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Innovations for Villagers n Poor

Poor in India face challenges like proper sanitation, clean water, power supply etc…

Despite rapid progress made by the country since independence, the rural poor living in villages and urban poor living in slum clusters still lead a life of economic deprivation. Their everyday life has overwhelming problems like lack of clean water, frequent power cuts, lack of sanitation facilities, poor healthcare, dearth of skills, shortage of finances etc. Consequently, the poor are beset with ills such as lower life expectancy and high infant mortality.

Innovations serve underprivileged in rural and urban India…

Social entrepreneurs have creating path breaking solutions to address problems of the underprivileged. Often new perspectives are needed to address existing problems.  It is the quality of the solutions and the innovator’s entrepreneurial skills that ultimately make it possible for their innovation to become widely adopted across the country.  

How can you participate in this mission to serve the underprivileged?

Some of the useful innovations are listed in Resources below. What you can do is to bring relevant solution to the attention of deserving person who has a need for that particular solution. Alternately, you can donate to the organisation spearheading the innovation or volunteer your time to further the organisation’s mission.

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'Biokitch' Waste Disposal-cum-Biogas Plant for Kitchens

This is a compact waste disposal plant that could be installed inside your kitchen. Wet waste, which is biodegradable organic waste, generated in the kitchen is digested in the waste disposal plant and the biogas that is produced is to be used for cooking purpose in place of LPG or PNG.

Biokich Pvt Ltd, Trichur-Palghat Rd, Keerankulangara, Thrissur 680005

093871 15327


'Cool Roofs' Initiative to Cool Asbestos-Roofed Slum Dwellings

Two solutions: (a) Asbestos roofs are covered with easily available materials like tarpaulin, foam sheets, aluminium foil and transparent plastic sheet to create a sandwich roof (b) Painting the roof on the outside with weather-proof white paint and then placing a foam layer underneath from inside. Both of these solutions cost very little and bring down the temperature inside the slum home by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius.

Urbz (NGO), Room 56/AB, 1st Floor, T-Junction, Koliwada, Dharavi, Mumbai 400017


'Dedko Digester' Converts Kitchen Waste into Cooking Gas & Fertilizer

This machine's size is that of a standard washing machine. It converts kitchen waste into biogas and organic fertiliser. A mixer grinder is put into Dedko's cylindrical structure. Waste which is put in the machine is ground to a paste by the mixer grinder. The machine has two pipes as outlets. One pipe is connected to a balloon where the cooking gas produced is stored and in turn the balloon is connected to the stove. Through the other pipe liquid fertilizer exits which can directly be poured around plants.

Flycatcher Technologies, Chiman Badshah Farm, Padra-Jambusar Highway, Next to Apothecon Pharmaceuticals, Dabhasa 391440, Dist Vadodara, Gujarat

Kabir Udeshi

090999 25751

'Krishi Suchak' App

Through this messaging app, farmers can chat with agricultural experts with queries on farm yield, crops to grow, weather, pests etc. They can send a picture of plant or crop so that the experts can understand the query better. Farmers can also get their soil tested by sending soil sample by courier.

NubeSol Technologies Pvt Ltd, #14, 5th A Cross, Marenahalli, 24th Main, J P Nagar 2nd Phase, Bangalore 560078

070220 35000, 080-4093 8000

Link to download the Android app

'Mitticool' Clay Refrigerator

This is an eco-friendly refrigerator made of clay which is affordable for poor since cost is Rs 5,500 and power charges will not be incurred since electricity is not needed to run the refrigerator. The upper portion of the refrigerator can store 10 liters of water, while the lower cabinet has separate spaces for storing fruits, vegetables and milk. Through the bottom layer of the upper chamber, small droplets of water continuously percolate below, which keep the Inner climate moist. Water evaporates through side walls reducing the inside temperature and thereby providing the desired cooling effect.

098251 77249

'Sun King' Solar Lighting Products for Off-Grid Rural Homes

Greenlight Planet supplies 'Sun King' solar lighting products for homes which until now were depending on lighting by kerosene. Their products consist of portable solar study & task light, solar power for light & mobile devices and total home lighting & mobile charging. Prices start from Rs 499 and products are sold by re-sellers in many third-world countries including India.

Biomass Cooking Stove by Greenway

Traditional mud stoves consume large amounts of fuel (wood, dung) and emit much smoke that is harmful for health. Greenway's stove can use any type of solid biomass as fuel such as wood, cow dung, agricultural waste. It produces 70% less smoke and uses 65% less fuel as compared to mud stoves. There are 2 kinds Smart Stove (25 kg capacity) and Jumbo Stove (40 kg capacity) costing Rs 1,499 and Rs 2,499 respectively.

080803 23023, 022-2490 2164

Cheap & Small Off-Grid Solar Power Solution by Cygni Energy

This solution by IIT Madras is for areas with no power grid connectivity. The basic 500W solar system costs Rs 40,000 and requires just 50 sq ft of space. This system is more efficient because unlike other solar installations, here DC power is not connected into AC supply. Instead the DC power generated is utilized through DC wiring.

040-2354 5001, 2354 5002

Jal Jyoti Foundation

Jal Jyoti lights up dark interiors of slum-homes. A 1.25 litre PET bottle is filled with water and 10 ml of bleach. A hole is drilled on the corrugated-iron roof of the shack and the bottle is fitted in the hole with half the bottle inside and half outside. When sunlight hits the outer half of the bottle, reflection disperses light into the home, almost like a 55-watt bulb.

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This is a van-mounted water purification unit and many such vans are supplying bacteria-free and virus-free pure and safe drinking water in rural Maharashtra at an extremely low price of 50 paise per litre. Water from any source like well, lake or river is filtered in a specially designed integrated filtration system, including a patented membrane from NCL (National Chemical Lab), which filters out all suspended matter, including bacteria and viruses.

Membrane Filters (I) Pvt. Ltd., 73/6, 'Parvati', 1st Floor, Bhakti Marg, Off Law College Road, Pune 411004

1800-102-1971, 020-2545 3342 / 92, 2545 8072

Low-cost Bio-adsorbent Based Water Purifier

This project by a schoolgirl from Odisha has won an award at the prestigious Google Science Fair. Google will now help her to build on the project, so that it can be commercialised. The project is based on scientific principle of 'Adsorption' by which contaminants in water can removed by corn-cobs, an agricultural waste. Domestic or industrial effluent is passed successively through layers of dried longitudinal corn-cob sections, dried small corn-cob pieces, powdered corncobs, activated charcoal of corncobs and fine sand (last layer). The resulting filtrate was free of contaminants and chemicals.

Lalita Prasida Sripada Srisai

Web Page

Low-Cost Water Purifier by Project Boond - Enactus Hans Raj

Millions of people in India living in rural villages and urban slums do not have access for clean drinking water and neither they can afford water purifiers available in the market. India. Project Boond has developed a low-cost water purifier that can run without electricity. It is based on a multi-stage Carbon Filter-UF Membrane purification system

Enactus Hans Raj, Hans Raj College, Mahatma Hansraj Marg, Malkaganj, Delhi

097174 85634

Nano Ganesh

This is a GSM mobile-based remote control system for with water pump sets used in agriculture. gro. Using the device, a farmer can control the pumps from any distance. He can check the availability of power supply at the pump end, the on/off status of the pump etc. By making a mobile phone call, a farmer can switch the motor on or off from wherever he is located at that moment.

Ossian Agro Automation Pvt. Ltd., 305, Munisuvrat Avenue, 3rd Floor, 1089 Shukrwar Peth, Shivaji Road, Swargate Corner, Pune 411002

020-2447 2277

Nirgandh Bio-Digester Toilet

They have developed bio-digester toilet for areas where municipal water, sewage and electricity are absent. The faeces of human beings contains 93-95% water and 5-7% solids. The solids get absorbed by the bio-digester, leaving pathogen-free water and traces of methane gas. The safe pathogen-free water is discharged into the earth, leaving no smell and no maintenance for removal of feces.

