Collaborative Citizenship for a better city

The challenges of urbanization in India are well known. According to a McKinsey report,, the country will witness 40% urbanization in 2030 and at least five states – Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka & Punjab – will have more than 50% people living in cities.

If you think now is chaos imagine it then! So what can be done to improve this situation? Is it just for the Government to provide the answers or can citizens and other institutions, by virtue of being the ones who will be most impacted, also join hands to  find solutions?

Perhaps the answer lies in Collaborative Citizenship that can be replicated across cities in different priority areas. These collaborations can include the Government, citizens, academia, NGOs and corporate. Increasingly it is becoming clearer that no one State, Organization or an individual can alone solve the complex challenges that the community faces.  It is becoming important to pool the resources, experiences and tools to come up with the appropriate solutions.  Most of these challenges are interlinked and need a more concerted effort.

The most innovative format is to bring in the expertise available with the corporate sector to offer their skills as volunteers to find solutions.  In many organizations, fund availability is not an issue but the right kind of skills to develop a road map and design a solution is what is required.  IBM has been in the forefront of experimenting with this innovative idea.  In 2011, we had very senior executives work with local governments to develop road map for cities across the across the world and  to provide recommendations.

Going by the success, IBM will be deploying two teams of executives in the cities of Ahmedabad and Pune to work alongside the Municipal Corporations. The executives will provide strategic technology based solutions in areas which will make the cities a better place to live. IBM executives will work on site for a few weeks to understand the real life situation and then define a strategic approach or a blue print which the Government representatives can then take forward. Some of the interesting work done in other countries is available on http://smartercitieschallenge.org/.

Perhaps other such innovative ideas have also been implemented and it would be good to know of examples involving collaboration with public policy makers, civil society and corporates.

This is contributed by Mamtha Sharma, leader for Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs for IBM in India / South Asia .

 

Mamtha has over 25 years of work experience and over 15 years in the Corporate Social Responsibility field. She has worked in the Corporate, Government and NGO sectors. Mamtha is a Corporate Service Corps (CSC) Returnee from Brazil, which is an IBM program that places top talents from IBM in NGO as consultant volunteers for a period of one month in one of the emerging countries. In her previous jobs in the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as Director and later in the British High Commission in India as the Senior Advisor, Trade Promotion, she had the opportunity to work with a number of industrial sectors and business leaders.

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    • May 24, 2012

      Shubham Anand

      Great thought! Government couldn’t be blamed alone.. It should be a combined effort of the whole society to bring the real change that will persist for eternity!

    • June 5, 2012

      Ganesan

      Its good to provide solution for existing problems in cities, but it will be great if we do some thing to stop people migrating from villages,towns(from their native place) to cities. If we keep on working with improving cities alone then obviously people will keep on migrating to cities and 50% in 2030 will become 80% in 2040. We need work together understanding why people migrating to cities and provide better long term solution.

      • June 14, 2012

        Veena

        True.I agree

      • June 20, 2012

        Krishnan Nsls

        True.. I agree .. Reason what i feel personally is Citizen in village or rural areas do not receive the fulfilled services as necessary for one to keep up and run family., that’s why the migration being taking place…

      • June 21, 2012

        Bharath

        Yes, I also feel that providing good infrastructure at villages will be key in retaining people in villages and stop this unnecessary migration.

        Spreading MNCs into tier 2 cities, focus on India’s economi back bone (agriculture) will be good to see in the nxt 2 decades.

        • July 6, 2012

          Kumar

          Well said. Dying need of the hour indeed! More importantly, to have tier two cities not just beside the main city but spread across the state such that all parts of the state is well connected. This even helps in bringing the agricultural production to markets more easily with less transportation costs with better earning.

    • Hi – Agree with the post. However, how about developing villages and making them self sufficient such that people do not need to move to cities at all. That way, we can curb the tremendous influx of population towards cities. Question is – how to make villages more lucrative. To that end, it may be worthwhile to think about modernizing our agricultural industry and making room for employment… making the villages very well connected with the cities and educating people about the concept of globalization and the need for adaptation to change.

      • Primary driver for moving to cities are jobs. I agree that agriculture has to become more lucrative and be market driven. Making agriculture more lucrative involves – bigger farms so machines can be used effectively and cost efficiently, processing of the farm produce at the source, faster transport to cities to reduce wastage and increase in storage capacity so seasonal variations in prices can be controlled. This is requires basic infrastructure such as availability of electricity, roads/ rail network and for export – ports that have capacity to shift loads very quickly. These backed up by transparent, inclusive and strict administration, not difficult to achieve even in India, will yield the desired results. Efforts are required from all – citizens, companies – private & public and the government.

        • July 5, 2012

          Gourishankar Kamthe

          Valid point Ravindra!! But when we want to have bigger farms and machines use to save labor cost, questions arise out of it. we have around 65% of our labor force working in agriculture or agriculture related industries. So when we talk about using machines, it will surely mean unemployment for most of this labor force. So we first also have to see where we can accommodate these workers and ensure that they get proper employment to earn their lively hood.

    • June 6, 2012

      Vikram Verma

      Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi) has an interdisciplinary programme – Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme (TRIPP), focussing on the reduction of adverse health effects of road transport. Projects are done in collaboration with IIT Delhi, government departments, industry and international agencies.

      TERI’s LaBL (Light a Billion Lives) is working with corporates, government and people in the area of sustainable electricity.

    • June 6, 2012

      RAHUL KUMAR SINHA

      Very good thought, however the McKinsey report have excluded Bihar which has got tremendous potential as lot of people here tend to move to the state capital Patna during the new governance, and there is lot of planning been done by the state government to connect the various routes connecting to various small cities / villages and other states to Patna resulting in higer tourism and people commuting everyday to work in Patna from various places adjoining Patna and there has been exponential urban growth in Patna during the last couple of years which is still expanding.

    • June 6, 2012

      Anil Danti

      Good thought but I think we need to look at improving the life in villages and tier 2 cities. Mostly the concentration and effort has been to improve cities. We need to look at making village life better through job opportunities, better pay scale, better earnings for farmers for the crops, uninterrupted water and power supply, better roads. Today when we look at major cities and villages, there is a clear distinction. Vision should be to reach a point where living in any city, village or town should be almost the same as far as basic needs are concerned – earnings, water, electricity, roads, jobs. This sounds like an idealistic world but that is what will take us forward as a country. Given a choice many would not like to move out of their home town provided these facilities are there. Today there is more energy into concentrated growth into cities, which needs to be spread across. Though tier 2 cities are talked about there needs to be much more planned growth for them. Except few cities out of the list, other places have not been focused much. It should be all in the list. Along side, this should penetrate into villages and the planning/progress for villages need to continue on the above mentioned points.

      • July 10, 2012

        Prapti Das

        I can not agree more.

        While planning progress the social and cultural make up of a community becomes a crucial factor, to be considered. As with many other communities by nature Indians live in closely knit families and working in the comfort of once home town is always desired.
        So preserving an optimized social ecosystem by developing world class facilities in varied locations based on the requirement and uniqueness of the locality rather than concentrating on any categorization should yield much more long term benefits

    • June 8, 2012

      Sandeep Magavi

      Developing tier 2 cities is the key to reversing the massive urbanization in the country – this will help divert resources & development, uniformly across the landscape!

    • June 8, 2012

      Ravi Kumar Reddy K

      Regional economic studies have been conducted by various Government bodies in India. To name few, the Municipal bodies in respective States and town planning departments, Town & Country Planning Organizations for each State with in India, Planning Commission of India, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Indian Institute of Town Planners are few who are involved in voluminous studies about urbanization trends in India. Going by McKinsey report alone sound somewhat uncomfortable in observing the urban trends. We must look for rational urbanization than simple urban population trends, and how a deficit of socialization between urban, semi-urban and rural collaboration can effect the true urbanization in terms of standards of urban life which is an economy of fringe chain.

    • June 8, 2012

      Divya Swaminathan

      Yes indeed an excellent thought, especially the part on:

      “Using expertise available with the corporate sector to offer their skills as volunteers to find solutions.”

      Quite often, it is lack of skills and especially technologies which prevent government organizations to progess. I would completely agree that the focus now has to be on tier 2 cities and villages to avoid further congestion in the metros. As I say this, it is important that the villages are made self sufficient by providing:
      A. IT employment opportunities
      B. Modernization and use of technology in agriculture, SSIs and cottage industries
      C. Creating an greater percentage of employable population in tier 2 cities and villages by providing ample educational opportunities through educational institutions and trainings.

    • June 10, 2012

      Seema

      Good thought but its very important to build a strong infrastructure which would help in developing cities and rural areas.
      Road Network: Road Network needs to be improved, more rural and urban roads needs to be build making rural areas approachable. Good maintenance plan should be established for already existing road network. Proper planning of rural road network contruction is needed, more scheme’s should be introduced with the focus of improvement of road along with new employment opportunities for villagers.

