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Remarkable innovations to solve India's pressing problems

Alokesh Bhattacharyya     August 1, 2012
A revolution is underway, but of a different kind. Thousands of companies, governments, and regular men and women are working to address some of India's seemingly intractable problems. Poor health-care systems, unsafe drinking water, substandard quality of education, inefficient farming methods, and paucity of electric power are problems that we have resigned ourselves to. But these issues are being tackled head-on with startling, innovative ideas.

In Tamil Nadu, the introduction of activity-based learning in government schools has greatly improved the quality of its elementary education. In Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district, Dr Abhay Bang's SEARCH trains villagers in the intricacies of caring for newborn babies. In Karnataka, Harish Hande brings light to the poor in the form of innovative solar solutions.

Villages in many states see succour in an area they suffer most - drinking water - from water purification plants run by Sudesh Menon's Waterlife in partnership with state governments. In Maharashtra's Jalgaon district, farmers are being trained in the sophisticated science of precision farming, a science that gives them much greater yield, using fewer resources, than conventional farming methods.

Of course, there are many, many others, too. The best part is that the innovators are expanding their reach; others are also replicating their models elsewhere. In effect, they are not only helping people in need, they are also helping build sustainable 'social' businesses across the country.

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