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Nasscom awards: Technology for social good

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This year’s Nasscom awards demonstrate tech can be used to tackle social, environmental issues. (Reuters) This year’s Nasscom awards demonstrate tech can be used to tackle social, environmental issues. (Reuters)
SummaryThis year’s Nasscom awards demonstrate tech can be used to tackle social, environmental issues.

a child got to eat a month ago?” So, they devised a method wherein a virtual call would be placed to the school teachers after lunchtime everyday, and all that he or she has to do is to key in the number of students fed on that particular day. So, through these calls made to 1.5 lakh schools in the state, they are able to collect real-time data on an everyday basis.

Tripathi explains, “Since teachers have no involvement in the implementation of the scheme, talking to them entails independent verification of the work being done by the gram panchayats. Also, teachers don’t mind being part of the project since the technology doesn’t entail any expenses or special effort on their part. It’s a win-win situation since all it costs the state is Rs 1.2 per data figure, to be paid to the vendor.” Tripathi claims the non-implementation has drastically come down from 25 per cent in 2010 (before the technology was devised) to 5 per cent presently.

Rita Soni, CEO of NASSCOM Foundation, says, “The awards demonstrate that technology can be used to tackle many social and environmental issues in India. Comparing this year’s nominations to the time we started the awards, the number of applicants has increased manifold. Not only that, the variety of players who are out there to help, the variety of fields that now use technology, has also multiplied. The 500-plus applications that we got point to the mainstreaming of technology in India.”

But how is the recognition going to help these innovators? Soni says the winners will be awarded during the NLIF (Nasscom Foundation’s Indian Leadership Forum), which will take place in Mumbai later this month, and is considered the biggest event in the IT sector. “They will get to present their concepts to the who’s who of IT world. This is naturally going to help them take their innovations to the next level,” she points out.

The winners understand this. Most of them are enthused by the award not only because it’s an award per se, but also because it will give them a “certification” that their technology actually works for the greater social good.

For instance, 23-year-old Devesh Kumar from Birla Institute of Technology-Mesra, who is the winner in the “Student Concept of the Year” category, along with his three friends, for developing a diagnostic tool for dyslexic students, says, “We want

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