Higher Education

Higher Education

College students come up with ideas to change your life, state

PUBLISH DATE 27th March 2017

SUPPORTING GOVT Suggest ways to generate funds for start­ups, execute energy­efficient projects

From setting up a dedicated corpus to fund struggling start-ups to executing energy-efficient community housing projects in record time, college students from the city have come up with ideas to address some of the pressing issues of the state.

The proposals are part of ‘Transform Maharashtra,’ an initiative launched by Action for Collective Transformation (ACT) — an organisation started by young socio entrepreneurs and aided by the state — to solve 11 socio-economic challenges that Maharashtra faces. CM Devendra Fadnavis has invited college students to suggest policy interventions for critical matters like drought control, smart cities, transportation and rural education.

The winners of the competition will get to present their ideas to the CM. The state will see how these suggestions can be implemented, and also involve the team members in the process. The results will be decided by a jury of experts and also through an online poll, and will be announced on April 5.

The initiative has prompted students from colleges across the city and the state to suggest various policy measures. For example, a team of students from National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) in Powai suggested that the state set up a dedicated fund to provide investment to start-ups in the state, at a lower interest rate. "The main problem for entrepreneurs in the state is that they don't have access to large capital. They usually get money from friends or family. As a result, they are unable to hire more people and their growth gets stagnated," said Kasturva Das, a student from the team.

He suggested that the fund can bring down the cost of borrowing for Medium and Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs), as well as enable them to expand sustainably. "It will create value worth billions of dollars within the state and that would generate employment for a lot of people," read the proposal.

Another team of students from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) have sought to address the issue of urban housing. In their presentation, they have provided a road map to building energy-efficient homes on a large scale. They have advocated the modular construction technique, in which prefabricated sections of buildings are joint together.

"At a time when prime minister Narendra Modi introduced the concept of smart cities, the government should be able to construct the houses much faster. Modular houses take merely 10 days to build, as opposed to conventional houses which take a year to build. We have already constructed one such home in our campus," said Swapnil Gulmadkar, a member of the IIT-B team.

A group of students from Universal College of Engineering, Vasai, have come up with a proposal which has the potential of mitigating the state's waste problem while reducing its dependence on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). They proposed that the state produce bio-gas on a large scale using food waste.

"We conducted a successful experiment of producing bio-gas using organic waste in our college. The government should take up this project. It will not reduce LPG price, while the slurry can be used as fertilizer," said Jay Mehta, as student from the college.