The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) directive to adopt 5 villages under the newly implemented Unnat Bharat Abhiyan programme gets rejected by the Indian Institute of Management - IIM Ahmedabad. The Institute authorities claim that they already run many social development programs to uplift the rural development works.
The directive from MHRD was issued to all IIMs on 20th June 2019 after the Minister of Human Resource Development Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank held a review meeting with the institutions on 13th June, where it was decided that each of the IIMs would adopt total five villages for contributing in their development under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan.
The letter which was issued from the Ministry of HRD said that the adoption-process of villages should be completed as early possible and the status in this regard should be provided to the HRD Ministry from time to time. An MHRD official said that IIM-A cited their already running social development programs as the reason behind not accepting the proposal for additional development activities. Through the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan scheme, the central government of India is planning to link the premiere higher studies institutes in involvement at social development programmes.
Students and Faculties of the IIM institutes are required to carry out comprehensive field studies of the living conditions of the adopted villages. They will also have to assess their problems and requirements. They will also have to make technological interventions wherever possible and improve the implementation of several government projects in the villages and prepare functional action plans for the chosen villages.
Under the scheme, all Higher Educational Institutions are asked to adopt a cluster of 5 villages each in consultation under District Collectors and utilise their knowledge and expertise to develop the infrastructural facilities in Gram Panchayats.
Professor Anil Kumar Gupta, who retired from IIM Ahmedabad in 2016 and led one of the biggest IIMA social development projects named ‘Prayaas’ has supported the stand of IIMA regarding the matter. He, expressing his support on the stand of IIM-A has claimed this policy will be a waste of resources on the ordinary where the institute has more remarkable development projects. Accusing the Ministry, he said that the Ministry has no Idea, he suggested the ministry to utilise what IIM-A already has rather than obstructing it in imposed ordinary frameworks.
Prayaas, founded by Prof Gupta cares for the underprivileged children and conducts quality education and training in the IIMA campus for over 100 children who otherwise would be compelled to drift away from education.
Prof Gupta is still a visiting faculty at IIM-A. He, in his tenure, founded the SRISTI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions) initiative that helps empower grassroots communities that promote eco-friendly solutions to local problems.
The two major ‘focus’ areas on the social sector are education and health in which IIM-A is already engaged. Ravi J Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation or RJMCEI was established as the Centre for Management of Health Services. Also, Right to Education Resource Centre, where multiple social projects have been conducted over the years. Prof Gupta emphasised that they were established for the purpose. There are also other initiatives which were undertaken by IIM Ahmedabad for social development.
Talking about the social initiatives by IIM Ahmedabad, faculty members said that IIM-A became the first management institute in India to be awarded the EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) international accreditation by the European Foundation for Management Development known as EFMD which was later renewed as well. A senior faculty member of IIMA has said its achievements itself speak of its contributions in the social development sector.
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