Solar Energy—The Ultimate Solution to India’s Energy Problem

Renewable energy

Renewable energy, Solar Power, Great India Potential

Prospects of solar energy worldwide, and specifically in India make a lot of sense as the conventional means are running out of steam. Not long ago, when Photon Energy took up its first solar photovoltaic project in India in 2010-11, the cost of implementing a one MW solar park was around Rs 18-20 crores. Today it has come down to one third at about Rs 6 crores. This factor alone has made a huge impact on the notion of horrendously capital extensive set-up.

The first set of solar power plants around the same time delivered the energy at about Rs 18 per unit. Today it is delivered at somewhere about Rs 6 per unit. They are now even comparable to the energy from the conventional sources including coal, which the world does not want to use in times of climate change.

Growing Concern for Environment:

Conventional sources especially those emitting green house gasses may be the convenient way to energy, but environmental concerns can’t be wished away. And as we become more and more aware of climate change and the impact of hydro-carbon emissions on our day to day life, more and more countries are shunning away from such mega smoke spewing power projects.

The buzzword today is to harvest solar energy. The growth of solar electricity in last few years has been phenomenal. Global installed capacity increased by as much as 10 times in last 5 years. On an average, more than 100 MW of new solar photovoltaic capacity is being added everyday. The total installed capacity globally is now about 200 GW, up from mere 23 GW at the close of 2009.

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In India, the government has already announced its solar aggressive stance. The country intends to have 100 GW of new solar capacity by 2022. According to an estimate vast sunny unutilized tracts in the country are capable of producing at least 750 GW of energy. Rajasthan itself has a potential of 142 GW followed by 111 GW in Jammu and Kashmir if we can manage a network of Photovoltaic cells atop those barren mountains of Ladakh range. As many as 12 states have already identified land for this purpose.

Solar Power Fueling the Growth:

According to the government estimates, India needs about 100 billion dollars investment in the sector for harnessing 100 GW of solar power. This essentially means opening up a host of opportunities locally. While many ancillaries are to be set up, the whole composition is likely to assume proportions as much as any important sector of the economy.

For 2022 target, India has too short a time to produce industry ready manpower trained in solar systems. We urgently need to set-up excellence centres to be able to produce solar engineers, solar marketers, solar entrepreneurs and so on. The growth potential here as of now is so immense that economy can immediately usurp all the trained manpower presently available and still crave for more.

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The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2050, the sun could be the largest source of electricity utilized by humans, much more than fossil fuels, and way ahead of other renewable forms of energy like wind, hydro and nuclear. The amount of solar energy available each year dwarfs supplies of any other source of power, including total reserves of all the fossil fuels on Earth.

Yes, solar panels are still too expensive but economies of scales will benefit it further. 10 years ago, nobody gave solar power a chance of succeeding. Today, even the government lays stress on it. If we all work together and follow the energy wise policy and support the right renewable energy options, I predict that we can put the brakes on climate change and enjoy clean, true-green energy.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He Will Now Be Called Late Sir APJ Abdul Kalam

Late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, Bharat Ratna and far-sighted architect of India’s space and missile programmes, passed away in Shillong amongst the young learners—the students, he loved to be with always. Genius, Brilliant, whatever adjectives I may shower upon, would fall short before the multifaceted Sir APJ Abdul Kalam.

A Teacher No More

APJ Abdul Kalam had once said, “If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.” True to his words he breathed his last amongst students in Shillong. Even when he became the President in 2002, he made no compromise on his flair for teaching. He grabbed every opportunity to be with the students, especially children, wherever he went. Administering a pledge on national development to the youth was his passion. He always believed that teaching is one such noble profession that shapes the character, calibre and future of an individual.

A Dreamer No More

APJ Abdul Kalam was an institution-builder and a team-builder, a visionary and a dreamer. His dream was to build a strong and self-reliant India. And so he achieved. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Defence Minister R. Venkataraman, scientific advisor to the Defence Minister V.S. Arunachalam and Kalam were a formidable team in the early 1980s who visualised India to be a country with might in science and technology. Kalam devised every manoeuvre to beat the embargoes and sanction regimes including the Missile Technology Control Regime imposed on India following the Pokhran nuclear tests in 1974 and then in 1998.

A Motivator No More

APJ Abdul Kalam was an extremely focused man. No wonder, success followed him wherever he went. Even while addressing a gathering he would never fall short of words of motivation. The man inspired everyone he interacted with in life.  He taught people to envisage a better future.  He is already a subject in many of the B-schools across the country. His four books-“Wings of Fire”, “India 2020 – A Vision for the New Millennium”, “My journey” and “Ignited Minds – Unleashing the power within India” have become a household name in India and as well as abroad and has been translated in many Indian languages.

 The Missile Man No More

APJ Abdul Kalam had a single-minded approach in leading projects and his connect with other scientists and the younger generation distinguished him from everybody else. His taking over the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-3) programme as its Project Director led to its spectacular success in 1980 and it was the turning point in India’s space programme. He was the man who envisioned India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) and led teams that built India’s Agni, Akash, Prithvi and Nag missile programmes. He was also instrumental in forging India’s collaboration with Russia to build the world’s first supersonic cruise missile called BrahMos.

A Gentleman No More

Former president APJ Abdul Kalam the former president was a great personality and gentleman. At the age of 84 he was still thinking of finding solutions to the country’s energy requirements. His contribution to the country and humanity are great and immense. Even when he occupied the top office he would come across as a down to earth person. He was highly educated, a science wizard and the man for the masses. The way he served the country, and the way he contributed to the younger generation, he will live on forever as a true gentleman.

For India Sir APJ Abdul Kalam was an icon, a ray of hope, which came at a time when things were a lot gloomier then present. His actions, his words meant a lot for the country, which he envisaged as better then all the rest. He came from a humble background, but what made him stand apart was his passion for the righteous, and even his critics could not say otherwise. He was a man of honour.

The way forward for India would be to remain focused on the path paved by the great soul. India as a country has to follow his principles to the core and work upon the core areas he worked upon. His vision for bringing forth the gen-next leaders and a fusion of technology will take India to the next level.

Sir APJ Abdul Kalam, we will miss you…….. Always.

Avdhesh Kr. Goel
FCA,ACS,AICWA
Find me on : Twiiter Facebook | Linkedin

 

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Housing: The New Economy Driver

First ImageAs India walks one step closer to the futuristic concept of 100 smart cities project, the nation is seeing it as a growth driver in coming few years. Add to it the newly launched programmes like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation(AMRUT) and housing for all by 2022, India is looking forward to add 2 crore more homes to its kitty.

At this stage, when plans are on papers the figures are more of an estimates than reality, it is likely that the lives of most of the countrymen will get positively impacted. This in turn will lead to a better growth story running onto atleast a decade from hereon.

Massive Numbers
Conservatively speaking, even if 2 crores of the houses were to be spread all over the country, the average house would be about 800 sq feet. If one were to take into consideration the cost of land and constructions and taxes the cost of each such unit would average out to about 20 lakh rupees. The sum total of such estimation would go somewhere around 40 lakh crore rupees. The figure looks humungous on its own and if this was to be averaged out over next 7 years then the annual number comes to about 5.71 lakh crores.

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At present the estimated market size of housing is about 4 lakh crore rupees pfer year with an annualized growth rate of 7-8 %. As a result of latest policy infusion the CAGR may now go upto 11-13%. As per the global trend, the new housing merits an equal amount of investment in infrastructure. Combined together they create a magnanimous image of progress, which may go on for atleast a decade.

The Multiplier Effect

The theory as propounded by John Maynard Keynes, ‘a penny spent is a penny earned’ has the highest coefficient for the housing sector. Due to the number of ancillaries dependent on the construction like cement, steel, timbre, brick etc,

Third Imagehere a rupee spent is benefiting people 4.7 times over. This factor alone means, that 5.71 lakh crores would multiply and circulate in the economy to the tune of about five times benefiting people at multiple levels. Just to compare, this amount is much more than the planned outlay of 4,65,277 crores as projected in the annual budget of 2015-16. In simple words the booster dose to the housing sector would result in faster circulation of money and enriching sectors, which are directly and indirectly linked with the sector.

Stimulus for Employment Generation

If 350 is the average number of direct employees hired for a 1000 unit new project then 70 lakh is the magic figure for manpower requirement in till the said projects go on. Real Estate sector by the virtue of its structure also has an indirect employment ratio of 1:8 evenly distributed over in over 300 ancillary units providing products like cement, steel, bricks, tiles etc and services like transportation, advertising & promotion and so on. It essentially translates into income for more than 6 crore households in next few years.

