Digital Approaches for Sustainable Environment, Agriculture and digitally health solutions

One of the final parallel sessions was dedicated towards discussion of digital approaches for sustainable environment, agriculture & digital health solutions. The session aimed to find out the various best practices that have been undertaken by the organizations to support health care services and sustainable environment. The session was chaired and moderated by Mr. V K Madhavan, Former Director – Chirag.
The panelists reflected diverse ideas and approaches include Initiatives by academia, government, and the private sector and not-for-profit organizations. The applications were mobile based, web-based and used multiple modes. The services on offer were demand based, free, paid services, interactive with users contributing content and reflected the implementation of a specific service contract as well as an ERP solution to a need.

The session began with the first presenter from IIITM-Kerala. They had developed the project Soil Based Plant Nutrient Management Information System for the State Govt. of Kerala. The presenter Mr. Ajith Kumar shared that this is a web-based system that helps the farmers know the real time nutritional value of their soil, based on the location and crop. The portal also gives recommendations in terms of what crops should be grown and what amount of fertilizers should be used etc. The presenter further added that this is a revolutionary online tool for farmers, agricultural researchers and others who want to know the nutrition value of the soil. It is a collaborative project of the govt. dept., research labs, scientists and IIITM-Kerala. The main reason for building this project is that soil nutrition management is at the core of crop cultivation and it can’t be done in lack of complete knowledge. The farmers with the help of system now receive relevant information and can make the relevant decision with regards to their crop.

The next presentation was from a corporate conglomerate. The presenter Mr. Natesh B V shared that the main objective of Nokia Life is to provide information access to the next billion that is the people untouched by the information super highway. Nokia clearly aims at granting this access by providing best services, hardwares, mobile devices etc. Nokia believes that it is partnership of various organizations including the govt. The presenter added that the Nokia Life program is centered about the inclusion of people and improving their lifestyle by giving better education, employment opportunities and strengthening the agricultural practices. Recently they have developed a system which will give farmers the live market prices of the product and various other factors affecting product style. Similarly in the field of healthcare, they want to create an impact by creating behavioral changes in the attitude of people. This is an amazing initiative by a corporate which is most certain to be successful.

The next presenter was from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Their project was e-agriculture. The presenter Mr. Dr. C. Karthikeyan highlighted that their project aims at bridging the gap between the technological practices that are taught at various and the actual agricultural practices that are adopted in the fields. There is huge knowledge gap that needs attention in the agriculture sector. They seek to primarily transmit the technology created by Chennai based agricultural institutes to their registered farmers via tools of ICT such as text and voice messages etc. The portal addresses the issues of farmers on the basis of their needs. There is a provision of one on one advice for each farmer. The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University did a pilot project from the year 2007-11 in two districts of Tamil Nadu. Based on the success of these two areas, the project was extended to 12 districts in the year 2011-12. Initially during the pilot phase, the service was provided for free, but now a nominal fee is now obtained.

Mr. Akhil Gupta from IIT Kanpur was here to give presentation on their project Re-designing the Farmer-Extension-agricultural Research/Education Continuum in India with ICT. He shared that their project is basically a portal which provides tips on how agricultural can be done with the help of ICT tools. The first part of their project is Agropedia. It is a storehouse of knowledge and best practices about the Indian agriculture and aims to improve the productivity by application of these practices. The above service is semantically designed and can be accessed even with the help of a simple mobile phone. The content of the portal comes in two forms: certified content which is written only by the experts. The other type of content is uncertified content or the content which is being provided by the common user. Thus this portal has an additional feature of read and write. The portal can be accessed in a variety of languages and through various mediums such as IVR, website etc.

Next to present was the Nandi Foundation, a well renowned organization in the field of sustainable livelihood creation. The presenter, Mr. Sunder Synis briefly introduced the Nandi organization to everyone. Their basic aim has been the development of applications which focus on sustainable livelihood and welfare of the local people. The organization started in the Aruku Valley in the year 2000. From the very beginning they have been helping the farmers in growing cash crops and create market reach for their product. All the 21 thousand farmers they work with are certified for organic practices. He added that after some time of operation, they felt the need of a single platform Database Management System to track the real time growth of the farmers. While building the database, they also realized that this platform had to be cost effective and also very simple in outlay so that even an illiterate can use it. The system helps farmers in maintaining a database of their households, lands, crops cultivated and even the real growth in the yield of the crop. It can be used via variety of phones and has been successfully employed for the past two seasons

The next presentation was from Mr. Abhishek Jain. He shared that he grew up in a village of Madhya Pradesh where electricity seldom came and still people would get huge electricity bills. And obviously they could do nothing about it. Abhishek then went to Mumbai and from there to USA and got married to energy efficiency consultant. When Abhishek came back to Mumbai, his wife took extreme care in purchasing the appliances for the house. As a result, the electricity bill of his house was much less compared to that of his neighbors. He then decided to share this valuable information on electricity efficiency with others and thus was formed. The website shares various practices that can help households across the country to save on electricity and more importantly on electric bills.

The next presenter Mr. Dr. B. K. Murthy shared that Megh Sushrut is a health management information system & cloud version by CDAC Noida. It is a hospital management services which is cloud based. Hospital can access the service with the help of LAN wires and computers, while the centralized server is located at another place. It is a low cost software solution for govt. hospitals. It connects people with the hospitals on the real time basis, for example the availability of doctor or ambulance can be checked with the software even without going to the hospital. The relationship of the hospital with patients is also equivalently important. All the forms are filled online, reducing the use of paper. SMS based alerts regarding various services can also be given. Under this service, a unique digital id is given to the patient, which contains all the medical history of the patient. Thus in case the patient is recommended to another hospital, before the patient reaches hospital, the case history of the patient would reach the doctor in the electronic system. They are undergoing pilot with SGTB hospital that has been success so far.

The next presenter Mr. Kishore Kar was from Pharmasecure, an authorized drug authentication company that seeks to prevent the counterfeiting of the medicines or in simple words, stop the use of fake drugs. The presenter shared that despite the regulations imposed by authorities and efforts made by the drug manufacturers, the cases of drug counterfeiting are increasing day by day. The main reason behind this issue is that the end consumers don’t have any means to recognize the fake drugs. It here that company like Pharmasecure steps in. The presenter introduced their project – Pharmasecure Verify. Under this project, random codes are being generated and are being sent to trusted drug manufacturers. These manufacturers then print these codes on the strips of their medicines. These codes can then be verified by the consumers to know the authenticity of the drug. This can be done in a variety of ways such as by sending text message, through IVR or even logging on the website. This certainly a revolutionary move to stop the growing drug counterfeiting.

The following presentation was from Health Help Centre Bhutan. The presenter Mr. Ranganatham Veluru shared that some serious issues regarding the availability of health services in Bhutan, as reported by Mckinsey to the govt. were biased in the access to healthcare and insufficient availability of such facilities. In order to solve these problems, the Health Help Centre was setup. They set up an emergency helpline Dial 112 which caters to both emergency and non-emergency health issues. Any citizen can now get equitable access to health and medical info in all contexts; curative, preventive and protective. It is more of emergency response center and works 24*7. Information such as real time availability of doctors, ambulances, blood in the blood banks etc. can be obtained. The presenter concluded by highlighting that this is gift from the Govt. to the citizens of their country.

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