TC-I Tidbits

Your daily dose of headlines:

  • Health: Over 53% children in India under five years – that is, 67 million – live without basic healthcare facilities. This means that India alone accounts for about one-third of all children in the world aged below five who don’t have basic healthcare. [Source: Times of India]
  • Education: There is a shortage of teachers at central universities, with 20 per cent of teaching posts being vacant since October. The government will raise the age for pension schemes, and a committee will review the pay scale to address the issue.
  • Energy: With low-interest loans for solar power from Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank, more than 100,000 people in rural Karnataka benefit from affordable and reliable electricity. The program was subsidized by the United Nations Environment Programme.

BITS Pilani’s rural cooperative

In response to my previous post on the role of academic institutions in building entrepreneurs, Rachit pointed me out the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at BITS Pilani (yes, we do read your comments!)

The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at BITS Pilani, was set up for that very purpose, to create entrepreneurial leaders and have a significant impact on the global entrepreneurial community.
We are also one of:

  • The Centers for Excellence at BITS Pilani
  • The top 5 centres of Entrepreneurship among Indian Universities
  • The founders of the National Entrepreneurship Network
  • More specifically, the center runs a program called Parampara, which is building a self-sustaining women’s cooperative in rural Pilani:

    The project is planned to be implemented in three phases:

    1. Identifying a group of women and engaging them in an income generation activity to build the foundation of the cooperative
    2. Building a self sustained cooperative around the group
    3. Bringing in micro-finance into the cooperative to help in growth.

    A small cooperative of 21 women has already been setup in a village called Garinda. They call themselves the Saraswati Cooperative and currently manufacture paper bags. More products are being thought of and models to market them being worked out.

    It’s important for academic institutions to look around their campus and focus on creating ‘sustained’ change within those communities where they are located. There was a reason why India’s founding fathers wanted to locate premier business and engineering schools in remote corners of the country. Of course, it’s a stark reality that almost all of the graduates from these ivy schools re-locate to a metro or outside the country the moment the graduate. But the BITS initiative is a good example of creating change in the rural community around the campus. We need many more.

    P.S. Its quite ironic that BITS decided to locate its newest campus in Dubai!