253 villages across India have been given access to electricity in a week’s time (from January 11th to 17th) under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana(DDUGJY). In keeping with the promises made in his speech on the 69th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the DDUGJY on 25th July 2015 in Patna. Out of the 253 villages that has been electrified successfully, 111 villages belong to Odisha. 81 villages in Assam, 40 in Jharkhand, 13 to Rajasthan, 4 in Bihar, 3 in Madhya Pradesh and 1 in Uttar Pradesh.
Such schemes are not new to India where majority of the population resides in rural areas that are cut off from electricity due to lack of investment and infrastructure. But the striking difference in the current scheme for electrification of rural India is the speed at which it has been implemented in the recent past.
The plan that preceded the DDUGJY was the infamous Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana(RGGVY) that promised complete electrification of villages in India by 2010. The deadline was constantly pushed ahead at the whims of the Government and the scheme finally ended up focussing only on the development and extension of the centralised grid system for rural areas. This change resulted in dilution and subsequent failure of the of the plan. The entire definition of electrification was tailored to suit the projection of good progress by the government. The lack of any actual headway on ground led to the creation of the DDUGJY which aims and completing the work that RGGVY set out to do.
The DDUGJY that is currently in its implementation phase has the following four objectives:
To provide electrification to all villages.
Feeder separation to ensure sufficient power to farmers and regular supply to other consumers.
Improvement of sub-transmission and distribution network to improve the quality and reliability of the supply.
A budget of Rs 76000 crores has been projected for the imminent projects under which the Government of India shall provide Rs 63000 crores. Every village in the country will be electrified by 1st May 2018 under the DDUGJY plan. All projects that were already sanctioned under RGGVY are being undertaken immediately.
With its current tempo of action the DDUGJY seems to be on the right track while doing justice to its objectives. The development of rural India is of prime importance, and electricity is the first step towards creating a launch pad for growth. Electricity will not only replace long hours of manual labour but will also bring exposure to the remotest corners of the country.
The Logical Indian hopes that the DDUGJY continues its progress with the same robustness and achieves its end objectives. Rural India will become a completely different kind of asset to the country with the success of DDUGJY.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.