In its mission to bridge the digital gender divide in rural India and empower women through digital literacy, Google India and Tata Trusts announced reaching the halfway mark, with 150,000 villages, under its Internet Saathi program. The program has contributed towards bridging the digital gender divide in rural India [female to male ratio from 1 in 10 in 2015 to 3 in 10 in 2017], and has benefited over 15M women in 13 states, the program has expanded to cover four new states – Goa, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Telangana.

Image Source – Internet Saathi

The ‘Internet Saathi’ programme focuses on educating women to use the internet, who then impart training to other women in their community and neighboring villages. The program has motivated many enterprising women, who are now using the internet, to find new opportunities – be it Vandana Potdar from Karandi, Pune who helped start a community owned Potato chips business or Shital from Sangli, Maharashtra, who helped her son prepare and clear the Science Olympiad exam, by finding study modules on the Internet or Padmavati who set-up an lemongrass oil production unit in Guntur and learnt the various manufacturing techniques using the internet, or hundreds and thousands of other women.

The program will cover over 10,500 villages, spread across the four new states – Goa, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Telangana, and will train around 1000 Saathis.

Ganga, an Internet Saathi from Vallabhipur, Telangana said

I am very excited to be teaching my fellow village women about the wonders of the Internet. I have found the convenience of online payments through various apps and feel it can be beneficial for others too.

Rehana Begum, an Internet Saathi from Goa said

Learning new things is always interesting and with this program I am able to make my wish come true. I am excited to help my fellow villagers as many of them are always on the lookout for different government schemes they are eligible for. Access to information on the Internet will make things so convenient for them.

Talking about the initiative, Sapna Chadha, Director of Marketing, Southeast Asia & India, Google said

It has been an incredible journey, and reaching the halfway milestone, together with TATA Trusts and the women across rural India is a testimony of the beliefs and efforts of our saathis, who opted for change, and embraced the program to improve their lives. In the last three years, the program has not only contributed to improving the digital gender ratio but has become a major force of change in rural India – inspiring millions of women, their families to embrace the change and gain from the Internet in ways that we couldn’t even imagine.

Raman Kalyanakrishnan, Head – Strategy, Tata Trusts, said

We are really proud of this achievement. This wouldn’t have been possible without the most important stakeholders, the women themselves – the vehicles of transformation. They have shown a great amount of enthusiasm and keenness to learn, despite many challenges. Keeping the momentum of this initiative, we will be continuing our outreach in the next 150,000 villages to improve digital literacy and create sustainable livelihood opportunities for women in rural India.

Launched as a pilot in 2015 along with Tata Trusts,  the program has successfully reached the length and breadth of the country today, and has a network of 48000 Internet Saathis, who are spread across the villages of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Goa, Karnataka, and Telangana.

In its effort to bridge the learning gap in India, – Google’s philanthropic arm, has announced additional grants of $3 Million to Central Square Foundation and The Teacher App. Together with the partner NGOs, will help them scale their existing initiatives and fund content creation and teacher training, through tech-based learning solutions.

Image Source – Google.Org

The reasons behind the lag in learning levels are varied and complex, but limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom are among the many challenges. As per the data shared by the Ministry of HRD, there are 11 Lakh teachers currently teaching in schools that are not properly trained and according to a World Bank report, there are approximately 1,30,000 single teacher schools in India. The annual ASER 2017 report also points out the need to help students in 14 to 18 age group, to acquire foundational skills like reading and basic arithmetic.

With a grant of a $1 million to The Teacher App in India, aims to empower teachers with the right training and resources on concepts of math, science, language, and pedagogy, for a more holistic learning experience. The funds will be used to scale the platform to reach 500,000 teachers in two years.

Nick Cain, Education Lead,, said

The success of our existing partners has given us the confidence to expand our efforts in India. We strongly believe that technology can play a powerful part in solving the learning gap in India, and we are expanding our investments in India to ensure that all teachers and students are able to benefit from it. These new funds will help contribute in building more locally relevant solutions and content for students and teachers.

With online video emerging as a popular medium of learning, will provide a $2 Million grant and technical assistance from the YouTube Learning team, to the Central Square Foundation to aid the expansion of high quality, curriculum-aligned educational video content. The grant will support a minimum of 20 content creators to produce at least 200 hours of quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math content in Hindi and vernacular languages.