Staggered Rollout

The Union government has indicated timelines for its smart city project to take off. The 4th image 4th image2First list of 20 such cities to be chosen are expected to be finalized this year. Another 40 cities will be selected in 2016-17 and 40 more in 2017-18, if things go by the plan.

Similarly in case of AMRUT dedicated towards the betterment of urban facilities the government has a target of rejuvenating about 500 cities boosting their existing infrastructure and facilities over next five years.

Enriching Urban Lives

fifth ImageBy virtue of its definition the Smart Cities are the ones that enrich lives of those who live in. Such cities will be complete in day-to-day functioning. World class work centres, schools, colleges, transportation, hospitals, malls, entertainment solutions and other civic amenities will be available to each and every citizen in these new age clusters. This essentially means that the standard of living goes up drastically.  As rightly said by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “Every person dreams of having his or her own home. It is not merely about a roof and four walls; it is beyond that.”

Spreading out Development

With atleast one Smart City in each state the country will now witness development across its length and the breath. Few of the states to get their share in first leg are expected to be Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana and Chattisgarh.sixth Image

The Indian Economy as of now is the seventh-largest in the world and is the second fastest in terms of growth.  In last 2 decades it progressed around 7% on annual basis. Thanks to the pro-growth stance taken by the present government, the reforms push will further launch it in the orbit of 8% plus.

The long-term growth prospective of the country also remains positive due to its young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. And with all the right noises, India even has a potential to become world’s 3rd-largest Economy by the time housing for all becomes a reality.

 

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Managing Dilemmas with Flexibility and Agility

Ever wondered how a small fragile looking deer can dodge adversaries like lion, tiger, leopards and so on. Against all odds his two life saving capabilities help him to survive in the world. Flexibility and agility are the two powerful means that keeps him alive and kicking. image 1

Similarly flexibility and agility in business are emerging as key dimensions of business excellence that encompass the requirements of both choice and speed. Its growing need in business can be seen from reactive as well as proactive perspectives. An enterprise is supposed to react according to the changing business environment on dynamic basis. It may include re-engineering the structure, innovation in products and processes, use of latest information communication technology and latest gizmos to stay ahead in challenging situations.

The dimensions of Flexibility/Agility that can make you stand apart from the rest can be encased in few simple yet important steps.

Managing Paradoxes: In our day to day business activities we are often faces with multiple options like weather to centralise of decentralise, weather to think about globalisation or look towards localisation; continuity change and so on. Here rather than taking ‘either-or’ approach, the paradox is to be managed in a balanced manner. Those at the helm need to understand the complexity of situation in their respective case and be prepared to switch as and when required.

Harnessing The Efficiency: There can be different parameters while deciding upon image 2the utility of an asset in the real world yet it does not means that the older systems need to be discarded upfront without any introspection. It might be a classical dilemma when asked to decide between exploration of newer avenues or exploiting the existing resources. But, in business the efficiency and opportunity cost should be the prime motive of any such decision. Probably the set rules do not apply to all the entities in a similar fashion.

Be a Techie: Off late information and communication technologies are aiding each and every step an organisation takes. Probably this is one of the few areas if you have not invested so far, introspect once again. IT agility contribute immensely to the flexibility and efficiencies of an organisation. The systems have become so advanced that one need not carry the reams of figures for efficient decision making. Specialised softwares and presence of the cloud have made our lives much more easy and efficient.

Confluence of Continuity and Change: Change in any form is inevitable and continueity is desirable. Several researches have pointed to the simultaneous presence of both large and continuity in organisations. There has to be a fine balance between the two opposite forces for a holistic decision making process. Ability to manage continuity and the change is the secret to an enduring great company. Time has testified on many occasions that those who manage balance between the both tread farther than the rest.

Flexibility in Operations: Flexibility has been a subject matter of interest of many B-school scholars for quite some time, Flexible work practices at operational level such as flexi time and flexi place are in vogue in global corporations. Not only that it is common for many organisations to go in for flexi finance, flexi marketing, servicing flexibility and reap the benefits. It might be a double edged sword, but if used appropriately this can add tremendous amount of wealth as well as goodwill.

