How Billionaire Manoj Bhargava Aims to Bring Light into Indian Lives
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Indian American billionaire Manoj Bhargava is aiming to change the lives of millions of poor people in India through his latest innovations. The founder of the Billions In Change movement, who is known for his philanthropic initiatives, is spearheading research for production of utility products such as wireless electricity generators and fertilizer makers for rural areas.
Bhargava’s team has come up with a solar-powered portable electricity generator that can be used to charge devices, run electrical gadgets and emit light. Called the Hans PowerPack, the 3.5 kg 300-watt portable unit is charged through a solar panel and includes a torch, a USB port, and a 12-volt outlet for running small devices. It can be charged through the regular electrical socket as well as with the Solar Briefcase introduced by Bhargava’s Hans Foundation. The briefcase, a lightweight, portable assembly of solar panels that charges the PowerPack in two to four hours.
The technology, Bhargava believes, can change the life of people just the way mobile phones did. The PowerPack, which costs Rs 14,500 and comes with 12-year warranty, will soon start reaching out to citizens in the mountains of Uttarakhand, with the state government announcing on Oct.8 its commitment to get 100,000 units for villages. The state has more than 60 villages where electrification has not yet been done due to geographical challenges. About 98,000 families and 4,700 settlements in Uttarakhand are still not electrified.
“By 2020, we aim to create a massive change across Uttarakhand in one of the nation’s most powerful village development programs,” Bhargava said in a statement, referring to the project undertaken by the Hans Foundation to work in the areas of disease prevention, children’s education and forest regeneration in the state. He has pledged Rs 500 crore to fund the program.
Bhargava, the CEO of Innovations Ventures LLC that is known for producing the 5-hour Energy drink, was listed as one of the richest Indians in the United States by Forbes in 2012. The 63-year-old Princeton dropout pledged 99 per cent of his net worth to philanthropic endeavors in 2015.
He has also working on ways to solve issues related to the availability of safe drinking water in Indian villages through the water-filtering Rainmaker machines developed by his organization. Also coming up is the Shivansh fertilizer method, which uses farm waste to generate low-cost nutrient-rich soil amendment.