The bodily pains associated with paddy transplanting,picking of tea-leaves and use of inefficient stoves or chulhas have been listed as top-priority problems by the National Innovation Foundation,which has asked innovators and inventors to help address these problems through technology.
Paddy transplanting requires hours of bending in the fields with feet soaked in muddy water. Picking of tea-leaves requires a few thousand upward swings of the arms each day as workers pick the leaves and toss it into baskets carried on their backs. Both processes could be made less taxing by a small portable machine or tool,said NIFs executive vice-chairperson and IIM-Ahmedabad Professor Anil K Gupta at an award ceremony on Thursday,where engineering students were felicitated for their Gandhian inventions.
Chulhas have been another problem. Besides harmful smoke,the low efficiency levels of 14 per cent or so means women have to spend much time and energy collecting more firewood and cooking food for their families, Prof Gupta added.
The NIF already has 14 stoves listed in its vast innovation database.
There is also a paddy transplanter on its database,developed by one Photo Singh from Meerut,UP. The machine currently enables farmers to plant three rows of paddy at one time,but design improvements could eventually raise this figure to five,nine,or even 11 rows at a time. It is important to note that almost entire paddy in the fields in the country is transplanted by women in back-breaking posture, the NIF said. There are no inventions currently listed in the database that addresses the tea-picking process.