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Flexibility in Business Approach: Business excellence models have traditionally been focused around the issue of quality in business processes. Well established models like the ones given by Malcolm Baldrige and European Quality awards however give a very rigid view of the operations on day to day basis. Best would be a thorough study of such systems and customising them according to the specific needs. The caveat here would not to move too far away from the moot structure in the name of flexibility.

Dynamic Leadership: Keeping both flexibility and agility together under the larger framework of flexibility, any business enterprise is supposed to evolve through various maturity levels. There is a need to define new maturity models for organisations for assessing their risk taking capabilities. An organisation may climb the maturity of flexibility from operational to strategic on one hand and organisation centric to value network orientation on the other.

To summarize an evolving framework of flexibility and agility in business would be the one which revolves around the concepts of dynamic interplay and freedom of choice. It considers the reality to be dynamic ambiguous and all embracing, which it is. This in a way provides recipe for managing dilemmas, paradoxes and conflicts. Apply the principles given above and ensure that you don’t stray too much. Success would await at the end of the tunnel.

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5 Ways to Streamline Your Business

5 ways to increase business

Take out a moment and think about your work schedule. Do you work all the time? If the answer is yes, then you belong to the 7% destined to a life of wealth and success. But, if you like the remaining 93%, then you struggle to stay on task.

Fortunately, there is a simple and elegant solution to systematise your 5 key business activities like  administration, finance, contact management, marketing, and sales.

1.Administration
Administrative tasks can be time-consuming. Of paramount importance is the task of prioritising your tasks. Once done you categorise your tasks at hand and place them on a matrix on the basis of urgency and importance. Mark crisis and its management the first and trivial issues to the end.

5 ways to increase business for you

 

Ace planner and former US President Dwelt D Eisenhover is well known for his time management  skills came up with an interesting set of matrix, His priority box is still one of the first lessons that managers learn at any reputed management school.

Time management comes into practice in all spheres of life. You may be spending an excessive amount of time sifting through emails; invoicing; returning phone calls; making a to-do list; organizing your calendar; and so on.

The key is to keep it all short & simple, and begin training yourself to reduce the time it takes. Focus  on managing and organising tasks by priority.

If it takes you an hour, find ways to progressively reduce the time, going from 60 minutes to 45 minutes, then from 45 minutes to 30 minutes, and then, finally, from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.

  1. Finances
    In order to have efficient machinery one needs to be in complete control of your finances. To ensure quick and efficient decision making one has to have a bird’s eye view of the functioning all the time so that the management does not spend too much of time and other resources contemplating any further order.

There are many such accounting softwares which gives you an efficient solution. However, different organisations would have different requirements. While  interest and loans may top your priority list, others might rate debt & equity high on their importance. One needs to understand technicalities of the nature of their business and customise a platform best suited for you.

Contact Management

  1. As you move ahead following the learning curve you need to manage your contacts even more efficiently. Your contact list leads to more business. You need to network with people who lift up your spirits, educate you, and help you get referrals or create life events. Advancement of technology has progressed a lot in these aspects. Gone are the days when one had to carry a diary or an organiser. Today most of the things have become so easy with online calendar that you can coordinate/plan your interactions anywhere. Timely meetings, phone calls or chats are no longer a burden on your memory. A scheduler will remind you well ahead of time.  Above all people have realised the power of micro-broadcasting with the help of social apps like facebook, twitter, linkedin, whatsapp etc

Marketing

  1. The primary difficulty people have with marketing is information overload. Promoting your business especially online is a project in itself where one has to be methodical. For example I have been benefitted immensely through social networking sites like facebook, twitter and linkedin. Today I am connected to people from different walks of life. In my online social circle, I have helped anyone with their queries and they have reciprocated as well. For that I would recommend people to be meticulous in their approach and follow these simple steps:
    1.Set up your own website
    2.Participate in forums and blogs
    3.Get on to facebook, twitter, pintrest etc
    4.Keep your social media interactions meaningful and considerate.
    5.Use email marketing; send out newsletters etc.

One may also try online advertisement, which has benefitted many. However, caveat here would be to fully ascertain their requirements.

Points to Ponder:
•Is marketing really needed for your product or service?
•Marketing budget is guided by the demand and supply; and,
•Marketing strategy depends on the location and target audience;

The biggest mistake I have seen people committing is lack of perseverance. Patience is one virtue that has to be there while dealing with virtual world. Once you finalise a strategy, wait till the time you either see the results coming in and only after a thorough review dump the strategy

5.Sales
While marketing drives in people, sales department will persuade them to buy. Equally important is to educate your customers on the ground realities One needs to have right sales tools or training to do it correctly like the one illustrated by the McLean Performance Sales Cycle Design Matrix.

