Karnataka govt will fund innovations aiming to solve Bangalore traffic woes and water crisis

Soma Tah
New Update

BANGALORE, INDIA: Encouraging individuals as well as startups to develop innovative solutions to resolve traffic congestion and water shortage problems in Bangalore City, Karnataka government has launched ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6’.


‘Grand Challenges’ are a set of initiatives by the the innovative Start-up Policy of the Government of Karnataka to turn crowd-sourced data-driven innovations to prime opportunities to contribute to effective, localized, and measurable change to the challenges facing Karnataka.

The Grand Challenge Call 5’ will focus primarily on technology innovations involving last-mile connectivity, real-time info on public transport, ease of transition from one mode of transport to the other and innovative parking solutions.

The population of Bangalore has rapidly increased from 53 lakh in 2001 to 87 lakh in 2011. In fact, vehicle population growth rate is even higher than population growth rate and about 5 lakh vehicles are being added to the city streets every year. More than three-quarters of Bangaloreans commute to work each day are driving by themselves. That’s a lot of empty seats on the road — and all that traffic and congestion has a large financial, environmental, and emotional cost. Various studies have pegged the economic loss of Bangalore’s traffic gridlock between one to five billion dollars.


“When we think of the future of transport, we have a tendency to picture a world in which people fly around on personal jetpacks and cars levitating down streets. In reality, the way we get around, in the short and medium term at least, will be a little less sci-fi than that. But it will still involve some truly revolutionary changes,” said Priyank Kharge Karnataka’s IT, BT & Tourism Minister.

“The future of your commute is unlikely to lie in any one big invention. Instead it will grow out of many new innovations which can be used alongside existing technologies. They will work within the context of increasingly smart transport networks that are able to respond quickly and efficiently to our ever-changing needs. ‘Grand Challenge Call 5’ is an attempt to create a big picture from small solutions,” Kharge said.

Grand Challenge Call 6’ is a rallying cry to unearth innovative solutions to aide water conservation in Karnataka. The state government launched the ‘Call 6’ to generate and utilise real-time data on quality and quantity of water being utilised at individual level including water use in agriculture for predicting a potential water crisis.


“Water may very well be the new oil. A finite resource essential to consumer, agricultural and industrial users and a vital component our economic growth. That’s why water as an investment has some compelling long-term investment appeal,” the minister said.

Call 6 seeks crowd-sourced solutions for data generation and development of sustainable, feasible, scalable and low maintenance kits/mobile app/sensors/technology for monitoring water quality and quantity for reducing water consumption at individual level. “This creates opportunity for startups, who can contribute to creating a sustainable water supply and participate in investments likely to experience long-term growth,” Kharge said.

Anyone from any discipline in India — from individuals, researchers and faculty in colleges/ universities/government laboratories/ institutions to startups, and not-for-profit organizations — can apply for the Grand Challenge.


The cherry-picked ideas will get access to funding and go through prototyping, testing and scaling up in Bangalore. The selection criteria will be based on parameters including alignment with the mandate of the cell, the potential impact, feasibility, sustainability, accessibility and novelty of the idea proposed as well as the execution capacity.

During the first phase, five innovators will be eligible for testing the proposed solution for funding of up to Rs 10 lakh for a period of six months. They will have to develop and successfully demonstrate three functional prototypes (in case the system involves prototyping a new device) or demonstrate the solution for at least 10 users (in the case the system is a service/software/ app-based solution) in two locations in Karnataka. The period of live demonstration is part of the six months allocated to Phase I.

Phase two will see one innovator being selected for a further funding of up to Rs 50 lakh for a period of 12 months to scale-up. The idea will be tested for ability to define and demonstrate the product/solution as well as evaluated on stability, robustness and scalability of the solution through a sustainable revenue model. User validation will also be determined through feedback.

The last date to apply for ‘Grand Challenge Call 5 and Call 6’ will be October 15, 2017.