, India US Office: 208, Parkway Drive, Rosylin Heights, New York, USA 11577, Url:,


Head Off: Nidan, Sudhama Bhawan, Boring Road, Patna-800 001 Ph/Fax:06212-2577589, Email: Branch Off: Nidan, 4 South Ganesh nagar, Patparganj, Near Mother Dairy Flats, Delhi-110 092, Ph: 011-22466848

Scaling up Primary Education Services in Rural India Healthcare in India Water Management in 21st Century - Policy and Planning Food and Nutrition Through Value Addition to Agri Resources Scaling up Primary Health Services in Rural India Cross-Fertilization Needed Between Universities & Scientific Labs Balasakhi - A Village Voice Need for a Catalyst


Safe Drinking water in Villages Water Wars: National Problems from a Regional Perspective Rain Centre in Chennai, India Get Real, Coke: Water Rights Protest Promoting Effective Waste Management: The Clean Himalaya Initiative Water Bond For Safe Drinking Water

The Evolving Role of NGOs in Poverty Alleviation Mann Deshi Sahakari Bank A boon for Women Catalyst Salutes Ashoka Fellows Highway Rescue Project Magsaysay Award for Arvind Kejriwal Best Visionaries Moving into Citizen Sector SKOLL Foundation Awards 2006 Why Do We Need Social Entrepreneurs ?

Better Understanding of Corporate Social Responsiblity CSR to Society’s Advantage or Corporates’? 2007 CSR: Interesting Revelations from a Survey Corporate Social Responsibility: Two Exemplary Corporations PM’s Advice to Corporates Fall of an NGO Titan Biodiversity for Development

Non-Resident Indians' contributions - Answering a Call to Action Eliminating Elephantiasis and Waterborne Diseases Association for India's Development - Improving Literacy in Rural India Leading India toward Millennium Development Goals How NRIs Can Help in Poverty Alleviation Is Mega Philanthropy Going to Make a Difference? Nobel Peace Prize 2006 - Muhammad Yunus Indian National Development Congress

Share and Care Foundation Excellence in Education One Acre Wonder An Experiment in Social Entrepreneurship National Policy on Voluntary Sector Who Can Fix Poverty? Sangopita: A Shelter for the Care of Special Children Need for a New Development Paradigm Learning Journey Choosing the Type of NPOs NGOs for Development


Science in Combating Poverty...10

Rural India’s Innovations Lakshman Kalasapudi...25

Lead India: Choosing the Future Leader of India ... 30, 31


— Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy ...7

The Varsha Raingun ReMeDi - Rural Health Diagnostic Innovation Barefoot College


Swaminathan Leads a New Movement


Science: A Tool for Social Transformation — Dr. Ch. Mohan Rao...9 Indian Science Critical to Faster Human Development Views of prominent people ...12, 13 How Ghosts Can be Decanted from Water — Prof. A. Ramachandraiah...14 Solar Lanterns to Replace Kerosene Lamps ...15 , 16 Global Awareness to Eliminate Kerosene Lighting — D.T. Barki...17 Solar Expo Showcases Innovations — Narayan Ayyagari...19 the tele.graam To Go Solar or Not ?
— Dr. Satyanarayana Gavarasana...21, 22

...27 ...28, 29

Pedal Power Technology — Dr. Narendra Shah...46 Models of Sustainable Technology — D.K. Mishra...48, 49 A Nano-Solution to A Mega Problem — D. Balasubramanian... 50 Some Inconvenient Questions for India’s NGO Movement — Bhamy V. Shenoy...52, 53 Informal Workers Benefit from NIDAN ...54 Profile of Dr. M.P. Parameswaran ...55 Profile of D.T. Barki ...56

Building Technologies to help Poor — Ankit Gupta...32 A Lively Discussion on Sustainable Development


Eradication of Corruption Accelerates Development — Kris Dev... 35 Sehgal Foundation gets Best Water NGO Award ...37 India’s Millions Denied Access to Modern Energy — UNDP Report...38 Energy pie chart & Indian Science: Time to be Innovative ...39 Making ICT work for the Common Man — Chandrasekhar..40


Winners of Rural Innovation Fund

...23, 24

Can Scientists do More for Development? — Dr. Srinivasa Rao...58

Institute of Rural Research and Development — Pooja O. Murada... 36

ISRO in Human Development — Y. Harshavardhana Rao, and Lahary Ravuri... 43, 44, 45

Informal Workers Benefit from NIDAN




E are happy to bring this special issue of Catalyst during the 95th Indian Science Congress. We are taking this opportunity to reflect with you on how together we can help India's poor. Dr. Rao has given a startling comparison of the productivity of Indian scientific institutions in his article. According to him, India with more than a billion people and 129,000 scientists is investing about $21 billion a year (on ppp basis). But India is able to develop only about 1000 patents a year. It is more than likely that NRIs graduated by Indian educational institutions may be producing far more patents than their counterparts in India. Why do we have such a deplorable situation in India? Why has the scientific community failed to develop a strong NGO movement to question this status quo when we have hundreds of NGOs for every conceivable subject in India? Why do we continue to neglect the exodus of our scientists and technologists and trivialie it by stating that the brain drain is better than a brain in the drain? What are we doing to draw on the brain bank to solve the low productivity in educational institutions? What should be done to attract bright students to take up science? the Knowledge Commission has recommended to start 30 central universities to overcome this problem. When the existing premier institutions like IITs, and IISc are finding it difficult to recruit outstanding professors, where is India going to find the qualified people for these universities? In addition, there is also the social and political controversy of reservation which will make this problem even more complex. During every Indian Science Congress, Prime Ministers make the usual speeches asking the scientific community to take up the problems affecting the common man. But we all know that such exhortations are conveniently forgotten first by the political class then by bureaucracy, and finally by the scientists. Whether it the natural science or social science faculties, both have failed to identify the basic problems affecting India's development. No insightful research is being conducted to find the level of poverty in India determined by the outmoded concept based on calories), the level of literacy (still based on signature signing), ways to fight caste discrimination, the reasons for the failure of quota system to help the downtrodden, reasons for failure of socialistic economic system to solve the problem of poverty, etc. In the case of natural sciences, our agricultural scientists have failed to assist the farmers to improve productivity. India used to have high levels of agricultural yields without using chemical fertilizers. Why have scientists failed to promote natural farming? Why have they failed to anticipate the water and energy crises and find solutions for them? Why have they failed to unlock the wisdom in Indian system of medicine based on herbs, and yoga? Even when we consider IT and BT, where India is considered as a leader in business outsourcing, these two technologies have singularly failed to help the poor. In fact, the increasing income disparity and attraction of the better educated towards these sectors has given rise to little understood Dutch Disease which is affecting the rest of economy. We will not be overstating the situation if we conclude that scientific community has failed India's poor despite the resources allocated to them so far. Without the help of scientists it is just not possible to solve poverty problem. We need creative and insightful strategies to improve the productivity on a war footing. We are hoping this year's science congress will come with such strategies.

Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy


ELCOME to the beautiful mountain-sea interface city of Visakhapatnam and to the famous Andhra University campus, a centre of excellence for higher education. The university received benevolent nurturing of peerless teachers and educators like Dr. C.R.Reddy, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and Dr. Suri Bhagavantham. The institution that attracted icons of administration, science, and technology, Dr. V.S.Krishna, Prof. Jnanananda, Prof. B.R.Rao and Prof. Koteswaram, to mention a few, is hosting the 95th session of the Indian Science Congress during 03-07 January, 2008. The Indian Science Congress and its Organizing Committee feel greatly honoured by the gesture of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, in consenting to be the Chief Patron. The focal theme of the Congress, "Knowledge Based Society using Environmentally Sustainable Science & Technology", is timely and relevant to the current global scenario of conflict between 'Development' and 'Environment'. India, with its rich cultural and knowledge heritage, has chosen the right path of promoting excellence in science and technology since the days of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Right now the major task before the country is to take steps to link with action, which is exactly what has been happening under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singhji. The current Science Congress addresses issues and phenomena relating to contemporary global and national interests and important subjects like Space, Nanoscience, Evergreen Revolution, Climate Change, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Health Security, Traditional Knowledge, Ethno Medicine and Rural Empowerment through Knowledge connectivity. Some innovative areas receiving focus for the first time are Defense Studies and Technologies, Vedic Science and Physics and Vedanta. Several eminent scholars like, Prof. C.N.R.Rao, Prof. M.G.K.Menon, Prof. M.S.Swaminathan, Prof. U.R.Rao, Prof. T.Ramasami and Dr. (Mrs). Manju Sharma from our country and Nobel Laureates, Dr. George Smoot, Dr. Robert Curl Jr, Dr. Paul Nurse, and Dr. Roger Kornberg, have consented to speak at the Congress. As General President of the Indian Science Congress, I have great pleasure in extending a cordial welcome to all the delegates to the Congress. I wish them a very memorable stay in Visakhapatnam which offers the very best of knowledge and recreational opportunities.


With best wishes,


General President, ISCA (2007-08), ISRO Hon. Visiting Scientist Former Vice-Chancellor, INSA Senior Scientist, Department of Fishery Science and Aquaculture, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati - 517502, A.P.



A Tool for Social Transformation
DR Ch. MOHAN RAO Science and technology will drive our country both in improving quality of life of its population as well as its mindset.
CIENCE is a proven tool for social transformation. What can scientists do to catalyse the process of human development in our country? Scientists have chosen science because of their innate desire and the intellectual satisfaction. They should pursue the line of activity that interests them most. However, in addition to curiosity-driven basic research, a large number of scientists can use the existing knowledge and tools to develop ways that can directly contribute to human welfare. Science has helped achieve incredible improvements in human development and quality of life. Scientists have brought about a green revolution enhancing food production significantly. Communication has reached every nook and corner of India. Cell phones are everywhere. The satellite instructional telvision experiment (SITE) demonstrated how well India could use the advanced technology for the socio-economic needs. Our space programme has become self-sufficient. Significant developments have been registered in our defence reasearch. Iron and steel, cement, automobiles, computers, and information technology have seen giant strides. In my opinion, scientists, technologists and industrialists have done their part exceedingly well and contributed to the development of the nation. Small innovations can go a long way. Waterpurification, small handheld sensors to detect pathogens and pollutants in water; non-polluting, renewable energy; simple ways of balancing the nutrition; innovations in imparting education; protection from vectors such as mosquitoes are some areas for immediate consideration. Community participation is very important to achieve the desired goals. Models involving rural populations, comparable to the


"pyramid model"* developed for eye care by Dr. G.N.Rao are necessary. There is a pleasure in solving small issues. By using existing knowledge, we could develop a DNAbased diagnostic chip for eye infections. This process did not involve much of research; it was mostly a developmental activity. The product, however, has turned out to be extremely useful, and all the participants are very satisfied with the outcome. One of the primary requirements for sustained contributions by the manufacturing sector is quality assurance as was proved in Japan. International markets require a set of parameters to be monitored for a specific product. A lack of this is severely compromising our market share. Scientists can develop tools to monitor quality in many areas including pharma, natural products, processed food etc. These will lead to products that are marketable, not necessarily "absolutely new- never before" products. India has the capability to produce such novel and high-tech products. We should look at the possibilities in softwareproducts (not just services), new drugs, high-tech communication and computation systems, aerospace and automobile industry. Higher GDP and appropriate sharing systems should contribute to the overall human development. Science and technology will drive our country both in improving quality of life of its population as well as its mindset. Hopefully our country can be free of the shackles of superstitions and everyone, regardless of religion, caste, or gender, can get equal access to education, health and opportunity for growth, success and happiness. *Community Eye Health Journal (2005) 18 (54), pps61-s62

Dr Ch. Mohan Rao is the Deputy Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. He obtained MSc and PhD in Chemistry. A fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, Indian Academy of Science, National Academy of Science, India and Andhra Pradesh Academy of Science, he combines molecular biological and biophysical approaches to address problems of biophysical interest. A Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and Ranbaxy Award winner, Dr Mohan Rao is the Honorary President of Jana Vignana Vedika


Science in Combating Poverty
Many 'developing' countries are much more developed than some people think. Their rapid progress should inspire scientists and their institutions to do more to confront global poverty.
O those living in comfort in the affluent parts of the world, the stark reality behind the word poverty is difficult to comprehend. Yet it is more incomprehensible that in the twenty-first century, hundreds of millions of people are so poor that their lives amount to little more than a daily struggle to survive. Faced by such desperate circumstances, the affluent often succumb to an overwhelming sense of impotence. But defeatism would be a mistake: the battle against poverty can be won, and science can help. Looking at the powerhouse of medical research that is the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is difficult to imagine that it began life 120 years ago in a small attic room in the Marine Hospital Service on Staten Island, New York. Joseph Kinyoun's one-man 'laboratory of hygiene', the first federal disease lab, was created to identify the causes of several infectious diseases that at the time were responsible for high mortality in the United States. The rest is history. That concept of time is vital to understanding poverty. In 1915, the United States resembled India today on several poverty indicators, from child mortality to life expectancy, and Mexico has now achieved standards of human development equivalent on some scores to Sweden in the 1950s. Many of the countries labelled as 'Third World' are in fact well along the same trajectory to prosperity as today's wealthy nations. Yet growing prosperity means that new technologies are needed even more urgently, because as more countries escape the shackles of poverty, demand for energy, water and other resources will exacerbate the problems, such as climate change, that face our planet.


Extracting and collating vast amounts of data on poverty, he has created stunning visualizations that vividly dispel many preconceived ideas about poverty (see <> /34bsyr). This is an example of how science can help to frame the problems properly. Aid agencies must similarly pay more attention to evaluating the effectiveness of resource allocations and interventions. Too often in the past, advocacy of policies has been based on the latest economic theory in fashion, rather than on hard evidence. Better data on poverty indicators, in particular at the subnational level, are also needed if we are to assess the true effects of the interventions designed to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty by 2015 (see<> Nature 446, 347; 2007). In one welcome initiative, the World Bank has embraced an innovative approach to evaluation. Pioneered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, it borrows the techniques of randomized trials used in medicine to assess the impact of health and education initiatives, such as bed nets for malaria, and the factors that affect their success (see < 49957a.html> page 957). But fighting poverty more effectively demands a change of culture not only in aid agencies but also in academia, in particular to bridge the gap between basic research and the development of drugs and vaccines for neglected diseases. The scientific community's reward structures, excessively focused on papers and patents, need to encourage efforts to use science to generate tangible benefits - not least in alleviating poverty and its impacts.

Exploded myths
It is essential that the myths about poverty are debunked for policy-makers. Few scientists have done more in this regard than Hans Rosling, a global-health researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.


Measured response
Only a few universities have, for example, created centres for biomedical translational research, evaluated not by the usual metrics but by their results, much as a company assesses project performance. Far more could be done along these lines in agriculture, energy and health. That said, there are encouraging signs that decades of focus on wealth creation are slowly giving way to a greater social conscience. Technology-transfer offices at the NIH and many universities, for example, are increasingly waking up to the importance of making their patents freely available to groups developing technologies for use in poor countries (see <> Nature 449, 158-159; 2007). At a time when many sectors of society are actively engaged in working towards the Millennium Develop-

ment Goals, the leaders of academic institutions should be asking themselves how their organizations can do more to combat poverty and improve global health. The eight goals themselves are ambitious to say the least. It will be a tall order to halve extreme poverty, roll back child mortality and provide universal primary education, all by 2015. But many previously impoverished countries are now well on their way to enjoying levels of child mortality, longevity and health comparable to those of the richest countries. That should encourage scientists to help speed up the progress of those nations that still have far to go - and to strengthen their scientific infrastructure. The gleaming, state-of-the art Manhiça Health Research Center near Maputo in Mozambique, for example, may seem incongruous with the immediate disease and misery on its doorstep. Yet in a few decades it may be remembered as that nation's Staten Island lab.

