Thursday, 3 March 2016

Going back to the roots- alumni meet PEARL SRM-IIHMR

Rittika Brahmachari
Dr. Tanjul Saxena
Dr. Goutam Sadhu

School of Rural Management (SRM), IIHMR University organized it first ever alumni meet for Rural Management professionals having their pedigree in IIHMR.  The IIHMR University’s School of Rural Management invited over 55 students to their campus of three batches. 34 Alumni from 9 different states attended the alumni meet named as PEARL ‘Professional Evangelist Association of Rural Leaders’.. It was two days event on 20th and 21st February. When Alumni entered IIHMR campus after 2-3 long years, they were overwhelmed while seeing the beauty of lush green peaceful campus, meeting with old friends, and stoned buildings continuously producing the leaders in health, rural and pharmaceutical sector.

The event attracted alumni who graduated in years 2012 to 2015. All of them are contributing excellently in their organizations in various domains like Child rights, HIV/AIDS, Microfinance, livelihood, Agriculture Public Health and Health system. The group represented a spectrum of organizations like various NGOs, Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives , Government programs like NACO, NRLM, RRLP, NHM , Centre for Micro finance, Mobile crèche, MPVHA, Reliance foundation, ICICI foundation, Coal India CSR, Save the children, HCL Foundation, Food cooperation of India (FCI), and Evidence action.

The meet comprised of several phases- open forum for alumni interactions with current batches and faculty, motivational and fun games, expert’s session and press conference. The day started by welcoming the pioneer batches in a memorable way, they were asked to imprint their palms over the mosaic with red and green color paints. It was an excellent way of creating memories; followed by painting on the canvas to capture the inner call of their chosen profession. A living institution makes an impact on everything it touches on the minds, dreams, ideas, innovation and knowledge to the world beyond the campus and that was the all pervasive spirit in the meet.

The event got formally  initiated by lighting of lamp by the dignitaries Dr S.D Gupta, The President IIHMRU , Dr Ashok Kaushik, Dean (Academics and student affairs) , Dr. Alok Mathur, Co-ordinator –Alumni Meet and . Dr. Goutam Sadhu IIHMRU accompanied by Saraswati Vandana. There was a beautiful arrangement for e-inauguration (over the laptop) via ribbon cutting ceremony for PEARL by the President of the University Dr. S.D.Gupta. 

Dr. Alok Mathur, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Alumni Meet 2016 welcomed the dignitaries’ on the dice and all the Alumni members.  He shared the schedule and objectives of the event.

Dr. Ashok Kaushik in his welcome note to the Alumni and faculty members said “Alumnus and alumna both come from Latin and preserve Latin plurals. Alumnus is a masculine nouwhose plural is alumni, and alumna is a feminine noun whose plural is alumnae. Coeducational institutions usually usealumni for graduates of both sexes. But those who object to masculine forms in such case may prefer using alumni and alumnae ,alumnae/i, or the more casual alums. 
The word graduates also present a gender-neutral alternative”. He further added that in the Alumni meet one  will find that there is more closeness with students and teachers compare to when student times.

Dr. Goutam Sadhu said that “we are delighted to reconnect and celebrate the sense of togetherness with our Alumni. It has always been nostalgic for all of us to relive the memories and time spent in this campus. The two day meet will have an opportunity to share and learn each other’s experience and to meet old friends. We always believe that reconnecting with our friends or batch mates and sharing experiences help us revive ourselves and also learn from their practical experiences”

Alumni members were then apprised of major achievements and milestones of SRM-IIHMRU over the last few years. An amazingly designed documentary movie was displayed which took everyone back to the days at IIHMRU. Most of the alumni members became very emotional while cherishing the campus life at IIHMR. They cheered when they recalled memories spent. It was followed by an introduction session where they all represented their organization and shared experience gained over the years.

Dr. Gupta in his Presidential address said “I am overwhelmed to see our students back in the institutions where they have spent two years to make a successful career. The Alumni meet is the beginning of the relationship between students and University. I am extremely impressed with the growth and the experiences that they have acquired post their graduation in the short span of time. The students have evolved as professionals and I see them growing, articulating and this restores my confidence in decision to continue rural management as a program at the IIHMR university. The MBA-Rural Management has helped our students to directly be in touch with the grass root level which has evolved our students to what they are today. We, at The IIHMRU believe in experimental learning which is a part of the course curriculum and has helped our students to directly interact with the people and regions which needed development. We take pride in announcing that our students today are associated with the national and international organizations which have helped them to uplift the lives and the regions which needed contribution from skilled workforce that has been produced by the IIHMR University today.”  Dr. Gupta assured to start Fellowship or Mphil and PhD integrated program exclusively for RM professional.

The inaugural session ended with vote of thanks by Ms. Ekta Soni, Alumni Relation Officer, she said “I feel honored and privileged to get an opportunity to propose a vote of thanks on this historic occasion. Feb 20th and 21st, 2016 is indeed a very memorable day in the history of the SRM, IIHMU when the President of the university is with us for the inauguration of the Alumni meet. I on behalf of IIHMRU, entire fraternity of Rural Management profession, and on my own behalf convey deep regards and hearty thanks to the President of University, Dean (Academic and Students affairs), dignitaries, Faculty and all the Alumni members for gracing the inaugural ceremony and sharing with us vision of Rural Management education to match the best in the world.