      Airports: More airports should be developed making different cities interconnected.

      Railways: India has a strong Railway network, but we need improve the quality of trains and their maintenance.

      Once we have good infrastructure established it would be easier for us to develop rural areas and cities.

      • June 12, 2012

        Tejas S. Naik

        Traffic congestion within cities:

        I would like to highlight the state of traffic congestion in all major cities in India. There is a lot work need to be done in this area.

        1) The lane driving concept should be follwed and implemented more strictly. Like in western countires, there should be dedicated lanes at junctions for left or right turns. This avoids congesition at traffic junctions.
        2) Wherever possible, right lanes should be for four-wheelers and left most lanes could be used by two and three wheelers. This should make traffic movement smooth.
        3) In order to improve the driving manners, the license issue process itself need to be more robust, meaningful and stringent.
        4) The public transport facilities need to be improved and there should be multiple public tranport options like city buses, Metro rail, Monorail etc.

        Railway network:

        1) Railway network is very important for our country and should be given an industry status to involve more provate firms.
        2) Dedicated freight routes are very much needed to reduce the congestions on busy passenger routes. Proposed dedicated freight routes should be gien priority for timely completion.
        3) High speed trains could introduced on busy routes like Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune, Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore, Delhi-Kanpur-Lucknow etc. Availability of high speed trains would certainly help to reduce costs on air fuels and help environment.

        Rain water harvesting:
        Using rain water in each and every community/apartments/societies within cities should be mandatory. This would certainly help to fight against acute water shortages in almost every major city in out country.

    • June 11, 2012

      Mamtha Sharma

      Thank you all for the comments in response to my blog post. I cannot agree more on the fact that we need to enable the people in the rural areas to have better opportunities and better lives. There are talks about two India and some say three – Urban, Semi Urban and Rural. Each of these require different kinds of support and engagement. It is absolutely necessary to pick a few that would make a difference and deeper impact. Rural areas in particular need very different approach and scale of support. In my view couple of areas that would make significant impact are skill development and technology interventions. The scale of the problems in the rural areas and the spread, do need tools that can reach the masses. Technology can make that happen. For example many of the village schools do not have teachers that can provide quality education. How do we reach these remote schools? Yes this would mean infrastructure development and skill development. There are number of health workers across India manually recording data? Can we help them with technology through which they can capture the data and provide an opportunity for experts in Analytics to analyze for government to take better decisions? A number of initiatives at different levels by different organisations are already under way. IBM volunteers are supporting MYRADA, a rural NGO in developing a data management system to track anemic women and their medication. We are also working jointly with Drishti Foundation in Lucknow to develop a platform that would enable bring the rural enterprises and the farmers together to use a technological platform to do business. This was our Centennial year initiatives which is under way. I am sure there are many such other initiatives under way in the country. I hope through these forum we are able to share best practices to learn and implement across India.

    • June 12, 2012

      suresh rao

      For a country like India, urbanization is inevitable. At present 66% population depend on agriculture, which contributes just about 20% to GDP. There is tremendous scope for improving the village life; even after this, there will be spill over of population to cities. This means we need to focus on urban as well as villages. In this regard two areas the maximum attention should be given are — road/rail network and electricity or energy. These are the crucial infrastructure. This has the potential to address so many of the problems we are facing in this country today and investments in this area would be force multipliers for overall growth. On top of this infrastructure social infrastructure like healthcare, education – both formal and vocational, among others should be built. In this area there are tremendous opportunities to collaborate among Government, Corporate, NGO, Citizens and Academia exist.

    • June 13, 2012

      Sourabh Saxena

      A very relevant concept for handling the issues of growing urbanization. While infrastructure can not be ignored, there is lot of scope in improving communication between urban dwellers and those responsbile for maintaining urban facilities. For example, if one’s lane gets clogged during every monsoon and one cribs everytime one passes through it. But does the person know how to log the issue with relevant authority, who is the authority in the first place? Right now it is few individuals who pass the information to local municipal councillor who gets the job done when time and budget permits. So we are dependent on the initiative of the person. This needs to be replaced with a service oriented system with defined objectives and communicated to all citizens at local level- we need to redefine town halls and bring them closer to people. Corporates can help government bodies in urban areas in a big way in creating a service oriented infrastructure. Social media can be harnessed to facilitate better communication between citizens and government. This can go a long way in eliminating day to day issues of urban citizens. Local bodies can also communicate to citizens through social media channels. This could be two way channel.

