This year, India faced one of its worst nightmares - a global pandemic, which has already claimed the lives of millions around the world. In India alone, the number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed 23 lakh while the death toll is nearing the 50k mark.
But there has been a silver lining -- while the country has been writhing in pain of death and disease, Indians have been coming forth with innovative solutions to alleviate the miseries of those who have been affected the most.
In the initial phases of the pandemic, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India will have to be "atmanirbhar" or self-reliant to overcome the crisis, little did we know that this was just the push some Indians needed to think out-of-the-box and come up with ideas which can make things easier during the emergency, if not easy.
As India marks its 74th year of independence on August 15, let's take a look at Indians who epitomised the idea of a self-reliant nation.
17-year-old launches app to connect unemployed migrant workers with employers
A 17-year-old from Noida has developed an app, Bharat Shramik, to help connect unemployed migrant workers with employers who may be willing to hire them.
The mass migration following the lockdown in India brought on problems of its own - for one, the migrants may have made it back home, but they were still out of a job. That is where Akshat Mittal, a student from Noida, decided to step in.
He set up a website called bharatshramik.in and even developed an app with the help of his father, Ashish Mittal. The idea was to connect the unemployed migrants looking for jobs with employers who were looking for people to hire.
Fighting fake news "infodemic" in times of coronavirus
Even as the coronavirus pandemic has forced countries around the world into lockdown, it is the "infodemic" of fake news that seems to be spreading than the virus itself, especially in India. Most links that you see on social media appear believable. But how can you verify it? How can you find out if it's real or not?
Mohammed Zeeshan Fatmi, a freelance digital marketeer residing in Bangalore, may have an answer to your questions. In partnership with a few other volunteers, Fatmi has started a project named 'COVID-19: Fight Fake News'. Fatmi and team have taken it upon themselves to debunk myths surrounding coronavirus and more importantly, direct people to correct information pertaining to the same.
The project is active on WhatsApp, Telegram and Twitter.
When someone receives a fake news story or any misleading claim, they forward that message/image/video to the team. One of the team members checks for information available on the claim being made. In most cases, fact checks have already been done. They then pass along the correct information.
Spreading awareness on Covid-19 through interactive comics
Dr Ravindra Khaiwal, Additional Professor of Environmental Health at PGIMER, Chandigarh came up with a comic for children which can help spread awareness about the pandemic, how it spreads and what measures can be taken.
He believes that although children are less likely to contract the disease, the panic amongst them is high. "Young adults above the age of 15 have other sources where they get their information from. So do adults. But people below 15 are confused about what Coronavirus is all about," said Dr. Khaiwal, who along with Dr. Suman Mor of Punjab University came up with the comic strip.
The comic, which has been released under the banner of the Health Ministry, strives to educate kids about the virus and sums up its causes and symptoms in twenty-two pages. The colourful graphics and bold text convey the message in an appealing way to children.
Tripura man builds a battery-operated bike which can help with social distancing
Keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Do Gaz Doori’, a mechanic from Tripura has built a bike that runs on battery and even accommodates a pillion but while maintaining social distancing.
The bike was built by Partha Saha to ensure riders can maintain proper social distancing measures while riding their bike with pillion passengers.
Saha, a resident of Aralia, Agartala, has built the battery-operable bike while maintaining a space of one-meter between the rider's seat and that of the pillion. Saha stated that with the help of this bike, he can take the help of his daughter to carry out chores and finish necessary tasks for the family.
Karnataka scientists convert old refrigerator into "disinfection chamber"
With all of India dedicating itself to fighting the coronavirus crisis, a group of researchers from Karnataka have managed to convert an old refrigerator into a complete "disinfection chamber".
In an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus which had already infected over 10,000 Indians, researchers Dr Arun M Isloor, head of Chemistry Department, National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal and scholar Syed Ibrahim have developed the device which can successfully disinfect anything kept inside it.
Isloor told ANI that they have named the device "Zero COV" and that it is effective in killing 99.9 percent of any microorganisms that may be present on the surface of an object.
Isloor also added that the fridge can be used to disinfect anything including edible items like vegetables and fruits and also non-edible items like books, currency notes, envelopes and more.
IIT-Guwahati students build device to disinfect objects
The fear of contracting COVID-19 from touching surfaces have prompted many of us to clean doorknobs and wipe elevator keys, but all that could soon be a thing of the past as two IIT-Guwahati students have now claimed to have built a device that could disinfect objects.
'UV-Astra', a nano Ultra-Violet (UV) device, can kill viruses and bacteria and sterilise surfaces within three seconds, its creators Anant Mittal and Shubham Yennawar, both civil engineering students at the institute, insisted. Mittal, who has applied for a patent for the device, said that "UV-Astra will prove to be the best affordable personal protection weapon against the virus."
It could also disinfect Personal Protection Equipment(PPE) for reuse, he said. "Ultra-violet light is known to disinfect properties. Our solution uses a very low-power UV light that does not cause any harm.
IIT-Guwahati students develop mobile app for contactless air travel during the pandemic
Travelling has become a whole lot more complex, and scary, during the pandemic. You can be well equipped with gloves and masks and face shields, but even then, is travel really contactless? Thanks to a group of students, it now is.
A group of IIT-Guwahati students has developed a mobile application for seamless and contactless air travel not only during the current pandemic but also during non-crisis situations.
The aim of the mobile app Flyzy, developed as per International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines, is to provide contactless boarding, keeping in mind the easier baggage drop, manageable parking, better shopping experience and providing necessary updates during the whole journey, IIT-Guwahati said, according to a report by PTI.
Punjab man builds eco-friendly wooden bicycle during lockdown
A man in Punjab's Zirapur built an eco-friendly bicycle out of wood during the coronavirus lockdown. According to a report by TOI, the man had a lot of free time during the lockdown, which he utilised to build the bicycle.
Bihar Madhubani artist makes beautiful handpainted masks
Remant Kumar Mishra, a Madhubani artist from Bihar, was struggling to make ends meet due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused millions to lose their jobs and return to their hometowns. In keeping with the need of the hour, the award-winning artist decided to use his artistic talents to fashion face masks.
The artist managed to churn out several beautiful cotton masks consisting of three layers of cloth with ornate and original handpainted designs. His products went viral on social media, and turns out, his phone hasn't stopped ringing since.