Archive for January, 2016

Little Good News #8

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Forus Health have designed 3nethra, a complete retina imaging machine from India by Dr. Shyam Vasudevan.

1. Complete eye screening including for diabetic retina
2. Completely mobile
3. All images can be simultaneously visible on notebook.
4. All images stored on Cloud for its examination by expert Doctors at any time.
5. No dilation required.
6. Very affordable price.
7. No special skill required for its operation, thus large rural areas can be covered even on two wheelers.

For more Info, refer to:

Encouraging the Ignited Young Minds of India

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Meet Subash Chandra Bose – a Technologist by profession, a Teacher by passion. For Subash, being a teacher comes naturally. He took to it since his own high school days teaching younger students and spent the first 7 years of his career as a teacher. Despite a successful stint in the field of IT, Subash continues to touch the lives of countless students, accompanied by his wife Seema. Subash joined hands with Ullas on 27th September 2010, the same day he heard about what the Ullas Trust does for the student community in India. Since then, he has reached out to several high school students across multiple rural districts in the country visiting close to 40 schools.

Subash and Seema together have dedicated most of their weekends to this cause that consumes their spirit. In earnest, the couple has been actively engaging with Ullas to take transformation and exposure to rural students who are otherwise incredibly intelligent, enthusiastic and aspirational.

“I learn a lot from these children and the classes I take. And I have implemented them in my teams too back at work. Especially time management, and the difference between hearing and listening. All the games and activities we conduct in classes are popular with my relatives too as I take them to our family trips. Students have inspired me with their confidence, hardwork, positivity and generosity. And also their creativity and thirst to achieve. I have even met a few inspiring teachers, like the ex-service man who returned to his village as a PTE teacher to ‘feed them the thirst for freedom’, says Subash.

“I love spending time with students. Everything they do is a delight to watch. We can learn a lot from them. I am learning Tamil from them too. Each and every session is special for me,” says Seema, whose mother tongue is Marathi.

Encouraging the ignited young minds of India to dream and helping them build those wings that will take them higher means everything to Subash and Seema. Ullas is proud of this couple that brings in a huge motivating power behind many Ullas Young Achievers.

Subash Chandra Bose and Seema

Subash Chandra Bose and Seema

My Diary – 31st January, 2016

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Is the Universe intrinsically cold?

We always need energy to make any change of state from cold to warm or from warm to cold.

We know that solar energy is the only energy that makes things warm. The temperature of other planets is directly proportional to the closeness towards the Sun.

If we extrapolate the same logic then we need some other source of energy in the universe which helps in keeping everything cold.

What is that ‘Chiller Source’ like a ‘Solar Source’ in the universe?

One person answered this,

“It looks like Cold is the default state. The heat providers are not just the Sun, but the stars (of course, Sun is a star).

Absolute Zero is as cold as it gets, which is 273 degrees below Zero degree Celsius, if memory serves. It is a state where atoms do not move. It could be said that unless energy is provided, that cold is the default state. The primary source of energy or heat comes from the stars. If you consider the vastness of space, there are relatively few stars. In other words, even though there are hundreds of billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy, the universe is so big, that each star, on average is so far apart, that the average temperature is much closer to absolute zero than it is to the temperature of the star.

Picture the Earth as the size of a pea, and the Sun as a beach ball one half mile away. The relative heat energy provided is very small. Picture the nearest star a few thousand miles away, and you get an idea of why the average temperature in space is cold.”


Innovation in Agriculture living

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

A great story of Kenya – A Kellog management graduate designed a sustainable agriculture in small area of 1 acre land. This is a similar typical Indian farmer problem. The innovation is about connecting the dots between

1. Smart agriculture technology around seed, soil, farming techniques.
2. Microlending
3. Village group – collaborative learning
4. Education by 1 acre helper, educator and advisor.

A great model to be replicated in India. I love to go to Kenya to understand more about it.

To know more:

Little Good News #6

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Shravan Kumaran and his younger sibling Sanjay Kumaran are perhaps India’s youngest entrepreneurs. Shravan, 14, respectively, is the Co-founder & President and Sanjay, 12, is the Co-founder & CEO of ‘Go Dimensions’ – an app development unit that they founded 2 years ago from their bedroom in their home in Chennai.

The two brothers are India’s youngest CEOs and also youngest promoters of a company who are studying in class 10 and class 8 at a Chennai school.