    • Collaborative planning is very much required for solving the problems of urbanization and for creating infrastructure by using modern technologies. But it is also a fact that in a country like India with second largest population in the world, some efforts are to be initiated by individuals. This is very much required for solving problems like environment and traffic congestion because our resources like space are limited for creating infrastructure like roads in cities and our dwindling forest reserves due to increasing population and urbanization as they are the backbone of environment preservation. To solve these each individual needs to be educated and follow some initiatives like: -

      -Avoid using individual modes of transport like cards, etc. while travelling alone, unless for exigencies, for e.g., saving a life, which could not be planned in advance and arise all of a sudden;

      -Consumerism should be restricted to basic requirement as per one’s own standard, where use of natural resources like water, petrol, food, etc. are involved, so as to save them for our future generation.

      Unless it is planned to educate these basic to individuals and followed, no amount of technological advancement will help us in making a successful plan for making our urban/semi-urban/rural areas to be self sufficient and rid of problems.

    • June 14, 2012

      Kevin George

      Smarter city is a dream that comes together with smarter roads and smarter ways of transportation . The Metro looks like the most convenient option of conveyence which helps in reducing the traffic jams as well .
      IBM can offer samrter solutions for governemt when it comes to technical managment in case of Metro.

    • June 16, 2012

      VISWANATH RAYAPROLU

      I feel the objective of increase in percentage of ” Quality in Living ” at affordable economics to every common citizen at every town in a district ,in a state at every phase of human life , on being achieved bring great prosperity , pride and progress to our country . A Balance between Our culture & values and learning’s from developed world can instrument in connecting to all sections of our country population through leadership at various levels of our society will draft a road map for smarter cities THROUGH ” Quality in Living “

    • June 28, 2012

      Vasudeva G

      Great thought. However, as some people have already pointed out, Government must look at ways to stop this migration from rural to urban areas or even completely urbanizing the rural areas. Instead the rural areas must be empowered, whatever is the strength of a particular region, the Government in conjunction with NGOs and interested Corporates must look at providing the necessary things to that specific area so that people living in that area can develop on these strengths and then live a happy life there. And the Govt must ensure adequate infrastructure, health and education facilities for these rural areas so that they do not feel neglected and search for alternatives. This includes building Roads for prosperity, providing rural people access to quality healthcare, good education etc. Health Insurance for rural population at a nominal cost can be a great boost, similarly RTE is a great step in this regard, if it gets implemented appropriately. Also rural people must be provided adequate compensation for their produce which in turn will not turn them away from their basic occupation.
      It is important for INDIA to maintain it;s rural population because of the advantages it offers, but at the same time must ensure they are nurtured and protected as well.

    • Project Proposal for knowledge sharing for farmers thorugh IBM – Smarter cloud, Millets Network of India.

      Do you know one human consume 1500 litres of water per day!. For a cup of coffee would require 140 litres of water. Yes, the fact is that much of water is required to grow coffee, wheat, rice before we eat. 97. 5% is salt water and out of 2.5% water only 30.1% can be usable. Can we help our world out of this crisis?.

      The network between the poor farmers and high earning city people are never been achieved before. The program needed at this hour by paying visit to villege and gain confidence for them on agriculture. The culture will yield solution in Agriculture, Consumer and Education. Why people live city has to worry?.

      BMers can join with KVKs, Millets network, has involved with farmers network of 416. We shared the education and knowledge share from KVK to farmers. The team has worked more than 2 years in cultivation field with the help of poor farmers and helped the farmers educating the organic fertilizer, provided the cheapest way of effectively use the manpower and water management to reduce the cost of cultivation.
      (1) Knowledge sharing: Provide knowledge sharing to farmers on Agriculture research by http://www.icar.org.in/krishi-vigyan-kendra.htm to encourage Organic Farming and Millets.
      (2) Job opportunities in Agriculture: By providing diploma courses in agriculture to students in rural areas or interested group in any area, encourage them in farming and converting raw grains to consumable products, there by avoiding migration to cities.
      (3) Health: Heart diseaes, diabetic challenges are higher for people taking more rice and oil foods. Hence with of food items made from millets, organic food and physical exercise for better health.
      a. Either they work in transportation of food items from one location
      b. Serving indirectly in farming by increase the revenue by Millets and promote the consumers on millets
      c. Educating from virtual tool – IBM Smarter cloud, Openmeetings to villege (Science, Mathematics or languages like English) from online education to steam in village schools. Hence a supply of Agriculture products, food items supply instead of money.