In addition, it will also work to scale its reach by developing a hub to share best practices – such as tips on how to create engaging videos and guidance for aligning lessons with curriculum and standards — with the sector at large. Interested educators or content creators can get in touch through this form.

Commenting on the occasion, Satya Raghavan, Head of Entertainment for India said

With growing connectivity and affordable data, YouTube is emerging as a popular destination for learning in India. Globally, learning and educational content drives over a billion views a day and we believe there is a huge opportunity for creators in India to enhance education and learning through YouTube.

These new projects are in addition to’s existing projects that were funded last year in India. Four NGOs – Learning EqualityMillion Sparks FoundationPratham Books StoryWeaver, and Pratham Education Foundation got a total grants of $8.4 Million to add scale to their existing efforts and help provide access to quality education and learning for all. Since receiving funding last year, the grantees have reached more than 800,000 students and teachers with their tools and programs across India.

  • Pratham has scaled its tablet based learning program to more than 3,500 villages over the last year, and are now active across 21 states. Moreover,after a year in the top level of the program, the proportion of fluent readers in their mother tongue increased by 10 percent, while 60 percent of the children in each of the lower four levels moved up at least one level of reading. Pratham observed similar progress in English.
  • Pratham Books’ Storyweaver platform has added 5,000 new stories in 40 new languages over the last year alone, and today reaches more than 630,000 unique users.
  • And Million Sparks has managed to scale its ChalkLit app to reach 20,000 teachers, after starting from just 1,000 a year ago. And 95% of teachers who complete a training module on ChalkLit report shifting away from relying only on lecture and toward a more active, project-based teaching style.

India was among the first country to receive grants from’s global $50 Million commitment to support nonprofits who are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle education challenges in developing countries. With the additional grants,’s total grant for NGOs in India to support learning and education efforts stands at $11.4 Million.

ALC India, has announced the second Batch for ‘Transforming India Initiative’ [TII], a unique 2-year social entrepreneurship programme. The programme is open for anyone with a graduate degree: Start-up enthusiasts, Corporate professionals who nurture entrepreneurial aspirations and Young professionals who want to make an impact for the country.

The 2-year programme has been designed to give in-depth entrepreneurial experience and practical knowledge of how to run a social venture before the candidates start their own ventures. After completion of the programme, each individual will receive incubation and funding support for a period of 6 years to set up a profitable social enterprise. TII is supported by the NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and is offered in partnership with the prestigious Institute of Rural Management Anand [IRMA].

The first batch of the program witnessed enthusiastic response from 418 candidates from across India. ALC India selected 10 candidates after much deliberation and with a rigorous screening process. The current batch includes people who were earlier working in eminent corporates, start-up founders, educational and environmental enthusiast, etc. and wanted to start up their own enterprise that would tackle pressing social concerns.

ALC India is a 12-year old social enterprise that has been incubating companies belonging to the economically marginalized. Last year, it was recognized by the NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission as an established incubation centre and received scale-up support of INR 10 crores to incubate social enterprises, including support to the Transforming India Initiative [TII].

Since, its inception in 2005, ALC India has impacted 65,000 households in 17 States through 300 Projects. The organization has helped people in the unorganized sector build sustainable livelihoods and double their incomes. ALC India helps incubate enterprises that the communities own – typically cooperatives or producer companies and develops their technical, managerial and entrepreneurial skills, as they move up in the value chain from just being a producer to an entrepreneur.

Speaking about the success of Transforming India Initiative, Krishnagopal Grandhi, CEO, ALC India said

In the current economic scenario, entrepreneurs are key to job creation, at the same time they need to evolve solutions that can address the most pressing challenges facing the country today. With the Transforming India Initiative, we are looking for talented youngsters who have the passion and grit to become social entrepreneurs. We will support them with not just education and practical understanding but also with incubation support to set up their enterprises after completing the programme.