When most adults have trouble in understanding Java code, these two kids have used the code to build mobile applications. In the past 2 years, the two brothers have developed 11 apps that are available on the Apple App Store and Google’s Android Play Store. The apps have received over 35,000 downloads in over 20 countries. Their first app — Catch me Cop on the Apple App Store — was released last year and was a hit.

Today, a spare room in their Chennai home is a digital lounge filled with Apple Macs, iPads and Samsung Galaxy Notes. The ”after homework hours” are spent on coding and debugging test apps, while nibbling on cheese fritters and lasagna. Recently, they launched an action game called Extreme Impossible 5 or EI5.

Their role model is Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple).

The brothers usually quote Steve’s famous saying,
“Stay hungry, Stay foolish” in their interviews.


Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran

Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran

Just a curiosity #1

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Indian scriptures are full of knowledge, knowledge and knowledge. I just want to know as per Indian scriptures

1. When is the first time the word ‘Vigyan’ or ‘Science’ appeared in Indian scripture?
2. What is the difference in ‘Gyan’ i.e., Knowlege and ‘Vigyan’ i.e., Science as per Indian scripture?
3. Similarly, when Science as a word is mentioned in western knowledge universe?

Little Good News #5 – Greening Dry Tracts

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

Punjab farmers bringing best practices to Tamil Nadu

Ropar in Punjab or Ramnad in Tamil Nadu, it no longer makes a difference to Jaspal, Harpal, Gagandeep and Rajendra Singh. Wearing colourful turbans, long white shirts and pyjamas they are out in the fields doing what they love — tilling the land.

“If you love nature and understand the interconnectedness of life, you can do farming anywhere,” says the youngest in the group, Jaspal, in chaste Punjabi.

The sun shines bright in Vallandhai village in Kamuthi taluk of Ramnad district. The farmers, with smiles on their sun-tanned faces, move around pulling out bunches of groundnuts. A lady in salwar-suit walks into the fields with a thermos of chilled lassi (butter milk) and the men take a break.

The group of Punjabis have beautifully blended into the sun-blistered landscape of one of the driest districts in south Tamil Nadu and shown the locals how a farmer’s faith and hard work can yield amazing results.

Till about a decade ago the land here was covered with thorny bushes (kaattu karuvelam) and abandoned by the locals. Today, a big iron gate welcomes you into the area now called the ‘Akal Farm’ that boasts of lush green orchards and sustainable green farms. It has not only become the talking point in the district but also a model example of cultivation showcased to tourists, agriculturists and visitors.

With apt knowledge, experience and some experimentation, about two-dozen farmers from Moga and Sangrur districts in Punjab are now successfully growing mangoes, water melons, papaya, guava, cucumber, pumpkin, amla, carrot, ladies finger, oranges, sapota and custard apple. “We are gradually acquiring more land and increasing our farm produce,” says the soft-spoken Darshan Singh, one of the two group leaders-cum-supervisor who can speak a smattering of Tamil and was invited by the District Collector last month to address local administration staff and farmers from the region.

It all began when Darshan Singh and his friend, Manmohan Singh, left behind their families and chose to travel more than 3,000 kms to this backward belt seven years ago. They followed the suggestion of a retired agriculture officer to explore cultivation in the arid lands of south Tamil Nadu.

“We migrated for farming beyond our home State lured by the cheap land that was in short supply back home,” says Sarabjeet Singh, another senior member in the group. “We were discouraged by the locals who were always grudging against the long dry spells. But we did not mind experimenting because the land was being sold at a throwaway price – Rs.10,000 per acre,” he adds.

The friends pooled in money and jointly bought 300 acres. They also took a house on rent in nearby Virudhunagar and travelled everyday to the hamlet. It took 3 years to clear the land, dig 2 dozen borewells, install drip irrigation and make it ready for plantation.

“We toiled round-the-clock as cleaners, gardeners, farmers and night guards. Initially, the locals were hostile to us,” says Darshan Singh, “but everybody’s hard work and patience is bearing fruits now.”

“The results took time but we did not lose hope,” asserts Sarabjeet Singh.

Life has taken a new turn inside this mini-Punjab in Vallandhai. The Akal farm now encompasses 600 acres and also has a neatly fenced campus with small cottages, dormitory, a common kitchen, dining area and meditation room. “We no longer feel we live outside Punjab,” says Darshan Singh.

The Akal Farm yields

Amla and guava on 40 acres each, mixed dry fruits like cashew nuts and almonds on five acres, papaya on 10 acres. The farmers have planted 5,000 mango trees on 80 acres besides coconut and timber-value trees on 10 acres each and an assortment of other fruits and vegetables. They also cultivate inter-crop and this season harvested 15 tonnes of pumpkin, 5 tonnes of cucumber and 20 tonnes of water melon on a daily basis.

Workers from Punjab at Akal farm in Vallanthai village.

Workers from Punjab at Akal farm in Vallanthai village.

Little Good News #4 – Social

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

I was invited by the Jain Social Group Federation at Indore for their Annual Convention 2016. I like their concept of unitised ‘Social Jain Groups’, each group with membership of the 50-100 families.

My observations

1. The Jain social group federation started in 1994 at Indore with a purpose of building better values in next generation as well as religious awareness.

2. The basic concept is adapted from the principles of Rotary or Lion club, but originated out of small town Indore. The federation has adapted it substantially which suits Indian culture, traditions and values.

3. Today they have 300 JSG across 8 states. The network of membership has grown to over 25,000 members (100,000 if count family members) committed to Religious learnings and social contribution.

4. Each social group is fully empowered to collect requisite membership fees. The federation doesn’t charge any fees from the social group except 100 rupees for magazine.

5. The Social group organises outings, poojas, cultural functions and learning sessions.

6. Structurally, because of its unitised 100 family social group design, it has an inherent ability to scale to any size say 10 times to 3,000 groups or million people.

I felt that these social groups were similar to Ullas Club which I enjoyed during my college days. I learnt freedom of expression, organising skills and working with teams during Ullas days between 1974 and 1984.

This concept can be applied for taking forward social initiatives like:
A. Mentoring of students from govt and corporation schools.
B. Local accountability of sanitation.
C. Partnering with local corporation bodies to bring effectiveness to govt funded projects.
D. Creating old age recreation groups to avoid their loneliness and celebrate old age with purpose.

Food for thought and may be action.

Little Good News #3 – Innovation

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Waterless Urinals

Zerodor is a fully waterless men urinals saving large quantities of water. No smell, no separate chemicals thus no recurring costs.

Zerodor story from its entrepreneur Uttam Bannerjee:

We have now over 7,000 installations across India in various institutions and organisations. With over 100+ satisfied clients, we are now confident about our initiative and are more determined.

We would like to specially thank IIT Delhi, Polaris Financial Technology, IIT Gandhinagar, ICFAI Hyderbad, Punjab Technical University, Maruti Suzuki, Essar Group, IMT, Finolex and many others for believing in us and becoming the early adopters of our technology.

The technology is a retrofit system which converts an existing water flushing men’s urinal into a non-flushing urinal and saves anything between 50,000 and 150,000 litres of fresh water every year. Zerodor Waterless Urinals do not use any chemical or consumable and have no recurring cost. The investment on one such product is recovered in around 3 months by the water saving and other benefits that the product has. The installation of the system is very simple and can be done by any plumber in a span of 10 minutes.

As of now, we have our channel partners in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, North East and are in the process of tying up with partners in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. We are also in discussion with Established Facility Management Companies like BVG Group as well as startups like Housejoy for implementation, servicing and marketing the product. Recently, our product has been recommended by the Ministry of Urban Development under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Little Good News #2

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

Punsari, a small village located in Gujarat, can put most metros to shame. From CCTV cameras, water purifying plants, air-conditioned schools, Wi-Fi, and biometric machines, this village has it all. Every home here has toilets. There are two primary schools, a primary health centre, proper street lights and a drainage system that functions.

The man behind the transformation of the village is its young sarpanch, Himanshu Patel. Having won the panchayat elections in 2006, when he was just 23, Himanshu has put his heart and soul into transforming Punsari. In an interview with the BBC, Himanshu said, “When I took over, there was nothing in the village. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state chief minister at the time and his idea was to ebb the flow of migration from villages to cities by creating city-like infrastructure.”

Over the next decade, Himanshu, a graduate of North Gujarat University, channelised government funds and started to develop the village, focusing on education, healthcare, and technology. Interestingly, Punsari has not taken any additional funds over what was given to them by the government. “We didn’t feel the need, since there is enough from various budgetary grants of the state and Centre. If you utilise it properly, you can work wonders,” Himanshu told NDTV.

Himanshu Patel receiving an Award from Narendra Modi

Himanshu Patel receiving an award from Narendra Modi