‘San-Sadhan’ Hackathon finalists create design for Divyangjan-accessible toilets

Amitabh Kant

New Delhi: With Government of India working towards a Divyangjan-friendly nation, participants of San-Sadhan Hackathon, organized by Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in association with Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog came out with thought-provoking ideas for accessible toilets for Divyangjans.

The three day long Sansadhan hackathon organized at 91springboard, NH 8, Udyog Vihar, Delhi is the latest initiative under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), aiming to set up accessible toilets for Divyangjan.

The participants competed in four categories which included Rural Individual Use Toilet, Rural Community Use Toilet, Urban Individual Use Toilet and Urban Community Use Toilet. The winners were given cash awards and piloting opportunities in the field across the country under SBM.

Three innovators emerged as winners and one as a runner up out of 21 applications which were shortlisted from a total of over 130 teams who had applied for the hackathon.

Speaking on the award ceremony, Ministry of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the ministry is working day in and out towards providing better toilet facilities to divyangjans.

“An important aspect of complete Swachhata is inclusion. Our department envisages equitable and inclusive access to sanitation facilities for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), as an integral aspect of their empowerment to lead a life with dignity,” he said.

Expressing his views on the remarkable work done by the winners, CEO NITI Aayog Shri Amitabh Kant said that India, through its young innovators is capable to create an unparalleled ecosystem of solutions to world problems.

“I firmly believe that when our young people innovate for India, they contribute to solving global issues. Our youth are capable to lead the path toward an inclusive India and I happy to see them having done a wonderful job at Sansadhan hackathon. I congratulate the participants as well as winners for their thought-provoking ideas,” Shri Kant Added.

Secretary to Government, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Ms. Shakuntala D. Gamlin said “Rural toilets must be accessible for Divyangjan. A prototype of such a model that would be affordable, accessible and scalable is the need of the hour.”

Similarly, Secretary to Government, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Parameswaran Iyer said “We have seen some excellent innovations today, and these may be very effective in making our sanitation facilities, even more, Divyang friendly. I congratulate all the teams for addressing this very important challenge and I am confident that many of these innovations will go to scale.”

In his welcome address, Mission Director AIM Shri R Ramanan said that “It was AIM’s privilege to partner with ministries in organizing San-Sadhan Hackathon, towards a much-needed initiative to empower the Divyangjan leveraging India’s innovation capabilities.”

The vote of thanks was done by Shri Arun Baroka, Additional Secretary, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation and he conveyed his best regards to all the participants and the winners.

The San-Sadhan Hackathon was held at 91springboard on 14 & 15 September and the award function was held on 17th September 2019 at Dr Ambedkar International Center.

Pranay Gupta, Co-founder, 91springboard said, “We received an overwhelming response from the Sansadhan hackathon. This gives us immense hope for an inclusive society that will enable an ecosystem that does not allow for any sort of discrimination.”

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and 91springboard  – an AIM supported incubator were the organizing partners for this hackathon.

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Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.