National Center for Combustion Research and Development

Indian Institute Of Technology Madras & Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore
1st Abdul Kalam Conference, 2019

1st Abdul Kalam Conference
“Sustainable Growth at Sustainable Cost”
IIT Madras, Chennai, India
July 11-14, 2019

1st Abdul Kalam Conference Photos
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Program Schedule



     National Centre for Combustion Research and Development, IITM

     Indian Institute of Technology, Madras



    Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum

    Taksha Institute (TI) and Taksha Center for Smart Village Initiative (TCSVI), USA

    Global Indian Business Council (GIBC), USA

    Corporate Sponsors (List forthcoming):

    Additional sponsorships and donations to cover the costs of travel, lodging, and board of key participants and experts to participate at the conference are encouraged and welcome.


    Conference Team

    Narayanan Komerath, Georgia Institute of Technology, GIBC and TCSVI Advisor General and Technical Organizer, WGs 1 & 3
    Satyanarayana Chakravarthy, IITM Chennai WG
    Usha Nagarajan, IITM Chennai Registration from India, Logistics Coordinator
    Rajeev Srinivasan, IIM Bengaluru Local Host and Organizer and WGs 1, 4 & 5
    Adarsh Deepak, TI USA Sponsor
    Ravi Deepak, TI USA Registration and Logistics and WG 2
    Nivedita Haran, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) WGs 2 & 4
    Ganapati Myneni, ISOHIM, US DOE WG 3
    Viva Kermani, Consultant WG 2
    Rahul Goswami, UNESCO and Consultant WGs 1 & 2
    Dhiru Shah, Global Indian Business Council (GIBC) WG 1
    Krishnan Narayanan, ITIHAASA, IITM Alumni Association WG 4


    Around the world, development has come at extreme ecological cost. Countries that have achieved a Human Development Index (HDI) of over 9 have done so at an Ecological Footprint (EF) of over 10 hectares of equivalent resource consumption per capita – far above the global sustainable average of 2.5 hectares per capita. Clearly India must find a smarter route to development.

    We believe that at least one such route exists, and it is rooted in the traditions of India. This route is also aligned well with the Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations has developed. The purpose of the conference is to start laying out that roadmap.

    This first year’s conference theme, “Sustainable Growth at Sustainable Cost,” draws on the work of the late President Dr. Abdul Kalam and the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC). This is a unique convergence of experts in technology, social sciences, administration, rural development and education, determined to chart out a roadmap for India’s advancement.

    • The primary goal is to reverse urban migration by making the villages of India attractive to live and work.
    • The objective of this conference is to start the process of developing and testing a roadmap to the goal.
    • The conference will bring experts in technological concepts, social sciences, administration and public policy together for discussions.
    • Five Working Groups have been formed to examine the various aspects of the roadmap. The first reports from these groups will be presented.

    THEMATIC STREAMS (based on fundamental challenges)

    I. Making Villages Self-Reliant
    II. Reversing Pollution
    III. Advanced Technological Concepts
    IV. Bridging Administration to Research
    V. Bringing Effective Healthcare to Villages
    VI. Integrating the Progress of all the Groups



    Working Group (WG) 1: Roadmap to Rural Energy Self-Reliance and Enterprise
    (Contacts: Narayanan Komerath, Rajeev Sreenivasan, Ganapati Myneni)

    The central idea is that Energy + Knowledge lead to Wealth + Independence. India lags severely in energy availability per capita, and this situation is much worse in the rural areas. Most of the problems of society can be traced to lack of energy, or can be circumvented if energy were available. While government initiatives have brought the power grid to every village, lack of disposable income, and the sheer lack of energy flowing through the grid, mean that hundreds of millions of rural residents do not have access to electric power, or other fuel for transportation and mechanical power. Human effort is severely undervalued, and productivity is far below what it could be. Our starting point is to provide solar photovoltaic systems to every village school, and use these as the nucleus of skill development and enterprise, to enable expansion of energy and wealth. The eventual goal is to enable a clean energy economy including a suite of different technologies, perhaps leading to a locally sustained hydrogen economy. The roadmap to self-reliance (“Urj Svavalambi”) connects all energy sources and technologies from nuclear power to biogas, and bullock carts to UAVs, and draws upon the wisdom of the PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) concept articulated by President Abdul Kalam and other leaders. Pilot projects are being pursued: the pictures above are from the 55 village schools to which PV (and 1 pilot biogas) systems were installed in 2017-2018, mostly by villagers trained on the initial systems.

    Working Group (WG) 2: Renewing Mother Earth
    (Contacts: Amita Singh, Viva Kermani, Rahul Goswami)

    Wise application of modern technology can reverse pollution, and return much of rural India to a pristine state while boosting wealth and living standards. Ideas include reforestation, flood prediction and mitigation, vertical farming to conserve land and reduce dependence on weather, and Nature Credits to reward reversal of pollution, besides reversing Climate Change. Cultural traditions offer unique opportunities. A pilot project looks at ending the curse of the flood-drought cycle through a locally-owned, nationally connected water network. Another pilot project is developing a local flood predictor.

    Working Group (WG) 3: Reaching New Resources
    (Contacts: Madhu Thangavelu, N.M. Komerath, G. Myneni)

    This group’s mandate is to provide a forum for advanced technological concepts that offer breakthrough potential. Current ideas include wireless power beaming through the atmosphere and Space, the link between extraterrestrial in situ resource utilization technologies and terrestrial micro renewable energy systems, advanced nuclear cycles, and concepts to reverse sea-level rise as a precursor to reversing atmospheric heat retention. Artificial Intelligence technology is at the cusp of a major breakout, along with concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT), combined with current Indian initiatives in universal access to banking, insurance, education, healthcare, knowledge skills, governance and the Justice system.

    Working Group (WG) 4: Bridging Capability and Implementation
    (Contacts: Nivedita Haran, Arindam Banerji, Rajeev Srinivasan)

    A persistent problem is the disconnect between what researchers show, and what is finally implemented, and the delay between these where a connection is made. This group has the broad mandate to see how to remedy this problem: first and foremost by facilitating the participation of the end-user (the villager) right from the start. An essential part of reversing urban migration, is to provide efficient access and a level playing field to the governance and Justice systems, with the certainty of law enforcement.

    Working Group (WG) 5: Global Alliance for Wellness and Healthcare
    (Contacts: Subroto Gangopadhyay, N. Komerath)

    All over the world, Wellness and Healthcare are pressing problems, and in the villages of India and other nations, there are both desperate needs, and several brilliant demonstrations of determined solutions. This group looks at how to bring awareness and synergy. Initial ideas are to bring the holistic practices of Indian Ayurveda together with the best of modern diagnostic systems and telemedicine technology, to provide efficient, mass delivery of top-quality medical care – and wellness knowledge to every villager at costs that they can afford.



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