IIT-B’s techfest hosts Smart City Challenge

October 1, 2014

The permier technology institute has taken inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of building 100 new Smart Cities across the country. Gauri Rane reports

Each year, IIT-B’s Techfest focuses on development of the society through its various initiatives. This year’s theme of the annual national technology festival is to develop smart cities under the initiative — Smart City Challenge. “The motive of the competition, is to make our countrymen aware of the importance of using renewable energy sources and live in an eco-friendly environment,” says Yash Mehta, core team member, Techfest 2015. It is a brainchild of Vaibhav Kore, a core team member of the fest. “But instead of inviting ideas to design a new smart city, we thought of getting ideas/solutions to solve the problems that already exist in our cities and make them smarter and efficient,” explains Mehta.

Core members of the fest have given a multi-pronged approach to the challenge. They have come up with genres like healthcare and hygiene, trade and commerce, law and policy making and urban aesthetics along with infrastructure to develop the cities. Since all these fields are interconnected, the competition is open to students (undergraduate and postgraduate) from all streams like engineering, architecture, management, commerce, arts and design.

Over 800 teams have registered till now. In the first phase of the challenge participants have sent a report as per the problem statements in each of the above mentioned five genres. “They have to design models and  sketches along with a powerpoint presentation at the end of the second round explaining what changes will their solutions bring to the current scenario and how impactful they would prove to be,” informs Mehta. The best entries will then qualify to the second round where mentors, who are experts from different fields will provide guidance on how to shape the ideas and develop them to the implementation level. The expert panel of over 50 mentors consists of IPS officers, IIT professors, corporate professionals and eminent government officers. “Getting a chance to interact with high-profile mentors is in itself a big incentive to the participants,” reflects Mehta.

Besides the prize money of Rs 5 lakhs for winners, another incentive to the participants is that, their ideas will be considered by the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC). They will also have the opportunity to pursue summer internship at its different associated organisations.

The organising committee plans to take this initiative forward by way of collaboration with other government organisations like Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), City and Industrial development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO). They have also approached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Urban Development Ministry of the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) and Urban Development Department of the Government of Maharashtra for their consideration of the event. “We have also contacted the administration of Varanasi and expressed our willingness to contribute to the development of Smart and Spiritual Varanasi in light of the pact signed between India and Japan recently,” informs Mehta.



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