written by Khatabook | January 31, 2022

What Practical Problems Can Indian Startups Try to Solve?

The modern-day world is filled with numerous solutions brought about by fast-evolving technology and entrepreneurship. Startups like FoodPanda, Myntra, Jabong, Housing.com. and many more have addressed issues like shelter, food, clothes. There are high-end solutions to innovative applications, home security, furnishing, and services in education, etc., that take care of literally every small thing you may want and can find or order online. India is seeing tremendous growth, a stable government, emerging technologies and active leaders. But even then, there are significant existing problems in India that startups can solve.

Did you know? India has the 3rd largest startup ecosystem and is just behind China and the USA in the number of startups that attained the status of unicorns. That’s well ahead of advanced countries like Germany and the UK!

What are the common problems faced in India?

India as a whole must actively engage in finding the right talent and people to address the common problems faced by Indian startups. Entrepreneurs play a very critical role in addressing challenges since they are passionate. They can address society’s multiple needs and issues faced by the common man through their excellent leadership and solution-oriented startups which contribute to the economy. That’s why diversity and talent encouragement plays a crucial role, coupled with political strength, to find the apt solutions to the major problems in India. Let’s discuss the problems India is facing, which can be set right or at least addressed by the startups and their innovative solutions. 

Some of the major problems in India 

Some of the sig nificant  problems India is facing ar e as follows:

Access to Healthcare:

Access to adequate healthcare is a critical problem in India that stands at number one on our ‘to-deal-with’ list. India has a large rural population that lacks access to healthcare. On one hand, we have instant service in so many fields like finding restaurants, ordering food, movie tickets, shopping, etc. Whereas the primary need for finding a doctor or effective drug that is urgently needed or affordable hospitals can be nerve-wracking, especially during the lockdown and the present pandemic due to COVID-19.  And, when you do find a good doctor, you discover that lack of records, reports and prior medical history could potentially play a disastrous role in providing effective treatment.

Not everything is lost, however, as we have several healthcare startups addressing such problems in India. Today, you can access doctors on Mfine, Practo, Doctor 24/7, etc., find your medical records, and hospitals on Practo. You can find alternative treatments, door-step pharmaceutical deliveries on Apollo Pharmacies or Tata 1mg, etc. Availing health insurance through all-in-one healthcare apps on the smartphone has also become possible thanks to improved tech solutions in healthcare. 

Also Read: Profitable Home made Business ideas 

Sanitation:

Look around, and you can see nearly all Indian cities and villages suffering from a lack of sanitation. Especially in developing India, this is one of the major problems that needs public participation and private enterprises to work together. They need to strive together and immediately take measures to address the sanitation issues. They should also provide these services at appropriate prices. It’s happening, albeit slowly, but these are problems in India that startups can solve. Improved sanitation is a large market catering to roughly 41% of the global population, as there are about 732 million people in India who lack basic sanitation. 

Sanitation service problems, cleaning of lakes, garbage disposal systems, waste treatment measures, better sanitation services and products, etc., are just some of the problems in India that startups are focusing on. And inspiring stories like the Sulabh chain of restrooms and toilets, several effective rural solutions to produce gobar gas, making garbage disposal services trackable, etc., are inspiring examples for startups to join the bandwagon and make a difference in providing sanitary services in India.

Public transportation:

Chaos at times prevails on the Indian roads, and the overburdened public transport system, metro trains, taxi or auto-rickshaw services need immediate addressing. The mass transit system problem in India is State-sponsored and lacks private participation. As a result, the number of vehicles on the road has exploded. Moreover, outdated regulations and vested interests have further contributed to the issue. Just look at Uber’s investment running into billions in India or Ola’s presence in 102 Indian cities with more than 20 thousand vehicles on the road to get a feel of the enormity of the problem! The preference to use such transportation has increased because of the issues with public transportation. The State Government must deal with providing better infrastructure. Private enterprises can help, whether in finding an available parking slot, booking the elusive taxi, effective long-distance transportation, or finding the right last-mile connectivity. 

Quality Education:

Higher education or accessibility to education remains a distant dream for much of India’s rural and poor population and is one of the biggest problems to solve in India. Even in cities, quality education, coaching, skill training and higher education is unaffordable despite the mushrooming of a plethora of training, coaching and skilling institutes. Startups can and have begun to be the game changers addressing this endemic problem with transformational online and Ed-tech solutions like Byju’s, Vedantu, etc., providing us plenty to talk about. Gaming has transformed into an educational experience. Coding in Python has become instrumental in innovating and improving tech solutions, coding complexities, and resolving computer language issues.

Waste management:

Did you know that Indian urban areas generate nearly 69 million tonnes of solid waste or that this figure doubles every decade? Unfortunately, India still uses landfills and dumpsites to resolve the disposal of such solid waste. The rampant use of plastic products and e-waste means the waste never disintegrates! Such practices of dumping solid waste in the open cause health issues in surrounding areas, degradation of the soil and environment, emission of obnoxious smell and carbon dioxide bringing in climate change and pollution issues. India has woken up to the issue and is encouraging startups to deal with such problems of India by finding newer and creative solutions, which along with the government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative, are trying to address this problem. Willingness, a sense of responsibility and leadership can help startups resolve this catastrophic problem to some extent, at least. For example, SKRAP, Namo E-Waste, Saahas Zero Waste, and more.

Air Pollution:

Air pollution in India and the capital city, Delhi, has become a pain point for all and is one of the largest problems of India. Pollution, whether on land, in water, the air, noise levels, traffic congestion, and more, needs to be immediately addressed. Startups are doing a commendable job in this segment. Transforming technological innovations is the day's need, coupled with better policy, research, and public participation. For example, carpooling can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Or a smart parking space app can help reduce the average 106 days per person spends looking for such spaces and cleaner energy harnessing systems. Air pollution filters can help people breathe easier, using cycles and battery-operated vehicles can control emissions, etc.

The government has also pitched in with the Delhi government imposing an odd-even number rule to control the vehicle numbers on the road and address air pollution. It also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the former University of Chicago. It recently had the 2-month ‘Urban Labs Innovation Challenge’ to brainstorm ideas for water and air pollution control measures in Delhi. Startups are also inspiring Smart Air Filters in Delhi, proving that pollution can be controlled through their air filters combating particulate matter (PM), a primary pollutant resulting from vehicle exhaust fumes, biomass and coal burning.

Gas and Electricity:

The need for reliable energy systems like gas and electricity is important in a huge and densely populated country like India. Imagine problems India is facing when technologically advanced smartphones, hospital ventilators or incubators, and battery vehicles need to stop for lack of electricity! And, if that’s in Indian cities, think about the rural population who does not have access to hospitals with power, who may not be able to cook for want of gas or whose children cannot study for want of electricity!  

Innovations and creative thinking are needed from entrepreneurs to address the problem of electricity availability, power cuts and fluctuations, especially in semi-urban and rural clusters. A startup has brought out an innovative solution with zero power thefts and losses and reduced peak consumption. This adaptation could reduce problems occurring in billing, payments, power cuts, and automatic backup issues.

Safety of Women and Children:

NCRB or the Bureau for National Crime Records shows an alarming rise in crime against women. The safety of women and children is now a huge concern and one of the services not available in India. Together, the government and startups are doing a commendable job by introducing advanced systems like safety apps, location trackers, emergency calling, screaming alarms, better policing, easier crime reporting and more to ensure protection for children and women. National and State Commissions for children and women are also doing their bit to reduce crimes like child marriages, trafficking of women and children, establishing fast-tracked family courts, running state and distress homes etc. 

Clean Drinking Water:

For a long time, drinking water has been one of the common problems in India with huge challenges, especially in rural and semi-urban areas. In many rural areas, taps provide water at only certain times of the day or sometimes don't provide clean water at all. 75% of the diseases are water-borne, and only 25% of India’s population have drinking water access on their premises. Shocking but true as per UNICEF’s report! But, the problem is being bravely addressed by innovative entrepreneurs like Smt P. Lakshmi Rao, who started a water ATM facility with 7-step purification and using ground and municipally supplied water. She has amply proved that startups have solutions to most of India’s challenges.

Policing and Crime Prevention:

In India, the crime rates are skyrocketing, with the thieves and perpetrators using technology to subvert detection and crime-redressal. Several startups have made an opening gambit to deal with problems in India that startups can solve. For example, Shruti Dixit's mySafeBus allows visual monitoring in real-time on school buses. People should also realise that policing is an arduous 24/7 job and has many challenges. Smart apps to help crime prevention, apps to help report crimes, technology to speedily redress crimes etc., are also urgent problems in India that startups can handle with elan.

Also Read: Effective Educational Business Ideas With Low Investment 

Conclusion

India is evolving fast and what is needed is not innovation that is ‘cut and paste’, but creative solutions using thinking that is ‘out-of-the-box’ to produce star innovators, startups and entrepreneurs to handle current problems in India. With over three thousand plus startups working nonstop to address India’s problems, entrepreneurs will need a support system that helps free up their time and focus on their business efforts.

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FAQs

Q: Do startups face challenges in India?

Ans:

Yes, they do. Not just in India but globally! Funding, space, licensing, technological expertise, human resources, trained manpower, taxation, and so many more are just the tip of the iceberg for startup entrepreneurs. Despite this, startups succeed and multi-task their way around, making India proud

Q: What is the Make in India plan about?

Ans:

The "Make in India" plan tries to empower entrepreneurs to make quality products in India and indirectly boosts exports, self-sufficiency and startup innovations. It is not just the startups, but major companies looking to scale up, investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, hubs for acceleration, incubating and developing such Indian products working with this noble motto of the PM of India, Shri Narendra Modi.

Q: What is the Startup India Scheme?

Ans:

Startup India is the mission where the GOI has introduced a much-needed initiative to encourage innovation and startup culture in India. The scheme hopes to empower and lead startup ventures by boosting their incentives, funding and accelerator facilities. Thus, startups will be the backbone of India's entrepreneurship, employment, and economic growth

Q: Is banking a real problem in India?

Ans:

Yes. People in semi-urban, rural and urban regions have access to very rudimentary banking services in India. This problem of India which is being resolved through effective governmental intervention has increased banking penetration in India, and the situation has improved post digitalisation and better internet penetration in India. Banks are also helping with micro-enterprises, the funding of MSMEs and self-help groups, etc to encourage and boost the economy through encouraging startups with a rural base.

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