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Innovative Delhi University college projects aim for a better world

| SUSHMITA GHOSH
Published : Aug 23, 2016, 1:34 am IST
Updated : Aug 23, 2016, 1:34 am IST

Students and faculty of the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce train marginalised women in slums.

Students and faculty of the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce train marginalised women in slums.

Undergraduate students and faculty members of Delhi University colleges have been working on innovative projects related to energy efficient lighting and home appliances, device for uniquely abled and innovative e-learning tools under the varsity’s Innovative Project Scheme. Last year, the university had short-listed nearly 300 projects under this scheme.

Hans Raj College undertook one such project under the name Device for the Uniquely Abled (Dua) where a group of students and faculty of the department of computer science came forward and developed an Electronic Travel Aid (ETA). The ETA is indeed a support to the visually impaired (VI) along with being user-friendly and affordable.

In addition to the feature of obstacle avoidance, the device would also help the students to navigate from one place to another by giving them directions in the audio form.

“On a broader level, project Dua is an attempt to make the lives of the VI individuals easier. After our team visited several institutions which cater to the VI individuals, we found that almost 90 per cent of them survive in a low-income setting. Hence even the presence of a variety of, but expensive, ETAs prove to be of very little help to them. Our device will make the college campus friendly for the visually impaired people,” said student member Shaurya Sahai.

The Innovation Project Scheme, which was initiated by DU back in 2012, has proved to be an inevitable part of the University since then. According to the scheme guidelines, every project requires a group of 10 students along with three faculty members and a mentor who submit the proposal of a project that they wish to undertake. The University funds each project with a maximum of `10 lakh depending upon the budgetary needs of the project including a monthly stipend of `1,000 for each student of the team.

Almost half of the grants are released in the first phase of the projects followed by an evaluation of each project for a period of time. If the varsity sees any potential in the project, the other half of the grant is released.

With an earnest desire to limit all the activities leading to high energy consumption and to save the world by teaching everyone to be as energy efficient as possible, Kamala Nehru College (KNC) team led a project titled - Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting and Home Appliances campaign in Delhi.

The main aim of their study was to explore how a social marketing approach can be used to introduce a behavioural change among the masses so that they switch to energy efficient lighting like CFL/LED bulbs in their homes without any hesitation. “We have also critically evaluated the measures undertaken by different stakeholders like Philips in the promotion of energy efficient home appliances,” said a team member.

On a field trip to Vishakhapatnam, the first city in India to implement energy efficiency through one hundred percent use of CFLs, the project team organised a survey and witnessed a high level of awareness and co-operation in the adoption of LED technology and high star-rated appliances not only among households, but even among roadside vendors and street lighting. Less materialistic lifestyles, higher levels of education, and a better distribution strategy of the government were found to be the reasons behind this success.

Delhi College of Arts and Commerce (DCAC) project Kshamtaa aims at assisting vulnerable groups of women workers to get into self-employment via setting up of micro and small enterprises or increase their income through a group - based approach.

The team intends to facilitate skill development and activities targeted at the marginalised women residing in “jhuggi” clusters adjacent to their college and Leela Palace Hotel in Chanakyapuri. “Our goal is to make this a sustainable initiative by identifying the skills the market needs in which these women could be employed on a long term basis. We will be then training them in several activities,”said project investigator Dr Smita Banerjee.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi