B-school band in rural push - Professionals from top institutes to implement projects

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By SANJEEV KUMAR VERMA
  • Published 3.05.12
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Patna, May 2: Young professionals with degrees from prestigious institutes would soon be fanning across Bihar’s countryside to help improve the plight of the rural poor.

The state government has hired 85 professionals, some of them with degrees from the London School of Economics, Institute of Rural Management-Anand (IRMA) and the IITs, to implement projects to be taken up under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).

NRLM entails expenditure of a little over Rs 9,200 crore over the next 10 years for improving the economic condition of 1.25 crore rural families. It aims to reach out to all such families and link them to sustainable livelihood opportunities. The Centre and state would share the cost of the scheme on a 75:25 basis.

The first batch of 57 professionals was formally inducted today at a programme organised by the state rural livelihood mission (SRLM), which works under the rural development department and has been tasked with the responsibility of implementing NRLM.

“We want to implement NRLM in a professional manner, based on necessities of the beneficiaries. The presence of young professionals would help,” said rural development minister Nitish Mishra.

The professionals were picked on-campus as well as through an open application system in which each candidate had to go through a group discussion and interview. To begin with, the professionals have been hired on contractual basis for three years, after which they would be absorbed in regular positions in the districts.

The professionals are being offered a monthly salary in the range of Rs 25,000-Rs 50,000 depending on their qualification and work experience. In addition, they are also entitled to annual performance incentive up to Rs 50,000 and annual increment of Rs 5,000.

Vishnu Raghunathan, 23, is one of the 85 professionals recruited by the government. Raghunathan, a graduate from IRMA, said: “These days one rarely gets a chance to work in a government project. Moreover, the salary package was okay and the challenge to work at the ground level was quite exciting.”

A native of Vellore district in Tamil Nadu, Raghunathan also acknowledged that the prospect of getting a permanent position in the government set-up after three years was a major attraction. “One cannot deny the fact that a government job gives you a sense of security. After devoting three years in a job, such a security would be like icing on the cake,” he said.

Shantanu Kumar, a native of Bihar’s Nalanda district who too is an IRMA pass-out, said: “This whole project is very exciting. Moreover, I am getting a chance to serve my own state which is very good.”

These professionals would attend a seven-day orientation programme at Rajgir from tomorrow. This would be followed by a month spent in blocks and villages. After this, they would be assigned to specific projects for two months.

“Once their three-month exposure programme is over, these professionals would be used to implement the project which includes formation of self-help groups, skill development of group members, formulation of projects in accordance with the nature of work that the group would undertake and guiding them in implementation of the project,” said a senior SRLM official.

Under NRLM, 10 lakh self-help groups would be formed to ensure participation of every rural family. The scheme also entails providing funds targeted at reducing health and food-related vulnerability and to promote livelihood activities under the community investment fund.

The SRLM official said NRLM would be implemented in a phased manner and would be launched in just 55 blocks of the state in the first year. It would be rolled out to other blocks in successive years. All 534 blocks would be brought under its ambit by the end of 2014-15.

Keeping the future need in mind, the government would recruit more young professionals in the coming years.