In a simple but effective manner the system spells out the different activities and initiatives and what to expect out of it.

Conclusion
Easier said than done. But these 5 steps are key to success in any business. Not only will you be more organised post implementation, you will also have ample time in hand to take care of your other responsibilities as well.

After all efficiency and perseverance are virtues that one acquires after a long practice. And once mastered they can have multiplier impact on your business.

by Avdhesh Goel, FCA, ACS, AICWA
Jt. Managing Director, Earth Infrastructure Ltd    

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ICT and the Smart Cities | Smart Economy – Smart People

1_ICT_Smart-Cities

As India moves closer to the ambitious “Smart City” concept, decoding the smartness and its constituents has become a must. To a layman this may look like an integrated setup, where everything just falls in its place. But, for those who understand the world wide web and its power, it is an intelligent networking of smart devices that can keep your city up and running in nothing but the most efficient manner.

“Smart City”, uses new technologies and gadgets to make them more livable, functional, competitive and modern. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) one such powerful tool that can ensure all round development and prosperity without compromising on the quality of life.

Smart economy

The word smart economy refers to the cities with “smart” industries. The word smart here however is not just limited to the businesses involved in ICT, but also covers all those industries which actively involve ICT in production processes for their benefit.

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Penetration of ICT use in businesses

The reality of the new digital society affects the companies as well. And with changing times it is prudent for them to adapt to this reality. This is surely happening in bits and pieces in some parts of the country. But, as we move towards our smart future, reliance on e-platforms and internet will have to increase.

Support for entrepreneurship

Keeping the needs of new businesses in mind the authorities will have to plan support system for entrepreneurs. The e-initiatives of any civic agencies in such smart cities will have to be directed towards providing a platform ready for present and future needs of businesses. This in turn will guarantee enough employment generation and revenue for them to sustain in the long run. As a prerequisite the cities will have to develop and promote infrastructure which can support future ready business activities, such as science or technology parks, industrial parks and business incubators.

Smart people

The differentiating element between a digital city and a smart city are the people who stay there. People are smart in terms of their skills and educational levels. They also have various capabilities and qualities like being able to be social, to interact in terms of integration and public life and their ability to open to the “outside” world.

Education and Training

A key element in the development of such cities is having well‐educated citizens. And, for this there is an increasing need to develop knowledge and skill imparting centres at various levels. Having a University or an area specific skill development centre is sure to boost the ‘smartness’ factor in our smart cities.

Not only that the planned educational institutions should flexible and should be ready to adapt the changes that a society is going through due to globalisation and the advancement of new technologies.

e‐Learning

As new technologies evolve at a breakneck speed, it is important to design classrooms that mainly focus on closing the digital divide, thereby promoting the skills of teachers and incorporating the new generation of digital learning resources. New technologies will contribute immensely towards improving the education system and provide many benefits, such as reduced costs, flexible hours and greater interaction through virtual education centres.

Life‐long training

Life‐long education is becoming an increasingly important element in new labour market dynamics. Smart educational centres will have to be implemented to promote lifelong learning process.

Human Capital

Universities and research centres are key players in the innovation ecosystem. This is why the “smart cities” will have to promote cooperation between companies and knowledge centres, so that they remain the key contributors in the economic and social development of their cities.

R&D&i

While the term Research & Development(R&D) and its advantages have been realised world over, the smart cities will have to incorporate another very important aspect of this, the ‘Innovation’. While each and every smart project is going to be different from each other the ‘I’ or the innovation part has to be stressed upon to customise and put results of R&D to use for maximum benefit.

Smart Governance

Smart governance includes political and active participation, citizenship services and the 3_ICT_Smart-Citiessmart use of e‐Governance. While some progress has already been initiated at various levels, smart cities are expected to have a complete online setup of various governmental services.

Local Public spending on ICT

New technologies represent the first step in innovation and competitiveness; therefore, an investment in ICT would be an opportunity to enhance the development of a city by ensuring an efficient management of public services.

