The week-long Festival of Innovations in Rashtrapati Bhavan concluded on last week, with a 12-hour long coding competition to develop web and mobile applications in hackathon style (non-stop rapid development). 

Organised by Karl Mehta of EdCast, the hackathon developed prototypes for basic social challenges such as:-

1.     Mobile app to maintain public toilets- complaint redressal focused on location and cleanliness at all times.

1.     E-access to Government monuments- Setting up apps for e-tickets, mobile payments. For instance, how quickly can you get a tour of Rashtrapati Bhavan and how much will it cost?

1.     Student verification for public examinations: The prototype offered image recognition for public exams, where the most cheating happens. This app also recognises that Aadhar doesn't have biometric about face, but is built on a minimum biometric- which is fingerprinting.

1.     School attendance and parent information: A wireless beacon alerts the school attendance system and sends a notice to the parent’s mobile phone if the child does not turn up.This saves the teacher’s time on a daily basis, and allows her to focus on imparting education.

The honorable President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherji, said on the occasion, “I take this opportunity to compliment Shri Mohandas Pai and Shri Karl Mehta ofCode for India for hosting this event in collaboration with my Secretariat. The four themes on which the Hackathon was conducted today are important from a developing country perspective. If innovative solutions can be found to issues such as these, it will provide a significant boost to our developmental process.”

Karl Mehta, also the Founder of Code for India, added, “Code for India has the infrastructure- to continue development of the prototypes and convert them into apps. We will continue working on the same.While a country like India may have reached a certain level of technological advancement, unless young minds are sensitised to the need for finding creative solutions to top-ranging socio-economic problems of our country, the goal of inclusive development will remain elusive. 

New Delhi Municiapl Corporation’s Chairman -Naresh Kumar was excited about the solutions that were being built to handle everyday challenges and spoke to Karl Mehta about using them.  This was a very interesting development, as it is not merely the development of apps, but their usage and implementation that will be game-changers.

The Honourable President added, “Unless the young creative minds are driven by commitment, devotion, empathy and sensitivity, a just social order envisaged in our Constitution will remain evasive. If we are able to leverage ingenuity to address social needs, it will result in social innovations beneficial to the society. He expressed hope that the hackathon will inspire young talented individuals to contribute to social change.”