Nasscom awards: Technology for social good

Nasscom

Sudhanshu Tripathi, Finance Controller, MMA, UP, puts it thus: "For such programmes, the implementation is done by the gram panchayats. If we were collecting data manually, for it to reach from the grassroots level (school) to the apex level of authority (MMA) would take a month. What's the point of ascertaining whether 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."

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