This Aug 15, Find Out How Startups Are Freeing India of Social Problems

Every year, we celebrate Independence Day not just to remember the past triumph of nation-formation but also the present task of nation-building. Here's how startups are contributing to the effort!

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The world's history, especially of the 19th and 20th centuries, is punctuated with certain moments of significance that celebrate the birth of nations, either through internal unification or independence from external colonial powers. Year after year, as we mark the anniversary of these days of national significance, we remember not just the past triumph of nation-formation but also the present task of nation-building. As India gears up to celebrate 75 years of independence from the British Raj on August 15, many startups are doing their bit to help Indian society overcome deep-rooted problems plaguing the country till date. Let's have a look at a few of these efforts!

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Meeting Nutritional Needs

Founded in 2013, Bengaluru-based GreenBubble is using microalgae to the fields of human nutrition, animal nutrition, specialty pigments, pharmaceuticals, waste treatment and recycling. Algae, which contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, can be processed into biofuel, omega oil supplements or even food items. "We are a group of passionate innovators who are consistently finding ways to create impact in the world by sustainable use of micro-algae," said the company.

Thrissur-based startup Zaara Biotech is also using food products, such as B-lite cookies, made from microalgae to curb malnutrition. "With every bite of B-lite Spirulina cookies, you consume digestible natural proteins, sufficient amounts of dietary fibre, calcium and iron. With its nutritional goodness, a single pack of these cookies can compensate entirely for a missed meal," said the company. Considered to be a super-food, Spirulina is used in several health supplements as well.

Empowering Women

In 2018, 19-year-old Wasudev Mishra founded Silaigram, a social impact startup that provides sustainable livelihoods in rural parts of India, especially to women. Using upcycled cloth waste from garment factories and decor shops, the startup has been employing marginalised women to turn discarded fabric into jholas and kurtis and other beautiful garments. According to Wasudev, his team managed to upcycle over 1,000 kilograms of material in just one year.

Launched in the wake of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case, Safecity is a platform that crowdsources personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. This data, which may be anonymous, gets aggregated as hot-spots on a map that indicates trends at a local level. "The idea is to make this data useful for individuals, local communities and local administration to identify factors that cause behaviour leading to violence and work on strategies for solutions," said the platform.

Building a Healthy Population

Dawaa Dost is an omnichannel pharmacy retail chain for affordable high-quality medicines. Launched in 2018, the platform claims to procure medicines from renowned companies like Cipla and Abbott and sell them at un-inflated prices, enabling savings in the range of 50-80 per cent on Indians' medical bills. In addition to 70 stores across India, the startup claims to have partnered with over 2,500 kiranas to increase the common man's access to medicines. "Our mission is to make healthcare affordable by reducing bills by INR 1,000 crores in five years," says Dawaa Dost.

Genrobotics, a startup building AI-powered solutions, claims to have built the world's first robotic scavenger—the Bandicoot robot—to clean confined spaces such as sewers, manholes, wells, etc, thereby eliminating the need for human entry into manholes. Manual scavenging, a caste-based practise still prevalent in India despite legal prohibition, is a hazardous occupation due to unsanitary working conditions and safety risks, such as asphyxiation due to poisonous gas. "In order to end manual scavenging in India, more than one lakh robots will be required," said Vimal Govind MK, CEO and co-founder, Genrobotics, adding that the startup has rehabilitated hundreds of people who were working as manual scavengers by training them to be robot operators.

"We wanted to give our parents the best life in the comfort of their home but didn't know how. And so, Emoha was born. Here, we help seniors and their families enjoy the many possibilities life has to offer, while we take care of the rest," said Gurugram-based geriatric care startup Emoha Eldercare. The company provides services such as concierge helpdesk, one app for all senior care needs, over 500 doctors, and a large virtual community of over 25,000 senior citizens. Through remote health monitoring and daily engaging activities, Emoha aims to help India's elderly population live a safer, healthier, more convenient and active life.