Onion harvesters, salt turning devices, mechanised weeders, and leaf cutting machines are just a few of the countless equipment built by 41-year-old Shrawan Kumar, a resident of Sikar, Rajasthan.
Born into a humble family, Shrawan studied only till class 10th. While his father was a mason and his mother was a housewife, most people in the region engaged actively in agriculture. Shrawan also joined the farming business to support his family.
Shrawan, however, got bored of farming soon, especially because of the manual labour it demanded. Soon afterwards, he started digging tube wells to make ends meet. But after the death of a fellow worker, he couldn't continue with the same work.
After having worked in the fields for 10 years, this was around the time when he joined a workshop as a casual labour and learned working with machines. With skills in welding, lathe, fitting, and other machine work, in 2010, Shrawan started repairing and servicing cycles and motorbikes in the town.
By 2014, Shrawan had developed enough skills and knowledge of the machines he dealt with. It was around the same time that he started developing agricultural machinery of his own and built his own workshop. As a person who understood both machines and farming, he wanted to solve the problems small farmers faced in the region.
Using old motorcycles, spare engines, and tractors, Shrawan has since then built an array of products. He started with a mechanised weeder, and went on to build salt turning devices, cable pipe installation machines, device for nursery plantation of onion, garlic and onion diggers, among other things.
His products are very popular among local farmers. His onion harvester is a combination of machines which can first cut the leaves on top, and then dig the onion without causing any harm to the onion bulbs. He first experimented with motorcycles to mount the entire mechanism, and having succeeded at that, soon built bigger and more powerful machines operated on tractors. His motorcycle operated weeders too went through similar modifications.
For his grassroot innovation and impact, Shrawan was awarded with a national award by the National Innovation Foundation in the year 2017. A tinkerer to the core, Shrawan is presently working on many new ideas, which include a device to open tire nuts from vehicles and a device which can transplant onions.