USPs of the Transformation India Initiative [TII]

TII is a comprehensive 2-year programme that will equip the fellows to establish profitable social enterprises. Setting it apart from other academic and incubation programmes, TII is designed to enable the fellow students to first understand the developmental challenges of the country. It enables you to develop an entrepreneurial solution, test and evolve the design and establish an enduring enterprise rather than expect to have an innovative idea at the beginning of the programme itself. TII’s uniqueness lies in the integration of academics & incubation. Some of its notable USPs are:

  • 6-month facilitated learning module certified by the Institute of Rural Management, Anand [IRMA], including practitioner interactions and reflection workshops
  • 18-month experiential learning module certified by the Development Management Institute Patna, where the fellows will work directly with the founders of social enterprises
  • End-to-end incubation support, including seed funding for setting up an enterprise for select entrepreneurs, as decided on merit by the independent committee, will receive a financial grant totaling INR 30 Lakhs as seed fund for their social ventures
  • Each individual will be placed with an enterprise in their preferred sector and be paired with a successful social entrepreneur as a mentor who is aligned to their interests and aspirations.
  • Fellows will be placed with an already existing social enterprise, where they will work directly with the CEO to solve five key organizational challenges and accelerate the enterprise growth.
  • ALC India provides access to seed fund of INR 40 Crores, Incubation Space of 20,000 sq.ft, over 30 Industry Experts, and 350 partners for the initiative.

Who is it for?

The first cohort had individuals coming from across India with different background and experiences: Corporate professionals, Fresh graduates, Start-up founders, Educational and Environmental enthusiast.

A graduate degree is a minimum requirement to apply for the programme. Graduates from any discipline or professionals with work experience are eligible to apply for this programme. Interested people of any age group are encouraged to apply and their experience will be taken into account when they are placed with an enterprise during the experiential learning module.

The Pioneering Cohort [2017 Batch]

The pioneering cohort of 10 individuals joined Transforming India Initiative’s Social Entrepreneurship Programme in October 2017. The cohort comes from the age group of 21 – 29 years from across India with diverse interest in the social space: Education, Health, finance, Agriculture, Livelihoods & Policy. Over the course, they have developed skills, mindsets and knowledge required to lead and establish a responsible social-enterprise.

Application Process

Each applicant will go through a four-step process that involves Online Application, Psychometric & Aptitude Test, Telephonic Interview and a 2-day direct Assessment. Interested candidates can know more about the programme and apply, on or before April 26th 2018 by visiting ACL TII Website. For any queries, they can send an email to TII Admissions.

About ALC India

ALC India is a Hyderabad-based social enterprise established in 2005 to work with economically marginalised communities who battle great odds to eke out fragile livelihoods. To such producers, ALC offer professional services that they can use to turn the odds in their favour and build livelihoods that are more certain, rewarding, and sustainable. The enterprises incubated of women farmers, tribals and weavers have together done business of more than Rs. 70 crores in the last few years, employing more than 80 rural youth and supporting the livelihoods of more than 21,000 women.

Industree Foundation launched its new initiative ‘Mission Creative Million‘ at a round table, during the World Economic Forum’s India  Economic Summit. Shri Chandrababu Naidu, Honourable Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh, launched the initiative at an event that was held Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi.

Established in 2000, Industree Foundation addresses the root cause of rural poverty in India by establishing ownership-based manufacturing enterprises for majority women micro-entrepreneurs in the farm and off-farm sector. Industree assesses the traditional skill base of communities, organises them into production units, develops products that appeal to modern markets, and creates consistent demand, opening up the 40 billion dollar global market for these entrepreneurs.

Industree Foundation has already trained 30,000 women artisans in India and Africa through collaborative efforts with organisations like Future Group, IKEA, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Grassroots Business Fund, and National Skill Development Corporation. Industree has also directly impacted over 2,000  producers and tripled their incomes, having built two of India’s largest off-farm producer companies.

‘Mission Creative Million’, Industree’s latest initiative designed to empower entrepreneurs and create jobs, aims to impact one million creative producers in the next 5 years, dramatically scaling up outcomes.

According to Neelam Chhiber, Founder and Managing Trustee

With the right training and tools, producers can become owners of their own businesses and leaders in their communities. That is why we have developed a model that empowers producers with skills training, market linkages and the professional management support they need not only to build sustainable futures for themselves but also create hundreds of new jobs.

Creative Million projects are already in various phases of execution in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha, and are in the planning phase in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. This is in partnership with the Ministry of Textiles, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh state governments, along with companies such as Sonata Software, Mindtree, Mercuri Urval and impact organisations like MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, British Asian Trust, Social Venture Partners, Womanity, Dasra and UNDP.

The first few pilots have impacted more than 75,000 producers. Industree also partners with organisations like Fair Trade Forum India, All India Artisans and Craftworkers Association, to ensure the reach extends to a million people.

Speaking about the initiative, Shamina Singh, President of Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, a key partner, said

Unlocking the potential of artisan producers to earn, save and invest is critical to ensuring that India’s economic growth is inclusive and sustainable. We are proud to partner with Industree, government ministries and other private sector leaders to realize the promise of the creative million business model.

Grand Challenges-Karnataka, an initiative under the innovative Start-up Policy of the Government of Karnataka, has launched its ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6‘, to unearth innovative solutions to reduce traffic congestion in Bengaluru City as well as tackle the perennial water shortage.

Image Source – Startup Karnataka

The cherry-picked ideas will get access to funding and go through prototyping, testing & scaling up in Bengaluru. The last date to apply for ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6’ will be October 15th, 2017.

Anyone from any discipline in India – from individuals, researchers and faculty in colleges/ universities/government/start-ups/not-for-profit organisations, etc. can apply for the Grand Challenge by logging onto Call 5 Impact Karnataka. ‘GrandChallenge Call 5’ will focus primarily on technology innovations involving last-mile connectivity, real-time info on public transport, ease of transition from one mode of transport to the other and innovative parking solutions.

More than three-quarters of Bangloreans commuting to work each day are driving by themselves. That’s a lot of empty seats on the road – and all that traffic and congestion has a large financial, environmental, and emotional cost. With Bengaluru among the fastest growing cities in Asia, the population has rapidly increased from 53 lakh in 2001 to 87 lakh in 2011. In fact, vehicle population growth rate is even higher than population growth rate and about 5 lakh vehicles are being added to Bengaluru streets every year. Various studies have pegged the economic loss of Bengaluru’s traffic gridlock between one to five billion dollars.

Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s IT, BT & Tourism Minister, said

When we think of the future of transport, we have a tendency to picture a world in which people fly around on personal jetpacks and cars levitating down streets. In reality, the way we get around, in the short and medium term at least, will be a little less sci-fi than that. But it will still involve some truly revolutionary changes.

The future of your commute is unlikely to lie in any one big invention. Instead it will grow out of many new innovations which can be used alongside existing technologies. They will work within the context of increasingly smart transport networks that are able to respond quickly and efficiently to our ever-changing needs. ‘Grand Challenge Call 5’ is an attempt to create a big picture from small solutions.

‘Grand Challenge Call 6’ is a rallying cry to unearth innovative solutions to aide water conservation in Karnataka. The state government launched the ‘Call 6’ to generate and utilize real-time data on quality and quantity of water being utilized at individual level including water use in agriculture for predicting a potential water crisis.

Call 6 seeks crowd-sourced solutions for data generation and development of sustainable, feasible, scalable & low maintenance kits/mobile app/technology for monitoring water quality, etc.

Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s IT, BT & Tourism Minister, added

Water may very well be the new oil. A finite resource essential to consumer, agricultural and industrial users and a vital component our economic growth. That’s why water as an investment has some compelling long-term investment appeal.

This creates opportunity for startups, who can contribute to creating a sustainable water supply and participate in investments likely to experience long-term growth.

During the first phase, five innovators will be eligible for testing the proposed solution for funding of up to INR 10 lakh for a period of six months. They will have to develop and successfully demonstrate three functional prototypes [in case the system involves prototyping a new device] or demonstrate the solution for at least 10 users [in the case the system is a service/software/ app-based solution] in two locations in Karnataka. The period of live demonstration is part of the six months allocated to Phase I.

Phase two will see one innovator being selected for a further funding of up to INR 50 lakh for a period of 12 months to scale-up. The idea will be tested for ability to define and demonstrate the product/solution as well as evaluated on stability, robustness and scalability of the solution through a sustainable revenue model. User validation will also be determined through feedback.

‘Grand Challenges’ are a set of initiatives by the Karnataka government to turn crowd-sourced data-driven innovations to prime opportunities to contribute to effective, localized, and measurable change to the challenges facing Karnataka. In the process, startups with game-changing ideas, will get the golden opportunity to channelize innovations for social impact, and also grow their business in the process.

The support provided under ‘Grand Challenges’ will be catalytic in enabling startups to test and scale their innovations in target locations across Karnataka. The programme will not only provide funds but also work with the awardees for the duration of their project and beyond, to ensure project implementation. It will also offer the awardees collective experience of mentors, resources and network.

The selection criteria will be based on parameters including alignment with the mandate of the cell, the potential impact, feasibility, sustainability, accessibility & novelty of the idea proposed as well as the execution capacity.

