Resources - Technology in Action


Social innovation is a key element of Social Entrepreneurship. The domain has unique challenges like problem statement related to survival and other basic needs of life, faced by large number of people, low affordability etc.

Following is a sample of technology in action for social good.


Labs, Centres for Social Innovation, Research

TCS Innovation Labs (TRDDC, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Web 2.0, Kolkata, Bangalore, Performance Engineering, Peterborough, Cincinnati

Tata Chemicals Innovation Centre

Microsoft Research, Technology for Emerging Markets

Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA) - parent organisation is Development Alternatives (designing and delivering machines that are suited to local needs

Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) was established at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay in 1985 for the purpose of responding to the technological needs of rural areas. The centre has been working on developing and disseminating technologies from diverse fields that are relevant to the rural areas. In recent years, the Center has been working for Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The centre manages research projects as well as new academic and training programs. CTARA is running M. Tech. program in Technology and Development from July 2007.


Awards and Websites

Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP) (program of Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt of India) -
      - Micro Technopreneurship Support (Individual innovators exploring innovative ideas)
      - TePP Project Fund (Micro and small entrepreneurs working on new designs)
      - TePP Outreach Centres

The Tech Awards (program of The Tech Museum of Innovation, innovators from any country are recognized, granted in five categories - environment, economic development, equality, education, and health)

Technology Review India (published by MIT)

EdelGive Social Innovation Honours (by Edelweiss, identify and reward organizations that are innovating to empower women in India, Areas - Education, Health and Well Being, Economic Security and Livelihoods, Socio-Cultural rights, Governance)

The Wall Street Journal's Asian Innovation Awards


Appropedia (collaborative solutions in sustainability, appropriate technology and poverty reduction)

Approvideo (Sustainable and Appropriate Technology Videos)

Engineering for change (designing and applying creative technical solutions to a broad range of significant humanitarian challenges)

Technology to benefit humanity

Agriculture and Dairy

mKRISHI Platform (Tata Consultancy Services) (multilingual mobile platform use to send data and images of their crops to researchers and policy makers)

Rikin Gandhi, Digital Green (Educating farmers through locally produced video - Technology Review)

Promethean Power Systems (rural refrigeration systems for commercial cold-storage applications in off-grid and partially electrified areas. It enables food suppliers to reliably store and preserve perishable food items-such as milk, fruits and vegetables-without the need for expensive diesel-powered generators)

Shree Kamdhenu Electronics Pvt Ltd (brand name AKASHGANGA) (integrated solution for Automatic Milk Collection Systems, since 1996 - Computer, Microprocessor System, Milk Analyzer, UltraSonic Cleaner, Data Processor Unit, Nano (Hand Held), Electronics Weighing Scales, Electronic Weigh Bowl, AutoHandle, Milking Machine, Software, MIS, Milk Collection Software, Financial Accounting Software for Village Co-Operative)

Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd (Turnover $820 million, manufacturers of Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation Systems, Piping Systems, Agro Processed Products, Processed Fruits, Tissue Culture, Hybrid & Grafted Plants, Bio-fertilizers, Solar Photovoltaic , Solar water heating systems and Bio-Energy sources)


Communication (Interactive, voice-based platform supporting knowledge sharing over phones. Offers high-quality, relevant information in any language)

Indrani Medhi, Microsoft Research India (Text-free user interfaces for illiterate and semi-literate users - Technology Review)

Uniphore provides interactive voice response systems with multi-language voice recognition support for applications in health, agriculture advisory and banking in rural India. Uniphore is also working on a voice-based biometric authentication system aimed at extending banking services to illiterate and un-banked populations in rural India. (Supported by RTBI, Villgro)

Logistimo (Rural Supply Chain- access to essential commodities at the BoP, and improving market linkages for village producers)



Ajit Narayanan, Invention Labs Engineering (Voice device for people with speech disabilities - Technology Review)



Husk Power Systems (Designs, operates and installs 35- to 100-kilowatt mini-power plants that convert rice husks into electricity. The company has developed gasification technology that filters the released gas from rice husks to power generators that make electricity)

SKG Sangha (fuses biogas and composting technologies, empowering women to earn money and live in healthier environments)

Caktilika (MinVayu-affordable small wind turbines, Pay as You Go Inverters - Natural Innovation page)

Stirling Motor (related links)

First Energy (energy efficient, smokeless stove)...[elaborate]

Sustaintech (energy efficient stoves for small entre)...[elaborate]

Servals Automation (kerosene burner, Rain gun)...[elaborate]

Simpa Networks ('pay-as-you-go' pricing to household energy systems)...[elaborate]

Selco (Solar lighting, Solar thermal, Solar inverter, cook stoves)...[elaborate]

Thrive - one Child one Light (LED Light)...[elaborate]

Bio-Mass Gasifier System by Shri Rai Singh Dahiya (Users of Biomass gas (producer gas) as a fuel generally complains about the choking in the engine after running for certain period time. The innovator has changed the conventional design of gasifiers specially the filters and cooling units to get the clean gas, ensuring smooth operation of engine at low operation cost - awarded by National Innovation Foundation)


Eko India Financial Services (Simple, instant, and safe banking and money-transfer services, using no-frill phones, through small-business partners)

Vortex Gramateller ATM (Vortex Engineering) (ATM with low power consumption, biometric authentication and the ability to dispense soiled money, designed for use in rural areas of India)

Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan, Microsoft Research India (A hybrid paper, pen, and digital slate solution for a low-cost digital record management system - Technology Review)

Most Fit (MIS Software for microfinance)...[elaborate]



E Healthpoint (Tech-enabled clinics delivering reliable, affordable, high-quality care, medicines, and diagnostics through community health workers along with offering safe drinking water.)

