The Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka today announced winners of the first-of-a-kind crowdsourcing competition to address the most pressing energy and environment problems of Bengaluru. A joint proposal from TIDE and WRI India and one from Hasiru Dala Innovations were declared as the winners in the ceremony graced by Dr. Shri. G. Parameshwara, Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka.

The winners of the Bengaluru Innovation Challenge together received Rs. 1.5 crores. The winning ideas will now use the funding support along with the technical guidance from experts at the University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab, the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago’s India team (EPIC India), Social Alpha and the Karnataka Government to implement and test their projects.

“The fact that these brilliant ideas have come from people and organizations who know the ground realities, gives me immense hope. I am very optimistic that together with experts at the University of Chicago and guidance from our Government, the winning ideas will give some long lasting environmental solutions to Bengaluru,” said Dr. Shri. G. Parameshwara Deputy Chief Minister, Karnataka at the award ceremony.

“Selecting two winners from more than 170 creative ideas was an intense exercise for the expert review committee. These winning ideas look extremely promising and we are looking forward to work with them in not just testing their concept on the ground but also evaluating their effectiveness and their possibilities of being scaled up as policy solutions for Bengaluru and other cities,” said Michael Greenstone, Director, Tata Centre for Development at UChicago and Milton Friedman Professor in Economics, the College, and the Harris School.

“In effective waste management and judicious use of energy, lies key to two very important challenges that modern day cities grapple with and I am glad that the winners of this challenge are trying to deal with these two issues,” said Shri Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department. Jain added, “The uniqueness of this challenge lies in its approach of creating evidence backed solutions and we are totally committed to work with the winners and provide answers that can make people’s life better in Bengaluru.”

The Bengaluru Innovation Challenge builds on an earlier challenge in Delhi in 2015-16 in partnership with the Delhi government. In that challenge, three winners were chosen from nearly 250 ideas that aimed at reducing pollution in Delhi.

More on the winning projects:

Hasiru Dala Innovations – Wastepicket Franchisee and Variable Pricing Model for Total Waste Management services 

In a citizen survey done in 2015, garbage disposal was accorded the highest priority by citizens. With more than 30,000 waste-pickers engaged in the trade in Bengaluru, it is important that the municipality and civil society develop safe and equitable waste management strategies that integrate these waste pickers into the solid waste management process of the city. This project leverages the innate entrepreneurial abilities of waste-pickers by empowering them to be a service provider and livelihood creator for waste pickers.

The project addresses the waste management needs of Bulk Waste Generators in the city of Bangalore by providing destination assured waste management services for all streams of segregated-at-source municipal solid waste. The differential variable pricing model incentivizes for a better source segregation and for an opportunity for waste picker entrepreneur to earn 4 to 5 times more than his earlier income. The waste picks working under the entrepreneur not only increase their monthly income but also have better working conditions

TIDE and WRI India – Empowering consumers for electricity conservation   
Electricity consumption in the residential sector has steadily increased in the last two decades, and further projected to increase eight times by 2050. contributing significantly to global emissions. Hence it is important to employ focused policy strategies, sensitize consumers, and promote market efforts to limit household consumption.

To address this need, TIDE and WRI India propose a consumer-focused demand side management initiative, VR Lite.  VR Lite will facilitate a culture of energy conservation and energy efficiency through awareness, knowledge and consumer reports to save electricity. It aims to promote long-term behaviour change for reducing electricity consumption.

VR Lite will work with a large number of residential consumers in BESCOM subdivisions in Bengaluru. It will provide nudges to conserve electricity in the form of regular reports.  The reports will also provide recommendations for an efficient and sustainable electricity consumption template for the households.  In the process, VR Lite will generate evidence on the impact of such behavior change programs leading to sustainable consumption and low carbon cities.

TIDE and WRI India acknowledge the support and guidance from BESCOM for this program. VR Lite has evolved from VidyutRakshaka, a citizen engagement program running in Bengaluru as a CSR program of Societe Generale Global Solution Centre (SG GSC).