Pune : deccan express – The Forbes magazine has listed Pune-based architect and social entrepreneur Pratima Joshi as a powerful woman for her innovative step of assigning a unique digital address to each and every slum house in seven cities of Maharashtra. (Forbes List )
She derived this system with the help of Goggle, based on longitudinal and latitudinal location. She felt its necessity in her endeavor to enhance the living conditions of the slum dwellers through her NGO named Shelter Associates.
“It’s a game-changer for people living in the slums and also for the government,” she says. Joshi and her team have been engaged in mapping Maharashtra’s slums since the early 1990s.
Pune, alone, has around 450 settlements with 1.5 lakh households. “It took us eight years to collect the first tranche of data from Pune,” recalls Joshi. When Google Earth technology became available in 2005, the team overlaid the data on the remote sensing imagery.
She found that sanitation was a crucial issue that led her to start the ‘One home, one toilet’ scheme in the mid-2000s; well before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat initiative. Her NGO Shelter has built 25,000 toilets in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Kolhapur, Pune, Thane, and Navi Mumbai, so far.
Assigning digital addresses is a win-win situation for both slum dwellers and the government as well. The slum dwellers will be able to have access to the services such as groceries, medical supplies, gas cylinders ambulance services at their doorsteps; while the government will have ease in providing basic services like water, sanitation, and electricity and, now even vaccines as well.