Many entrepreneurs and innovators in India are working to help improve the lives of the country’s poor. By taking advantage of cloud-based technology tools and open-source platforms, they are able to do this with little capital. This low barrier to entry creates an opportunity for many innovators to get involved in the work of helping poverty-stricken Indians and generally reducing poverty through innovation.
Some of the issues being tackled are lack of access to power and the internet. Giving poor people in remote villages access to reliable electricity and internet connections would not only improve their quality of life but would also give them access to distance learning online. This would, in turn, allow them to secure education without having to migrate to the massive slums of India’s big cities. These issues are being addressed by the installation of solar panels and energy distribution systems in individual villages – in fact, in the next year, approximately 20,000 homes will receive access to these systems.
Another interesting project, led by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, relies on providing Indians with unique identification numbers backed by photographs, fingerprints and iris scans. These unique ID numbers can easily be verified online, making it significantly easier for the government to distribute aid, salaries, health care and pensions directly to citizens and reducing opportunities for corruption.
Even though the success of these particular start-ups is not assured, the fact that so many Indian entrepreneurs have the goal of reducing poverty through innovation bodes well for the country’s poor. Taken together, their efforts can help improve the lives of countless poor Indians and help to break the cycle of poverty.
– Caroline Poterio Martinez