Design Innovation Center Progress Report—April to March 2016

  • CTARA’s gravity based sustainable drinking water solution: Adressing the drinking water security for the 45,000 villagers in Mokhada taluka, Palghar district(based on Upper Vaitarna reservoir), this proposal got overwhelming response when presented at a water conference. Taking it forward, we collaborated with village panchayats leading to Gram Panchayat resolutions being passed. We then engaged with district administations, divisional administrations, people’s representative, Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) officials and ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation—until this idea has now seen its way into the official district planning and development council of Palghar district.
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  • Sustainable Water Solution Peer Review & Development: Our persistent efforts for creating a  sustainable solution by using the water grid to combine surface water and ground water has been received well by Government administration. We have been engaged to do a peer review of a drinking water scheme based on similar concept, undertaken by Thane district administration—providing drinking water security to the 135000 people spread over Shahapur taluka’s 97 villages.
  • Jal Tantra: Understanding shortcomings of BRANCH—an old DOS based software, routinely used by engineers in Water Supply department—led us to develop the java based Jal Tantra. We used an iterative design approach: we closely interacted with engineers from Rural Water Supply division and Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikarn (MJP) and closely tracked usage issueas and feedback. This led to useful  features and functionality enhancement, also popularising usage amongst them. A tool demonstration workshop organised by MJP for 70 engineers was widely appreciated by them. The new web based version— has now gained wide popularity, recognition and recommendations.
    Jaltarang
  • A pilot decision support system for Drought Mitigation Planning and Monitoring System in collaboration with MERI (Maharashtra Engineering Research Institute—a part of Water Resource Department of GoM)—has been undertaken to help taluka administration in planning to mitigate the severe drought condition in Maharashtra. The main aim of the pilot system  will be  to help decision making during relief operations of providing drinking water security and cattle fodder to the scarcity affected villages. We will do this by incorporating scientific principles of village water-balance calculation; supply-demand matching and GIS mapping; to make reliable decisions while meeting conflicting objectives.CTARA
    This scheme has been  presented at various forums including Global Business Forum (organized by IIT Alumni Association in Oct 2015) and eGovernace conference (organized by GoM and eLets Technomedia in Nov 2015).
  • We have actively engaged with Palghar and Thane district administration for third party technical inspection of drinking water projects; as well as for GoM water conservation projects. Signing the agreement with Palghar district agreement for third party inspection of Jalyukta Shivar(flagship program of GoM for watershed development and water conservation covering  50 villages in Palghar district) has been a significant achievement.
  • ‘Unnat Maharashtra Abhiyan’ : We have collaborated with Department of Technical Education (DTE) and Chief Minister’s office (CMO) for policy level reforms in higher education; focussing on curriculum alignmnent and engineering research with the development sector. GoM has finally come out with a program called ‘Unnat Maharashtra Abhiyan’ by passing a GR (Government Resolution) in Jan 2016 after our persistent efforts and follow up with GoM. This unique initiative is a  first of its kind in India. It is a significant milestone in higher and technical education history— since it will improve many development program outcomes, reaching them to beneficiaries. It will also create and nurture innovative research culture— positively contributing to programs like ‘Make in India’.
  • We are now working with engineering colleges covered under TEQIP(a Word Bank Initiative)—helping them develop ‘Technology and Development’ cells on the line of Technology Development Solution Cell(TDSC) in CTARA. This will convert these institutes into regional knowledge centers; addressing development issues in their surroundings. “Notes of association” have been signed between CTARA and few other colleges to provide their students ‘on job training’ opportunities.
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