      • The parents of the students to work for 1 hour daily while education is free of cost by teachers from cities to provide teaching in Virtual education by Google and IBM Smarter cloud.

      Millets required less water and solution for water management. This would be win-to-win situation for villege and cities by exchanging knowledge and in turn get millents and organic products.
      To promote the awareness on organic farming, rural education through virtual learning using virtual learning will interest in the operation of the local agriculture and catering sectors and the local produce with a view to boost these sectors’ development.

      People from city get involved directly with farmers and provide moral support, buying vegetables and millets, consuming organic products. A visit to villege once in a month near to your town is sufficient. The network pool will give farmers get great value to their yield and good health for people living in cities.

      http://w3-01.ibm.com/sales/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=649/ENUSA11-0357&infotype=AN&subtype=IA&appname=w3skm

      • July 9, 2012

        Mamtha sharma

        I am extremly happy to see the response from a number of you on the rural development. IBM has a Rural Outreach team that works with a number of NGOs in exploring various ways in which efficiency in operations could be brought about and at the same time use passionate IBMers to contribute through their skills. I hope through these conversations some of you get connected and one or two initiatives get going.

        One key area that always concerns me is, in the rural population, there are many who have so much knowledge of traditional methods that are still relevant. How can we or technology help in preserving these knowledge and may be developing these knowledge. For example prserving seeds, organic farming, knowledge about herbs etc. How do we preserve the arts and crafts that had a pride of place and now many are giving up these crafts? There are a few wonderful organisations such as Crafts Council of India, India Foundation for Arts who are doing tremendous work. How do we preserve these very unique knowledge and skills yet move forward as a nation?

    • July 6, 2012

      Ravi Vishwakarma

      in 2030, if 40% will move to cities then we have the alarming situation now on. over Trafic, water and civic amenities. Its is said that SURPLUS is what we invest or take risk on. Hence the Surplus members of the village family moves out for option and taking the risk. Thus the Question raised is the Size of the village families and thus on population. how can we reduce the family Size.

      As the basic farm land or family routine is manged with family back in village. Extra is what is gathered from the city to suport back home. if the size is small and all are engaged well in farms, they would not migrate to cities. Thus by reucing the family size in villages I hope the migration to cities can be narrowed to far extent. This will also be the building block in population control. There are tough steps needed and must to be taken in this direction.

      Then I see a ray of HOPE in curbing this migration and city problems.

      • July 6, 2012

        Kumar

        Ravi, your idea of surplus people moving to cities is noteworthy. However, to reduce citi problem we reduce village population is not a sensible approach nor it makes any sense. Bangalore, for example attracts people from all over the country irrespective of whether it is from village or city. Not allowing the outside people to come in is only a reactive approach to solving problems. If at all you insist of thinking in the direction of reducing population in urban, why not force urban people to go and settle in rural areas so we can match the equation? Can we solve problems this way? Certainly not. So we must find means of improving the lives of villagers rather than thinking in terms of reducing the village population. That is the real way to have an inclusive approach of overall well being of the country. And that is real collaborative citizenship.

    • July 6, 2012

      Kumar

      So far whatever post I have come across in this forum, this discussion seems to be most interesting. Not because of this post but because this post has given a platform to a right discussion topic – villages and agriculture. And I am even more happier that the post author has acknowledged the comments on villages & agricultural. That shows the real spirit. In fact I have been observing that almost all the posts on this forum are by the top leaders of the industry/organization. But it is quite surprising to see that not a single post is focusing on improving villages. If we are with the idea of improving India through all the means except village and agriculture, focusing only on urban world making it smarter and smarter, then it makes no sense of having this forum at the first place.

      60-70% of Indian population lead agricultural life and yet we do not have healthy, nutritious chemical free at the same time economic food to eat that reaches every citizen of India! How can we improve the lives of the farmers and particularly the labor class (without the farm lands) in the village areas?

    • July 6, 2012

      Kumar

      Farming sometimes is like directly investing in shares, there can be good times and bad times. Technology can certainly help the farmers improve their financial planning such that it helps maintain their life in both good and bad times? With the technology we can help farmers get the right earnings for his production. It can help distribute and balance the need with the supply. Information Technology can advice the farmers what to grow at the real time. Today suppose in the market there is a demand for paddy, so every farmer in a certain area starts growing the same and then next year the paddy is in surplus. On the other hand a certain area is conducive for only certain type of farming. So can the technology help in bringing a real time balance with realtime data to the farmer that can help him to decide what needs to be grown on demand? Can technology help in bringing all farmers under one roof being collaborative and cooperative to each other?

    • July 6, 2012

      Kumar

      Bringing schools and farm lands together:

      We are often against child labor. Look at this wonderful idea – We all know that the urban children have a separate class for physical training – PT and (unfortunately hardly any schools) have real scientific lab for their children. On the other hand, in rural schools why not bring the school going children to the farms as part of their curriculum and do their bit in the farm lands such that it benefits both the land owner in cultivation and also the school children? The benefit for children would be two fold :
      1. They get an opportunity to exercise their body due to physical activity at farm land.
      2. Knowledge improvement – at each class from say 6th to 10th standard, students should be taught scientific details about the plants, their health benefits, and more importantly at higher classes – methods of farming, and so many other details can be taught to the respective school children in a more practical ways and experimentation than just teaching theory.

    • July 6, 2012

      Kumar

      Today the biggest problem in farming is the availability of labors! The land owner feels the labor cost is too high and the labor wants to make good income to lead a dignified life. There is a whole lot of confusion at agriculture. Can technology help moderate this situation?

      The fundamental cause of this issue is there is no organizational structure in case of farming. Everything from the land owner to the selling production in the market is discrete. Each is his own boss. In this situation, even the govt. can’t help much. Only the intelligent makes best earnings – be it farmer or the mediator. In case of industries and corporates, we have the organization head who gives the directions and the entire group works in proper coordination. Can technology help directly or indirectly in forming this kind of a organizational structures in the field of agriculture? It is the information that is vital at every stage.
      Say, in case of urban world, we have what are known as investors, sponsors, advertisers, etc. Whether you take sports such as cricket, Film industry, private industries or corporate world in all these cases without IT the business won’t work. It connects the investors, advertizers, and at the core the organization who gets the work done. Can we not have a similar thing in the agricultural field too? For ex., suppose me as an investor from the urban world ready to invest in the agriculture. Neither I own a land nor can I do farming. Now, the land owners do not have labors to get the work done or they do not have enough money to invest in farming. We need an organization that intervenes the two which takes care of the entire responsibility of farming to marketing to exporting. It would have enough labors with right skills to get things done. The investors/advertisers invest and everyone gets their fare share including the land owner. The main point here is the transparency and information technology can help both in maintaining transparency as well as connecting the right people for the right task.

    • July 10, 2012

      V S

      To add on to the same theme, a few, random thoughts…

      Lack of hygiene & cleanliness is one of the worst problems facing our country, more so in our overcrowded cities.

      Whether its’ the hands that sell vegetables in a market, or the hands that serve food in a restaurant or the hands that administer medication in a hospital, all are (I am afraid) too untidy for even contemplation.

      While technology is no substitute to basic human instincts (such as people not even bothering to rinse their hands with water, let alone apply soap after answering nature’s call), can we at least contemplate areas where technology can at least mitigate matters to some extent?

      Like, for example, ensuring every time we wash our hands in public places, we have ‘smart’ taps installed that mixes water & soaps in a right mix flowing out & ensuring the destruction of most germs in our hands. Makes our hands cleans to resume whatever activities.

      This is a problem that deserves confrontation on a war footing. Else, we are inviting epidemics (or probably are already dying a slow death). Thanks…

    • July 16, 2012

      Reeba Satish

      very interesting thought VS!

    • July 25, 2012

      Geeta Philip

      Kerala has two very interesting, and I would say really useful initiatives – on home care for the elderly and citizen help.

      - Home care for the elderly is provided by the local district hospital in Kottayam, a fairly developed town. Based on a census/statistics report, a team of volunteers including doctors and nurses visit each and every home (poor or rich). If they find an elderly patient that requires medical help, they provide the same and make this a monthly visit. Medicines, simple tests and good care is provided.

      - Jana Maitri (friend of the citizen) is an initiative started by the Police Department, to extend help to the local neighborhood.

      IBM can help by providing a platform for connecting the user-base, based on demographic profiles and locality, and map it to the need and requirement. As the user base is elastic and changing, the convential route will not be as efficient. This would help in speedier turnarounds and better utilization of the idea.