Social Media and Technology could be a Powerful Force to Create a More Equal Society by 2030

Sep 21, 2014

Noted filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, Actor Sushant Singh Rajput, UNDP Head Lise Grande and a host of innovators speak at the India Social Good Summit in IIT-Delhi today

New Delhi - “Social media is changing the way we live and relate to each other” said noted filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. The challenge in his view, was “how to ensure these ideas are positive and for the good?” Mr. Kapur was speaking at the Social Good Summit 2014, ‘Technology for Social Good’ organized by the United Nations Development Programme in India.

Talking of his vision for the world in 2030, Mr. Kapur said the rapid pace of change could make it difficult for structures, corporations and governments to survive, thereby resulting in a world far more equal, than ever before.

The India Social Good Summit had an exciting lineup of speakers on how technology can be used for social good. Lise Grande, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative kickstarted the event in conversation with Shekhar Kapur. “We can change the world if we apply technology to the big problems of today. Some of the most exciting innovations are coming from people who are using technology to enable everyone to live a life of dignity,” said Lise Grande.

A host of innovators showcased cutting edge, innovative, low-cost technologies that can make a fundamental change to people’s lives. The India Social Good Summit was hosted by the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi.

 

According to Rohan Paul, Co-founder Assisted Technologies, “Ninety percent of the world’s visually impaired people live in the developing world and therefore we need an inclusive attitude when designing solutions.” Dr. Anshu Bharadwaj, Scientist at the Industrial Council of Scientific & Industrial Research said, “Open innovation should drive drug discovery, and scientists should be empowered to discover new and more potent solutions to address fundamental health challenges the world faces.”

Showcasing technology whereby toilets do not require water for flushing and urine is harvested for agricultural use, Professor Vijayaraghavan Chariar, Chairman, Ekam Eco Solutions said, “The technology could enable India to address the twin challenge of ensuring sanitation for all, and conserving water which is becoming a scare resource.” He called for a separate discipline for sanitation engineering.

The India Social Good Summit, led by the United Nations Development Programme in India is part of the global Social Good Summit, a yearly event held in New York during UN week from September 21-22. The global conversation, examines the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world, and brings together a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions to address the greatest challenges of our time.

The event was webcast live on the UNDP India website: www.in.undp.org and several thousand students from Universities across India joined virtually.

The innovations showcased at the India Social Good Summit included:

Rohan Paul About the Innovation: Smart cane for the visually disabled was developed by IIT-Delhi. The smart cane detects obstacles above knee height through vibratory patterns, and is an affordable device for visually impaired people

About the Presenter: Rohan Paul is an innovator, roboticist and an aspiring social entrepreneur. A Rhodes Scholar from India and IIT Delhi alumnus, he is presently a DPhil candidate at the Oxford Mobile Robotics Group. Read More >

V M Chariar About the Innovation: Waterless Urinals is an exciting innovative, low-cost solution with the potential to address the sanitation challenge. The technology eliminates the need for fresh water pipes and mechanical or electrical parts in a toilet, thereby lowering costs and contributing to a more sustainable way of life.

About the Presenter: Dr Vijayaraghavan M Chariar is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Rural Development and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Read More >

Aaditeshwar About the Innovation: Founded in 2009, Gram Vaani Community Radio is a social innovation company that uses simple technology and community radio to reverse the flow of information and empower people. The technology has impacted more than two million people in 15 Indian states and has been replicated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Namibia and South Africa.

About the Presenter: Aaditeshwar Seth is the co-founder and CEO of Gram Vaani Community Media. Read More >

Anshu Bhardwaj About the Innovation: Open Source Drug Discovery is an Indian consortium with a vision to provide affordable healthcare to the developing world. It provides a global platform where the best minds, scientists and hospitals can collaborate to solve complex problems associated with diseases such as tuberculosis and  malaria.

About the Presenter: Dr. Anshu Bhardwaj is a Scientist at CSIR-Open Source Drug Discovery Unit. Read More >

Join the Conversation @ UNDP_India and #2030NOW

Contact Information

Nandita Surendran: Nandita.surendran@undp.org; 9810084776 


The innovations showcased at the India Social Good Summit included:

  • Smart cane for the visually disabled:Developed by IIT-Delhi, the smart cane detects obstacles above knee height through vibratory patterns, and is an affordable device for visually impaired people
  • Waterless Urinals: This is an excitinginnovative, low-cost solution with the potential to address the sanitation challenge. The technology eliminates the need for fresh water pipes and mechanical or electrical parts in a toilet, thereby lowering costs and contributing to a more sustainable way of life
  • Gram Vaani Community Radio:Founded in 2009, Gram Vaani, is a social innovation company that uses simple technology and community radio to reverse the flow of information and empower people. The technology has impacted more than two million people in 15 Indian states and has been replicated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Namibia and South Africa.
  • Open Source Drug Discovery: It is anIndian consortium with a vision to provide affordable healthcare to the developing world by providing a global platform where the best minds, scientists and hospitals can collaborate to solve complex problems associated with diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.

Join the Conversation @ UNDP_India and #2030NOW