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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

By the time this article goes to print, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have completed his historic visit to Silicon Valley. As Matt O’Brien says in the San Jose Mercury News, “The visit allows Modi to build relationships with tech firms.”

On October 2nd 2014, Narendra Modi launched his vision of “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India Mission). The bold mission statement for this initiative is explained thus: “A clean India is the best tribute we can pay to Bapu when we celebrate his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.” (Bapu, an endearment meaning father, is a term used for Mahatma Gandhi, since he is considered the “Father of the Nation.”)

TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Silicon Valley, is launching a Smart Cities program that combines aspects of technology with the vision of a clean India. As part of this initiative, TiE is organizing a global “Hackathon.” Developers from around the world are invited tocome together to solve some of the biggest problems with urbanization—namely waste management, water management and parking. Developers will get an opportunity to prove themselves at the cutting edge of IoT (Internet of Things) software development and connect with organizations that are sponsoring and investing in Smart City and IoT.

Venktesh Shukla, President, TiE Silicon Valley notes, “TiE’s SmartCity Hackathon is a great initiative that will foster innovation in the quality of urban services; reduce cost and promote efficient use of scarce resources—leaving a better environment for future generations.”

Waste Disposal Management


62m tons of garbage are generated every year by the 377 million people living in urban India. Waste is typically thrown in government vacant land; drains or littered on streets. This leads to blockage of drains, contamination of water, air pollution and the spread of disease.

Developers will assume the role of private waste management companies. The goal will be to efficiently identify, gather and transport solid waste to landfills, while simultaneously preventing random dumping of waste.

The idea is to provide real-time guidance to vehicles to increase the efficiency of garbage pick-up as well as monitor truck and worker activities to prevent slack. Programs will reward residents for “good behavior” as well as giving residents the option to take pictures of perpetrators who dump on streets and thus create “social pressure.”


Water Access Management

According to the World Health Organization, in Africa, only about 39% of the urban population and a disastrous 4% in rural areas have access to piped water. The poorest 40% of the population depends on surface water, wells and boreholes.

Here, the developers play the role of NGOs working to improve water access by utilizing a fixed amount of funds to guarantee water access to as many households as possible.

NGOs will be given the opportunity to invest in drill wells, monitor pump conditions and water contamination, as well as send maintenance and repair staff to problem sites. Based on information available from the NGO via a mobile application, vendors will supply clean water to residents from various sources.

 Smart Parking


A typical driver spends 106 days of their life searching for parking space. 41% of drivers describe parking as their single biggest automobile “headache”. Very little information is available to the driver on parking availability and price. The pricing mechanisms for parking that exist today are archaic. A driver ends up either paying too much or not enough.In this case, developers will take on the role of a private parking operator with the goal of optimizing revenue by efficient and competitive management of parking spaces and pricing.

Parking operators will monitor and share real-time vacancy information with drivers. They will have the option to collaborate with each other to help improve a driver’s parking experience. Drivers, in turn, will have the ability to look for parking spaces based on convenience (distance to destination), cost and loyalty to operator.

Registration in the TiE SV Smart City IoT Hackathon, powered by Atomiton, is open to anyone across the globe. The deadline to register is October 31, 2015. The event will take place in January 2016. Winners will be invited to attend TiECon 2016, TiE’s largest annual conference. For more details please visit

Prakash Narayan is a software engineer living in Fremont, California. He is a member of TiE Silicon Valley. His Twitter handle is @kpn320