Unnat Bharat Abhiyan- An Overview

  • Presently, 70% of the population in India lives in rural areas engaged in an agrarian economy with agriculture and allied sectors employing 51% of the total work-force but accounting for only 17% of the country’s GDP.
  • So far, our professional higher education institutions have largely been oriented to cater to the mainstream industrial sector and, barring a few exceptions, have hardly contributed directly to the development of the rural sector. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) is a much needed and highly challenging initiative in this direction.

Vision: 

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India. 

Mission: 

  • To enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.
  • To create a virtuous cycle between society and an inclusive academic system by providing knowledge and practices for emerging professions
  • To upgrade the capabilities of both the public and the private sectors in responding to the development needs of rural India.

Goals: 

  • To build an understanding of the development agenda within institutes of Higher Education and an institutional capacity and training relevant to national needs, especially those of rural India.
  • To re-emphasize the need for fieldwork, stake-holder interactions and design for societal objectives as the basis of higher education.
  • To stress on rigorous reporting and useful outputs as central to developing new professions.
  • To provide rural India and regional agencies with access to the professional resources of the institutes of higher education, especially those that have acquired academic excellence in the field of science, engineering and technology, and management.
  • To improve development outcomes as a consequence of this research.
  • To develop new professions and new processes to sustain and absorb the outcomes of the research.
  • To foster a new dialogue within the larger community on science, society and the environment and to develop a sense of dignity and collective destiny.

Organisational Structure: 

Themes: 

  • Organic Farming: 

1. Key Characteristics: 

– Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention.

– Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient  sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil microorganisms

– Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological  nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials  including crop residues and livestock manures

– Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations,  natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and  limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention

– The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their  evolutionary adaptations, behavioural needs and animal welfare issues  with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing

– Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider  environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats

2. The world is looking now to organic products from agriculture even at premium prices, where no chemicals are used in agriculture practices. This offers a large scope for building rural enterprises, right from testing, certification, training to production and processing in pre and post agriculture practices. This requires all kinds of skills, right from high level modern scientific expertise available in laboratories and universities to traditional agricultural practices already available with people.

• Water Management: 

  1. Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing,  distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. It is a subset of water cycle management.
  2. Much effort in water resource management is directed at optimizing the use of water and in minimizing the environmental impact of water use on the natural environment.
  3. The observation of water as an integral part of the ecosystem is based on integrated water resource management, where the quantity and quality of the ecosystem help to determine the nature of the natural resources.
  4. Successful management of any resources requires accurate knowledge of the resource available, the uses to which it may be put, the competing  demands for the resource, measures to and processes to evaluate the
  5. Significance and worth of competing demands and mechanisms to translate policy decisions into actions on the ground.

• Renewable Energy:  

  1. Solar Energy: This is one of the most promising alternative energy sources, which will be available to mankind for centuries to come. The only challenge remains to tap solar energy in the most efficient way.  The solar power generation is done by using a series of photovoltaic cells where the solar rays are converted into electricity.
  2. Wind Energy: The power of the wind is harnessed to propel the blades of a wind turbine attached to an electric generator to generate wind energy.  Wind energy is an effective alternative source of energy in areas where the velocity of wind flow is high.
  3. Biomass Energy: This is the energy developed from the wastes of various human and animal activities like the by-products and wastes from the timber industry, agricultural yields, municipal solid waste, etc. Out of the many alternative sources of energy, this is the one which takes into account the utilization of waste material to develop energy thereby disposing of them in a profitable and effective way.
  4. Hydroelectric Energy: The potential energy stored in the water held in dams is made to drive a water turbine and generator which in turn produces electric power. This form of energy generation is called hydroelectric power. Out of all the alternative energy sources, this one has been most commonly adopted in the current time.

• Artisans, Industries and Livelihood:  

  1. Modern industrialization is a phenomenon of development and application of science and technology in production. Science and technology developed in research institutions and universities by scientists and academicians. However, the application of the same happens in the industry through the practitioners who are none other than the artisans and the technicians coming from the traditional sector.
  2. There has to be a proper synergy and complementariness of the two. This is really missing in India. There is a huge scope to bring that in through start-ups and entrepreneurship.
  3. 3. The power loom sector, the automobile sector, the repair and maintenance sector and in fact the “Jugaads” technologies seen all around are demonstrative of what this kind of interphase can do in the industrial sector.
  4. It needs to be carried out in a more formal and organized way in order to bring out the best of both, the modern sector as well as the traditional sector.

• Basic Amenities:  

  1. Rural Education 

– Declining attendance of students and teachers

– Constraints in quality and access to education

– Increasing awareness regarding education amongst rural population but  financial constraints

– Low teacher to student ratio

– Textbooks are confined to English language and at-most Hindi

– Rote learning instead of inquiry-based learning

– Lack of incentives for teachers

– Best practices need to be inculcated from Barefoot college, 8 Day Academy and Gurukul School in Bihar. These are innovative and successful examples of schools running in rural India.

– Technology in rural education:

(i) Lack of infrastructure leading to constraints in easy access

(ii) Teachers at the schools are not well equipped with the gadgets.

2. Rural Connectivity 

– Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana gave the much-needed impetus to  rural connectivity in the country

– National Rural Road Development Agency (NRRDA) has prepared a  manual “Managing Maintenance of Rural Roads in India”. This initiated the execution of maintenance works and the development of these training modules for engineers and contractors associated with rural road maintenance works.

3. Rural Sanitation 

– Lack of adequate sanitation is a pressing challenge in rural India. Every day, an estimated 1,000 children under five die in the country because of diarrhoea alone.

– Lack of adequate sanitation also forces households into the continued indignity of open defecation, which is an acute problem especially for women and young girls.

– Central Rural Sanitation Program: despite considerable investment, failed to motivate and sustain high levels of sanitation coverage

– The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been largely successful in making ODF.

4. Rural Health 

– Poor socio-economic status and poor health status together make a  vicious cycle wherein poverty brings inadequate nutrition, unhealthy environment, sickness causing low productivity and hence poverty  Several organizations are working alongside the government and NGOs to help relieve the burden on the public health system using mobile technology.

– India has over 900 million mobile phone users and this fact can be leveraged to employ better practices in even the remote areas. Leading global organizations of the healthcare industry are using our mobile technology to enhance the quality of care and bridge the gaps in healthcare services.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0: 

  • Objective:  
  1. To engage faculty and students of HEIs in understanding rural realities.
  2. To identify and select existing innovative technologies, enable  customisation of technologies, or devise implementation for innovative  solutions, as per local needs.
  3. To leverage the knowledge base of institutions to devise processes for effective implementation of various government programmes.
  • Major Areas of Intervention: