Karnataka Govt. To Fight Traffic And Water Scarcity Woes With Help Of Tech Startups And Innovators

Karnataka Govt. To Fight Traffic And Water Scarcity Woes With Help Of Tech Startups And Innovators


The Government Organises ‘Grand Challenges' Calling In Agents of Change To Solve Traffic Congestion And Water Scarcity In Bengaluru

Bengaluru, otherwise a cool city, is a nightmare for daily travellers and office goers. The single lane street like roads and long signal-timings make drivers sleepy while driving. Thus, in order to ease off the lives of Bengaluru citizens, the Karnataka government has today launched its ‘Grand Challenge Call Five and Call Six’, under the State Startup Policy. The initiative aims to unearth innovative solutions to reduce traffic congestion in Bengaluru city as well as tackle the perennial water scarcity.

Today, Bengaluru is among the fastest-growing cities in Asia; its population has rapidly increased from 53 lakhs in 2001 to 87 lakhs in 2011. In fact, Bengaluru’s vehicle population growth rate is even higher than its population growth rate and about five 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, posing a huge challenge for the City Administration.

Grand Challenge Call Five and Call Six is a stepping stone for Karnataka Government’s efforts towards reducing the daily challenges of living in Bengaluru city.

So, What Is Grand Challenge Five And Six? Have A Look Here…

Among the innovative solutions that would be pushed forward under the ‘Grand Challenge Call Five’ are GenNext tech 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.

“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 Five’ is an attempt to create a big picture from small solutions,” said Priyank Kharge Karnataka’s IT, BT & Tourism Minister.

On the other hand, ‘Grand Challenge Call Six’ is a rallying cry to unearth innovative solutions to help solve Karnataka’s water scarcity issue. The State government launched ‘Call Six’ to generate and utilise real-time data on quality and quantity of water being utilised at individual level including water use in agriculture for predicting a potential water crisis. “Water may very well be the new oil. A finite resource essential to consumers, agricultural and industrial users and a vital component of our economic growth. That’s why water as an investment has some compelling long-term appeal,” said the Minister.

‘Call Six’ would seek crowd-sourced solutions for data generation and development of sustainable, feasible, scalable and low maintenance kits/mobile app/sensors/technology for monitoring water quality and quantity for reducing water consumption at the individual level.

Grand Challenge: Who Can Participate?

Anyone from any discipline in India — from individuals, researchers and faculty in colleges/ universities/government laboratories/ institutions to startups, and NGOs — can apply for the Grand Challenge.

Participants will be selected on the basis of the potential impact, feasibility, sustainability, accessibility and novelty of the idea proposed as well as the execution capacity. “This creates an opportunity for startups, who can contribute to creating a sustainable water supply and participate in investments likely to experience long-term growth,” Kharge said.

Call Five and Call Six: What is in Store For The Participants?

At the challenge, the cherry-picked ideas will get access to funding and go through prototyping, testing and scaling up in Bengaluru. The Grand Challenge event will be conducted in two phases.

During the first phase, which is of six months duration, five innovators will be eligible for testing the proposed solution for funding of up to $15,600 (INR10 Lakhs). The innovators will have to develop and successfully demonstrate three functional prototypes or demonstrate the solution for at least ten users in two locations in Karnataka.

Phase II will see one innovator being selected for a further funding of up to $78K (INR 50 Lakhs) for a period of 12 months to scale-up. The idea will be tested for the 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.

The support provided under ‘Grand Challenges’ will be catalytic in enabling startups to test and scale their innovations in target locations across Karnataka. According to an official statement shared with the media, 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.

Earlier this year, celebrating its tenth year of innovating for India, Flipkart too, had launched a similar innovative ‘Gridlock Hackathon’ – a hackathon to crowdsource innovative, implementable ideas that could help ease the traffic situation in Bengaluru.

The Karnataka Government has also undertaken many other initiatives to improve upon the state of living and startups culture in the state with the start of year 2017. The Karnataka State’s Startup Cell is among the most active cells in the country. Besides, recently concluding ELEVATE100 Finale, which saw the 100 most innovative startups chosen by the state for funding and mentoring to success, the startup cell has also organised hackathon programmes in conjunction with the Tourism Department of the state. The agenda of the event was to promote tourism in the state via integration of technology and tourism. The last date to apply for ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6’ will be 15 October, 2017. Interested candidates can apply here.

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