Setting a model for rural development
@ May 31, 2009
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29 May 2009, 2149 hrs IST, Binay Singh, TNN

VARANASI: While the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) came into existence in 2005 with an objective to enhance livelihood security in rural areas, the Centre for Integrated Rural Development of BHU founded in 1980 in response to the National Programme of Integrated Rural Development already set a model of rural development in this region.

The IRD centre of BHU was started in 1980 as extension wing of the university

, in order to promote social work and training opportunities for the university students, the project office Dr SK Tripathi told TOI. The centre runs both academic and field activities with the objective of improving the quality of life of the rural people and prevent uncontrolled drift to urban areas. It also aims at capacity building for the rural poor, especially women and children.

At that time we proved our worth by making Bhisampur village in Chakia block as an ideal village with initiatives like solar energy, fishery, plantation, gobar gas plant, khadi activities and cheap houses, said Tripathi. The centre had adopted four development blocks around Varanasi including Kashi Vidyapeeth, Chairaigaon, Chakia and Chahania as the focus of its activities. The basis of selection was to give priority to the most disadvantaged areas.

Though the government schemes and programmes changed with the time, the BHUs centre is still working in this field with its aims and objectives. In academic area we run a one-year post-graduate diploma in Integrated Rural Development and Management (IRDM), he said. A student to be eligible for admission to the IRDM course should have a bachelor degree or its equivalent or a higher degree in any discipline from any UGC accredited institute in India or abroad.

Besides, we provide one-year training to rural health practitioners in traditional system of medicine for primary health care in rural areas, he said. The IRDP provides opportunities for practical experience and training for university students in preparation for careers in rural development and social work.

In addition, intensive and extensive training for persons employed in government and non-governmental organizations are offered. The centre also organizes seminar and workshops from time to time for the rural people. The centre disseminates the findings of its action - research programmes through publications and workshops, and through interaction between different sectors including government officers, development workers, activists and scholars.

Aims of the centre:

# To identify needs, and plan and support, in conjunction with local people, development programmes.

 # To upgrade the knowledge and skills of local people.

# To support and orient the development of non-government organizations which work towards the same goals through sharing of information and strategies for collective action.

# To establish the importance of building and sustaining strong village organizations.

# To study and assess the efficacy of alternative approaches to integrated rural development.

# To prepare and train university students for social work and rural development programmes.

# To disseminate knowledge through publications and workshops.

# To develop the theory, concepts and practice of integrated rural development as an academic and professional discipline.



# Development of indigenous package for rural health by utilizing locally available resources of medicinal herbs and its traditional knowledge.

# Promotion of reproductive health and child care through comprehensive information dissemination.

# Assessment of drug abuse in and around Varanasi,

# Study of the rural artisans, the nature of their work, identifications of problems and remedies, to improve their economic condition.

# Women's development programme like tailoring, knitting and fruit preservation.

# Cottage industries for unemployed youth -training of more than 500 youth in skills such as making of soap, candles and chalk.


Remarkable features:

# The centre has developed a unique educational package of rural health for providing an opportunity to the rural health practitioners, and also make them self-reliant and better equipped with the curative technique for promoting positive health through medicinal herbs.

# Yearly training is being provided to the rural women for increasing the income of their family since inception of the centre.

# The centre in collaboration with civil engineering department of BHU evolved a model of cheap house for rural poor during 1990- 1993.

(Source: IRD Centre, BHU)



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