Jaipur Foot (Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti) (ingenious, low-cost technology to provide prosthetic limbs for amputees)

Fahad Azad, Robosoft Systems (Robotics, Technology Review - Duct cleaning robot to improve quality of the air we breathe)



Comat (investors are Omidyar Network, Unitus Equity Fund, Avigo and ENAM) ...[elaborate]

Digital Green (Rikin Gandhi) (Educating farmers through locally produced video - Technology Review)

Aaum analytics is an emerging provider of advanced analytics solutions to businesses, policy makers and planning authorities who target rural India. AAUM's capability in rural analytics stems from its expertise to extract insights from data sources with the ability to develop analytical models aided by the strong rural understanding of its resources. (Location: Chennai)

Villcart (online and physical store that sells handicrafts, handlooms and cottage industry products made in the villages, started in 2010)

Shopo (online store - designer, handcrafted and home made stuff)



Rickshaw Bank Project ("Rent to own" financing of newly designed rickshaws that are safer, lighter, and more efficient)



Sarvajal (Franchised water treatment facilities that provide real-time information over the cellular network to manage quality and quantity remotely. Among the distribution methods are solar-powered water ATMs.)

Nano Ganesh (A simple, low-cost, mobile phone-based device that allows remote monitoring and operation of irrigation pumps)

International Development Enterprises India (manufactures and distributes a variety of foot-operated, water-lifting devices that can irrigate small plots of land in regions that have high water tables)

Zimba (automatically mixes chlorine into water in the correct proportions, regardless of the flow rate of the water)

Tata Swach Nanotech Water Purifier (Tata Chemicals) (low cost, portable filter that purifies untreated water with paddy husks and nano-silver particles, and indicates when its purifying capacity has been exhausted)

Pulkit Gaur, Gridbots (Robotics, Technology Review - Sausr, Underwater robot to clean tanks and reduce water wastage)

Water Health (used ultraviolet light to purify and eliminate harmful pathogens and microbes from contaminated water - funded by Acumen. The inventor is Dr Ashok Gadgil, an IIT Kanpur Alumnus. The technology is licensed to Water health)

Wello Water (rolling water container)



List of Projects Supported by TePP (Specially Phase-II and Micro-Technopreneurship Projects)


by Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA) [Development Alternatives]
- Shelter [Micro Concrete Roofing Tile Technology, Compressed Earth Block Technology, Concrete Block Technology, Fly Ash Technology, Eco-Kiln, Ferrocement Technology],
- Energy [Briqueetters, Chulhas, Desi Power],
- Water [testers, slow sand filtration technique, Aquacheck Vials])
- Livelihoods [Handmade Paper and Paper Recycling Technology, Handlooms, Carpentery Workstation])


Media Articles and Reviews

Grassroots Innovation: Multi-Utility Fuel Efficient Stove      (Category - energy, Media -
The stove has a burner, boiler and water regulator. It’s innovative features are:

  • Minimal Loss of energy
  • Cooking can be done for 14 hours in one litre of kerosene.
  • Smoke free and vapour free
  • Heat lost from the sides is absorbed by a built-in boiler from which steam and hot water can be trapped.
  • Possesses an inbuilt water jacket for Steam Generation.

Oorja Stove: Cleaner Energy for a Greener Planet      (Category - energy, Media -
First Energy worked with Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to create Oorja biomass fuel and stove which together provide an almost smokeless cooking solution that’s much more efficient compared to the traditional stove, and more affordable than LPG.....

Cooking stove that saves lives      (Category - energy, Media -
A cooking stove that not only cooks faster, saves fuel but also reduces harmful emissions by 80%. This is the promise of the stoves manufactured by Envirofit India Pvt. Ltd, part of the Shell Group. And they have already found 50,000 takers in the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.....

The Indian engineer behind the world-famous Malkha fabric      (Category - Livelihood, Media -
The fabric Malkhais now known to all major designers the world over. It has been exported from India to Italy, France, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
But just what is Malkha? Well, it is a fabric woven by weavers on handlooms, from cotton grown by small-farming families.
The fabric is hand-woven in the weaving units in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The name Malkha has been coined from a combination of malmal and khadi.....

For A Greater Cause      (Category - Education, Media -
Any profession you undertake should impact the society, believes Sridhar Rajagopalan. His venture, Educational Initiatives, not only offers schools a way to evaluate students' understanding, but aims to change the way learning happens as well.....

Digital Braille libraries unfold a new world for these students      (Category - Disability, Media -
The shortage of Braille books will now matter less for visually-impaired students in Pune and nearby areas, with the installation of digital Braille libraries by city-based voluntary organisations working for the blind.....


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