On‐line public services

Once the new technology is introduced to the public administration it is expected to improve the productivity and quality of the service offered to its citizens and businesses. This will ensure a flexible access to government services at any time and place in a more convenient, personalised, faster and less expensive manner.

Among the major on‐line services that can be offered by the cities, could be filing of complaints and claims, requesting certificates and reports, making payments and debits, on‐line registrations and paying taxes and fees.

Transparent governance

New technologies can be used to enhance democratic processes and increase opportunities for individuals and communities to interact with the government. The characteristics of Internet mean that such participation becomes broader, overcoming the limitations imposed by geography, physical disabilities or any other factor. It also provides access to information by individuals and groups that had not previously been included.

Fully aware of the importance of promoting more transparent governments, cities will have to promote the public access to municipal information through their websites. The institutional information that is most frequently asked for in a city refers to the likes of municipal plans, regulations and budgets.

Smart mobility

Smart Mobility has to do with providing the public with an access to new technologies, and the use of these in everyday urban life.4_ICT_Smart-Cities

Connectivity and ICT infrastructure

Internet has revolutionised the way we interact, learn, entertain and work. Today it is hard to imagine our life without Internet. Proof of this is the fact that the percentage of Internet users in most cities is rising and with the advent of mobile internet platforms, it is even getting better. In response to the needs of users and to the ever increasing demand for Internet, cities will have to be planned for a broadband or high-speed Internet coverage within their territorial limits.

In addition to the access to a high speed internet coverage a thought should also be spared for public wifi hot-spots at places like business districts and public utility areas. The authorities will also have to invest in the information kiosks or any such nodes which allow public to get whatever information they want.5_ICT_Smart-Cities

Smart environment and living

Smart environment refers to the use of new technologies to protect and preserve a city’s environment and provide a healthy living for its citizens.

Security and trust

The level of risk in the cities is increasing rapidly, particularly in developing countries. New technologies therefore offer the possibility of making safer cities. A video surveillance system based on ICT can be a boon here. While the developments are being monitored in their control room, the civic authorities and law enforcement agencies can take corrective measures sitting at the nerve centre. Another aspect of this is that the authorities will always be in full command at any point in time and can ask for reinforcements well in advance before the situation goes out of hand.

e‐Health

ICT will also enable the application of new technologies in ways that affect health care, from diagnosis to monitoring patients, including the management of the organisations involved in these activities. This will provide citizens with considerable advantages in terms of information, and even allows the availability of alternative diagnoses and remote treatment or tele‐assistance. Online medical services and digital records will enable many non serious patients to consult physicians from a remote location thereby saving on valuable resources.

While the possibilities of ICT can be limitless, but the beauty of it is such that it can be customised for any given situation. And for efficient management of our smart cities an e-platform is must.

In short, we must work to achieve creative and talented cities that are innovative and highly technological.

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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: For a clean and Healthy India

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the most welcome move undertaken by any government in recent past. In his small tenure of 4 months he has proved to be a visionary far greater than anyone from his batch.

clean indiaThe mission is the biggest cleanliness drive that India has ever witnessed. The mission is to address the issues of sanitation and the disposal of waste in villages and cities. It is an humongous task as urban India generates close to 69 million tonnes of trash a year. Of which more than 6,000 tonnes of plastic waste lie uncollected daily.

As a country, we just don’t know what to do with the waste we generate, and most of us do not even bother what happens once it is out of our houses. In next 5 years we hope to witness a change in how India perceives its waste problem. And the only way is to look around and think intelligently and put to use various technologies available around the world.

  • High Tensile Strength Plastic Sleepers

Another novel way of putting waste to use has been crafted by a UK company Micron. They have managed to recycle waste plastic including auto bumpers, old computer cases and other such un-rot-able garbage into railway sleepers.plastic sleepers

After years of research and development they have come up with a solution where they can mould sleepers out of waste polystyrene and polyethylene. Polystyrene is commonly used in disposable coffee cups, and polyethylene is more likely to be seen hanging from trees in the form of carrier bags. The longevity of this plastic means that railway sleepers made using it can potentially last for centuries. This compares to a few decades for sleepers made from wood or concrete.

Wood and concrete also have other disadvantages. Concrete sleepers are very heavy and crack easily, and wooden sleepers require a lot of maintenance and chemical treatments to prevent them from rotting. In both cases, the sleepers have a lifetime of a few decades maximum. Stress tests have demonstrated that the plastic sleepers are at least as strong as concrete sleepers.

