5 Biggest Issues in India and And How Startups Can Fix Them
India, despite its admirable achievements, has always been disquieted by distressing social issues. We’ve had numerous charities and NGOs working on these problems but the solutions are not attainable without the involvement of start-ups.
Says Rajan Anandan, Vice President of Google, India, “Indian startups should focus on solving the country's biggest problems with technology enabled solutions rather than looking to build the next big app”.
Here are a few pressing issues prevalent in India’s social landscape that startups could help alleviate:
Healthcare continues to be a crucial and critical issue for India. Nearly 80% of doctors, 75% of dispensaries and 60% of hospitals together serve only 28% of India’s population. Only 37% of India’s rural population have the privilege of visiting a doctor for diagnosis or treatment within a radius of 5 kilometres. The condition of the public healthcare system is deplorable, which is why a majority of the people prefer to go to private clinics and hospitals. Start-ups should address this asymmetrical problem of healthcare immediately because it happens to be one of the most crucial obstacles for a developing nation like India.
India lacks an integral element on its road to progres; sanitation. Poor sanitation has created a ubiquitously unhygienic environment leading to a variety of health problems including, but not at all limited to diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio. Combining India’s high population density with unsanitary conditions gives us horrifying epidemics. By foraying into liquid waste management, portable urinals, waterless flushes, bio-tanks for digestion of human waste and other sanitation services, Indian startups can work towards a problem that seems so large at the onset.
Although it is enshrined in law that access to education is a non-negotiable part of a child’s rights, keeping students in school until graduation becomes very difficult. High dropout rates, poor quality of education and lack of accomplished educators are only some of the worries that the Indian education system faces. Start-ups should provide high-quality learning opportunities to marginalized students. India needs a strong educational framework for the primary years so students can make good progress later on.
Safety remains a growing concern in our country, especially regarding women. According to National Crimes Records Bureau, as of December 2017, 39 crimes against women are reported every hour. This is excluding all unreported cases of sexual harassment or domestic violence. In spite of unceasing efforts by activists and NGOs to advocate for women’s safety, the picture will always be incomplete without the help of start-ups. Other than financial and social support, organisations could provide this cause the very important assistance of technology.
Access to potable drinking water has been a grave problem for India for centuries now, especially in rural areas. An estimated 76 million people in India do not have access to water that is fit for human consumption. The world bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are due to unsafe water. Start-ups need to urgently start engaging not only in making access to water convenient but also in conserving it. Integrating technology with lake and river rejuvenation projects could increases the odds of succour.
Some other areas where startups could help are pollution, public transportation and waste management. Start-ups could decide the make or break of our country. Therefore, it is very important to look at these predicaments less like liabilities and more like obstacles on the path to a truly incredible India.