Author: admin

    Disruptor of Tamil Nadu 2018 – Governance Award

    YourStory recognised Dr. Santhosh Babu as a Disruptor of Tamil Nadu 2018 in the governance category for his stellar initiatives and transformational changes in governance, his spirited attitude as a career bureaucrat, and for creating positive change in administrative functions. Dr. Santhosh Babu’s wife Dr. Beena, Assistant Professor at Madras Medical College, received the award on behalf of her husband.

    Sanitary Napkin Vending Machine

    If I had a girl child who was of the pubertal age group, I wouldn’t want her to feel embarrassed about a purely physiological phenomenon. I would want her to face the world with confidence. We have to be alert and sensitive to the needs of the girl child, especially the poorer ones. However in the villages it will take years for parents to appreciate this. Village girls feel extremely delicate about menstruation…

    We started installing Sanitary Napkin Vending Machines (SNVM) in many schools in Krishnagiri starting November 2007 as part of our baack2school project, when we learned of a news item that a company had installed a SNVM in a school in Kancheepuram district. (So we really are not the initiators! but there was no need to reinvent the wheel!!). Ms.Amudha IAS was also probably trying the same in neighboring Dharmapuri district. Under the baack2school project we had embarked on a massive project to bring back, track and monitor all out of school children through a web based platform (

    We immediately got in touch with the company and installed one machine at MC Pally GGHS, Krishnagiri in January 2008. The machine was based on a spring model which is electricity based. It had a few problems, which had to be resolved. The company representatives did not turn up for the review process. Hence we called an innovator based at Coimbatore (MS. Faraday Instruments) and requested him to develop a model for us. He came back with a model (NapiVend), which we reviewed in April 2008, and based on our suggestions, he came back and brought a highly satisfactory model a few weeks later, incorporating our suggestions. This is based on a dual power mode (Electricity/battery). They were trying a solar-based model also. We found the second model to be user friendly, though I was sure more improvements were possible.

    We had to look at ways to take care of the used napkins. It was felt that incinerators should be attached to existing toilets to burn the used napkins; otherwise it would create another health hazard. We were taking steps to construct incinerators @ Rs.1500/incinerator in schools from PTA funds. With the financial and IEC assistance of UNICEF, we trained 680 Lady Teachers as Master Trainers, who in turn conducted block level training for adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene. Each girl student was issued a booklet on the topic “Take it Easy” in English and in Tamil (Ini Bhayapada Eethum Illai)

    The cost of the first model was Rs.10,000/ machine. The second model was around Rs.12,000/machine plus tax. Obviously there was need to evaluate other models if they were available and reduce costs by purchasing in high volumes. In the mean time we tried to get sponsors for the 2nd model for a few schools to assess its user friendliness. We installed one in our Collectorate.

    I requested Madam Girija Vaidyanathan, IAS, if she could take this up under the Adolescent Health Programme under the National Rural Health Mission. M’am was extremely positive about the potential of the project to propel our poor girls back to school

    An app for Volunteers ( VOLNDEAR)

    When I encounter problems that we in Government face, most of the time I also instantly get ideas to get around those problems. Most of the 150 plus innovations I have done, are solutions to mundane problems in Government. So when the Chennai floods happened in 2015, I was seeing the disconnect between volunteers and institutions who needed the services of those volunteers. Thus arose an idea in my mind that there should be an app connecting volunteers and institutions who need their services…..and hence the app Volndear! It can be downloaded on android Google Phones and Apple iPhone. There are any number of apps in the volunteering space, but none in the way Volndear has been designed.

    This App was conceived by me and developed by a company called Zigma, inspired by the tremendous enthusiasm and comittment of young boys and girls who volunteered to help people caught in the floods at Chennai in December 2015. This app has also been created out of concern that the tremendous energies of these volunteers are invariably not put to the best use in many cases because of the inability of government and NGOs to use their skills sets appropriately.

    This app is dedicated to all volunteers across the world who give their heart out, especially during emergencies. This app can be used by any individual, Government agency or the Non Governmental sector in tapping the potential of volunteers in doing good to humanity, both during normal times and especially during calamities.

    Four types of people across the world can register on this app: 1. any citizen, 2. any government agency, 3. any NGO or 4. any volunteer. This pretty much covers the whole of humanity. This will connect event creators to the volunteers with the appropriate skill set necessary for the success of the event, through in-app notifications to the volunteer.

    The app has been standardised to ensure that the correct and full details of the person/agency creating an event and that of the volunteer is captured, lest this app be used for unlawful activities. We are working to ensure that the moment an event is created, the local police station will receive information about the event.

    Please download the app and give me critical feedback. This can be treated as the beta version.

    My heartfelt thanks to Sathyanarayanan Ganesan, who suggested Zigma Techmologies as willing to take up this idea and develop it as a CSR activity. Their CEO Mr.Raja is an amazing person. The development team led by Venkatesh Ramachandran has done a great job of developing the app. There are still numerous issues. If you can download the app and tell me the issues you are facing, it will help us rectify the defects and make it a useful app. I am requesting you to be volunteers for testing the app!

    Happy volunteering!

    As a motivational speaker at DiJAI at AAA College of Engineering and Technology at Virudhunagar on 24.03.2018

    Digital Journalists Association of India (DiJAI) students Forum at Virudhunagar district

    On 24th March 2018 DiJAI organised a full day workshop on Digital Journalism at AAA College of Engineering and Technology, Sivakasi. 350 students from 8 college’s participated.

    At the end of the session, DiJAI formed a Students Forum at AAA College with 47 students from 8 college’s of Virudhunagar District. These students want to become digital journalists in Tamil or English. DiJAI will plan further Advanced training to these students.

    DiJAI has nominated faculty and coordinators.

    The 47 students are seen in the picture.

    DiJAI is one of the initiatives of e-Magazine Presence to develop positive journalism.

    Preventing bank scams…

    Dear friends, a simplistic solution to prevent any kind of scams in banks and Government!
    All banking related scams can be stopped in one go! A simple piece of software can link core banking software of all banks to one database to be monitored by RBI…. all transactions should be authenticated by every bank official by Aadhaar fingerprint authentication…. a business intelligence system layer overlaid on this software can throw up data, if limit alerts (limits of lending or issuing LOCs etc.) per bank official is inbuilt. There should not be any transaction in any bank that should not be trackable……lock chain technology will be useful here… use of big data analytics can throw up bigger alerts, before somebody can get away with fooling the system…. of course, we may need a supercomputer server to serve this particular requirement……
    I believe that only IT and good leadership can provide scam free administration…. the IIT (Integrity, Innovation, Technology) of transformational leadership can change our country…. and at all levels we can see it is difficult to get leaders with the above three qualities in one person…. Poompuhar is probably one of the best examples where every aspect of governance is online….it is difficult to beat this system, unless the
    top brass collaborates and conspire…. perhaps it is time Government adopted block chain technology for all transactions in Government as the backbone technology…

    Preventing exam leaks…

    Friends, My e-solution for preventing exam paper leaks….
    Let’s assume that in each subject, and in each topic, there are hundreds of questions available as question bank in a software database developed for this purpose and kept at the office of the CBSE Commissioner.
    Let’s assume that the algorithm allows millions of combinations of question papers that can be set with just one click of the mouse..
    Let’s assume that the algorithm developed is highly sophisticated so as to generate question papers that reflect the appropriate weightage to be given to each topic in a question paper.
    Let’s assume that the server capacity at the CBSE Commissioner’s office is very high
    Let’s assume that the database of every CBSE school and every student taking the exam across the length and breadth of the country is already pre-fed into that software, with the Aadhaar number as the single source of ID.
    Let’s assume that there is electricity and reasonably good internet connectivity in all CBSE schools with redundant connectivity for both electricity and internet connectivity.
    Let’s assume that all these schools have installed high speed xerox machines
    If all the above assumptions hold true, then it’s only a question of the Commissioner of CBSE clicking the mouse once on her computer at a set time after countdown, such that the computer selects questions in each subject and topic randomly (such kind of randomisation is done for selecting election personnel routinely by the ECI) and the moment she clicks “submit”, the question paper is generated as pdf student wise and automatically sent by mail to all CBSE schools all over the country. The mailing system should be an encrypted one, to be possible to be opened only using PKI. Or even better, if smartboards are installed in these exam halls, the question papers can appear there.
    There should be an Analytics software that will generate instant data to the CBSE commissioner and team, whether the question papers have reached the designated schools. Satellite space has to be earmarked for this. There should be a dedicated call centre at the CBSE Commissioners office to answer any doubt that may arise.
    The schools can then printout the question papers and start the exam. All this may take at the most 30 mts, assuming that all the assumptions hold true. Very little lead time should be given.
    This can truly eliminate any kind of paperleak, even if there are smart alecs who can hack into the database. But they will get millions of questions; but not the question paper for the day which can be generated only by one click, and the algorithm does the rest!
    The argument against this would be:
    1. The costs involved in creating the infra. My answer would be it will be just the cost for upgradation. Every school is sitting on huge computer infra already.
    2. What if connectivity fails: my answer is keep 2 or 3 redundant lines for electricity and internet.
    These are the only arguments against that come to my mind. We can create a similar system school wise and start doing it from each school. Once the confidence is generated, we can move to the CBSE commissioner level.


    When I was a House Surgeon at Trivandrum Medical College, I had just gone out for a cup of tea at about 2.00 am, and was returning when I heard a commotion, and I was seeing a man inside the first floor ward…being chased by a crowd shouting “thief” …. he had apparently flicked ₹5.00 from a woman bystander….. I saw him jumping from the 1st floor window to the ground…. and another crowd surrounded him… and started beating and kicking the hapless guy…..these were people who had no idea why they were beating up the guy… they had not seen this “thief” steal…. but because somebody shouted “thief” everybody joined in the “fun”… I saw some guys trying to put a foot or two to kick him, because they couldn’t reach him! This is how a mob works! All their humanity turns to beastiity in a fleeting second…

    It is another story about how I ran into the crowd wearing my Doctors white coat and shouting at the crowd to disengage and finally succeeded in saving the poor guy from the mob…. the poor man was in severe pain…. almost in shock…. the police was summoned and we took him to the casualty…. only to find that he had suffered a hip bone fracture during the his jump from the 1st floor….all the beating and kicking… were like adding injury to severe injury….

    The poor health condition of Madhu, the young man from Wynad who was killed by a similar mob, would not have helped him in withstanding those assaults…..Even if we catch a terrorist, I think we should simply hand him over to the police to face legal action; we can’t be Judge, jury and executioner…when we caught a boy who had gone into the home of a senior IAS officer at the Omanthoorar Government Estate, we simply handed him over to police….. similarly, recently when a poor guy walked into my house, and locked himself up in one of the rooms, we simply called the police and handed him over…… no violence whatsoever was used….the Policemen also behaved in a dignified manner…

    …..which begs the question….. do we have the right to physically or mentally hurt our fellow human beings? The road rages, the assault on young couples hanging out, are signs of a society slowly turning inhumane…..I for one feel that we should not hurt anybody by word, deed, look or thought…..we need not not judge anybody……let the judges do that! While we all are aghast and outraged at what happened to Madhu, let’s do an introspection as to how we react to such incidents….we need to practise non-violence….. Of course, then how do we react if we are the victims of assault ourselves?…. we should definitely react… only that much physical force as what will allow us to extricate us from that situation….but we don’t have the right to take anybody’s life…all are our own people…. people with certain circumstances….certain ideologies…. but our own very fellow human beings…

    Translate »
    Dr.Santhosh Babu IAS