  1. Landfill Gases:

For last 12 years, BMW’s assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina has been using methane captured from a nearby landfill site to fuel electrical generators. Since 2002 BMW co genhas invested heavily in a bid to generate power from methane arising out of local landfill site. The turbines based on green technology are able to generate 30% of the plant’s electricity needs from the amount of methane that would have otherwise raised a stink and contributed to greenhouse gases. The co-generation system also uses hot water in addition to the electricity to provide 60% of all the energy required for the entire plant.

Since its inception, the methane power generation has saved BMW $5 million a year in energy costs. 11 MW of electricity might sound petite, but when we consider the benefits to mother nature the whole set-up is nothing short of a boon for the mankind.

  • Sewage to Taps:

Most precious of all, the water is another area of concern for the mankind. The United Nations has already warned of 50% shortage world over in another 15 years or so. Shortages on such a scale would threaten food production, as well as a health crisis through increased exposure to unsanitary water, which already kills millions each year through waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.grounded

California’s Orange County Water District (OCWD), has pioneered waste-water treatment facility that recycles used water — or sewage — and returns it to the drinking supply. The plant is expanding production from 70 to 100 million gallons per day, enough for 850,000 people.

Orange County began recycling water for non-potable use in the 1970s, but only began contributing to the drinking supply in 2008. Operators now feel that the system is well established and ready to be scaled up. The process works by re-routing a proportion of the 1.3 billion gallons of waste water generated in Southern California each day into a three-step treatment. The first is micro filtration of the treated waste water to remove solids, oils and bacteria, before the resulting liquid goes through reverse osmosis, pushing it through a fine plastic membrane that filters out viruses and pharmaceuticals. The water is then treated with UV light to remove any remaining organic compounds, before joining the main groundwater supply, which must pass strict quality controls to meet legal standards, and distribution to households.

In Australia too, the city of Perth will be receiving up to 20% of its drinking water from reclaimed sources in coming decades, with a reported 76% public support. Australia is also investing heavily in similar programmes elsewhere in the country.

In india too there is a revolution sort of which has begun and the winds of change can already be felt. In Alappuzha the municipality has come up with a comprehensive garbage management policy not only to keep city clean but also to find a holistic solution to the garbage disposal. 2 years into its launch the ‘Nirmala Bhavanam, Nirmala Nagaram (Clean Home, Clean City)’ has made lots of differences in the way people look at their waste.

biotechInnovatively thinking the municipality has set up biogas plants, pipe compost units in households and aerobic composting units in public places. It also set up surveillance cameras across the city, linked to the police control room, to catch those littering public places.

Today, the municipality with a population of 1.74 lakh no longer has 40-50 truckloads of garbage headed daily to a nearby dumping yard, saving Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 a day on fuel bill alone.

The size of the biogas plants was decided on the basis of the quantity of solid waste a household produced. Those households which could not install plants due to financial or space constrains were urged to deposit their domestic waste in biogas plants of their neighbours. Those who could not go in for biogas plants were told to opt for pipe composting, which was cost-effective and easy, involving two pipes lowered into a pit where waste would gather and get treated.

Aerobic composting units were then set up in various parts of the city, in places where people would dump their waste for collection by the municipality. These were meant for biodegradable waste and for commercial establishments, hotels and households that had not gone in for biogas plants. Each unit, comprising two bins, processed 2,000 kg of waste and converted it into fertiliser within 90 days.

Households were told to keep their plastic and other non-degradable waste separate or deliver it at aerobic bin clusters after segregating. This waste was separately collected once a month by the municipality from the clusters or households, and handed over to private ventures for recycling. To involve students and hence get through to their families, water and sanitation clubs were set up in schools. Students were told to gather plastic waste at home and bring it in. One kg of plastic waste fetched them a book coupon worth Rs 20 from school. Municipal workers collected the plastic later from school for recycling. The municipality hopes now to get a sponsor for this scheme.happy facts

People on the other hand are happy about one more fact; the reduction in LPG bills. According to an estimate households with bio-gas plants are saving about half on their domestic fuel bills.

There is no end to what an innovative mind can think. Various such technologies are available and probably even touch us on daily basis.

All one needs to do is just to sit back and think. Solutions will have to be tailored to suit our needs and the benefits are immense.

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