Thakar Equipment Co, 66 Okhla Industrial Estate, Phase-iii, New Delhi 110020

Madhu Thakar

011-2684 7280

Nuru Energy Pvt Ltd

Nuru Energy has developed an affordable and clean lighting system for the rural poor. The Nuru Light is a multifunctional light that can be mounted on a wall, worn around the neck or made to stand freely. It boasts of LED lights that do not break or need to be replaced. The power generator for charging the light is POWERCycle which is a human-powered cycle and is designed like an exercise machine. It produces enough energy in a 20-minute “bicycle ride” to charge 5 Nuru LED lights for 10 days.

B-38, Ground Floor, Green Park Extension, New Delhi - 110016, India

Siddharth Jain

098188 32150

Rudra Environmental Solution (India) Ltd

They collect plastic bags from housing societies & schools from Mumbai, Thane, Pune and some other cities. These plastic bags are processed in a machine developed by them and the result is liquid poly-fuel. This ploy-fuel is supplied free of cost to villages near Pune to replace kerosene as the primary household fuel for cooking.

B- 1 Minar Aprt, 124/1 Erandwane, Law College Rd, Pune 411004

Medha Tadpatrikar, Shirish Phadtare

020-2544 8900

S4S Technologies

Undernourishment in rural areas is due to lack of fresh produce during off-season of January to June. This company provides solar conduction dryers which dehydrate fruits and vegetables available in plenty during production season. In the lean season add water to the dehydrated vegetables prior to cooking. Add water to dehydrated fruits and consume the same.

Plot no 43, Sector 6, Sanpada East, Navi Mumbai-400705

077381 93313

Solar Lantern by Waaree Energies Ltd

This is a stand-alone portable system consisting of CFL/LED light, battery, electronics and solar module. PV module when exposed to sunlight generates electricity and charges battery of lantern. Available in CFL and LED variants. This solar lantern is reliable and required minimal maintenance.



Solar Lighting & Charging Products by 'd.light'

Affordable solar lighting products for rural India: solar lantern, a light for studying students, mobile charger by day & lantern by night, versatile all-day light for charging and light etc. Individual requirements to be bought on and for bulk requirements contact the address below.

F-107, First Floor, Sewa Corporate Park, M. G. Road, Gurgaon 122002 India

Ankur Goel, Business Analyst

Solar Water Heaters Made by Barefoot College & Provided to Rural Communities

The Barefoot College has been developing and installing solar water heaters to provide rural communities access to a sustainable, smoke-free source of hot water. Solar water heaters are made by rural Barefoot fabrication engineers and installed by rural youth. They provide a continuous supply of warm water for people living hot or cold climates.

The Barefoot College, Tilonia, Via Madanganj, District Ajmer, Rajasthan 305816

01463-288 210, 288 351

Unique Bottled Light

This is a novel way to provide free light to poor households in villages and slums. A 1.75 litre bottle is filled with water. Chlorine and bleaching powder are added so that water remains clean for a long time. The lid is shut and bottle is fitted on the house's roof so that 25% upper portion of the bottle is above the roof and 75% of the bottle is under the roof. During the day, sunlight passes through the bottle. In the night, light is emitted by the bottle which is as bright as a 100-watt bulb.

Adrarsh Mitra Mandal, Sr.No.2/4/5, Adarsh Nagar, Dhankavadi, Pune 411043

Uday Jagtap, President

098225 99132


They offer a solution to drinking water problem in rural areas. They supply a filtration plant in chosen area which costs Rs 5 Lakhs to Rs 25 Lakhs to set up, depending on capacity. Subscribers pay a nominal sum of Rs 5 per 20 litres of drinking water. Till date plants have been set up at over 4,000 locations.

Plot No.650, House No. 37-18/91, Defense Colony, Sainikpuri, Secunderabad 500094

040-2711 2426, 2711 9496

WaterWheeel by Wello

Rural women undertake the exhausting task of carrying water on their heads from the water-source to the homes. The affordable solution is WaterWheel which consists of a round 50-litre container made of plastic that can be rolled on ground instead of physical carrying from the water source. It is a durable product of high-density plastic with features like wide-mouth opening, cap-in-cap design, reinforced axle and handholds. smokeless chulha

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