A web-based solution to health and education problems in rural
areas, subsidies for encouraging CFL lamps' use at home, and a GPS
connected transport system were some of the ideas that came forth
at the ITC Classmate Ideas for India Challenge - all from
Eleven finalists, 10 from various zones of the country and one
wild card entry through voting, were honoured here Saturday. Five
of the ideas were chosen as winners under the unique initiative
which got more than 60,000 applications with ideas from all over
Youngest among the five winners, Souma Sekhar, a Class 9 student
from Kolkata's Apeejay School, came up with an idea to provide
health care and medical consultation through low-cost computers
which work on lead-free gel batteries.
"Docobox, a simple computer with web camera and Skype, can be
fitted in weatherproof boxes and installed at rural health centres.
It provides the rural people with the consultation of doctors and
other health experts by video conferencing," Sekhar said.
"It is a self revenue generating idea. The consultation fee
collected will be sufficient to run the centre and also make it
profitable," he said.
A third-year engineering student from Bangalore, Arirtra Paul's
idea is of developing a public transport system which is connected
by GPS to create a system wherein information is available through
An idea for providing monetary incentives and subsidy to domestic
users for using low energy consuming fittings like CFLs was given
by Sahil Salunke, a second-year engineering student from IIT
Guwahati. According to him, power companies can make Rs.135,000
more per hour if 1,000,000 lakh homes switch to CFLs as the power
saved can be taken for commercial and industrial use at a higher
Sourav Poddar, a B. Tech student from IIT Kanpur, suggested that
students from privileged sections of the society can help
educating the lesser privileged by giving them classes and raising
money for them.
Parul Behl, a student of Ramjas College in Delhi, suggested a
model to encourage self help groups to manufacture sanitary
napkins and promote menstrual hygiene and health among rural
"My idea came from a village of Rajasthan I visited. A woman lost
her life due to tetanus after she used a cloth which had hooks on
it. If we educate them about menstrual hygiene and self help
groups, the women themselves can manufacture sanitary napkins
themselves and break the taboo around menstrual hygiene," she
These five ideas were announced winners at the ITC Classmate Ideas
for India Challenge. However, these were not the only ideas.
Sahil Bagla, a B.Tech student from IIT Kanpur, gave the idea of a
'rain catcher', an acrylic cushion which can be placed below
layers of soil to store rain water.
"Computer technologies have developed so that extensive data can
be stored in a small chip, but no similar initiative has come in
the field of agriculture... Perhaps no one tried," he says, adding
the cushion will be something similar to a diaper, which can
retain water many times its weight.
"Rain catcher is a polymer made up of biodegradable material. It
will store fertiliser and water and release it slowly to the
crop," Bagla said, adding it will then gradually degenerate and
get mixed with the soil.
Some other ideas included an automatic tap to prevent wastage of
water, waste management, and creating electricity from speed
"The average age of India is 25, and if youth come forward with
such initiative, the future of India is secure," ITC chairman Y.C.
Deveshwar said in his address.