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Cool Bihari: February 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Social Innovation Matters

If someone ever felt short of ideas and inspiration, one just needs to looks at the fabulous innovations which have taken place in Bihar over the last few years. Always lambasted for it’s under utilization of its natural resources, recent idea rich innovations have given momentum to grass root innovations.

This has been the most encouraging development; some of these innovations are just example of how people take upon themselves the task of development wherever state fails to reaches out. In many case state has partnered in fostering and shaping these initiatives.

Recently concluded Manthan Awards had some interesting nominations and of the many Bihar-based e-governance projects submitted as nominees this year, the Manthan jury picked Jaankari.

In this project the Bihar government provides a dedicated phone number for any information a Bihari would like to seek under Right to Information (RTI) Act. Basically, a simple service via telephone for public good. Jaankari works wonders for all without any literacy or technology barriers. It assists citizens in getting their RTI requests recorded and typed out by a Jaankari centre assistant and an email is sent to them and the officer concerned for record and action. Queries are responded to within 35 days.

Another social innovation project which has received global recognition has been the “Samman” Cycle Rickshaw project. US Ambassador during his visit to Bihar extended invite to Irfan Alam from President Barack Obama for his work with rickshaw-pullers. Washington will be hosting a conference to recognize the work of social entrepreneurs.

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