(Reproduced with permission: 25th October 2007 issue of

nature, the international journal of science)


In the Global Theme Issue, science journals throughout the world published articles on poverty and human development. Some 235 science journals from 37 developed and developing countries published more then 750 articles representing all regions of the world. Some journals dedicated an entire issue to the subject of poverty and human development, others published a few papers, and a few others published an editorial. Almost 1000 papers were being published in the Global Theme Issue.

HE Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development, organized in October last by the Council of Science Editors (CSE), stimulated world-wide interest to raise awareness, prompt research in poverty and human development, and disseminate the results of the research widely. The Council of Science Editors was set up half-a-century ago in the name of Council of Biology Editors (CBE). CBE became CSE in the year 2000. The mission of CSE is to promote excellence in the communication of scientific information.


Indian Science Critical to Faster Human Development
Scientists and administrators across India were asked to comment on the role of scientists in the accelerating human development in India.


IRST of all, scientists should aim to improve common man's life. To fulfill the mission, they should concentrate on the commoner’s needs and proceed in that direction. Knowledge is an ocean; no one can swim perfectly in it. In the past all experiments were confined only to labs. The importance of lab-to-land concept has been realised, for example, in agricultural experiments. Our defense is becoming stronger day by day due to invention of different weapons including nuclear ones. Why not do it in other sectors also ? Our scientists are doing a good job in Space Science. We are launching satellites by using Indian technology proving our technology has improved vastly. So, balanced development should be maintained so that we move forward towards further development. Illiteracy and population growth are hurdles in development. If these are overcome, then the pace of development will automatically go up. These issues need to be addressed effectively. Scientists should tackle these problems and actively participate in the developmental activities directly and indirectly. PROF L. VENUGOPAL REDDY Vice-Chancellor, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.

NDIAN science needs to introduce practical and skill-based learning as part of science teaching. Our science teaching is far removed from reality and does not inculcate scientific temperament. Technology involving several branches of science and engineering has to be an integral part of science teaching. The role and importance of mathematics should be re-emphasised rather than creating two streams called maths and biology Prof Anil Gupta of IIM Ahmedabad and vice chairman of the National Innovation Foundation has recorded over 65000 innovations in the rural and urban areas throughout India and protected their IPR.Some of these innovations should become part of school and college text books. The late Dr Yellapragada SubbaRow should be made an icon of Indian science as he was involved in discovering ten drugs in the world. We need to identify inspiring teachers, give them special facilities, and pay them high salaries. Rather than taking all the decisions in Delhi, we need to decentralize decision-making.


PROF. KRISHNAMURTHY KANNAN, Vice Chancellor, Nagaland University, Kohima


NDIAN science can help in human development in much better way if the resources are pooled and used honestly for the purpose. Indian science can improve the agricultural output to feed more people. I am sorry to say Indian scientists are not working to their full potential. They only should start working harder for development and not for their personal advancement.

PROF. S.V.S. CHAUHAN, Professor Emeritus, Department of Botany, School of Life Sciences, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University, Khandari Campus, Agra-282 002: <>



NDIAN science has made some contribution to human development but has fallen short of expectations. While individuals have made a mark, institutional achievements have not been significant in academic or industrial circles, in their contribution to the reduction of human misery in backward regions. CSIR, ICAR and ICMR, DRDO, Department of Atomic Energy, Electronics, Space, Ocean Development, Environment and Forests have reservoir of scientific talent, respectable on many counts, yet unable to make an impact on the minimum needs of the vast majority of people in the rural areas. The scientists need to prioritise their tasks and link them to the schemes of interest and application to Indian society for better ambience, cleaner water, health foods, and better habitations and the like. Some individual scientists have functioned in a mission mode and made a qualitative difference to the lives of ordinary people. CSIR under Dr. Y. Nayudamma tried to translate the results of research in its various laboratories into action. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan's efforts to take the agricultural research from the labs of ICAR to the far-flung fields have been more successful. Dr. Abdul Kalam's efforts to open up the DRDO laboratories to applied research in industry and to make them relevant to the socially and physically handicapped like research in Engineering Plastics, for artificial limbs for the lame - need to be emulated. Scientists claim to be research-oriented, but they have created a vast scientific bureaucracy with its own game rules for stifling differences in opinion. The ego clashes within the science community have harmed the development of scientific temper and result oriented research. Indian scientists and technologists have not yet learned to work as a team and develop a multi-disciplinary approach to problem-solving. MR. V.K. SRINIVASAN (IAS-Retd)


UMAN development, poverty eradication and disease prevention are all dependent on the development of science and technology. Since we live in a global village with intense competition among nations, the quality of Indian science must be as good, if not better, than science practiced by industrial countries. This did not happen in the past mainly because the Indian patent laws did not recognize product patents. So, very few innovations occurred with regard to new product development. The good news is that Indian patent laws have been changed under the TRIPS mandate. India can look forward to generation of new and major intellectual property that would lead to economic and industrial development in India to alleviate poverty and help in human development. PROF. ANANDA CHAKRAVARTHY Distinguished University Professor University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

ASICALLY, the routine techniques used by the rural population can be made simple and economical to develop the human resource. These technologies will become the livelihood for common man. Commitment of the highest order and its implementation are essential for Indian scientists to accelerate India's human development. DR. PRAKASH V. DIWAN, Project Director National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, (NIPER), Hyderabad


A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history

“ “

— Mahatma Gandhi


How ‘Ghosts’ can be Decanted from Water
PROF. A. RAMACHANDRAIAH Empowering people with knowledge is the best way to improve the lives of our population. Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) serves as a dynamic and coherent bridge between the scientific community and the general public.
OME of the districts in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh are less developed than others. The percentage of literacy is abysmally low. Mandalagudem in Warangal District has about 1000 households with an elementary school and no municipal water supply. Villagers fetch water from a common well in the village. Rain water serpentines all over the dirty streets causing epidemics after every rain. Just as in previous years, scores of villagers fell ill in 2005 and were affected by diarrhea. The villagers adopted their usual local supernatural diagnostic system and belived that the well water was haunted by ghosts and whosoever fetched water from the well would fall victim. While villagers conducted many rituals and offered animal sacrifices to get rid of the ghosts, the poor village women had no escape from walking more than ten kms to get drinking water. The news about the well water of Mandalagudem "being haunted by ghosts" spread like wildfire and naturally hit the headlines in the popular dailies. No one questioned how water could be haunted by ghosts ! It was the evening of October 29, 2005. All the villagers assembled at the school premises. Two Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) members, Ramesh and Manohar, performed a magic show and told the villagers about the truth behind the "miracle." One simple magical item caught the imagination of the villagers. The JVV members put water in a transparent glass tumbler and to it added a few drops of ammonium hydroxide. When they added another few drops of colourless phenolphthalein, the water in the tumbler turned suddenly pink to the utter disbelief of the audience. The performers said to the villagers that the drops


of phenolphthalein were not ghosts. Then they cut and squeezed a lemon into the tumbler and the people were amazed again at the decolourisation. Prof. K. Laxma Reddy, present on the occasion, along with other JVV volunteers, explained to the villagers that it was only the chemical phenomena that caused variations in the characteristics of the drinking water and that by suitable counter chemical methods, it would be possible to render the water potable. The activists of JVV ignited a longish pyre made of coal and walked over the fire to the dismay of the villagers. They told them that they did not have any supernatural powers nor did they believe in the existence of ghosts. When they explained to the villagers how such fire-walking was possible on the basis of heat conduction, action-time, anatomy of the foot soles and the emergence of water-vapour phase between the sole and the fire-solids, many boys and girls walked over the fire in the way JVV volunteers did and believed what they said. Next day the well water was chlorinated and the villagers started fetching water from their own village well. The women were saved from toiling to fetch water from long distances. Reason won over superstition. A few months later, the villagers formed a JVV unit there and its artists performed a playlet entitled 'Neeti Dayyam Vadilindi' (water cleansed of ghost) at a state level JVV event. This is one example of how simple science can make a difference to people's lives. JVV has been carrying out several such activities over the years since its inception in February 1988 (on National Science Day).

Prof. A Ramachandraiah is a Professor of Chemistry at the National Institute of Technology in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. He has been actively associated with Jana Vignana Vedika, a state-level organization, to popularise science. Former president of JVV, he is currently the convener of science & technology communication wing of the organization. He is also the editor of Chekumuki, a children's science magazine in Telugu.


Solar Lanterns to Replace Kerosene Lamps
T is estimated that in India alone, about 100 million households use kerosene wick lamps as their main source of light. Such lamps produce poor quality light and unhealthy fumes and present a serious fire risk particularly when used in thatched homes. Fluorescent lamps with batteries recharged using solar photovoltaics (PV) can provide much better quality and safer light, but the cost of such a lantern can be prohibitive. NEST have brought down this cost by making a PV lantern, small and light-weight, with strict attention to quality of manufacture. By working closely with a network of dealers and sub-dealers, through whom they provide credit, spares and support, NEST has enabled very poor people in the most remote villages to buy PV lanterns without subsidies. Over 75% of Aishwarya lanterns produced by NEST have been sold in this way, throughout the states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The Ashden judges commended NEST for developing an attractive and high-quality lantern specifically for the poorest households and setting up a financial and service structure which enables such households to purchase without subsidy and receive proper after-sales support. These achievements were made possible by effective management within NEST, their active links with subcontractors, and their dealership network.


NEST (Noble Energy Solar Technologies Ltd) is a private company based in Hyderabad, India which was set up to develop a very small solar lantern, the 'Aishwarya®,' as a safe substitute for the kerosene wick lamp.
need for kerosene lamps in poor households. The lantern design and manufacturing systems were developed over a period of three years, and commercial production started in 2001. Production has grown steadily from a total of 2001-02 to a current production of over 5,000 per month. Over 65,000 lanterns have been produced and distributed during the past five years. NEST is managed by a board of directors, and currently employs fifteen people at its office and workshop in Secunderabad. A dedicated solar module manufacturing plant in Bangalore runs with about seven employees. The annual turnover in 2004-5 was about Rs 2 crores mostly (about 85%) from the sale of Aishwarya PV lanterns.

NEST set out to develop a PVpowered lantern of a similar size to a simple kerosene lamp. It was to be light weight so that it can easily be carried even by children, affordable by the poorest households who have no other alternative but kerosene, and attractive as a consumer product. They designed the lantern to allow for easy replacement of key parts rather than repair. The lanterns are assembled at the NEST workshop in Secunderabad. Rigorous attention is paid to quality, with checks on all individual components and on the finished lanterns. The lantern is packed as a single item in a box, so that it can be sold like any other consumer product. The name 'Aishwarya®' was chosen to emphasise both the intelligence and aesthetic appeal of the lantern! In Sanskrit 'Aishwarya' means 'fortune.' There are many ongoing developments in the global markets for PV and lighting products, and NEST is keenly aware of these. One concern is the shortage of

The Award-winning organisation
NEST was set up by the current Managing Director, Mr DT Barki, in 1998. He had previously followed a successful career in the PV industry in India. However, having seen a baby die in a house fire caused by a kerosene lamp when he was a child, Mr Barki had a longstanding wish to use his expertise to eliminate the

silicon which is the main material for making PV cells and modules. NEST is taking part in joint ventures to process silicon and also to produce amorphous silicon PV modules which require much less silicon than their current multicrystalline modules. NEST has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Japanese silicon company to work jointly on breakthrough polysilicon technology to overcome the silicon feedstock problem the world is facing today. Lightemitting-diodes (LEDs) are increasingly used for small scale lighting, and NEST is keeping a watch on this technology to judge when it might be more appropriate than CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). order to allow the dealers to give free credit, but this is the only form of subsidy offered. Because the sub-dealers know their individual customers, they are able to collect regular payments even from people who do not have a formal address. Customers often need to extend their repayment period, but the overall track record of repayment is very good with only about 3-4% defaulting on payments. A kerosene wick lamp used in a home for 3 hours per night would burn about 7 litres of kerosene per month, at a cost of 10 rupees per litre with government subsidy. But kerosene is seldom available at this subsidised rate to the poor; they often buy it at a very high black market rate of around 20-25 rupees per litre or 70 rupees per month. Thus the lamp pays for itself from savings on kerosene in less than two years. After that, the cost of replacement batteries and CFLs is only 200 rupees every 3 years (see below) and the lantern should last for more than ten years as the designed life of solar panels is 25 years. Some lanterns have been bought and distributed by NGOs in social programmes. They have also been given away in promotions and high-profile events, such as prizes for high-achieving students, in order to emphasise the value of good quality light. NEST has provided PV street lights for some government programmes and has also donated them to some of the slum communities around Hyderabad.

How users pay
NEST specifically intended the Aishwarya lamp to be sold as an unsubsidised, commercial product in very remote, poor villages, and about 75% of their production to date has been sold . In order to achieve this, they have established a network of dealers based in small towns. Dealers are independent businesses, sometimes selling other good or services as well as lanterns, and are provided with training, stock, spare parts, and support by the NEST head office. Each dealer recruits a number of sub-dealers who work on commission at village level. Dealerships vary in size but typically sell between 500 and 1000 lanterns per year. Most customers cannot afford the purchase price of 1,500 rupees for an Aishwarya lamp but are able to buy on credit from the dealers. Typically they will be asked to pay 200 rupees per month for 8 months or 100 rupees per month for 16 months. NEST will sometimes reduce their own profit in



Global Awareness to Eliminate Kerosene Lighting
N this age of economic globalization and digitalization of every sphere of life, over 2 billion people world over are still burning unsafe kerosene to light up their evenings. Besides the slow poison that the kerosene fumes are, in India alone 2.5 million people meet with kerosene related fire accidents, including 350,000 children.


There is nothing good about kerosene, yet many national Governments provide subsidy and promote this killer fuel indirectly. During my childhood, in the 60's, I witnessed the tragic death of a child due to the overturning of a kerosene lamp in my village. Even after 100 years of invention of electricity the third world It's a myth that kerosene is cheaper. In population does not have access to elecfact, the rural poor people, who use tricity, forcing them to use deadly kerosene for lighting, are those who pay kerosene lanterns. I've no confidence more for the light than their urban counthat the power-hungry world will spare terparts. Kerosene lamps are very ineffia small portion of its grid electricity for cient and give very little light output those who burn unsafe kerosene for (Lumen) for the money spent to buy lighting. My pessimism is born out of kerosene. For example, assuming a 5W the fact that while the growing populaincandescent bulb is equivalent to a tion demands more and more power, kerosene wick lamp, the urban dweller One-to-one light comparison between the faster growing industrial developpays about Rs.25 annually, (Rs. kerosene lamp and solar lamp ments long for even more energy sup2.5/unit), whereas the rural poor ply, making the scenario worse. spend about Rs.1200 per year. In addition, poor people have to inhale poisonous kerosene fumes apart from facTherefore, grid electricity will eventually fail to reach the ing the danger of getting burnt to death at times. kerosene-based households. In fact, it's uneconomical to draw electrical cables and install several electric poles to meet It's time for politicians to reform the national policies so as to incorporate provision for solar lighting to replace THERE'S MUCH MORE TO LIGHT kerosene-based lamps. At Noble Energy Solar Technologies A sanskrit sloka goes like this: Tamasoma jyotirgamaya, (NEST), our mission is to see that there is widespread use of mrutyorma amrutangamaya. Means, 'O Lord, take us clean and safe solar lamps in place of the unsafe kerosene mortals to the immortality just as you lead us from lamps. Sporadic demonstration of solar lighting projects is darkness to light'. There is no life without light. not the answer. NEST's sole commitment and campaign is While darkness means contraction, light means expansion. to provide clean lighting across the globe. In order to see Light is the symbol of knowledge. that this happens there is a need to raise global awareness Light moots confidence. among the peoples of the world, ultimately the end user in A good light is a great means of education and hence wisdom. particular.

a very tiny portion of the world energy There is consumption (16.33 trillion nothing units/annum). If we are serious about good about providing energy to those disadvankerosene, taged households (just for lighting), we except its should consider the solar energy option, elimination. which offers several advantages. Generation of solar electricity is clean and safe and suits low energy applications such as lighting. Fortunately, the solar power technology is mature enough to come in to help the needy immediately.


