Because Criticism Is Too Mainstream

    So they opted to act.

    29th Jul 2016
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    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

    elections.

    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.

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     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.

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