MIT Grads Provide Biodegradable Sanitary Pads to Rural India

A startup, Saathi (meaning ‘companion’ in Hindi), founded by three graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a graduate from Nirma University in India, is hoping to improve access and waste disposal of sanitary pads for women in rural India.

275,000,000 women in India cannot access pads because they are too expensive (also scarcely available, and difficult to discard). “Only 16 percent of women have access to sanitary pads in India,” Kristin Kagetsu, co-founder and CEO of the company told NBC News during an interview at the company’s production facility, located outside Ahmedabad, in India’s western state of Gujarat.

The sanitary napkins are eco-friendly: they are made from locally-sourced banana fiber, which is highly absorbent and biodegradable; it doesn’t have to be burned when disposed, thus helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Banana Fibers

Fibers from the banana tree

Saathi is one of the finalists in the Health and Wearable Technologies category at SXSW, Austin, Texas. It is looking  funding this project, and according to its website, $12,737 have been raised toward a target of $20,000.

April 19, 2017   No Comments

Emma Watson Wears Indian Bodice

In Beauty and the Beast, Disney‘s film set in France, Britain’s Emma Watson, starring as Belle, wears a beautiful, delicately hand embroidered bodice created by India’s artisans. “They used a technique called ‘Aari work’ which is a very fine chain stitch traditional to the Kutch area of Gujarat,” said assistant costume designer Sinead O’Sullivan. She went on to mention that the style of embroidery “lent itself very nicely to eighteenth century French floral design.”

Aari Embroidery from Kutch

CNN reports that Anaita Shroff Adajania, fashion director for Vogue India and a stylist in the Indian film industry said, “It’s not just the film industry that’s turning to India. Some of the biggest names in fashion get their work done in the country.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama wore the creations of Mumbai-born designer Naeem Khan on two occasions while Bibhu Mohapatra from India’s eastern state of Orissa has created outfits for Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow.

March 28, 2017   No Comments

14-Year-Old from India Builds Drone to Zap Landmines

The Mirror reports that 14-year-old Harshwardhan Zala from the western state of Gujarat in India has struck a $730,000 deal with the Indian Government for his invention of an anti-landmine drone which can help to detect and defuse hidden bombs in fields.

The drone is equipped with an infrared sensor, an RGB sensor, a thermal meter, a 21 megapixel camera with a mechanical shutter which can take high quality images. It can hover for about 2 feet above the ground and can send waves over a 9 square yards of surface at a time. The waves detect landmines and can send out their exact location to an army base. The drone also carries a tiny explosive weighing 0.1 pounds  that can easily detonate the landmine. The invention is said to be better than anything the army currently uses.

Harshwardhan Zala

 

Zala has set up his own company, Aerobotics, through which he intends to invent more such gadgets in the future. Dr. Narottam Sahu, head of the Gujarat Council on Science and Technology said, “An MoU has been signed with him and in the coming days the Gujarat government will work with him on this project.”

January 19, 2017   1 Comment

Gujarat, India Offers Incentives for Defense Equipment Manufacture

The western state of Gujarat in India, has released an investor-friendly Aerospace and Defense Policy 2016 that offers 10-year incentives in relation to land allotment, stamp duty, registration charges and electricity duty, to attract defense and aerospace manufacturers reports Defense World.

Terms of this policy are:

  • The state will now provide government land at 50% of jantri, or basic land rates, for setting up units during the five-year tenure of the policy
  • Land owned by the state and the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation will be given first preference for land allotment
  •  A 100% rebate on stamp duty and registration charges levied on land purchased
  • Electricity duty waiver for a period of five years since the commencement of production
  • a facility for testing and trials will also be made available
  • tax relief up to 90% of fixed capital investment, which could go up to 100% depending on the financial constraints faced by any player

defense aircraft

The policy also provides for cash and interest subsidies for aerospace and defense sector players wanting to establish their units in the state: the government will offer a cash subsidy up to $367,000 ( Rs 2.50 crore) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise units.

 

December 31, 2016   No Comments

India’s Britannia Industries to Go Global

Bakery and dairy product maker Britannia Industries headquartered in Bangalore, India, is planning to expand its presence in overseas markets, reports moneycontrol.

“It’s our vision to make Britannia not just an Indian food company but a global food company. We want our footprint across the globe and have made some move across that direction and a lot more would be coming in future,” said managing director Varun Berry.

Britannia Logo

The company aims to double its revenue of $1.2 billion, for FY 2015-2016, in the next four to five years. Britannia products are currently available in 70 countries across the globe but its manufacturing activities are located in India and the Middle East only. The company is setting up an additional manufacturing plant in Gujarat‘s Export Zone.

In November, Britannia inaugurated its new R&D center at Bangalore, in which it has invested $33 million.

December 29, 2016   No Comments