For more information, please visit Grand Challenge 5 Official Page

The Indian School of Business [ISB] and SAP Labs India have entered into a collaboration to nurture technology-based start-ups in the social space, focusing on ventures which are working in areas that have relevance to national priorities.

Image Source – Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator

Titled Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator, the programme aims to identify and support 10 early stage and 5 growth stage promising ventures by providing guidance, mentorship and scaling up their technology solutions that can bring about a large scale impact in the lives of common people. Start-ups targeting sectors such as education, healthcare, water & sanitation, energy, agriculture, financial technology, infrastructure, livelihoods and others are eligible to apply for the programme.

Sharing ISB’s objective in promoting the initiative, Professor Rajendra Srivastava, Dean, ISB said

ISB is committed to its goal of taking on a larger role of incubating and supporting entrepreneurial ideas as well as scaling up ventures that will potentially generate employment, foster economic and social progress and create significant social value for the country.

The ISB SAP Jumpstart accelerator programme is one such initiative to support promising entrepreneurs in thinking big and help scale their businesses to create impact in areas of national priority and help build a better tomorrow.

Dilipkumar Khandelwal, Managing Director of SAP Labs India & Executive Vice President, Enterprise Cloud Services, SAP SE said

We are pleased that the SAP ISB Social Enterprise Jumpstart program is growing to accommodate more social enterprises.  Through this initiative, we are supporting in creating investible and growth oriented social enterprises which can contribute to the economic development of our country.

The first cohort of this accelerator programme was launched in  July 2016 where ISB and SAP received 400+ applications from diverse sectors. Five early stage start-ups in the areas of financial technology, sustainable development & livelihood, agriculture and skill development were shortlisted and mentored. As a result, all the 5 ventures from the first cohort have scaled up their business operations, received funding or have been taken over.

How to apply for the Jumpstart Social Enterprise Accelerator

Start-ups will be short-listed through a nation-wide selection process based on their innovation, social impact and scalability. Shortlisted finalists would be invited for a business plan pitch and interview by a panel consisting of business experts, investors, faculty & members of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ISB, & SAP. To know more about the application process and criteria, click here

The National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj [NIRDPR] launched India’s First focused ‘Rural Innovators Startup Conclave’ [RISC2017] at NIRDPR, Hyderabad. The focus of the two day event was to build capacities and promote fresh talent by giving them a platform to display their innovations, encourage greater learning, and strengthen the cadre of young rural innovators and start-ups.

Highlights [Day – 1, 23/03]

Indian start-ups are mostly IT based and cater to urban services. Innovation and Technology Diffusion for ‘rural development’ is the need of the hour. Other important stakeholders who act as support systems to rural innovators are still evolving. There is a need to develop and nurture mentors, angel investors, faculty, corporates, media so that they play a much more active role in contributing to the ecosystem.

The Chief Guest for the event, Honourable Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri YS Chowdary noted

I am immensely happy to be associated with RISC2017, an initiative very close to my heart. Rural development is an important subject and higher dividends from the rural youth are still at large. This kind of an initiative which focuses on rural urbanisation requires synchronisation modern day development concepts. Since our country is agrarian based we have to take a quantum leap to help farmers improve their income level and reduce cost of living. I believe NIRD&PR can play a major role in capacity building-help farmers get educated in fundamental financial literacy and cost accountancy.

We have been talking about globalisation in last 2 decades-we have a lot of potential to tap rural markets. There is need to focus on particular areas in particular technologies for particular people and see that they are saturated. The Govt of India should ensure that a number of initiatives are started by properly coordinating with colleges institutions and state govts. I assure the full support of my ministry to NIRD&PR, besides lobbying with other relevant ministries to muster their support in the endeavours of NIRD&PR.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. W.R. Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

RISC2017 is the first of its kind platform to connect all institutes and agencies promoting innovation and start-up culture to look at the rural landscape. RISC will be an annual feature that can handhold and mentor the innovators and connect the startups with funding agencies. We believe rural development can be accelerated by infusion of technology tapping the creative minds of the youth across the country.

RISC2017 featured RISC Awards 2017 under Six domain areas namely

  1. Agriculture and Allied
  2. Green Energy Technologies
  3. Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation
  4. Waste to Wealth
  5. Sustainable Housing
  6. Other Livelihoods

Rural Innovations and Technologies in ‘Idea with Prototype’ and ‘Startup Stage’ were recognized by the jury members. The award winners were announced 24th March.

