So they opted to act.
When the majority has already opted to sit back and decry every action of the stakeholders, young
minds are trying to cut the queue and work for the nation. Somewhere we all have been a part of this
vilifying community but are scared to admit it openly. Our film industry, in an attempt to portray
emotions, has also started launching whodunits which are blended with some twists and turns to boil
the story down to a “Happy Ending”. Our political leaders too, never fail to dispirit me with their
continuous efforts; efforts to cast the most sensitive national issues into a frame which can denounce
the ruling party, or their efforts to examine some half-baked reasons for their party being drubbed in
I am here not to criticize but to appreciate the trend setters, a voluntary students’ group of IIT Roorkee.
The group in discussion, SIIRD, stands for Students’ Initiative for Integrated Rural Development, won
SKOCH Award and many other national awards for smart governance as well as self-sustainable models
to develop a village called Chharba. The group evolved under “National Competitiveness in Knowledge
Economy” project awarded to IIT Roorkee by the Department of Information Technology, Government
of India with Prof. V.K. Nangia as Principal Investigator. Over the years, this initiative evolved as the
rural development vertical of this Knowledge Economy Project. Prof. V.K. Nangia’s commitment towards
this group is implausible and it is the result of his experience, knowledge and mentorship that these
young minds are always incited and geared up to take down knotty challenges. Under the leadership of
Uday Bhardwaj, the concept of SIIRD was awarded fourth position in a global Social Innovation
Tournament organized jointly by Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE and Wharton, University of
Pennsylvania on May 9, 2013.
These young minds believe in synergizing the efforts of industry, academia, society and government to
bring an effective overall development of rural India. Members of this group, exploit the CSR policies of
different companies to bring in funds necessary for the development of village. They have worked upon
various segments like Awareness, Education, Employment, Health, ICT and Sanitation.
The group has organized five health camps, and thereby treating more than 1800 villagers. They also
organized workshops for creating awareness about women health and AIDS too. These workshops were
organized in collaboration with NRHM.
The group, with the support of Infosys and IIT Roorkee,
succeeded in setting up a computer laboratory too in Chharba. One of the initiative leader, Prakhar
Gupta, generated a regular source of income for five families by not only perfecting their women in the
art of newspaper bag making but also connecting them to a suitable market. This initiative supported
these families by a monthly income of 12500/- and also boosted the self-esteem of women in the
village. The group is also active with agriculture awareness camps in collaboration with KVK, KRIBHCO aswell as Uttarakhand Organic Committee Board.
This article is just a pocket sized view of their endless efforts and models implemented in Chharba. The
venerability of these young minds lies in their dedication and idiosyncratic approach towards
development. They are also inspiring students of other colleges by presenting their model there. All this
not only satisfies their thirst of serving their nation but also inculcates in them a sense of responsibility
and nurtures their managerial skills. I believe that these minds will soon get recognized all over the
world and will serve as a motivation for others to work against the vilifying mainstream.