Students of Bengaluru’s CMR Institute of Technology (CMRIT) were among the winners of the Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2022 final held in Mumbai on August 25 and 26 by developing a website and mobile app that suggests crops for a given season based on water availability. They won the award for their solution to the problem statement ‘crop specific advisory based on water availability’ offered by the Central Water Commission (CWC), Union Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The SIH is a national initiative of the Union Ministry of Education to provide students with a platform to solve some of the pressing problems of daily life and inculcate a culture of product innovation.
The winning team was named Code Hydrotopes and led by Vaibhav B. The other team members were Louise Patra, Manisha Kumari, Mohnish Kamalaksha, Devadathan Menon and Adithya Anbazhagan, all of whom belonged to the electrical or computer engineering stream. The team was mentored by Dr Sharmila KP, Dr Adarsh Rag S and Pratik Mukesh Bharuka.
Vaibhav said the team focused on India’s growing water crisis as a result of exploitative farming methods and depleting groundwater levels that are also leading to low productivity of crops
The application created by Code Hydrotopes suggests planting various other crops instead of conventional crops so that farmers can minimize the risks of low productivity and loss in their business.
Vaibhav said, “We created an algorithm called ARIMA that analyzes monsoon and pre-monsoon rainfall in all taluks of India. Based on this analysis, the app predicts groundwater availability, suggests crops, analyzes the soil fertility and provides Minimum Support Price (MSP) rates that will help farmers to produce the right crops.Furthermore, this app is targeted only at tech-savvy farmers who can understand the use of digital technologies. A farmer has to enter the taluk he belongs to and the data is presented in front of him in the form of pie charts, graphs and other tools.”
Vaibhav added that the team also used a ‘selenium’ bot that downloads various data, such as pre-monsoon details, MSP, groundwater level, soil pH (hydrogen potential), automatically from government websites. The team primarily used data from government websites such as the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), the Indian Water Resources Information System (IWARIS) and Soil Health to understand the types of crops and water availability, among other factors.
The students said they worked on the project for at least a month while balancing it with their internal exams. “This was the first opportunity on a national level platform and it was a great learning experience. We had to balance our internal examination and also work on the ideation and implementation part of the solution. The challenging aspect, however, was presenting the solution to the judges and explaining it in simple terms. The competition also gave us more scope to work and improvise the solution further,” said Kumari, one of the winners.
Almost 2,000 out of 30,000 teams were selected for the grand finale of SIH 2022. Among the five selected teams from CMRIT, three were software teams and two were hardware teams. Team Code Hydrotopes participated in the event at the Welingkar Institute of Management Research and Development (We School), one of the 75 nodal centers.