A technology carnival saw the desert city of Bikaner come alive with over 5,000 people that included students, developers, tech enthusiasts, employers and startups participate in Rajasthan’s first ever DigiFest. A highlight of the three-day event was Hackathon 5.0, which saw 3,500 participants from not just the state but all over India.
The 36-hour coding marathon got underway with over 800 teams from 20 cities, helped by 15 mentors. At the end of the first round of evaluation, 14 teams made it to the final and were then evaluated by a jury led by Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education and Aarin Capital, and Nakul Saxena, Director of Public Policy at iSPIRIT.
The winners were announced and felicitated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at the conclusion of the three-day even on July 27. Each of the teams were assessed basis on idea, innovation, funding, pitch in three different jury rounds. The winners took home prize money of Rs 32.5 lakh in contracts to implement their solutions.
1. Team Venom
Made up of students from Delhi, Team Venom’s product focused on reducing the number of casualties in case of a natural calamity. Their solution comprised a DIY hardware robotic snake embedded with different sensors. In the event of a natural disaster, the ‘snake’ can cover areas that modes cannot to detect and find survivors.
2. Team Scarecrow
Made up of students from BITS Pilani, the team built a blockchain product that helps farmers insure their crop in the right way. The insurance plan is built using blockchain-enabled smart contracts that help a farmer understand the best way to insure their crops without falling prey to unscrupulous schemes.
3. Team Era
Also from Delhi, Team Era built a solution that can help find missing children. Their solution is based on a facial recognition app with predefined data that helps image mapping of different missing children.
“It is commendable that these coders have stayed here continuously for three days working on a problem. It just shows the drive and commitment we have,” the Chief Minister remarked at the awards ceremony, adding, “This just shows us what technology when combined with young intelligent minds can achieve.”
She also commended the Department of Information Technology & Communication (IT&C) on the work done to boost the use of technology, the implementation of e-governance initiatives and encouraging startups in the state.
The Department of IT&C also leads the development of the startup ecosystem in the state with its iStart platform. Apart from announcing multiple government initiatives and plans to foster digitisation, the government continued to encourage startups to set up shop in the state.
At the event, the Chief Minister also unveiled the foundation stones for two new iStart Nest incubation centres in Kota and Jodhpur. There are already iStart Nest incubators in Jaipur and Udaipur. India’s biggest startup incubation centre, the Bhamashah Techno Hub, will be inaugurated in Jaipur in mid-August.
She also announced the grant of Rs 15 lakh each in funding from the Rs 500-crore Bhamashah Techno Fund to three startups:
1. Bodhisatva Artificial Intelligence
Started by engineers, Prashant Pandey and Gourav Sanghvi, Bodhi AI is leveraging data collected from students to help them improve their exam scores. The platform prepares questions and gives them to coaching institutes along with the platform. Teachers have a login ID and an account. Once they log in, they have the power and discretion to create separate question sets for different groups of students.
2. Capacita Connect
Founded by IIM Calcutta alumni Shipra Bhutani and Nimish Bhutani, Capacita Connect’s product SkillConnect helps jobseekers find employment. What makes SkillConnect stand out is the fact that it works with women prisoners and helps them find respectable employment. Initially, Shipra provided them with the training to work as beauticians and taught them to cook and make products out of paper and bamboo. These products were put on sale at ‘Aashayein, The Jail Shop’, where tourists would buy them and the money would go to the women in prison.
In a world of digital connectivity and growth, many parts of rural India are still struggling, especially with organising healthcare data. It was looking at this that Shreyans Mehta, Nikhil Baheti and Saida Dhanavath started MedCords, a platform that enables the easy storage of medical records digitally. The platform also provides easy access to these records any time and also helps a patient to connect with the doctors and nearby pharmacies.
Winners in the spotlight
The Chief Minister also gave away awards to winners of several other events at the DigiFest and for the Challenge for Change contest held earlier in the year.
1st: Team Slick (Kamlesh Kumar, Sachin Goyal, Harshit Jaroli and Syed Aamir Hussain)
2nd: Team Pratap (Dinesh Kumar, Mukesh Singh and Mayank Soni)
3rd: Team Titans (Avneesh Nolkha, Sarthak Agarwal and Virat Kumar)
Challenge for Change:
Both winners received a grant of Rs 25 lakh to implement their ideas
Bikaner TecRush: Dharmesh Verma