The inaugural session was anchored by Mr. Pankaj Sah, student of MBA-RM -4th Batch with the guidance of Dr. Tanjul Saxena, Associate Professor.

Under the guidance of Dr. Susmit Jain, Mr. Deepak Yogi, Ms. Sunita Nigam and Mr. S.P Chattopadhyay, Faculty, SRM-IIHMU, various games were organized like badminton, volleyball, tug of war, musical chair, spoon ball, paper dance and other motivational games which energized all the participants. Most of the Alumni and even the faculty members participated. The well spent evening in peacock garden (the heart of IIHMRU) marked by ramp walk and dance session added flavor to the event. It was amazing to see all of the alumni and faculty members in a platform contributing to the underpinning school of rural management.

On the second day, Experts from development sector Dr Rajesh Khanna, Principal and co-head in Development Consulting Practices and Mr Prabhat Kumar, National Thematic Manager, Save the Children stressed on the need of rural management professionals in development field. Mr. Prabhat Kumar, National Thematic Manager Child Protection, Save The Children said, "Rural Management as a profession has now become extremely dynamic and has seen a drastic paradigm shift. As a rural management professional, one can observe that the space for the Civil Society is decreasing as opposed to the demand for rural professionals which is increasing. Both of these are contradicting each other, thus creating development opportunities for Rural Management professionals. Corporate investments and development are the key areas of focus after the CSR bill being passed. The government is also more on the mission mode where they have implemented various missions creating a need for rural management professionals. The Government was earlier on the mode of contributing for the society, however, post the CSR bill the government is now expecting the society to contribute, thus, emphasizing on specialization and skill development. It is also seen that the Rural Development can resolve the problems of urbanization, as most of our population still resides in the rural regions and the development of the grass root level in terms of sanitation facilities, water facilities, development of infrastructure is utmost important for an overall development, creating more and more opportunities for Rural Management professionals." 

Dr. Rajesh Khanna, ICRA Management Consulting Services Limited, said "Rural management landscape is ever changing. It is noticed over the years that the Governance and Social Inclusion should be at the local level too. Rural Management professionals work very closely with the district authorities. It is important that they must have a holistic view for the development at the grass root level in different states, if not this might end up seeing fragmented development and not an overall development across the nation. Also, the Gram Panchayat level has always been considered to deliver projects and no one has paid attention to their own source revenue. To organize and utilize the own source funding and source more resources, there is a requirement of the rural management professionals to help these Gram Panchayat's  at the grass root level with capacity building, identifying their needs, hand holding and participatory methods on how they can involve different social groups and conduct social mapping. Today we realize that every scheme is no longer compartmentalized, nothing is jacketed and it is important to promote the aspect of community mobilization. Thus, creating ample opportunities for Rural Management professionals." The session was chaired by Dr. Alok Mathur and co-chaired by Dr. Susmit Jain.

 “Life at IIHMRU was unique! I have some of the fondest memories from SRM-IIHMRU and never forget how privileged I am to be a part of it,,, reuniting is a good thing”…Comments from the Majority of the Students.

Ms. Rittika Brahmachari, PGDRM -1st Batch said that: “On a hectic morning full of scheduled work, I was amazed to receive the invitation on alumni meet. It was immense pleasure to have continued ties with IIHMRU. I was sure that I will mark this date in my calendar to walk down the memory lanes. It is wonderful to get back to the old days, friends as well as fostering new ties when you are the integral part of IIHMRU fraternity and future hopes.”

Press conference covered the discussion for wider dissemination. The alumni committee introduced the website created for PEARL, it was not only meant for alumni connect but also will provide opportunities for professional growth and social interactions. The discussion then proceeded with developing strong alumni network and how the alumni can play a role in that. A plethora of suggestions were put forward by the Professors, alumni as well as students.    Mr. Rajendra Bhanawat , IAS (retd.), Chief Guest of the Closing Ceremony in his address stated the opportunity of Rural Management professionals in the development program of the country are immense. He also shared his experience and had provided the tips to overcome the hurdles in the Government setup to accelerate smoothly the developmental program. Mr. Bajrang Sharma, RAS (retd.) and Registrar, IIHMRU expressed his satisfaction on the event and said that this is the best ever Alumni meet in the history of IIHMR. He also announced the facilities for Alumni members which IIHMR University is going to provide for them. Before the closing session, each alumnus received memento and winners of the games were gifted prizes by Mr. Rajendra Bhanawat and Mr. Bajrang Sharma. The rolling trophy for the maximum participants from batch was awarded to Batch 2nd. The event ended with vote of thanks by Dr. Sadhu.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

UNION BUDGET 2016- Bringing Back Rural Priorities and Rural Management Careers in Forefront

Although the middle class and especially salaried people are not happy with the union budget 2016 as it has not fulfilled the expectation rather has dissatisfactory provisions like:  No raise in standard deduction slabs in income tax, levying of additional krishi kalyan cess @ 0.5% on all taxable services, deduction of income tax in withdrawal of more than 60% of the provident fund deposit and many more.  But if one critically analyses the budget presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley's on the leap day of the year,  it will come across as largely pro-rural and pro-poor and  an attempt to bring back the pace of development for the rural sector.

To restore a sense of income security to Indian farmers, Government allotted Rs 35,984 crore for agriculture and farmers’ welfare with an intention to double the farmers’ income by 2022 by addressing issues of optimal utilization of water resources, creating new infrastructure for irrigation, conservation of soil fertility with balanced use of fertilizer and by providing forward and backward linkages from farm to market.  Budget announced ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’, to bring another 28.5 lakh hectares under irrigation.  Eighty Nine projects under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) will be fast tracked to irrigate additional 80.6 lakh hectare. To implement it successfully, projects will require Rs 17,000 crores in the FY 2016-17 and Rs 86,500 crore in the next five years. Union Budget also announced to create a dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund in National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore. A similar programme for sustainable management of ground water resources, with an estimated cost of Rs 6,000 crores has also been proposed for multilateral funding. Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 5 lakh farm ponds and dug wells in rain fed areas and 10 lakh compost pits for organic manure production will be created. All these above schemes will bring more agriculture land under irrigation facilities.

Union Budget 2016 announced ‘Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’ for bringing 5 lakh acres of rain fed areas under organic farming. A scheme ‘Organic value chain development in North East Region’ has been launched to make their organic produce find domestic and export markets. It will help to replicate Sikkim model which made history by becoming the first in the country to legislate for turning its entire agricultural produce organic. 

Now under ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana’ all the left over 65,000 eligible habitations will be connected by road.  The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana or PMGSY is a nationwide plan in India to provide good all weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. This Centrally Sponsored Scheme  was introduced in 2000 by the then Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  The scheme will not only change the lifestyle of villagers but also connect the rural urban market.

Four new initiatives to make animal husbandry more remunerative to the farmers are also an important component of 2016 Budget.  First, ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’,,  an animal wellness programme and provision of Animal Health Cards (Nakul Swasthya Patra); Second, an advanced breeding technology; Third, Creation of E-Pashudhan Haat, an e market portal for connecting breeders and farmers; and  Fourth, a National Genomic Centre for indigenous breeds.  At a cost of Rs 850 crore, over the next few years these projects will be implemented.  In lieu of the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission, Finance Minister announced an allocation of Rs. 2.87 lakh crore as Grants in Aid to Gram Panchayats and Municipalities (228 per cent increase compared to previous five years). Similarly under ‘Deen Dayal Antyodaya Mission’ every block in the areas of drought and rural distress will be covered besides being taken up for priority under ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana’.  Three hundred Rurban Clusters will be developed under the ‘Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission’to incubate growth centres in rural areas by providing infrastructure amenities and market access for the farmers. 

In order to spread digital literacy in Rural India, 2 new Schemes viz. ‘National Digital Literacy Mission’ and ‘Digital Saksharta Abhiyan’ (DISHA) has been launched.  Under the new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme, 6 crore additional households will be revamped and will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.  He proposed a new structure scheme, ‘Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ to help Panchayat Raj Institutions to deliver Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Dr. Goutam Sadhu, Dean, School of Rural Management, IIHMR University, Jaipur says that under MBA-Rural Management we strive for the students to understand, analyze and identify realistic solutions and management interventions to meet the developmental challenges confronting a rapidly transforming India. The core of academic practice at the SRM –IIHMR University seeks to balance analytical, professional, and experiential learning with the inspiration to act progressively in different spheres of life, so as to truly impact life in ways that are necessary for the sustained well-being of countless people negotiating India’s rural-urban continuum. These attitudes are woven into the research, teaching, training, and consulting engagements of the SRM, IIHMRU.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

India’s health budget: ‘SHRINKING’

The Budget comes with a minor increase in allocation to health as compared to last year. It doesn't totally restore the reduction that caused dismay within the last budget nor will it replicate the biggest governmental resource pool out there from the growing value and falling  fuel costs. One would have thought that the more comfortable fiscal space would allow a better  priority to health, as advocated by the Economic Survey.

The initiative on Jan Aushadi stores is welcome, because it ought to improve access to low priced, quality assured generic medicine. Can it replace the antecedently planned free provision of essential medicine in any respect public facilities? Or is that one thing the states have to be compelled to pursue on their own?

The proposed scheme to provide Rs 1 lakh of health insurance cover to each family appears to be an expansion of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. Will it also restrict its coverage to hospitalised care? While useful in reducing some of the financial shocks of hospitalisation, it will not reduce the high level of expenditure on recurrent out patient care or chronic drug therapy. More details are needed on how this scheme will function. The proposal to fund dialysis centres is again welcome, but limited in impact, if primary care is not efficient in preventing high blood pressure or diabetes progressing to kidney failure.

The increase tobacco taxes is a case of ‘willing to strike, but afraid to wound’. Bidis have again been left out of the tax net, even though they are the most frequently consumed form of tobacco. The finance minister’s gentle wave is not enough to disperse the dense cloud of tobacco smoke that envelopes public health today.