Bringing dignity to Rickshaw Drivers

Friday, January 28, 2011

About SMV Wheels

   India has a 10 million strong urban-based rickshaw puller community that primarily comprises of migrants from villages who come to cities in search of livelihood. Becoming a rickshaw puller is one of the least skilled jobs readily available out there and people are lured into it. However, they perennially remain unorganized and exploited without any kind of social security net. They are harassed by the municipal authorities, police and the money lenders. After physically toiling on polluted Indian roads with temperatures soaring to over 45 degree Celsius, an average rickshaw puller rents the vehicle from unorganized intermediaries at Rs. 30/- for 12 hours. He thus ends up paying approx 10,800 ($240) in a year as daily installments, for an asset that costs only $225 with an average life of over five years
      In this age of BMWs, Mercedes (not uncommon in India anymore), we realized that rickshaws should be encouraged as an active mode of city transportation given its minimal carbon footprint. We started our journey as SMV late last year with the objective of truly transforming the lives of the rickshaw puller community, providing it dignity, recognition and long term sustainability. As a first step we identified a better design of rickshaw that not only reduces physical effort required by the puller, but also increases the ride experience for passengers. Being an unorganized sector, no major corporate has ventured into designing rickshaws in the country thus ruling out any kind of innovation in this space! As a second step, we make available these rickshaws at a fairly modest rate [9500RS.] and ensured that the ownership of the rickshaw is transferred in 12-15 months. Thirdly, we have added numerous small but valuable aspects to the offering - Insurance, training, identity card and facilitating a legal license. Lastly, we are exploring possibilities of corporate advertising on these rickshaws providing an additional source of income for the marginalized community. Fundamentally, we believe in focusing on a niche, developing expertise and making a comprehensive impact on lives of the community rather than follow a conventional microfinance model that at best, provides partial solutions. We have so far delivered 30 rickshaws from our meager personal resources, but already have registrations for over 350. The key constraint for us is the capital!
     Unreasonable Institute-one of the premier social entrepreneur capacity building centers in the world, has studied our business model and has named us in the list of  45 best ideas from a pool of [301] applicants. We will be able to make it to the final 25 shortlist if we are able to raise $8000 over next 45 days. In order to ensure a widespread following, the contest allows each sponsor to contribute a maximum of $10, i.e. Rs. 450/-. If you overall believe in the concept that we are working towards, we earnestly urge you to make this small contribution to improve the lives of the community and give them an identity! The process is simple - pls click on

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Contact Us

SMV Wheels Pvt. Ltd.

Address - Near Shubham Hospital, Khajuri,Varanasi-221103
Uttar Pradesh- India
Phone No. +91 542 2227722, Mobile- +91 7388117160