Highlights [Day – 2, 24/03]

The ‘RISC 2017 Awards’ were conceptualised to encourage the rural youth and bring to the fore the creative young minds of the country to showcase their innovations for rural development.

The award ceremony was graced by Chief Guest N. Ramesh Kumar, IAS [Retd], State Election Commissioner, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad. The RISC 2017 Awards received 200 entries from across India. Out of the 200 entries, 110 were shortlisted and 12 were awarded under the categories of ‘Best Innovators’ & ‘Best Startups’. The  six best startups were awarded a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh each and the 6 best innovators were were awarded a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each, along with a certificate and  glittering memento.

The winners of the RISC Awards 2017 were adjudged  under the following six categories

  • Agriculture and Allied – Exabit System [Startup category], Mr D Babu Rao [Innovator category]
  • Green Energy Technologies – Divyanga Thrift and Credit Society [Startup category], Mr Amol Koli [Innovator Category]
  • Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation – Mr Soujanya Bodha [Innovator category], Cerela Nutritech [Startup category]
  • Waste to Wealth – Allika [Startup category], Mr Chandra Dass [Innovator Category]
  • Sustainable Housing – Pipal Tree [Startup Category], Mohammed Ismail Khan [Innovator category]
  • Suatainable Livelihoods – Ms Ambica Eco Green Bags [Startup Category], Mr Tirupati Rao [Innovator category]

Images Images

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. W.R. Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

We thank all the innovators and start-ups for coming out with their inventions and making this event a great success. NIRD&PR will put in efforts to ensure that these products which are at their nascent stage, will receive the kind of support and facilitation required to package them attractively for end users. Going forward, NIRD&PR will be opening up a new front for them-we will be engaging a large number of volunteer service providers for design improvement of these products and integrate these designs in the rural ecosystem.

We are are grateful to NIRD&PR for intitating this first of its kind platform that encourages rural innovators like us to do more for our country and promote entrepreneurship amongst all strata of society.


The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development, is a premier national centre of excellence in rural development and Panchayati Raj. Recognized internationally as one of the UN-ESCAP Centres of Excellence, it builds capacities of rural development functionaries, elected representatives of PRIs, bankers, NGOs and other stakeholders through inter-related activities of training, research and consultancy. For more information, please visit National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj

The National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj announced the launch of India’s first focused Rural Innovation and Startup Conclave [RISC] to be held on the 23rd and 24th of March 2017, at NIRDPR, Hyderabad. The focus of the two day event is to build capacities and promote fresh talent by giving them platform to display their innovations, encourage greater learning, and strengthen the cadre of young rural innovators and start-ups.

Indian start-ups are mostly IT based and cater to urban services. Innovation and Technology Diffusion for rural development is the need of the hour. Other important stakeholders who act as support systems to rural innovators are still evolving. There is a need to develop and nurture mentors, angel investors, faculty, corporates, media so that they play a much more active role in contributing to the ecosystem.

Speaking at the launch, Dr.W.R.Reddy, IAS, Director General NIRDPR, Hyderabad, said

Since more than 60 per cent of the Indian population live in the villages, the improvement of their living conditions should be anchored and promoted by innovation and technology development and their dissemination for improving the productivity and wealth creation.

In addition, RISC2017 will feature RISC Awards 2017 under Six domain areas namely 1. Agriculture and Allied 2. Green Energy Technologies 3. Drinking Water, Health and Sanitation 4. Waste to Wealth 5. Sustainable Housing and 6. Other Livelihoods,  which will be a Platform for demonstration and recognition of Rural Innovations and Technologies. Nominations for the same will be through its website, and the last date of nominations will be on the 10th of March 2017. Nomination will be accepted in the areas of Idea with Prototype and Startup Stage.

NIRDPR Spokesperson said

We are reaching out across the country and hope to see some good participation for the RISC Awards 2017. We have already received 25 entries so far.


The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, an autonomous organisation under the Union Ministry of Rural Development, is a premier national centre of excellence in rural development and Panchayati Raj. Recognized internationally as one of the UN-ESCAP Centres of Excellence, it builds capacities of rural development functionaries, elected representatives of PRIs, bankers, NGOs and other stakeholders through inter-related activities of training, research and consultancy. For more information, please visit National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj