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The Ashoka Pillar Award to Tackle Air Pollution

Three Innovative Ideas Receive Funding

Office of PR & Communications

18 September, 2018 | 5 Mins read

September 18, 2018: Ashoka University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship hosted the inaugural edition of the Ashoka Pillar Award, to select and award young talent for their innovative solutions to tackle the worsening air quality in India.

Eklavya Singh was awarded the first prize for EZ-Harv, a compact, electric-powered combine harvester that provides an affordable, eco-friendly alternative to expensive traditional harvesters. Twinkle Malhan and Aadesh Pratap Singh placed second for their proposal on The Aerohealer, which uses aeroponics technology and the Aloe Vera plant. Rohit Rawat won the third place for Green Air, an innovative bio-tech air-filter to quantifiably improve air quality.

Ashoka Pillar Award creates a platform for young minds by crowdsourcing ideas, which then leads to crowdsourcing funds for the winning idea, all of which uses the global network to solve problems for those living on the margin. This year entrepreneurs were asked to propose innovative and cost-effective solutions for air pollution.

The jury members who evaluated the final six pitches include notable names like Anita Manwani, CEO, Carobar Business Solutions, Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University, Bikram Phookun, Prof. of Physics, Ashoka University and Meghna Agarwala, Asst Prof. of Environmental Studies, Ashoka University. Anita Manwani was recognized as one of the top 100 Women of Influence in the Silicon Valley, 2011 and is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow.

The Chief Guest of the event was Sonam Wangchuk, Founding Director of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) and Ramon Magsaysay Award Winner 2018. “The technology that I’ve come to value by being an inquisitive engineer is the technology of ancient India which was about conquering desires instead of fulfilling desires,” he said, speaking at the event, about how materialistic desires have led to the rise of industries thereby causing increased air pollution in today’s world.


The six finalists made presentations on ideas that included ways to reduce the concentration of particular matter and other pollutants, provide affordable, eco-friendly alternative to expensive traditional harvesters, prevent stubble burning, and more. The winning teams received cash prizes of Rs. 6.5 lakhs, Rs. 1.8 lakhs and Rs. 1.4 lakhs, respectively.

“The Ashoka Pillar Award is an attempt to bring some of the best minds to address real world challenges that we face every day. We are committed to working with these entrepreneurs to bring their innovations to reality,” said Priyank Narayan, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, Ashoka University.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka