The Aravind Eye Care Model

Aravinda Eye Hospitals need no introduction.

Founded by Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (fondly called Dr.V) in 1976, it has grown from just 11 beds in a small building in Madurai to a network of eye hospitals containing 4,000+ spread across many cities.

According to executive director R.D. Thulasiraj, 65 per cent of the total surgeries in Aravind Eye Hospital were performed either free of cost or heavily subsidized rates. The hospital contributed to 45% of the total cataract surgeries done in Tamil Nadu, making a significant dent in eradicating cataract-related blindness in India.

As of 2012, Aravind has treated nearly 32 million patients and performed 4 million surgeries, the majority of them being cheap or free making it the world’s largest and most productive eye-care service group.

The model of Aravind Eye Care hospitals has been applauded and has become a subject for numerous case studies across the world, including premium schools like Harvard Business School, and Indian Institutes of Management.

What intrigues business enthusiasts about it is their sustainable model whereby the free patient care is provided through the revenue generated from the paying patients without raising any donations from any sources. The model was driven by Dr. V, who wanted to replicate the service efficiency of McDonalds fast food into the eye care system to cope with increasing the numbers of patients requiring treatment.

As a result, Aravind started performing 5 times the number of cataract surgeries that were performed in the entire country and 16 times more than that of the entire U.S.

Substantial innovation has been done on majorly three fronts in order to achieve a successful enterprise. These are as follows:

  • Innovation on the product front – They started manufacturing ophthalmic lenses under the aegis of AuroLabs, instead of importing them. This stabilized supply, and reduced the cost of lens from $100 to a mere $5.
  • Innovation in the process – They use assembly line processes which helps the doctors to perform 6-8 surgeries per hour with the help of sufficient number of paramedics as compared to the normal rate of 1-2 surgeries per hour.
  • Innovation in approach – They have employed mobile vans which increases their reach by relaying information to the doctors through telemedicine.

Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must also be the joy of doing something beautiful. Being of service to God and humanity means going well beyond the sophistication of the best technology, to the humble demonstration of courtesy and compassion to each patient.– Dr.G.Venkataswamy

The Jagriti Train will visit the Aravind Eye Care Hospital on the 28th of December.

This architect from IIT-KGP helps make fun play areas for kids out of used tyres!

But wait. Listen, watch, enjoy. Let them play. And just be ready to help them take their next step. Don’t interrupt. Don’t insert yourself into their game without invitation. Please don’t say ‘oh what are you playing here?’ and totally disrupt a lovely moment. #bringbackplay

Pooja Rai, an architect from IIT-KGP quit her job as a product manager with Stayzilla to follow her passion of creating innovative, sustainable solutions using her technical background in architecture.

She, along with four other batchmates, started Anthill Creations, with the vision to mobilize communities by creating low-cost, sustainable play spaces from recycled tires & scrap. They transform spaces into creative areas for children. These play spaces are created for children of all age-groups, with a specific focus on early childhood learning.

Anthill created the first low-cost playground made of old tyres at the IIT Kharagpur campus. This was at the Disha Seema care centre in IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal. They built this playground for underprivileged kids & received assistance from Michelin tyres & college alumni. Contributions from batch mates and juniors made this DIY project a huge success.

“While in college, I worked closely with Disha Seema Center, which was a residential care centre for underprivileged children from surrounding villages.

There was always a dearth of resources, and while the Center was committed to delivering education to these children, my friends Nupur and Paul and I often discussed the lack of play space.

Luckily for us, during his internship, Paul had discovered the wonders of using upcycled tyres for construction during his internship. Our thoughts converged into a single solution — why not make a recycled tyre playground? It was totally D-I-Y, low-cost and a fun way to bring smiles into the lives of these children.”


Jagriti Yata presents…The Biz Gyan Tree!

What’s an entrepreneur if not competitive? Always striving for that extra mile, driven by something nobody else can see.

And what’s an entrepreneurial journey without a good competition to get these 500+ entrepreneurs buzzing?

The Biz Gyan Tree is an annual business modelling exercise first started in 2009, where the yatris are divided into different verticals (or Key Focus Areas) as per their interests, and are made to create sustainable solutions to the challenges of rural India.

The focus is on the seven verticals, as mentioned below:

1. Agriculture

2. Healthcare

3. Education

4. Manufacturing

5. Energy

The Process

The process of BGT is divided into two phases: On the train, during the yatra, and second, residency program that begins post-yatra.

On the train, each group presents a business plan – which is feasible from a technical and financial point of view. This happens in a village called Barpar, near Deoria, where they make use of all resources available (which are admittedly scarce, hence teaching them resourcefulness) to present a sound business strategy that has been analyzed from every angle.

Their ideas are rigorously tested, and winners are handpicked for the residency program. The winners are invited back to Deoria and build a detailed business plan, as well as validate their assumptions.

This 2017…let the games begin!

Padhaaro: Experience a new city like a native

If you are visiting a new place in India, you typically hire a guide who takes you around the major tourist attractions, takes some pictures, and lets you go. By the end of it, you’ve visited the place as a tourist, and yearn to get the pulse of the place. This yearning to experience a new place as a native has given birth to a lot of new-age travel start-ups in India. Because in a guided tour of major attractions, one would have never known how a native experiences that place. One wouldn’t have got the chance to know the culture and unique practices or one might have missed that yummy street food in that locality or a cycle tour in a city. Wouldn’t it be better if one had a friend who could have taken him all around the city and help one get the feel of the place he is visiting? Tapping this niche segment by offering the local flavor of the place with the help of a local greeter, an interesting new-age travel enterprise ‘Padhaaro’ was launched by a group of young, passionate travel enthusiasts in 2012.

Wouldn’t it be better if one had a friend who could have taken him all around the city and help one get the feel of the place he is visiting?

Padhaaro_2Tapping this niche segment by offering the local flavor of the place with the help of a local greeter, an interesting new-age travel enterprise ‘Padhaaro’ was launched by a group of young, passionate travel enthusiasts in 2012.

Padhaaro offers local tour services through the eyes of a native expert which otherwise one wouldn’t have explored. It is a curator of travel experiences beyond standardized tourist itineraries.

“The idea was born when I was traveling in Moscow after attending a youth forum in 2011 and couldn’t figure out what to do and how to explore the city really well. And what’s better than having a knowledgeable local who knows the city and has expertise to deliver the right experience?” asks Ish Jindal, co-founder of Padhaaro. By then, having travelled in Jagriti Yatra 2010, he was already part of the amazing yatri network and he speaks high of it in his entrepreneurial journey. The thought evolved after they came back and started it as a volunteer-based model. They bootstrapped their venture for a while and are now funded by Morpheus, a start-up accelerator which is mentoring them as well.


The model is designed in such a way that both the tourists and greeters are connected and benefit from it. The revenue model is through a certain cut on every experience booked. Apart from creating a network of locals whom tourists can trust, it could also help locals to incentivize their skill sets and talents in their interactions with tourists. This would enable greeters to be micro-entrepreneurs as well. In the longer run, when locals sell their hometown well, tourists go back home with a happy experience, which augurs well for tourism in the country.

Padhaaro’s primary customers are foreign tourists who contribute about 75% to their customer base. The Bengaluru-based start-up has now expanded to 18 cities and has to deal with competition as a number of startups are cropping up in this space. According to Ish, “Customer acquisition has been a challenge all through and in

According to Ish, “Customer acquisition has been a challenge all through and with Airbnb expanding in this, the competition is tough.”

Padhaaro’s larger vision is to make the discovery of travel experiences easier, safer, local and social and a very memorable one.