As Rajasthan gears up for its IT Day 2018 fest, the overwhelming response is just a testament to the hidden and unseen talent of the state. As Hackathon 4.0 nears, the number of applicants has risen to 5,000, which is more than twice the number of applicants which were received from the last year Hackathon.
Hosted by the Department of Information Technology and Communication (DoIT&C) of the Government of Rajasthan, the four-day event, starting from March 18, is ready to host five programmes which include TechRush, Hackathon 4.0, Eduhack, Green-a-thon and eMitra/ITGK Connect.
What Is Hackathon 4.0?
The Rajasthan government, in view of the IT Day 2018, is introducing a platform for coders, developers and designers to showcase their skills in accordance with numerous themes.
Hackathon 4.0 will be a 36-hour non-stop coding marathon aimed at finding effective solutions to promote and improve the state’s IT and e-governance initiatives. The participants of the event which include students, professionals, startups and organisations, will have the prodigious platform to present their out-of-the-box thinking on these themes viz. AI, IoT, AR/VR, Blockchain, ML, data warehouse and data mobility.
Between March 19 and 21, more than 5,000 individuals will work alone or in a team to present a final version of their idea to bring a citizen-centric solution and win prizes. Also, solutions can be created for Rajasthan’s government first initiatives such as Bhamashah and e-Mitra as well as to promote tourism in the state.
Bhamashah Scheme was initiated in 2008 by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, and this was the first Direct Benefit Transfer programme in India. Under this, the bank accounts are made in the name of the lady of the house and at present, only Rajasthan empowers women by registering the bank accounts in their name. On the other hand, e-Mitra platform offers over 290+ services such as bill payments, banking, application for driving license and more. For this, the participants can showcase their technical approach towards solving these intricacies.
As mentioned on its website, the top three winners will earn a contract with the Department of Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rajasthan worth $22.9K (INR 15 Lakhs), $15.3K (INR 10 Lakhs), and $11.4K (INR 7.5 Lakhs) respectively.
Two Hackathons, One Place
Another interesting part where Rajasthan is trying to break its own records is the idea of organising two hackathons in parallel.
During the IT Day celebrations, alongside Hackathon 4.0, the government will also organise Green-a-thon, which has listed nearly 500 entries days before even even started.
In Green-a-thon, the government is looking for young problem solvers and innovative think tanks to create and implement new ideas for a more sustainable future. In this all-night marathon, the participants will build a green solution for a better world. It will include a series of coding events with a sustainability purpose where students will showcase their solutions to real civic and environmental issues.
The top three winners will earn a contract with Department of Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rajasthan worth $22.9K (INR 15 Lakhs), $15.3K (INR 10 Lakhs), and $11.4K (INR 7.5 Lakhs) respectively.
The department has decided to not give away any cash prize, and upon being asked why, the officials of the Department told Inc42, “We prefer giving projects to empower youth and to bring in talent into the department while also giving them projects for the future.”
What Happens To The Winning Ideas?
Based on the scalability of the solution, the winning ideas are either modified or directly put into motion. For example, in the last Hackathon 3.0 in December 2017, which was held in Udaipur and had received over 2,000 entries, a VR startup – Yeppar, won the second position.
In its solution for rural-based problems, the startup designed a 360-degree solution using virtual glass to enable a person sitting in the urban area to visit the rural space and understand the problem without actually going to the place.
This project was modified and is in its building stage right now.
Rajsthan IT Day: Successful Hackathons Of Yesteryears
Rajasthan IT day was first hosted in 2016 with an aim to recognise the power of small technology-driven startups in wealth creation and employment generation. It was a day’s event which acted as a platform for IT startups to display their expertise and efficiency and seek the valuable support of the Rajasthan government and venture capital organisations.
Digifest, a two-day mega event was organised by Rajasthan state government’s Department of IT&C in Kota and Udaipur in 2017. It provided a platform to various individuals from the field of IT and e-governance to showcase their skills and innovation. The ‘24-hour mega-hackathon for startups’ and the ‘Investor Connect’ were the highlights of the event.
In December 2017, Udaipur Digifest, the main tech themes on which solutions were built included AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, bioinformatics and IoT. The participants also got a chance to build tech solutions for the Rajasthan government’s initiatives such as Bhamashah and e-Mitra as well as applications to promote state tourism.
Hackathon Fever Across India
The popularity of Hackathons is not just limited to Rajasthan but across India where companies like Microsoft, EY and also startups like Paytm organise and scale up up the innovation from top programmers through such events.
Most recently, the Central government of India also hosted the second edition of Smart India Hackathon in 2018, an initiative to identify new and disruptive digital technology innovations for solving the challenges faced by our country.
The startup ecosystem is not behind governments and major companies in organising hackathons and has worked continuously to drive through issues with the government applications as well as initiatives.
In January 2015, Khosla Labs in association with Nasscom conducted the first Aadhaar hackathon where, in a 24-hour marathon, participants developed 36 applications integrating Aadhaar in various domains such as healthcare, digital lockers, identity verification and more.
Soon after in June 2015, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Khosla Labs, Nasscom and AngelPrime teamed up for a 48-hour coding marathon to create useful applications based on the Aadhaar platform.
At the time, Nasscom also hosted Smart City hackathon in Bengaluru aimed at improving transportation, crime prevention and public safety through the use of technology. The Smartcity hackathons were also hosted at Rajkot, Hyderabad, Vijayawada and more were also showcased.
In July 2017, ecommerce homegrown player Flipkart hosted gridlock hackathon to encourage techies to build smart solutions in order to meet city traffic woes.
As the 5,000 entries for Hackathon 4.0 testifies, the innovators and developers are ready to shine brightly at the Rajasthan IT Day.