ISHWARYA Rai may not be aware of its existence, but this "clever and attractive" Aishwarya® has come as a ray of light, transforming Indian villages among other parts of the world that have never had access to electricity. Recipient of the prestigious Ashden Light Award for 2005 for innovative and unique sustainable energy (often referred as Green Oscar), this lightweight, portable, eco-friendly and affordable solar lantern is the brain child of D.T.Barki.
Prince Charles presenting the Ashden Award for Aishwarya to DT Barki


London, was attended by the then Britain Secretary of State for International Development and the chair of the UN's IPCC, RK Pachauri of TERI on 29th June 2005. Later, the award was presented in a ceremony at the residence of Prince Charles in London. The primary goal of Mr.Barki is to replace the unsafe kerosene lamps (see box on kerosene) with clean and affordable solar lamps. Aishwarya® solar lamp may be a small contribution in the lives of the poor villagers, but it has much more to offer to improve their lives and bring new hope in their lives.

The Ashden award ceremony, at the Royal Geographical Society in Central

Head Office: 2-2-647/8/11 & 14, Saibaba Nagar, Bagh Amberpet, Shivam Road, Hyderabad - 500 044, AP, India US Office: 208, Parkway Drive, Rosylin Heights, New York, USA 11577, Url:,


Solar Expo Showcases Innovations
NARAYAN AYYAGARI The solar expo is conducted every two years beginning 2002 and this year it's a competition "to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house." e p
NERGY is the source of creFirst prize ation and sustainability. With the conventional energy resources like coal, oil etc depleting, there is a great deal of research into renewable energy. Renewable energy sources range from solar energy and wind energy to bio fuels which can be naturally replenished. Solar energy is an important renewable energy source and is used for a variety of applications like electricity, heat, transportation, lighting etc. Solar energy is not new; throughout of the history of mankind, solar energy has been harnessed and utilized in a variety of ways. The US Department of Energy published a timeline of solar energy usage that gives interesting details about the various solar energy inventions and initiatives. Imagine a home where all the energy needs are met by solar energy. While such solar homes have been designed before, a number of limitations have hindered their acceptability beyond academia and conversationalists. The US Department of Energy, BP and a number of other corpo, rate sponsors have organized a Solar Decathlon on the national mall at Washington, DC. The expo was hugely successful and involved teams from 10 major universities


across the world that competed in showcasing how technology, aesthetics and architecture can combine to build a solar-powered energy conserving home. Two homes were most noticeable. The "Made in Germany" from the Technische Universität Darmstadt home featured translucent walls and roof that are composed of photovoltaic cells and combined with German oak gave the home a resort look. The second home that attracted the most attention was "The Leaf House" by University of Maryland. The house was designed as a leaf-like structure with large glass area to bring in light and feeling of Se con nature into home. Unsurprisingly, these two dp rize homes were awarded the 1st and 2nd prizes for the Solar Decathlon 2007. The Solar Decathlon, apart from showcasing the most recent innovations of solar energy and its application to residential use, served a larger purpose for the Washington DC community. A few myths of solar energy are that it is expensive, aesthetically ugly, and requires high maintenance. The homes featured at the Solar Decathlon have given notice that solar energy can be harvested economically as well as aesthetically. #first

Narayan Ayyagari is a software consultant and is currently on an assignment working with the Washington DC government in modernizing their administrative services. He also founded and runs Jkinfosys, a software product and services company based in Rockville, MD. The company has off-shore development centre at Vizag, India. Narayan graduated with B.E in civil engineering from Andhra University, Vizag, India. He also completed his M.S in computer science from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Apart from the software world, Narayan is also active within the Telugu community of northern Virginia.


the tele.graam
A bulletin of news from "the distant village"

Making Solar Technologies Accessible to Rural India
It is claimed much of India is electrified. But when the sun sets, the reality is that most of India is dark or barely lit. lighting for the village . It is with this goal that infraSys has entered the solar energy market. infraSys offers an attractive portable solar lantern - Solar Deepa - which uses long life compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). The street lights Graama Deepa- come in 2 models - regular and economy. These decentralized solutions can liberate the users from the uncertainties of the power grid. (See the last issue of CATALYST for a story on rural street lighting - an infraSys project)

Power Supply in India Today…
In India the supply of electricity from the power grid is unpredictable and often comes with fluctuating voltage. Power is supplied as a priority to industry and the more affluent urban areas which include a growing number of air-conditioned malls and air conditioned bedrooms in multi-storied flats. Rural households, on the other hand, cannot afford electricity from the grid and even subsidized schemes do little to provide adequate lighting when most needed. Most homes use kerosene or vegetable oil lamps. In villages with street lighting, the panchayats (local governments) are in perpetual debt to the local Electricity Boards.

The Challenge
Even though the lantern is "reasonably" priced, it is still beyond the reach of most rural households. The challenge therefore, is how to make the technology not only affordable but also accessible.

The Sun …an Alternate Energy Source!
It is apparent that if rural areas are to be electrified, India must turn to alternate energy sources - other than electricity from nuclear plants, coal fired or large scale hydro electric generators. The answer is obviously the sun, the primary source of energy for the planet. Sunlight and wind (and even biomass) are all forms of solar energy. Then the question that follows is: why have these alternatives not reached the millions in the villages which need it? Is it limitation in the technology, the costs, absence of commitment in public policy or lack of enterprise? Or is it a combination of these?

The Solution
infraSys proposes a business model as a solution. About 30 to 50 village homes form a consumer market, served by a Central Battery Charging Center, where, by rotation the solar lanterns can be re-charged. An affordable fee is paid by a family for the use of the lantern on a per charge basis. This is similar to bicycle rental where the access to use of a bicycle is within reach of most households- without ownership. This "rental" arrangement would eliminate the need for the purchase and ownership of individual lanterns and photovoltaic panels and in the process make solar lighting accessible. infraSys is seeking opportunities to design, supply and install such systems and provide training for service and maintenance to operate as independent rural businesses.

The Most Basic Need…One Light per Home
The power supply system for the village hut should not be designed with urban amenities in mind, but should provide one single source of efficient, affordable and predictable

infraSys is a company that invests in small enterprises in rural India. We bring together the necessary infrastructures physical, know-how and financial - without which such enterprises may neither succeed nor be sustainable. We seek collaboration in creating livelihoods and infrastructure in rural areas. Visit and write to the author at


To Go Solar or Not?
DR SATYANARAYANA GAVARASANA How cheaply can electricity be made available in India? There are different natural, alternative sources to generate cheaper power, such as the sun and bio-fuels. f The question is which of them would be the best resource from affordability angle.
My mind tells me to go solar but my heart tells me to leave sun alone and use biomass. To service a loan of Rs. 1.4 million at 12% interest, we have to pay Rs. 13,800 as interest per month, whereas we were paying about Rs.5,000 per month to the APTRANSCO for electricity, though the supply is erratic and untrustworthy. Now the question: Why would any sensible Indian pay monthly Rs. 13,800 as interest (O&M expenses not included) on a loan raised to buy solar PV panels, instead of paying Rs.5,000 per month as electricity charges? It is obvious, despite the hype about the Solar Power and its technical feasibility, there is no economic justification to use solar power in rural India.

Why Go Solar?
Indians are price-conscious. We want things that are affordable. Now that the energy from sun is free why wouldn’t any Indian, including this author, fall for a freebee? A reader bestowed with intelligence and knowledge may ask 'what is the techno-economic justification for solar power?' In photosynthesis, nature has achieved an energy transfer efficiency of approximately 97% whereas the present day commercially available solar photovoltaic (PV) panels have efficiency of only 15%. NASA has used solar PV panels with efficiency factor of 30% in space exploration experiments, but they are expensive and not available commercially.

Case study -2
Due to frequent power cuts (unannounced and inconvenient), villagers in Gollaprolu formed into a Vidyut Vineyogadaarula Sanghamu (Electricity Users Association). One of the options that they have considered is to establish a Hybrid Solar Power Plant (one MW capacity) in the village. Gollaprolu village receives sunlight throughout 210 days in a 365-day year. Taking this into consideration, a design to produce electricity with a mix of solar PV panels, solar thermal energy and rice husk (bio-energy) is proposed. According to my calculations, the capital cost to produce one KWh with solar PV panels is Rs.8, with solar thermal energy Rs.6 and with bio-mass like rice husk Rs.2. Add one rupee as the operation and maintenance (O&M) expense to produce one KWh, still the final price favours electricity produced by bio-mass (rice husk). Andhra Pradesh TRANSCO purchases electricity at Rs.3 per KWh from the producers. If someone uses diesel generator for electricity, the cost per KWh is approximately Rs.10.

Case study -1
"Aqua Americana" is a safe drinking water plant run on 'No-Loss-No-Profit' basis in our village Gollaprolu in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, India. 32 KWh per day is necessary to produce 8000 liters of water. In order to minimize the inconvenience to water users due to power cuts, we are searching for power plants that would supply energy to run the water plant without interruption. I tried to get quotations for a solar PV system to run the safe drinking water plant, but there was no response. A friend from InfraSys ( has obtained a quote for us that required Rs. 1.4 million to produce 5 KWh of solar power for use in our water plant.

Dr. Satyanarayana Gavarasana was born at Pithapuram on September 4, 1936. He now lives in Floral Park, U.S.A. A postgraduate in medicine from Andhra Medical College and a Fulbright Scholar (1966), Dr. Satyanarayana was trained in General Surgery in the US. He practiced in Gollaprollu village of East Godavari District and conducted a number of health camps in many villages. Lions Cancer Hospital, Visakhapatnam, is his brainchild. Dr Gavarasana published a number of articles on cancer research. His current research project is: screen 100,000 Andhra women for breast cancer including genetic analysis.


Rural and Urban scenarios
Rural India needs low cost, low capacity (5 KWh) power plants to run lathes, cut wood, pump water, run a machine to powder the dals, rice etc. At present, this is met by the diesel gen-sets. Urban India and large industries require mega-power plants with 1000 MW capacity or more. The Indian government is offering a subsidy to solar power equipment purchasers. There should be an incentive to produce cheaper solar PV panels by the Indian manufacturers. Will the Government of India ever come to the rescue of an Indian solar PV panel producer?

showing wind velocities over India should be made available.

Our aim
Our aim should not be to copy the West blindly as far as Solar PV technology goes, but concentrate on methods to produce electricity using local resources like rice husk, bagasse, wood chips, saw dust, gobar gas, etc. The directors of research with vision and understanding of the Indian situation like Prof. A.P .J.Abdul Kalam, former President of India, can pursue research to produce PV panels at a price affordable by poor rural Indian citizens. Our aim is not to create a forum for an endless discussion but to seek immediate practical answers to the problems faced by the villagers. Two case studies are given in this article as templates to find suitable solutions. If each village is made independent of the state electric supply with construction of one MW Hybrid solar power plant, then the vision of Mahatma Gandhi of Gram Swaraj will manifest. If we can find a way to avoid green house gas producing fossils in our daily use like using diesel oil in diesel gen-sets, then we would not only make our villages self-sufficient in energy needs but protect the environment from pollution. Bio-mass and bio-diesel oil will come to our rescue. We will continue to pray Sun God to bestow Indian engineers with knowledge that would translate into cheaper solar PV panels.

Release from SEB clutches
Our task is to find a way to produce electricity that will free our citizens from the clutches of the state electricity boards (SEBs) and their corrupt and inefficient officials. Like the IT revolution, we should work for Energy Technology revolution, independent of the governmental intervention. There are bound to be ups and downs in the cycle of a revolution, like bursting of internet bubble in IT field.

Bio-mass for electricity
There is hype about solar energy now and how long this hype can be sustained on false economics is beyond anybody's guess. There are plenty of bio-fuel resources in India that can fuel the progress in Energy Technology. Reports of bio-mass plants producing electricity all over India demonstrate what is possible in augmenting the supply of electricity in energy-starved India. The Energy Price Regulatory Commissions in various states can increase the purchasing price of the bio-power taking into consideration various factors that go into production of electricity using bio-fuels like rice husk, bagasse, wood chips, saw dust, etc.

1.Photosynthesis. Publications/journal/volume12/no2/fleming.htm 2.Efficiency of Solar PV panels. 3. Solar PV panels in space. 4. Energy technology in India. 5. Energy Scene in India. nergy_grid/india/energy_overview_of_india.shtml

Alternate fuels
Kris Rallapalli (Huguenin Rallapalli Foundation) suggested that one can use non-edible oils to run the diesel gensets that are used at present in the villages. Ponge trees (Pongamia Pinnata) have been planted in the villages supported by the Huguenin Rallapalli Foundation in Tamil Nadu and these trees yield non-edible oil that can be used as a bio-diesel. According to Murthy Sudhakar (, there is a niche market for solar lights. Wind power is a possible energy source and maps


Winners of Rural Innovation Fund for 2007
Microsoft India under its sustainable and self-reliant rural market initiative, Project Saksham, r has established in 2006 Rural Innovation Fund (RIF) in partnership with International Development Research of Canada (IDRC) to help local software application development vendors in smaller towns to create and provide localized applications and solutions customized for the needs of the rural communities.
HE Rural Innovation Fund’s focus is on verticals like telemedicine, education and agriculture, areas which are of maximum interest to the rural communities. M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) is associated with RIF and IDRC to promote rural development through the application of Information Technology. In 2004, MSSRF and IDRC consolidated the concept of Village Knowledge Centre & Village Resource Centre in the form of creating multi-stakeholder partnership called 'Mission 2007: Every Village a Knowledge Centre'. By 2005, this network had more than 200 partners and has support from national (including government) and international agencies. In early 2007, this network/movement was renamed and converted into a movement called 'Grameen Gyan Abhiyan (Rural Knowledge Network)'. Out of 950 applicants with solutions focusing on enhancing livelihood and agriculture practice, education and literacy, rural health and telemedicine, e-commerce, local content management applications and village-level administration tools; and disaster preparedness and management, the folloing nine were chosen to receive a grant of $15,000.


blends information technology innovatively, facilitating online consultation for each patient with ophthalmologists. This approach helps patients acquire right treatment advice directly from ophthalmologists, saving a lot of time and money. The objective now is to develop an appropriate model to increase the uptake of eyecare services at the Vision Centres.

ARUNTEC, CHENNAI: Conceptualised by V G Ram Kumar, Aruntec seeks to create and deliver innovative info-tech solutions, including for the rural community. Their proposal is e-com web portal to facilitate flow of funds up to village level, the portal to help the villagers solicit information from the Internet as well as facilitate selecting/buying goods or availing of services; and create e-identification of villagers and their activities.

With a modest beginning of 11 beds in 1976, today Aravind Eye Hospital provides the entire range of eyecare services. Its proposal of VISION 2020 is a global initiative that prioritises five key problems and suggests various approaches. Based on a low-cost telemedicine approach that reaches out to the rural population, a Vision Centre

JANASTU, BANGALORE: Core strength is developing software and providing support for NGOs for their needs, enabling non IT-savvy users to be pro-active. They propose to build open source school management software that is aimed at the teachers and staff of a school, for configuring it to their needs. This is a result of observing that

teachers at schools get proactive if the bottleneck of depending on their computer support departments is minimised. Society for Participatory Research and Integrated Training (SPIRIT), Tamil Nadu: SPIRIT has been implementing community development activities among the hill tribes and Dalits in 40 villages in lower Kodaikanal hills since 1996. They now propose to introduce the fishing sector there to information technology in the form of ecommerce, by apprising them of benefits in areas of catch, market trend of pricing and post-harvest technologies of fisheries.

Mineral Density. It provides a cost-effective method of evaluating BMD by the use of image analysis applied on radiographs for better results. This method could make one of the primary healthcare procedures accessible to the poor.


APDDCF is an apex body at the state -level, involved in focused development of dairy value chain. Their proposal is an Integrated Rural Milk Procurement (IRMP) project which is an Internet-based application wherein milk collection details are captured on to the server at headquarters straight from the village using GPRS to ensure transparency and instant payment to the farmer through bank.

in the focus areas of e-goverance, training and manufacturing ERP Their proposal is a disaster management sys. tem where the proposed application will act like an ERP and knowledge management solution for disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, rescue and rehabilitation and relief work. RAJIV GANDHI COLLEGE OF VETERINARY AND ANIMAL SCIENCES (RAGACOVAS), PUDUCHERRY: Their proposal involves preparation of Knowledge kit for goat-keepers. This involves scientific ways of goat rearing such as young kid management, feeding management, breeding management, common diseases of goats, etc., which will explain the important scientific practices to be adopted by the goat-keepers.


al is a Patient Logistics Management system for hospitals which aims at developing software for gathering and storing information on patient logistics in the area of communicable diseases - a scientific compiling of patient data for combating the most-likely-to-recur phases during the next season. The project, hence, tries to concentrate on the formally listed communicable diseases prevalent in Kerala. (It is interesting to observe that every one of the winners is a city-based NGO or institution. When 70% of rural population is below the poverty line, governmentrun schools do not have competent teachers and who are absent often, and most government-run public health facilities are not properly managed, what is likely to be the contribution of all these high-tech winners? This is not intended as a criticism of the RIF It is a com. ment to help develop strategies to improve the productivity of funds allotted. -Editor)

MANIPAL CENTRE FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE, MANIPAL: it is part of Manipal University. Their proposal is the creation of BMD Scan, which is a tool for Bone


Rural India’s Innovations
Honey Bee Network is a bridge between rich and the poor and can lead to patent rights and license fees for their ideas LAKSHMAN KALASAPUDI


O you know that sour butter milk is better acetic acid or formic acid for coagulation of natural rubber latex? Or that there is a machine to make bamboo splints that costs Rs. 69,550 less than the one available on the market? Perhaps not. They are ideas of impoverished Indians seeking to make their lives better. However, these ideas can easily be found on the Honey Bee Network. The Honey Bee Network is the brainchild of Anil K. Gupta. This network documents the endless innovations of rural peasants in India. While inclusive of age old methods, many indigenous, that have eased life, the network also collects recent innovations which ameliorate the lives of economically disadvantaged people. There have been over 70,000 entries since its inception in 1990 and the network is available in Hindi, Gujarati, and Tamil. The main intent of this project is to create an exchange of ideas between the poor of India to make all their lives better. The name is reflective of the goal of the project. Just as honey bees collect nectar from different flowers and congregate to make honey in one beehive, the combination of different ideas can definitely make life much sweeter. The multi-lingual aspect of this database provides for the dispersion of ideas throughout India, thereby creating a cross pollination of ideas.

Bee. This network can lead to patent rights and license fees for their ideas. Also, groups such as the Ashoka Foundation can recognize these otherwise non-entities and grant them fellowships, thus enabling them to become entrepreneurs. As well as catering to many of the needs of the poor, Honey Bee is a bridge between the rich and poor. The knowledge found of this database can be implemented on larger scales by investors. Many ideas are about increasing production of goods. One such idea is the roof tile making machine by Sukhranjan Mistry. His machine can make roof tiles with the operation by simply pedaling. While he isn't commercializing the idea, others can and will. Therefore, there are two beneficiaries of the concept. The idea itself is a wonderful innovation! Anil K. Gupta is a professor of agriculture at the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad. Gupta also founded the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI). This is the parent organization for Honey Bee. With his academic background in agriculture, Gupta is the perfect man to initiate such an activity. Agriculture is a field where any new innovations are vital for the efficient and effective production of crops. Knowing the aforementioned innovations are the thoughts and research of regular Indian workers who have very little education, we are enlightened by the fact that higher education, such as masters and Ph.D., is not necessary to invent and innovate. Honey Bee is an excellent platform for the intellect of the non-academia to shine through.

Bridge between…
Innovators can benefit in numerous ways through Honey

Database Website:




EARS ago, Anna Saheb Udgave, a cane farmer of Sadalga in Belgaum district of Karnataka, developed the Chandraprabhu raingun. On a small scale, he manufactured the raingun and sold it to other farmers. For this innovation, Anna Saheb received a national award in 2000. Soon after, the Rural Innovations Network selected the raingun for incubation. In 2002, Rural Innovations Network held discussions with Servals Automation, a Chennai-based company. Servals saw much promise in this equipment because it gave farmers a host of benefits in a water-scarce situation. Following the transfer of technology from Anna Saheb to Servals Automation, the summer of 2002 saw the first lot of Servalsmanufactured rainguns coming out. Later, the Chandraprabhu raingun was renamed as Varsha. Today, farmers are happy users of the Varsha raingun because of the numerous benefits it delivers. Start with water. The Varsha raingun delivers high water savings, anywhere between 50 and 60 per cent. What is more it saves time. For instance, the practice of flood irrigation would make one wait for a week or ten days minimum for the water to drain. With the raingun, a stretch of land could be irrigated in the morning and by 4 pm in the afternoon, the water has drained and the soil is ready for carrying out further operations. It takes far less time to irrigate land when compared to flood irrigation. For instance, irrigating half an acre needs only two hours with the Varsha raingun whereas flood irrigation would need a day at least. This saving in water and time ensures that considerable amounts of energy are saved. It relieves labourers of their time to use in other essential operations. Additionally, the raingun can be used to irrigate land that is not level. The raingun sprays water on the leaves. This washes away the pests that sit on the leaves and also the eggs that the pests may deposit on the leaves. There are a few disadvantages in the Varsha raingun as well. It cannot be used on tender plants because the raingun sprays a considerable amount of water with significant force. This would definitely damage tender plants. Also, it cannot be used for flowering plants because the flowers would be destroyed.

Saves water, time, energy




NDIA is slowly establishing the patient and store these itself as a center of excelalong with the rest of the lence in medicine outsourcpatient's medical data on the ing the way it has done in IT. computer. Despite all theseimIndia has been exporting docpressive features, the software tors to different parts of the needs no special equipment to world for many years, and now run. A standard computer will residents from the developed do. Even more importantly, world are choosing to go to ReMeDi offers a cheap way for India for medical treatment. villagers to get medical attenDespite this, over 700 million tion. People in rural areas in Indians today lack access to India often have to make long, basic medical facilities because expensive trips to other towns they live in remote villages that to get treatment. ReMeDi, on suffer from a shortage of docthe other hand, allows villagers tors. Also the primary health to get in touch with a doctor facilities set up by the governfor as little as Rs. 25 per conment have become dysfuncsultation. Though the compational. However now thanks to ny has only begun to sell and the unique application of IT distribute the product, it is developed by Neurosynaptic Rajeev Kumar, Founder and CCO, (left) and Sameer Sawarkar, already showing signs of sucFounder and CEO Neurosynaptic Communications communication, a Bangalore cess. Other developing counbased company villagers may tries such as Bangladesh, be able to get access to the best medical help. Tunisia, the Philippines, and Mexico have also ordered the solution, and Mr. Sawarkar, the CEO wishes to install ReMeNeurosynaptic company has developed medical device Di on 1,500 Internet kiosks throughout India. and software known as ReMeDi that connects rural villagers to Indian urban doctors via the Web. ReMeDi. This is Neurosynaptic Communications Private Limited was installed on computers in villages or nearby towns. It is selected in November, 2007 by World conomic Forum as capable of measuring four vital signs: temperature, blood one of the Technology Pioneers. The Technology Pioneers pressure, blood oxygenation, 2008 were nominated by the and heartbeat. Trained operaworld's leading technology tors located at the Internet experts, including venture capikiosk in the village then send talists, technology companies, the results to doctors in the academics and media. The final cities. These doctors use the selection from 273 nominees given information to make was made by a panel of leading diagnoses and give prescriptechnology experts appointed tions if necessary. by the World Economic Forum. Technology Pioneers 2008 are The ReMeDi program has invited to participate in the other features as well. It allows World Economic Forum Annual for real-time communication Meeting 2008 in Davos, between the patient and the Switzerland. Village kiosk ReMeDi telemedicine center http://www. doctor via video, audio, or text in operation chat. It can take pictures of


Barefoot College
The Barefoot College of Tilonia, Rajasthan, India demonstrates that illiteracy is not a barrier to poor communities developing themselves and that the most sophisticated of technologies can be disseminated by poor rural men and women who can barely read and write.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win. - Mahatma Gandhi
The Barefoot College strongly believes that it is a myth that the development of poor rural communities requires people with formal degrees and qualifications. The college has extended its informal training programs to empower a growing number of female solar power engineers, and the Barefoot approach to development has spread across India and around the world.

HE Barefoot College, formally known as the Social Work Research Centre, was established in 1972 in Tilonia, a small village in the semi-arid regions of Rajasthan, India. The college's founder, Bunker Roy, lived and worked in this village ever since. The college was designed by a semi-literate Barefoot architect and was built by a team of Barefoot architects, Barefoot solar engineers, and Barefoot water engineers. The college collects rainwater from the roofs of the campus and stores 400,000 liters of water in an underground tank built under a community stage. The open-air theater can seat an audience of 5,000 for performances. The college is fully solarelectrified and powers its computers, photocopying machines, media center, pathology lab, and 700 lights and fans of its administrative offices, classrooms and living spaces with sunlight.


cal - many of the children who pass through night school become health workers, engineers, accountants, and teachers and serve their own communities. Unlike the paper-qualified urban experts sent to help them, Barefoot-educated professionals focus on local decision-making and grassroots development. As one Barefoot College staff member explains, "It is Gandhian -like Mahatma Gandhi we do believe power resides in the poor. They have dignity but do not have opportunities. We are harnessing human potential."

By giving the rural poor access The Barefoot College is a radto practical knowledge, the Bareical departure from the tradifoot College demystifies technoltional concept of a "college." ogy and puts it in the hands of vilThe lifestyle and workstyle is lagers themselves. very Gandhian. Rather than Solar power reading, writing, and formal To date, Barefoot professionals degrees, the Barefoot College have helped bring solar electricity promotes the kind of education to over 200 remote villages in seven states across India, one absorbs from family, community, and practical fulfilling such basic needs as lighting and heating. In experience. The College confers no degrees and all this capacity alone, the Barefoot College has improved members, regardless of class, education, or caste, are the quality of life of more than 80,000 people. The considered equal. For the dropout children who cannot philosophies of the College have done more than bring afford to go to school in the day because they have to practical technological advancements; they also look after their animals in the fields, classes take place empower at night in the villages. The education is entirely practi-

Away from Tradition

villagers, especially women. As one female Barefoot engineer explained, her husband and in-laws were first unhappy with her pursuit of education and grassroots activism, but they soon came to respect her work. "My husband will never say it, but I know he's very proud of me. Now he asks me to maintain his accounts for him!" Another female scholar explains, "I now look back at my childhood when I always dreamed of doing something big for my society. My mother used to laugh at me. Today my family, my neighbors, and even the village elders respect me and value my contribution. It feels wonderful."



Developing Countries follow
The Barefoot approach to the solar-electrification of rural communities has been adopted by the Asian Development Bank in Afghanistan and in 2007 it was being adopted in 25 villages in Bhutan. Similar initiatives aredeveloping in Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Mali, Bolivia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritania, Malawi, Kenya and Ethiopia. Both the UNDP and Skoll Foundation have provided funds for training 34 Barefoot solar and water engineers from Ethiopia. In six months during 2006, 19 inaccessible villages in Ethiopia were solar electrified by Barefoot solar engineers trained by the Barefoot College in Tilonia. Skoll Foundation has provided financial support to replicate the Barefoot approach in solar electrification and rooftop rainwater harvesting for drinking water and sanitation in Afghhanistan, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cameroon and Bolivia. The Barefoot College's $1 million Alcan Prize for Sustainability will be used to replicate the Barefoot model in even more villages in these countries.

EVENTYTWO-YEAR-OLD Sunjit Bunker Roy, born in a Bengali family and educated in the most "happening" schools like Doon and St.Stephens, has had the "most expensive, snobbish education any Indian could have had the misfortune to have." He was deeply moved by the Bihar famine and the suffering of the people there in Bunker Roy 1960s. His anguish and commitment The Founder to improve the quality of life materialized in the form of "Barefoot College" in 1972. Thus began the journey of three times national Squash champion Bunker Roy to come up with the barefoot concept in respect of people living in extreme poverty and to establish a college for them by them. Living and working in villages 35 years back became the philosophy and tool for the success of "barefoot" concept. Bunker's belief in and respect for rural professionalism grew leaps and bounds since then and has led to not only sustainable development but also building the essential prerequisites for sustainable development. His work represents a ray of hope for rural India and the transparency in his functioning addresses every one's concern about credibility of NGO sector. Married to Aruna Roy, recipient of Raman Magsaysay award for her work as a community leader, who quit a secure IAS job to join the Barefoot College and now working towards social empowerment of rural Rajasthan, Bunker says "Aruna is my hero." Aruna, through her activism, is bringing about a social change by addressing rural problems as she believes that only solving economic problems will not lead to overal and sustainable rural development. Along with her team of activists from "Majdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan," Aruna was instrumental in the enactment of Right To Information act in Rajasthan and 10 other states. Bunker's work and life became inspirational to many young and old professionals globally. As he rightly believes "strengthen the rural areas and you will find less people migrating to urban areas. You give them opportunity, self respect and self confidence, they will never go to urban slums."

Creativity matters
Says Barefoot College founder, Bunker Roy: "It is the only college in India built by the poor for the poor and for the last 34 years was managed and controlled and owned by the poor following the lifestyle and workstyle of Gandhi. It is based on very simple living, eating, living, and working on the floor where people come for the challenge rather than the money. No one in the college can earn more than $100 a month. It's the only college where paper degrees, diplomas and doctorates are a disqualification because the worth of the person is judged by his or her honesty, integrity, compassion, practical skills, creativity and their ability to work with people without discrimination." (Suggested by Ms Sai Padma Bellana)


Building Technologies to Help Poor
Lately Massachsetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has turned its attention toward concrete thinking to improve the lives of the world’s bottom billion, those who live on a dollar a day or less and who often die young. ANKIT GUPTA


HE Massachusetts Institute of Technology, known for the excellent education it provides in such brainy topics as neuroscience and astrophysics, recently offered a program that could help improve the lives of the world's impoverished population. The institute hosted the International Developmental Design Summit, a workshop devoted to building technologies to help the poor. The participants consisted of students, professors, and professionals from around the world. They discussed solutions to the basic problems faced by those who live on less than a dollar a day. The event was organized by Amy Smith, a lecturer at M.I.T., with the help of volunteers from California Technology University and Harvard University. Today, over 90% of the money spent on research and development is used to build products for the world's wealthiest 10%. The movement to change this and create a focus on those who live in poverty is the "design revolution." Ms Smith hoped that the summit would aid this "revolution". The summit began with discussions about the general problems faced by the world's poorest, such as a lack of water, electricity, and public health. The participants split into project teams, each of which focused on creating a solution to a particular problem. The actual building of prototypes took place in M.I.T.'s D-Lab, a center dedicated to designing technologies for third world countries. The supplies were bought using donations (over $200,000 in total)

from individuals and small groups. The challenge was to make products that are cheap and simple enough to be used in rural areas. They also needed to be made from materials that would be available wherever the product is to be used. In addition, they needed to fit into the lifestyles of those who would use them. These limitations were formidable and the work was hectic and stressful. However, the students succeeded in coming up with promising ideas and prototypes. For example, Mohamed Mashaal, a British engineer, and Bernard Kiwia, a Tanzanian teacher, developed a backpack designed to store water, which would make it easier for women in rural Tanzania to carry water over long distances as they do on a daily basis. Two other students, Zambian engineer Sham Tembo and M.I.T. student Jessica Vechakulmade a contraption that used cow manure and charcoal to make electricity. Why is India, where the need for low technologies to solve the poverty problem is acute, failing to hold this type of seminars, workshops and think tanks on a larger scale? Why is India's NGO movement not taking interest to put pressure on the leading educational institutions universities to divert their energies towards developing such low technologies to meet high aims? IITs do research to promote IT, while we need low tech solutions for the daily needs of the poor in India.

Ankit Gupta is currently a junior at Acton Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, Massachusetts. He is an active participant in many extracurricular activities like the school speech and debate team and school band. He also volunteers his time in a number of ways: he is an assistant coach at the junior high speech and debate team and is a tutor for high school students who face difficulties in studies. He is also involved in his school's recycling club. Deeply interested in journalism and philanthropy, he believes Catalyst represents a unique opportunity to blend the two together.

A R E N A Animation - Kukatpally offers Special Discount for Members of
Global Angels Jai Charitable Trust to promote Animation among Rural Youth
This issue’s cover page is prepared by ARENA, Kukatpally team
* Conditions Apply


A Lively Discussion on Sustainable Development
On October 6 and 7, 2007 India Development Service (IDS), India Development Coalition of America (IDCA), and Loyola University, Chicago conducted an international conference on the theme of Sustainable Development and Gandhian Thought at the Loyola University campus in Maywood, Illinois, USA
HE international conference on 'Sustainable Development and Gandhian Thought,' held at the Loyola University campus in Maywood, Illinois recently turned out to be a lively forum for those who are working on projects concerned with water and sanitation, education, rural development, solar energy, ecological restoration, AIDS awareness, problems of the disabled and networking exchange of ideas and renewing their commitment to the speeding up of the process of sustainable development in India. Action plan was developed for the different non-profit organisations in the United States of America to work together with Indian NGOs and government institutions in the implementation of programs in rural India. The conference took note of the fact that India has two images - the modern urban India and "Bharat," the backward rural India. Urban India's economy boomed with the largest number of billionaires of Asia belonging to it, even as the largest number of poor lived in Bharat. The event provided various models and examples to those who believe in traversing such divides to help the less fortunate help themselves and get the NRIs with compassion living in developed nations (ex: NRIs in the US) to extend help and support to communities back home in overcoming their problems there. NRIs in the US could become conduits of knowledge, resources and networks in this mission.


The objective of the conference was to bring together experts in the field of sustainable development, and grassroot activists who are implementing developmental projects in India. The occasion also assumed significance for drawing speakers from across the globe. Most of them are NRIs. Mr. Sam Pitroda, NKC, India, Prof. Satish Kumar, Great Britain, Mr. Bunker Roy, Rajasthan, India, Manoj Dabas of Ashoka Trust, India, Mr. Balbir Mathur, Kansas, Prof. Madhusri Prakash of Penn State University, Mr. Pragnanand Busi and Ms Saipadma Bellana, Andhra Pradesh, India, apart from Mr. A.K. Attri, India's Consul General at Chicago, were among them. While Bunker Roy described India as a nation of "islands of excellence in the seas of ignorance," Prof. Satish Kumar said the "Satvic way of development is the only way for India to sustain itself rather than taking the path of super-consumerism. A physically challenged young woman, Ms Saipadma pointed out that even the disabled can deliver services to rural poor. The India Development Coalition of America (IDCA), one of the sponsors of the international conference (the others were India Development Service (IDS) and Loyla University, Chicago) presented its initiatives in helping India's rural poor.





Eradication of Corruption Accelerates Development
KRIS DEV Corruption is the cancer eating into the vitals of Indian society and not allowing the underdeveloped and developing nations to become developed nations.


NDIA is doing well on many fronts, except in tackling corruption, which in turn is affecting many development projects, impacting the grassroot development in particular, and not allowing the marginalized to be benefited. The rich are growing richer at the expense of the poor. What we need is a One-Stop solution to the evil of corruption. The solution should instantly change the face of our society and reverse it from downward trends to an upward growth.

Card and the transactions must be made transparent on the web. Suitable 'e-Administration' communication and a transparency tool should be available for tracking all communications and compliance online by anyone anywhere.

Minimizes Corruption
This would minimize corruption to the point of eliminating it to create a level playing field, alleviate poverty and help achieve UN Millennium Development Goals. Total transparency and accountability needs to be made a way of life. Every transaction must be made public and open to public scrutiny. This would deter us from doing any thing on the sly.

Biometric Smart Card
One ideal solution would be to register every citizen uniquely using their biometrics (fingerprints of all fingers / palm vein) and issue Multipurpose Biometric Smart Card-cum-Debit Card, linked to a bank account. Every transaction of every individual and organization must be through the Biometric Smart

Kris Dev (GopalaKrishnan Devanathan) is a Management & ICT Consultant and social activist, specializing in decentralization and good governance. At 52, he has a quarter century of hands-on experience in Asia and the Americas. He is a co-founder of the International Transparency and Accountability Network (TrAcNet), a global, not-for-profit consortium of Social Activists, for 'Better Self-Administration', through Community Centric Sustainable Development and Life Line to Business (LL2B), an ICT organization, specializing in e-Governance. Developed and implemented "e-Administration,“ a web-enabled neutral, paper-less e-Office communication and collaboration tool, using open source tools to transform organizations. He is a recipient of the prestigious "Manthan Award 2006" for pioneering work in "e-Inclusion and Livelihood" for good governance in rural India.


Institute of Rural Research and Development
POOJA O. MURADA The use of solar-passive methods such as natural cross ventilation or skillful natural p day-lighting can significantly bring down the costs as well as the energy needs of the building. l
NDIA is witnessing an unprecedented urban growth, leading to a large scale increase in infrastructure development and commercial and residential constructions. This, in turn, has resulted in a steep rise in demand for energy to sustain the modern lifestyle, placing tremendous strain on existing resources. It's worth mentioning that the annual increase of electricity consumption in Gurgaon, Haryana is about 20% highest in the country. An eco-friendly building inflicts minimal footprint on the environment.


building. Good architectural design used in IRRAD reduce the need to cool or light up the building. In IRRAD light, air and water have been harvested by using various design strategies.

The objective
The objective behind creating such a building is to prove that it does not take much to make the buildings sustainable. IRRAD will lead by example, putting the latest knowledge and technology into use. It is a 'smart' facility combining simplicity of design with environmentfriendly technologies.

Integrated approach
Typically, environmentfriendly architecture tries to optimize the performance of a building and preserve and protect important resources like water, land, and energy. This is accomplished through an integrated approach to architecture, blending design issues, energy-efficient materials, construction techniques, effective building systems and taking advantage of renewable energy supplies. The Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) has set an example by meeting these criteria. Design is one of the simplest ways to create an eco-friendly

Design Based Features
Insulated building with thermally heavy and reflective roof finish to reduce the heat transmission; re-use of excavated soil for making brick insitutions; runoff water collection for reuse and ground water recharge making zero runoff; roof water harvesting used for fulfilling the requirement of water for the air-conditioning system; an internal courtyard for maximizing the natural light and ventilation in all spaces reduces the need of HVAC and lighting; and water saving sanitary fittings.

Pooja O. Murada, a creative mind, studied mass communications as well as management. After completing her studies, she joined the corporate sector and worked for diverse audience in the industries like the Information Technology, Advertising and HealthCare. It was her longing to use her skills and experience for the upliftment of the marginalized society. She left Hewlett Packard as a Marketing Communications Specialist to work full time to communicate social causes instead of brands. She is heading the Communications department at the Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) run by the Sehgal Foundation. She is the editor of 'Vikas Patrika', the quarterly newsletter of the Sehgal Foundation.


Integrated technological and conceptual systems
35 KWP of electricity generated by photovoltaic panels on the roof suffices the basic essential loads like lights, fans and computers; solar water heating systems reduces the overall energy consumption, grey and black water recycling - for irrigation and flushing; high efficiency airconditioning equipments; and IRRAD's construction project will be complete by March 2008.

Foundation has taken another initiative by establishing the Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD). Taking advantage of the inherent synergy between learning, training, and outreach, IRRAD will have three centers: one for rural research in collaboration with universities and colleges, one for the training of Village Champions in rural development and a third for rural policy, governance studies and advice to policymakers. The Sehgal Foundation has pioneered a new path of integrated, sustainable rural development. We would continue with this belief and commitment in the long run, in partnership with the village poor, combining local perspective and leadership with scientific insight and innovation. We will learn as we grow into a widely-recognized, respected, responsible and responsive organization. Six hundred million village poor across India need and deserve this kind of commitment and capability.

Vision & Mission
IRRAD is a premier 'Knowledge Institution' on issues related to rural development and poverty reduction. IRRAD has been established with a mission to promote integrated disciplines such as rural research, programs & training, advocacy and field activities.

IRRAD- Modus Operandi
To spread our learnings accumulated under the Sehgal Foundation's ISVD model and scale up operations, the

.M.Sehgal Foundation has been presented with the Best Water NGO for Water Harvesting Award at an awards function at New Delhi on November 29. The award has been instituted by the Water Digest, a global magazine for Water Solutions, in association with UNESCO. Initiated last year, Water Digest identified the need to recognize NGOs doing exceptional work in the water sector and therefore, these awards acknowledged organizations for their exemplary work in judicious and effective use of water resources in urban and rural areas. Mr. Rajat Jay Sehgal, Executive Director of Sehgal Foundation, received the award on behalf of the foundation from eminent dignitaries like the Government of India Minister of State for Water Resources, Jai Prakash Narayan, Minja Yang, Director, UNESCO, David Gray, World Bank's Senior Water Advisor and Baljeet Singh Ahuja, member, Central Water Commission. The Water Management program is an important com-


Sehgal Foundation gets Best Water NGO Award
ponent under the Integrated Sustainable Village Development (ISVD) model of the Sehgal Foundation along with other programs on health, agriculture, life skills education and alternate energy. The foundation works in Mewat and Kurukshetra districts of Haryana where both the availability and quality of water are of primary concern. The award for Water Harvesting recognizes the foundation's efforts in making potable water available in the rain scarce area of Mewat, where the water table is depleting rapidly due to overexploitation of the limited water resources. Besides various interventions in the area of water harvesting, the Sehgal Foundation has also done successful projects in creating the sweet water pockets in the underground saline water areas, building check dams to increase the ground water table, community education programs on water conservation, especially for farmers on best agricultural practices like chiseling, drip irrigation, raised-bed farming etc, and to provide safe drinking water through various filtration processes like bio-sand filters.


India’s Millions Denied Access to Modern Energy
UR day starts before five in the morning as we need to collect water, prepare breakfast for the family and get our children ready for school. At around eight, we start collecting wood. The journey is several kilometres long. When we cannot get wood we use animal dung for cooking-but it is bad for the eyes and for the children." This is a familiar story for millions in India. In most of urban India, access to electricity is taken for granted. At the flick of a switch the lights come on, water is heated and food is cooked. Employment and prosperity are supported by the energy systems that sustain modern industry, drive computers and power transport networks for the rich. For the poor in India, access to energy has a very different meaning. Collecting wood for fuel is an arduous and time consuming activity. It takes 2-3 hours a day. When they are unable to collect wood, they have no choice but to use animal dung for cooking-a serious health hazard. In developing countries there are some 2.5 billion people who are forced to rely on biomassfuelwood, charcoal and animal dung-to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China. Unequal access to modern energy is closely correlated with wider inequalities in opportunities for human development. Countries with low levels of access to modern energy systems figure prominently in the low human development group. Within countries, inequalities in access to modern energy services between rich and poor and urban and rural areas interact with wider inequalities in opportunity.


Poor people and poor countries pay a high price for deficits in modern energy provision:

Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from tuberculosis. Most of the victims are women, children and the rural poor. Indoor air pollution is also one of the main causes of lower respiratory tract infections and pneumonia in children. In India, where three in every four households in rural areas depend on firewood and dung for cooking and heat, pollution from unprocessed biofuels accounts for some 17% of child deaths. Electrification is often associated with wider advances in health status.

Women and young girls have to allocate large amounts of time to the collection of firewood, compounding gender inequalities in livelihood opportunities and education. Collecting fuelwood and animal dung is a time-consuming and exhausting task, with average loads often in excess of 20kg. In rural India, average collection times can amount to over 3 hours a day. Beyond the immediate burden on time and body, fuelwood collection often results in young girls being kept out of school.

Economic Costs
Poor households often spend a large share of their income on fuelwood or charcoal. Collection time for fuelwood has significant opportunity costs, limiting opportunities for women to engage in income generating activities. More broadly, inadequate access to modern energy services restricts productivity and helps keep people poor.


Deficits in access to modern energy can create a vicious circle of environmental, economic and social reversal. Unsustainable production of charcoal in response to rising urban demand has placed a huge strain on areas surrounding major cities. In some cases, charcoal production and wood collection has contributed to local deforestation. As resources shrink, dung and residues are diverted to fuel use instead of being ploughed back into fields, undermining soil productivity.

Expanded access to affordable electricity for the poor remains an overarching development priority in India. Will the number of people relying on biomass will increase or decrease over the next decade and beyond, in India? All this depends on the progress towards several MDGs, including those relating to child and maternal survival, education, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. This in turn depends upon the contribution of India's scientists.

(Based on Human Development Report, 2007)

Source of Household Energy Cosumption
Integrated Energy Policy, 2006


Time to be Innovative
HERE has been significant progress in the field of atomic energy, including a movement towards achieving a fast breeder reactor. There are many hurdles and challenges in front but also a hope that we might get there within the next decade. While the technical achievement in the area of atomic energy has been of a very high order, the total amount of power delivered to the country has not been very significant." Prof. Yash Pal An eminent scienist, educationist, science commuicator, and social thinker Chancellor, Jawarlal Nehru University, Delhi.



Making ICT work for the Common Man
CHANDRASEKHAR The task at hand is mammoth by any standard -- one that requires us to marry the hard information technology skills with softer skills requiring appreciation of simple human needs and concerns.


VER the last decade, India has emerged as a major exporter of services in the Information Technology (IT) Sector. The domestic market for the IT industry has been growing as well. Recent studies with respect to domestic growth in the IT industry show the government as one of the major users of technology and a destination for IT investments in the coming years. Behind the trend is a story, the main theme of the government's increasing emphasis on leveraging information technology in the area of public service delivery and human development. Those familiar with the government's functioning in this country will know that the sector has been an early adopter of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) even before the advent of the ubiquitous PC. Early usage of ICT was based more on carrying out number crunching and fulfilling the reporting needs of government back offices. However, recent advances in telecom, PC penetration and the growing use of Internet have opened up new vistas for ICT-led transformation in the public domain. A concrete shape was given to this new approach by the government in May, 2006 when the Indian Cabinet approved the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). This programme adopted the vision of making "all government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets and ensures efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man." A key component of the NeGP is the Common Services Centers (CSC) scheme, implemented by the Department of Information technology. The scheme envisages creation of

a network of over 100,000 access points termed CSCs throughout the country which will function as outlets for Government and private services. A typical Common Services Center (one for every six villages) would be an ICTenabled kiosk with a PC along with basic support equipment like printer, scanner and UPS, with Wireless Connectivity as the backbone and additional equipment for education, telemedicine etc. The CSCs are proposed to be undertaken through three important components: i) A Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework; ii) Rural Entrepreneurship & Market mechanisms; and iii) Government policy and support. Under a PPP framework, the CSC Scheme would focus on building a network of rural entrepreneurs at the local level to run village-level kiosks delivering G2C and B2C services. The aim is to ensure local participation of young talent at village level that would also promote community involvement in the CSC Scheme. The intensity of national goals fuelled by local entrepreneurial vigour can act as a powerful catalyst to empower rural India. By enabling selection and training of Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) in rural areas, the CSCs would effectively play the role of 'Change Agents', in addition to offering e-government and private sector services. Preliminary estimates indicate that the total cost involved in transforming public service delivery through the programme would be around Rs 22,000 crore. The real challenge lies in conceptualizing and formulating hundreds of individual e-governance projects in a manner that addresses the pressing needs and concerns of the common man.

Mr. Chandrashekhar is an additional secretary (e-Governance) in the Department of Information Technology under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India. He established the first department of information technology in the country when he was the secretary of the department in Government of Andhra Pradesh. He conceptualized various initiatives such as creation of requisite infrastructure (Hi-Tech city etc.), strategic human resource development initiative (Indian Institute of Information Technology).


Swaminathan Leads a New Movement
M. S. Swaminathan, the creator of new varieties of high-yielding wheat in India during the y 1960s and 70s, catapulting the country to food independence, is now the driving force behind a different revolution - a national movement to bring internet and telecommunications to India's 600,000 rural villages.


WAMINATHAN'S movement is born out of his belief that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), if properly implemented, will help bridge India's growing urban-rural divide and forge better links between researchers and rural poor people. The percentage of gross domestic product the government spends on rural infrastructure has been steadily declining since the late 1980s. According to the World Bank, improving the accessibility and quality of education, health care and basic infrastructure such as water, electricity, sanitation and roads are among India's biggest challenges. How will ICT help? Agricultural Extension workers, who are supposed to interact with the farmer every day, and the government employees whose job it is to provide rural health care, education and basic municipal services such as sanitation lack motivation. The hope is that ICT will provide "a fresh approach" to agricultural extension, putting the information directly in the farmer's hands.

This is the challenge that Swaminathan has taken on. In the late-1990s, his nonprofit institute set up some of the first telecom kiosks in his home state of Tamil Nadu, with the goal of linking farmers and fishermen to the basic information they need. After a rocky start, which saw the first four centres close, the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) network has now grown to a total of 80 kiosks across three states. In 2004, Swaminathan rallied the ICT troops, creating what he calls a National Alliance, a coalition of more than 400 organizations, including state governments and various business, academic and nongovernmental organizations, with the collective aim of providing ICT access to every villager in India. Nationally, there are now more than 20,000 ICT kiosks operating in nearly all of India's 28 states, run by several dozen ICT providers, and that number is set to double by December next year. The alliance has been enormously successful in getting government support for ICT infrastructure. In addition to the US$420 million that central and state governments are pledging towards the physical infrastructure for 100,000 telecom kiosks by 2008, roughly $850 million is also being invested to bring broadband connectivity to administrative groups of villages. They have also approved close to $565 million for the creation of state data centres as hubs for government services. It is an ambitious project considering that 80,000 villages are still without electricity and 65,000 villages have no telephone line.

Mixed success
India's past experience with rural ICT schemes has been rife with disappointments. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, head of the Telecom and Networks Group (TeNeT) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai, says that the dozens of ICT projects across the country are a series of ongoing experiments, "some of which have worked," he says, but "most of which haven't." Jhunjhunwala says that the experience is not unusual. Indeed, a 2006 study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of 18 ICT projects in India representing some 6,500 ICT kiosks across 10 states found that many faltered because they didn't address rural needs. The study found that several of the projects failed to "understand the importance of cultivating close relationships with their beneficiary community."

People power
Swaminathan says that although he is encouraged by the government's commitment to rural ICTs, he is concerned that the plan is overly focused on providing

equipment and physical infrastructure. As part of their more people-centred approach, the MSSRF established the National Virtual Academy (NVA) in 2003, as a distance-learning program for training villagers to become advocates for the ICT needs of their community. Over the past 4 years, the NVA has recruited more than 1,000 such villagers - 'NVA fellows' - each nominated by their peers and each with a track record of community service. co Company of India, one of the country's largest private corporations, selling products from cigarettes and clothing to fertilizers and pesticides, has established 6,500 kiosks to serve 38,500 villages in nine states. The company built its first Internet kiosks in 2000 to buy grain directly from farmers. The kiosks provide farmers with market prices so they can decide when best to sell their harvest, and they sell directly to the company for an immediate cash payment. Imperial Tobacco says its system has reduced its procurement costs by 25-30% and claims to put more money in farmers' pockets. Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai, India's largest computer software exporter, is developing mobilephone software for farmers. India boasts the fastestgrowing mobile-phone market in the world. One-fifth of its 218 million mobile-phone users live in rural areas and the country's service providers are rapidly expanding wireless coverage to villages.

The hub of the matter
The MSSRF Puducherry Village Resource Centre serves as a coordinating hub for eight village kiosks, including the one in Embalam, relaying the needs of villagers to various experts and government institutions. Government funding for the telecom centres runs out in 4 years, so to continue operating, the kiosks must secure private investment to ensure that each kiosk will be a self-sustaining public-private outlet. Jhunjhunwala doubts that the government will achieve the national goal of building 100,000 telecom kiosks across the country by 2008 (each to serve 6 villages), let alone achieving sustainability by 2010. So far, the government has attracted the interest of several large companies, including the Mumbai-based telecoms giant Reliance Communications, each of which has placed bids for government funds to operate several thousand kiosks. Jhunjhunwala is skeptical that these companies will be able to be successful eventhough there are businesses running profitable rural ICT centres. The Imperial Tobac-

Source: nature. Thanks to the author Daemon Fairless. He is a freelance journalist who lives in Toronto. This story was originally published in the science journal nature, where Daemon held the 2007 IDRC- nature Fellowship, reporting on environment, science and development from India. Daemon currently works for CBC Radio, as a producer for the weekly science radio show, Quirks & Quarks. He has produced a number of feature-length radio documentaries as well as hosted the TV-documentary series, Body of Knowledge, which aired on Discovery Health.



ASH-STRAPPED schools in India can buy a simple, bamboo microscope that will introduce their students to an absolutely essential, but typically expensive scientific tool. The device, which uses a 20x lens, was conceived by a non-profit organisation called Jodo Gyan. Members of the group, which is a low-budget affair, carve the microscopes themselves. They've put together about 2,500 so far and sell them for what they cost to make. Now, if the One Laptop Per Child effort has any success in India, these resource-deprived kids could have a real chance at a decent education. Who knows, a bamboo microscope and an Internet-enabled notebook might even turn up another Ramanujan!



ISRO in Human Development
Y HARSHAVARDHANA RAO & LAHARY RAVURI Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is one of India's leading organizations playing a significant role in the contribution of science to rapid development of India. India's NGO movement can play a critical role in fulfilling ISRO's objective.

HERE are many areas of human development, particularly in the rural sector, where NGOs can join hands with ISRO in a big way in the application of advanced technologies emerging out of Research and Development in Sciences and Technology. For example, the INSAT program for telemedicine, tele-education, telecommunications; remote sensing program for applications in agriculture, disaster monitoring and management, natural resources monitoring etc. have been among the major thrust areas of ISRO which help realize the objective of reaching the benefits to rural population.


Village Resource Centres (VRCs)
Over the last three decades, satellite based communication and remote sensing technologies have demonstrated their capabilities to provide services related to education, healthcare, weather, land and water resources management, mitigation of impact of natural disasters, etc. To enable these space-based services reach directly to the rural population,the establishment of Village Resource

Centres (VRC) was launched in 2004 in association with NGOs/Trusts and governmental agencies. VRCs provide a variety of space-based products and services such as tele-education, telemedicine, information on natural resources, interactive advisories on agriculture, fisheries, land and water resources management, livestock management, interactive vocational training towards livelihood support, etc. The Department of Space (DOS) primarily provides satellite connectivity and bandwidth, telemedicine and tele-education facilities and customized spatial information on natural resources, along with indigenously developed query tools. The associating agencies provide the facilities for housing, managing and operating VRCs and generating the rest of the contents. So far 200 VRCs have been set up in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar. Another 100 VRCs are being set up in other states. Around 40 NGOs/trusts, governmental agenices are

associated in the VRC program. VRCs, so far, have provided various services and advisories to the local people in the areas of agriculture, adult and computer literacy, alternate livelihood related vocational training, marketing of agroproducts, micro-finance/enterprises, livestock management, healthcare, etc. district of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattishgarh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand. The regular transmission of four hours teaching is conducted. regional networks for J&K, Rajasthan, Haryana, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, and Gujarat have become operational.

EDUSAT Program


EDUSAT is specially configured to relay through audiovisual medium, employing a multi-media multi-centric system, an interactive classrooms. EDUSAT is providing a wide range of educational delivery modes like one-way TV broadcast, interactive TV, video conferencing, computer conferencing, web-based instructions, etc. Regular utilisation of EDUSAT for Visveswaraya Technological University and Rajeev Gandhi Technical University and Y B Chavan Open University pilot networks is continuing. The Rajasthan EDUSAT network and the Jammu hub are operational. Installation and commissioning, among others, 135 terminals of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), 101 terminals of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), 22 terminals of Vigyan Prasar (DST), and 83 of IDSP in National Beam have been completed. Nearly a thousand Receive Only Terminals (ROTs) are installed and commissioned at various schools of Sidhi

Training and Development Communication Channel (TDCC) activities are now being continued as GRAMSAT Program (GP) for the states. The state governments of Gujarat, MP Karnataka and Orissa and universities such as , Anna University, Goa University etc. are regular users. The network was used by different agencies for training about 6.6 lakh participants. The present average TDCC utilisation is about 25-30 days a month with 100-110 Interactive Training Programs (ITPs) with more than six uplinks on air simultaneously. ITPs are conducted mainly in the fields of education, panchayath-raj, engineering, health, water, women and children, medical, transport, industry, forestry and fisheries. The utilisation of the channel over the last three years has indicated a significant growth in terms of ITPs conducted per month, duration of usage, and number of users, etc. The Gramsat Program involves establishing SATCOM networks to provide state-based connectivity for the rural specific needs. Networks are upgraded and converged to


cater multiple services like tele-education, telemedicine, VRCs etc. The Andaman and Nicobar network was upgraded to counter the degradation due to tertiary coverage of the space segment in the region. The network continued to be used for e-governance and computer education in the region. Besides being used for computer education, a ship ticket booking software has been added by A&N administration of existing network. The establishment of the Rajasthan network, funded by Government of Rajasthan, has been established at Jaipur. Teaching end installation is in progress. In West Bengal, a full-fledged network for panchayat training is being set up. In Orissa, the TDCC network continues to be operational. The e-governance component up to block level continues to support panchayat e-governance services like panchayat financial transaction, land record, e-mail etc.

space technology for societal benefits. While DOS provides the telemedicine systems - software, hardware and communication equipments as well as satellite bandwidth - the state governments and the specialty hospitals have to allocate funds for their part of infrastructure, manpower and maintenance. Technology development, standards and cost effective systems have been evolved in association with various state governments, NGOs, specialty hospitals and industry. DOS interacts with state government and specialty hospitals for bringing an understanding between the parties through an MOU. At present, there are 186 hospitals in the telemedicine network including 152 in remote and rural areas and 34 super specialty hospitals in major cities. DOS also supports telemedicine national grid activities through Task Force formed by Directorate of Health Services.

Telemedicine is an important initiative of DOS to use
Y Harshavardhana Rao, had a distinguished career in Indian Space Research Organisation from 1972 to 2007 as an Electronics and Communications Engineer. He retired from service as General Manager, Range Instrumentation Systems, Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. He has contributed immensely to establishing and operationalizing various instrumentation systems to meet the ground support requirements for the launch of Sounding Rockets and Satellite Launch Vehicles.
Lahary Ravuri works at IBM's Silicon Valley Laboratory in San Jose, CA. She is responsible for business development and Data Servers enablement. She grew up in ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Center and was deeply involved in several academic, social and cultural activities of SDSC both as a participant and organizer for over ten years. She is an avowed student of Space Programs. She holds Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering.


Pedal Power Technlogy
DR. NARENDRA SHAH Pedal Power is a simple, cheap, and convenient source of energy, which can be applied to a wide range of jobs. The work started at the Centre for Technology Alternaticves for Rural Areas, IIT Bombay.


EDAL power energy has been in use since the 18th century. It uses the most powerful muscles in the body: the quads, hamstrings, and calves. When pedaling in a circular motion at sixty to eighty revolutions per minute, with the use of toe clips, almost every muscle in the human legs can be used to make energy. Ninety-five percent of the exertion put into pedal power is converted into energy. Pedal power can be incorporated in the lives of families living in rural areas to improve the quality of their lives while being environment friendly. In the absence of electricity, pedal power serves as a substitute renewable energy generating about 75 watts per person suitable for about 6 hours per day. This can also be useful in natural calamities like earthquakes, cyclones etc where no other power source is available. Many of the villages where electricity is nor available or available erratically, pedal power is a promising substitute.

The work, started at IIT-Bombay, has developed and demonstrated applications of pedal power in battery charging, potters’ wheels water pumping, wood turning lathe, paddy threshing, and spices (masala) grinding.

Potters wheel
Pedal power potter’s wheel consists of a driving mechanism, seating arrangement, rotary wheel and plastic splash pan. The driving mechanism consists of a chain and sprocket drive with a set of bevel gears, which convert human energy into horizontal rotary motion and transmit it to the wheel. The wheel acts as a "potter’s wheel" as well as flywheel that curbs the effect of the unevenness associated with pedaling. The wheel would have a full range of speed control from slow revolutions to fast (i.e. 100 to 300 rpm). It can hold both fast and slow speeds accurately under load.A prototype is installed and has been tested at the Yusuf Meheraaly Centre, Tara Village in Raigad district, supported by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Mumbai.

Relevant in today's context?
With the overabundance of automobiles and electric powered machines, pedal power can be an environmentally friendly power solution for decentralized rural applications, such as rural industry (wood carver, stone polisher and buffer, jeweler's lathe, and pottery wheel and small scale electricity generation), food processing (appliances such as a juicer, potato peeler, cherry pitter, or a butter churn can also use with pedal power), and on farm (pedal power can be used to pump water, thresh and clean grains etc.).

Electricity Generator (Battery Charger)
The shortages in grid-supplied electricity (load shedding times, typically 8-12 hrs / day in some states of India) are met by kerosene and petrol gensets. The genesets are many times out of reach of poor households. A pedal powered generator provides a method of generating electricity by means of a modified bicycle for producing electricity. Human and mechanical energy is converted into an electrical current by means of a Direct Current (DC) generator that is connected by a chain to the flywheel. The energy

created by the DC generator can be stored in various types of dry/leadacid batteries. Also, energy that is stored within the battery can be utilised for use in DC appliances such as those found in automotive mobile homes. If Alternating Current (AC) appliances are in place, then an inverter must be used to transfer the 12 volts of DC current into the standard 230 volts of AC current for usage by these appliances. The unit can generate approximately 8 Amp-hr power by peddling 1 hrs @40-50 rpm. It is enough to light two CFL lamps (10W) for four hours.

Reciprocating double acting water pump
It consists of two reciprocating pumps, a flywheel, cycle frame, chain and sprocket drive, and connecting rod. A single person can operate the pump. Each pump can produce discharge of 24 lit/min. Discharge of 48 lit/min can be obtained at normal operational (peddling) speed. Pedal driven pumps can be used as a standby for electric or diesel pumps for pumping the water from well or tank or nala (maximum suction head of 30 ft.). In the remote areas, neither electricity supply nor diesel engines are easily available. In such places, a pedal powered pump can serve the purpose.


CONOMYecology cannot sustain itself without ecology. Hence, prudent uses of natural resources become central to all life forms. This truth is continuously being brought to the limelight with each publication of 'Resurgence,' an international magazine started in 1966. Ever since its emergence, ‘Resurgence’ has been an invaluable source of information and inspiration. It aims to generate pro-active behavior through ecological, ethical and spiritual awareness. Each issue is unique. Its features are diversified. They fall into art, architecture, development, ecology and environment, education, food, genetics, health and healing, philosophy, peace studies, recycling, spirituality etc. It is inter and intra disciplinary with renowned writers and thinkers of the ecological and spiritual movement across the globe.



existence to E.F Schumacher . and his inspiring and worldacclaimed book ‘Small is Beautiful,’ published in 1973.

‘Resurgence’ has earmarked a place for itself in The Schumacher Circle that comprises Green Books, Intermediate Technology, The New Economics Foundation, Schumacher College, The Schumacher Society, Schumacher Book Service and The Soil Association. All these owe their

Food for thought can be drawn from visiting and clicking gallery, shop, resources, energy and about Satish Kumar, the editor of the magazine since 1973. He is also the founder of the Small School in Hartland. The school focuses on combining education with ecological and spiritual values. In 1991, Mr. Kumar helped found Schumacher College, an international centre for ecological studies and serves as its Director of Programs. He is a museum of experiences drawn from his barefoot journeys across many countries. Networking with The Phone Co-op is itself an inspiration of how we can transform our green ideas into mindful actions. They follow an ethical path while doing business. ‘Resurgence’ uses both print and electronic media to reach people with a mission of making them think of how right thinking leads to right actions and what right actions mean to us and future generations to come.

(Pragnanand Busi is a development professional based in Nalgonda District, Andhra Pradesh, India)


Models of Sustainable Technology
DR. D.K. MISHRA Association for India’s Development (AID) volunteers study and support progressive organizations working on holistically oriented development projects in areas of health, education, livelihoods, natural resources and human rights.
SSOCIATION for India's Development is a registered nonprofit organization in the United States with chapters in 30-35 locations in US and 8-10 locations in India. AID volunteers have attempted to apply science to serve societal problems, and also to guard against abuses of science and pseudo science to advance pseudo-development that confers short term benefits to few at expense of many.


for Orissa as it frequently experiences natural disasters and the poor that suffer the consequences. In this regard, AID has been working with hand-pressed mechanical interlocking block technology (Fig 1) with JITM and some of our partner NGO's. AID USA has supported the construction of several demonstration structures and training centre both of which we have incorporated the mechanical interlocking blocks so as to demonstrate to the local communities the benefits of this techIntroduction nology. They have numerous advantages, both economiThe work of AID in the state of Orissa over the past cally and environmentally, over tratwo years has been managed by the state chapter. ditional bricks. They do not require AID Orissa has been able to assist disadvantaged wood or coal firing as they are sun rural communities dried, can be cement stabilised (6through the imple8%), utilise rocky infertile soil as mentation of the AID opposed to traditional brick which Rural Technology use nutrient rich fertile soil, fly ashResource Center cement combinations work well (fly (ARTRC). AID Orissa ash being a waste product of therhas been working with mal power generation), do not individuals on a grassrequire mortar between layers, can roots level to create sustainable be reinforced vertically and horizoncommunities through the tally with iron rods for cyclone or enhancement of individual skills earthquake resistance and lintels and knowledge. Traditional liveliand beams can be formed by simhoods are maintained and indigeple insertions into the press when Fig 1. Photographs show machine, nous skilled workers are not made forming the mechanical interlocking block design and prototype wall. obsolete and hence forced to move blocks. So far over twenty machines away from their villages to find employment. With ten have been fabricated and supplied to NGOs, to fifteen staff and almost 50 student volunteers, AID entrepreneurs and others that are being used successfully Orissa has developed a range of projects in the Gajapin many parts of Orissa. ati district that target livelihood training and income Energy generation, education, community development and A low cost solar powered LED lantern (Fig 2) has been environmental issues. AID Orissa has close links with developed by students of UIUC (University of Illinois at the Jagannath Institute of Technology (JITM) and has Urbana Champaign) and JITM (Jagannatha Institute for joint projects with the help of students and faculty of Technology and Management, Paralakhemundi) for use JITM. in remote rural communities that are not on the power Building Technology grid. When student members of Engineers Without BorLow cost, appropriate and affordable housing is essential ders (EWB, and Association for India's

Development (AID, of JITM decided to join hands to take up appropriate technology based projects for remote communities in India, the result was a low cost solution for lighting. Two billion people light their homes with oil lanterns. These lamps produce a miniscule amount of light, and due to their inefficiency are estimated to result in additional consumption of one-third of the total energy used globally for all electrical home lighting, with a disproportionately large corresponding contribution to carbon dioxide and soot emissions. In a continuing trend, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have recently become more affordable and more power efficient. LEDs operate at low voltages, and have incredible efficiencies at very low power levels (currently over 30 lumens per watt at one watt). Solar LED lantern that has been designed is equal to a kerosene lantern in usefulness and comparable in light output. The goal is a light source with a power consumption close to one watt. This will allow the use of a small photovoltaic panel to charge a 12 volt 1.2 to 1.5 amp-hour battery. Its design uses a number of smaller LEDs wired in a parallel series arrangement. This design has the ability to direct and focus the light without reflectors, uses only one third the current, and has the resulting capacity to employ a 12-volt battery and photovoltaic cell. So, the long term cost of ownership for the solar lantern is preliminarily estimated to be 35% that of the kerosene lantern. With the help of a grant from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), students of JITM in collaboration with Engineer's Without Borders (EWB) and member students from University of Illinois have recently fabricated eighty prototype lamps for trial in villages near JITM.

Terminal computing using a back-end server computer to power a network of cheap client terminals is a cost-effective means for facile delivery of education and information and opening up new and contemporary income generation avenues for the underserved. Other advantages of this information technology concept include lower system maintenance and administration costs, reduced hardware costs by using old, donated PCs as thin clients, open-source software availability, and importantly, a mechanism to create linkage between technical colleges and counterpart schools for joint socially-conscious projects. As part of a vision of appropriate technology and knowledge-economy preparedness for the digital have-nots, SEEDS with strong cooperation of AID Orissa and JITM, Paralakhemundi has completed deployment of our first CfM system at the Upalada High School in the tribal Gajapati region (which seems to be at the bottom of Orissa's "education pyramid".)

Fig 2. Solar charged battery powered low cost LED lantern

Kerosene hurricane lanterns (the most common type of oil lantern in the developing world) cost Rs 200, are estimated to last 2.5 years, and are generally used to burn rupees 60 to 70 in kerosene per month. The proposed solar lantern has been made to last five years, with Rs 180, battery replacement required every twenty months.

The system consisting of six computers and software tightly networked together cost us a total of Rs. 46,000. One hundred girls and boys out of the total 300 students signed up for the computer class paying a fee of Rs. 10 a month. We hope to work to provide internet connectivity through mobile vans.

Dhanada Kanta Mishra obtained his Master's degree from the University of Oklahoma and Doctorate from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Most recently he has been the Principal and later the Director (R&D) at JITM, Paralakhemundi in Orissa. He also worked as the first Dean (R&D) at the KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Orissa. He has worked with Rocla Technology, in Australia and ACC in India in corporate R&D. His main interest is in the areas of industrial waste utilization and appropriate technology. His passion is in the development sector as a volunteer of the Association for India's Development (AID).


A Nano-Solution to A Mega Problem
PROF. D BALASUBRAMANIAN Arsenic is a silent killer. It causes skin lesions, affects the stomach, liver, lung, kidney and blood, disabling the body over time. It combines with proteins and enzymes, inactivating them and thus causing slow metabolic disorders. At the extreme, it causes cancer.
ANGLADESH has been battling with a silent public health disaster for the past thirty years. The culprits are the deadly arsenic compounds present in their tube-well water. Earlier to 1970s, health authorities found an epidemic of gastrointestinal diseases due to the contamination of surface water from the lakes and rivers by disease-carrying microbes. In a well-intentioned move, they embarked on a programme, in collaboration with UNICEF and private parties, of digging tube-wells, so as to provide safe drinking water. By the end of 1997, over 80% of its population had access to tube-well water. Alas, tube-well water is not safe either. It contains arsenic salts at levels far higher than permissible. The problem is not a directly man-made one. Silt from rivers upstream has been, over the centuries, collecting and depositing arsenic in subterranean layers. Tube-well water arsenic contamination is not restricted to Bangladesh alone, but is also seen in Bihar and Eastern UP But it is Bangladesh that has been . hit so calamitously. History is replete with examples of arsenic-induced poisoning and death. Two Popes and even Napoleon Bonaparte are thought to have been murdered through arsenic poisoning. But the scale in Bangladesh is massive. Over 40 million of its 130 million are affected in varying degrees of severity. Some methods have been suggested and used to help clear the body of ingested arsenic and prevent skin lesions. Selenium intake appears to remove some arsenic. Some have suggested that iron sulfate be used in order to help flush arsenic out of the system. Others have suggested that the amino acid methionine may help in reducing the lesion. Clearly, prevention is better than cure.


How does one plan to remove the offending arsenic from water? Boiling the water to precipitate the arsenic does not work, since it does not come out of solution, as calcium does from hard water. Nor does boiling convert arsenic into any harmless form, as happens with water contaminated by microbes. What we are looking for is an efficient, inexpensive method that needs little or no energy, and is usable by families, communities and cities. The method should be applicable at all scales, from the individual families to the city water supply agencies. Herein lies the grand challenge. A group of researchers from Rice University at Houston, TX, USA has been working for the last several years on precisely this problem. They have now come out with a workable solution that appears to satisfy many of the above requirements. And their solution, published in the 10 November 2006 issue of Science, makes use magnetic nanoparticles of iron oxide. We humans, with our height and girth in meters, are ’meter-particles.‘ Tiny ants, fruitflies and lice are 'millimeter particles' or 'milliparticles,' while bacteria, which are a thousand-fold smaller, are 'microparticles.' Scaling equally down, we reach molecules and atoms whose sizes are in nanometers or even less. As we reach this nano-scale, the properties of materials change remarkably. Size matters here; it becomes the determinant of the property. Gold glitters as a nugget, as a millimeter speck, and even as a micron particle. Cut it down to the nano scale; it loses the glitter; even its electrical conductivity changes. New laws of physics, of the quantum world, begin to operate here. Chemically it is the same, but in various physical properties, nano-gold is quite different from macro-gold.

Prof. D Balasubramanian is the Director of Research, Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. He has received many national and international awards for his outstanding contributions in science particularly in the area of genetics and molecular biology of eye related diseases. He is the recipient of UNESCO award for science popularization and TWAS award for basic medical science. Govt. of India conferred upon him Padmashree in 2002. Same year, he has received prestigious Chevalier de l'ordre National du Mérite from the President of France.

Magnetite, a composite oxide of iron, is a good magnet. Below 40 nm in size, its magnetic properties actually become more pronounced, and becomes what physicists call a superparamagnet. At the same time, as the particle size reduces, the proportion of surface area it exposes also increases. This allows it to 'stick' to material more avidly than in the bulk phase. What Rice University researchers have done is to exploit this nano-size behaviour of magnetite. They prepared 16nm size magnetite particles, stirred up a bit of this material in a beakerful of arsenic-contaminated water. Two things happened. Magnetite, being an iron-containing material, has an affinity to bind to arsenic salts, and it did so very avidly, thanks to the large surface area it presents at this nm size. This removed the dissolved arsenic very efficiently from the water. Secondly, they placed an external magnet under the beaker. This external magnetic field induced the aggregation or clumping of the magnetite into large chunks, which could be decanted or filtered out, leaving arsenic-free water. What does it mean to Bangladesh, and parts of India affected by arsenic-contaminated water? Here then appears a method worth trying both at the small scale and at the larger community level. Nano-Davids for MegaGoliaths! (Source: The Hindu)

3 Million Euros for Clean Energy Projects

T has been said that in terms of importance, water is globally the next oil. It has also been said that the next world war may be fought over water. At least in the Indian context such is the value of water that it is time for the country to have a National Water Policy with an unquenchable commitment to implement. The cost of women fetching water in India is said to be equivalent to a national loss of income of Rs 1000 crore. Do we need such kind of statements to wake us up? 1.8 million children die each year of diarrhea 4,900 deaths each day. Every NGO working in Rural India and Urban Slums can help in stopping these deaths. Poor people pay more for water. Poor people living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more for a liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city. For free downloads such as simple posters on water, district wise NGOs and other organisations working on water, railfall in your district, water qualiy kits, and many more useful data and information, visit at .


ENEWABLE Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) announced a call for project proposals which support the development of markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The project call is REEEP's largest in its four-year history with more than 3 million Euro available for projects in least developed countries and emerging market economies.

Consortium funds
The project call received funding from a consortium comprised of Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. The REEEP call is an open tender seeking projects from priority countries - China, India and Brazil and from across the developing world.

Energy efficiency
REEEP has also decided to further increase the importance of energy efficiency in its portfolio and throughout emerging markets. The project call will be seeking bidders for the production of a REEEP Report on Energy Efficiency in order to accurately portray the benefits and role that energy efficiency can play in improving energy security, lowering carbon emissions, and enhancing industrial competitiveness. Dr. Marianne Osterkorn, REEEP International Director, stated that the partnership can now add value across a number of areas. or write to

52 NGO


Some Inconvenient Questions for India’s NGO Movement
BHAMY V. SHENOY An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide have no access to safe and hygienic toilets today and 700 million are in India.
T was many decades ago Pandit Nehru announced that "The day every one of us gets a toilet to use, I shall know that our country has touched the pinnacle of progress." By this measure, India has a long way to go. The seventh World Toilet Summit held in Delhi in 2007 brought this inconvenient truth to the national agenda. Thanks to a well known NGO, Sulabh International, the issue has been brought to the attention of many in recent years. Even more shocking and painful fact is that more than half a million scavengers clean 10 million toilets in India today with their bare hands. Most of them are in UP , Rajasthan, MP and Gujarat. There is a movement to eradicate manual scavenging by 2010 called Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA). Indian government has passed a law in 1993 banning manual scavenging. Why has the law failed so far to stop this dreadful practice? Will a movement like SKA make a difference when a strong and well known NGO like Sulabh International has not succeeded all these years? In 1974 Sulabh International was founded by Bindeswar Pathak in Patna. Sulabh is operating and maintaining about 6,000 community souchalayas today in some 1,100 towns and cities, in 29 states and 3 Union Territories of India. A souchalaya can be a simple urinal facility to a more elaborate complex with bathing, laundry, urinal and telephone facilities with 24 hours attendant service on the premise. All Sulabh facilities work on the principle of a use-and-pay system so that public exchequer is not burdened. Usually these Sulabh facilities are clean and have 24-hour water supply. Sulabh also operates suachalayas in several important railway stations. Usually these are far better than the ones operated by the government or even those by some other private parties. It is to the credit of Sulabh that many government agencies have requested it to oper-


ate sanitation facilities in several places. Another dreadful aspect of manual scavenging is the perpetuation of abominable caste system and untouchability. It is mostly Dalits who are involved in manual scavenging. Sulabh has made efforts to educate the children of these scavengers by opening special schools and providing opportunities to improve their standard of living. Their efforts are definitely laudable. Still most of these Dalits remain poor and unable to get out of the vicious poverty cycle. Since no hygienic toilets are available, waterborne diseases kill more than 500,000 children every year in India, mostly from diarrhea. This by itself should have to put the problem of lack of enough toilets on the national agenda. In some places, Sulabh has succeeded in producing methane by composting the human excrement. Electricity is produced using methane to run the water pumps. However, Sulabh technology continues to remain traditional, needing water. A South African company has developed modern toilets which require no water, no plumbing, and almost no maintenance. Once a week a tray below is emptied of waste, and then turned into an almost odorless compost by a solar heater and natural bacteria. Green Cross Society of Mumbai has developed an odorless self-flushing toilet for slum sanitation. People carry 1-2 liters of water for defecation; the thick sewage slurry gets treated in two horizontal shallow reactors using the BIOSANITIZER and planted filter. Clean water produced is pumped to the overhead tank that feeds the continuous flushing system. (for more information contact This technology has yet to get popularity and can be considered as experimental.

NGO 53

By any standard, Sulabh Souchalaya has contributed immensely to solve several sanitation and night soil related problems in India. Thanks to Mr. Bindeswar Pathak, every major city in India has Sulabh souchalayas today. In the process Mr. Pathak has also been able to improve his standard of living for which no one should envy him. In many ways his contribution to India is comparable to Ambani's through Reliance or Narayana Murthy's through Infosys. His contribution on GNP scale will not amount to much. But his contribution to improve the standard of living of the scavengers or helping millions who needed clean toilets is immense. All kinds of national (Padma Bhushan) and international awards have been showered on Pathak. Thanks to him, more than 60,000 people are employed. With all these accomplishments, have we solved the sanitation problem of India? The government has allocated resources to build thousands of latrines. But it is not enough. Every railway station reminds us of the horrible state of lack of sanitation. Despite the Sulabh souchalayas in many cities, finding clean toilets in urban areas is a nightmare. In rural areas, one need not even look for them. Many rural based NGOs like Sulabh have been also involved in a monumental task of providing latrines to each household. Still providing clean toilet facilities to each family has remained a dream. Why? This is not because of the size of Pathak's organization. It is a very huge organization operating in most large states in India. It has economic clout and access to international and national funding. Also, most of its operations are self-sustaining. There are thousands of NGOs which have come into existence in different

parts of India to make use of funding provided by the government to construct toilets. Why have these enterprising or dedicated individuals not adapted the Sulabh model to enrich themselves but also to help the society? There are no entry barriers, and the capital requirement is not huge. Pathak is a Brahmin who is influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and took up the great challenge to get rid of manual scavenging. This clearly shows that belonging to an "upper caste" need not be an obstacle for people to get involved in a non-glamorous sector like sanitation facility which is traditionally maintained by the so-called lower caste. The crucial question is this: despite 30 years of existence, why have Sulabh and other NGOs not been able to solve the deplorable and horrible dehumanizing state of affairs of those who are employed in this sector? Political system in India wants to adapt a quota system even for premier educational institutions supposedly to help the downtrodden. We have had these affirmative action programs even before Independence. Why have they singularly failed to come to the assistance of the manual scavengers? Why has the NGO movement, which is looking for deserving causes, not taken up the cause to get rid of this abominable system of handling night soil? One lesson we can learn from the Sulabh experience is that for the size of India, we need to have multiple numbers of mega NGOs and also a strong all India movement to bring about the needed reform.

54 NGO

Informal Workers Benefit from NIDAN


IDAN, has been an organisation intensively working with informal workers of Bihar and outside since a decade on various development issues. These workers belong to the poorest sections of society. The target group includes hawkers, vendors, petty business men and women, agricultural labourers, rag pickers, construction workers, domestic servants and migrant workers as well as poor and destitute children. The activities comprise Micro Finance (Nidan promotes the saving habit and makes credit accessible through financial institutions), Thrift and Credit Co - operatives, Social Security for workers in the unorganised sector, inclusive education for the children of informal workers, extending legal aid and rights protection, and a social security policy for urban street vendors. The thrift and credit program of Nidan covers more than 20,000 workers. The present turnover including linkages with banks is around Rs. 4 crore. A micro-insurance program covers 26,000. Individual insurance is also being encouraged and around

5000 workers have been brought under its coverage. Collective enterprises, owned and controlled by the communities, are being promoted. Nidan has been at the forefront of the campaign for a policy for urban street vendors and it works consistently on advocating better policies and programs for the informal workers from work conditions to housing to microfinance to social security It has also joined many organizations in the campaign for Comprehensive Social Security for informal workers. Nidan is presently working in six districts of Bihar as well as Jharkhand, Delhi and Jaipur city. N I D A N bagged the Bihar Innovation Forum Award for Oraganising Street Vendors in Bihar and another prize for the insurance program for the Informal Sector workers. These awards are given by the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society supported by World Bank. The Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil K. Modi presented the awards to the President of NIDAN, Ms.Prabhabati Devi, herself a vendor associated with NIDAN from its beginning.


Dr. M.P PARAMESWARAN . (Leader of Popular Science Movement)

Widely regarded as a leader of popular science movement in the country, Dr. M.P. Parameswaran is a strong believer in the teachings of Karl Marx and Mahatma Gandhi. He calls for some sweeping changes in India's human society. The primary need, in his view, is evolution of a participative democracy. Every able-bodied citizen should undertake societal responsibilities, not dictated by benefit for self or his kith and kin. A Marxist and General Secretary of the Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad, he advocates enforceable right to information and the right to recall unworthy elected representatives. The nation's overall economy should be so structured that individual citizen's lives should become more and more free from global controls, he points out. Closely associated with Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (Indian Organisation for Learning & Science), Dr. Parameswaran earnestly pleads for the nation's Science Agenda to be reset. It should find answers to questions posed by the problems of the poor and the disadvantaged. New priorities should emerge. Weapons research should be done away with and space explorations and high energy physics should be accorded lesser priorities compared to the health of the millions and sustainable agriculture. Development of cheap solar energy should be preferred to nuclear energy "which is both limited and dangerously polluting." Industry and business enterprises as well as habitat planning should be so integrated as to minimise time and human energy on travel of citizens to work and back. All these are wholly dependent on science and technology inputs of a different kind. Says Dr. Parameswaran: "Science and scientists can help the society to change tracks through a creative, informative and persuasive process. And, for this the scientists themselves have to change tracks." A graduate in Electrical Engineering and Doctorate in Nuclear engineering, Parameswaran has served the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre for about two decades. Currently the chairperson of the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi, a scientist-turned-social activist, he says there are two roads one that leads the "species to liberation" and full development of humans as humans and another that leads to "species extinction" or species degradation due to resource depletion and climatic catastrophes. Therefore, the question as Dr. Parameswaran puts it, is: will we amass enough wisdom to change the course of human history, from the direction of destruction to the direction of emancipation ?


D.T. BARKI (A Solar Energy Specialist)

D.T. BARKI, 49, has been in solar photovoltaic industry for last 25 years. A B.Tech graduate in Electronics Engineering (1982), from KREC (now NITK), Surathkal, India, he has acquired international reputation with solar PV technologies, through the successful implementation of solar projects (cells, modules and systems). He applies his scientific, technical and management expertise to all aspects of the challenge to implement sustainable energy services, especially, solar PV globally for the benefit of people and the planet. He has extensive knowledge in setting up solar cell manufacturing and running them successfully. Mr.Barki has several shop floor contributions in inventing many defect analysis methods in the solar cell and module processing. Present, he runs his solar business in his own company, Noble Energy Solar Technologies Ltd (NEST), at Hyderabad, India (since 2001). NEST was started in 1998 with product launch in 2001, which manufactures affordable solar modules and lanterns of international standard for the benefit of the really needy people of the developing countries. NEST, under the stewardship of Mr.Barki, is the market leader in selling solar lanterns, esp., AISHWARYA® solar mini lantern brand in India. Now, NEST runs as an independent organization in promoting solar lighting systems. Mr.Barki has been conferred Ashden Light Award for 2005 by the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, London. The award was given away by HRH Prince Charles on 30th June 2005 in London. Mr.Barki won the Award for Light (£30,000) for developing a small solar lantern, Aishwarya™, which makes safe, smoke-free light affordable for the poorest people. His ultimate mission, through solar technology, is to make the world kerosene-free. His technological and social skills are to bring light to life because he believes that life is light and light is life. Mr.Barki completed 25 years of service in solar PV industry. In order to commemorate this silver jubilee occasion, he is working on launching a worldwide campaign "towards creating awareness for Eliminating Light Poverty in the world."


Can Scientists Do More for Development?


ROM a high-ranking politician to the poorest person, everyone is responsible for the under-developed state of India. Productivity is the answer to eliminating poverty. Research and Development (R&D) has always been the key to doing things better, faster and with less energy. The discoveries of generations of scientists resulted in numerous inventions that impact and improve human condition. Developed countries garner a disproportionately large percentage of discoveries and product generation resulting in the betterment of their living standards. Unfortunately, the disproportionate number of discoveries made in developed countries are for the benefit of those who can afford novelties. Furthermore, the bulk of research conducted in developing countries does not directly address poverty alleviation efforts. If India is to become a developed country, it is absolutely essential to focus its R & D efforts to poverty alleviation programs. India's expenditure per scientist is comparable to that of developed countries. Despite the high expenditure, Indian scientists produce far fewer patents (Table 1) resulting in a very high cost (Figure 1) per patent (1, 2 & 3). In India development of each patent costs $20 million whereas it costs just $3.9 million in USA. A patent is a good measure of scientific productivity. The data presented indicates that there is much room for Indian scientists to increase their productivity. majority of Indians. Solar energy is captured most efficiently, 97%, in photosynthesis. Commercially available manmade solar photovoltaic panels have an energy conversion efficiency of only 15%. NASA achieved 30% efficiency for space applications but at an increased cost. If Indian scientists can double the efficiency of commercial solar photovoltaic cells, solar power can be affordable. If solar energy is affordable, reducing poverty will be easier and faster. R&D in the energy sector is critical not only to augment our energy resources but also to attain energy independence. In August 2006, the report of the Expert Committee on Integrated Energy Policy, published by the Planning Commission, recommended to provide Rs. 1,000 Crore ($250 million) for non-atomic energy R&D fund. Individuals, academic research institutions, consulting firms and private and public sector enterprises can compete for grants from this fund for identified and directed research (4). Eventhough the amount may appear to be small, if Indian scientists can use this well, they can contribute in a meaningful way to reduce India's energy poverty. Solar R&D in the energy sector is mentioned here as an example. There are several other fields which need the immediate attention of Indian scientists. So the answer is, yes, Indian scientists can and shall do a lot more for human development! Energy helps increase productivity. Affordable and reliable energy is recognized as an important factor in eradicating poverty. India needs energy several folds more than what is available now in order to develop and sustain development. The current sources of natural gas and oil do not meet the needs in a sustainable manner. Cheaper, safer and cleaner energy sources are needed. Thus, solar energy conversion should be a focus area for Indian research because of the promise it holds to improve the lives of the REFERENCES:
1. Patent data (2004), scientist data (2003 table 13 - pp327-329 2. Population data (2004) table 5 - pp 297-299 3. GDP data (2003) 2003_0.html 4.

A historical initiative by the International Association for Human Values and the United Nations Millennium Campaign...

All-India NGO Summit
Art of Living International Centre,


.. to provide a platform for India’s NGO community to work together in integrating sustainable development with a healthy planet
Date 31 January 2 February 2008 Venue : Art of Living International Centre, Bengaluru

Outlining the major environmental challenges that India must tackle; Developing a practical understanding of the solutions, techniques and technologies that can be imbibed into various NGO sectors; and Promoting the integration of principles of sustainable development into the policies and programs of governments.

The premise of the All-India NGO Summit's Triple Bottom-Line approach is in the recognition that Ecology, Economy and Technology are interdependent. The inaugural, panel discussion and closing sessions will be held at the Vishalakshi Mantap, an architectural wonder conceived and built under direct guidance of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
A ‘Dil Se Mela’ Exhibition will be held simultaneously.

Speakers include H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri Dr. Ashok Khosla Sunderlal Bahuguna Dr. Vandana Shiva Kartikeya Sarabhai

Accomodation is available at one of the comfortable housing complexes at the International Centre.

Summit Fee: Rs. 5000/- per person also includes Delegation Fee, the Art of Living Part I Course, Sri Sri Yoga Course, Accomodation for 4 nights at Summit Venue ( Jan 30 - 31, Feb 1 - 2) Tel: (080) 32902679, +91 9243418841 E-mail:


Indian Scientists

95th Indian Science Congress
Share and Care Foundation's mission is to enhance the quality of lives of underprivileged Indian women and children by supporting programs in the fields of Primary Healthcare and Education.
676 Winters Avenue, Paramus, NJ 07446, U S A. Courtesy: Asha and Vijay Dalal

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful