Hand pumps

 Reproducing a beautiful thread that I saw on Twitter about a #MakeInIndia success story. Written by @theKaipullai 

Imagine you are a Product Manager, and you have been tasked to develop a product that could change the lives of millions of people, but has to be cheap, easy to use, should be durable, should be strong enough to be used by at least a 1000 people everyday, for 11 continuous hours.

A device that should not break down and it should be mass produced, easily, with materials and talent available in India.

And all of this should be done, at 1/10th the cost of the existing competition.

Some PMs would quit, most would tell you have gone mad.

That was the enormity of the task that was being faced by Govt Officials, in 1977, who wanted to do something about the fact that only 6% of India, had access to safe water. 

For the layperson, the answer is, why don't they just get pumps?

Unfortunately, most of the pumps then were too expensive, not mass producible, too varied and so fragile, that 75% of the pumps, were inoperable at any given point in time. And women found it difficult to use, which was bad, because 80% of the water collection was done by them.

Enter Swedish engineer, Oscar Carlsson and UNICEF. 

He took existing pump designs, added uniformed jigs & fixtures, mounted it on concrete and ensured water quality. He even took inspiration from oil rigs which drilled in rocks. 

Result was the India Mk 2 water pump.

This ubiquitous water pump, revolutionized India. By 1995, more than 2.5 million pumps were installed, ensuring a pump for every 150 Indians. More than 500 million people got access to safe water. Water borne diseases like Cholera reduced.

Water, the vital ingredient of life, was no longer inaccessible. 

Not only that, the pump was so sturdy, that it might have been made out of adamantium. Because of this, we started exporting them to African countries, to solve their water woes. And it was a success there too.

Many countries imposed heavy duties on all the pumps apart from the Indian Mk 2 pump. 

The India Mk2 pump was a transformative development, which changed generations. It also was a symbol of Indian innovation and proof that if we wanted to so something, we could.

The India Mk2 pump changed lives. And ensured one Swedish dude named Oscar Carlsson, who most of us, have no clue about, will forever be in our history books, as a guy who changed India.

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