Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) is a flagship programme initiated by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Government of India with the objective of engaging the Higher Educational Institutions to understand and work for the development of rural India. The conceptualization of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan started with the initiative of a group of dedicated faculty members of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi working in the area of rural development and appropriate technologies. The program was formally launched by Ministry Human Resource Development on 11th November 2014.
Background and Need
As foreseen by Gandhi Ji in his seminal work, ‘Hind Swaraj’, the western developmental paradigm, based on centralized technologies and urbanization, has given rise to serious problems like increasing inequity (leading to crime and violence), and climate change due to rapid ecological degradation.
To ameliorate these problems, it is necessary to promote development of rural areas in tune with Gandhian vision of self-sufficient ‘village republics’, based on local resources and using decentralized, eco-friendly technologies so that the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, health care, energy, livelihood, transportation, and education are locally met. This should be the vision of holistic development of villages. Presently, 70% of the population in India lives in rural areas engaged in agrarian economy with agriculture and allied sector employing 51% of the total work-force but accounting for only 17% of the country’s GDP.
There are huge developmental disconnects between the rural and urban sectors such as inequity in health, education, incomes and basic amenities as well as employment opportunities – all causing great discontent and large-scale migration to urban areas. The imperatives of sustainable development which are being felt more and more acutely all over the world also demand eco-friendly development of the villages and creation of appropriate employment opportunities locally.
Increasing urbanization is neither sustainable nor desirable. So far, our professional higher education institutions have largely been oriented to cater to the mainstream industrial sector and, barring a few exceptions, have hardly contributed directly to the development of the rural sector. Unnat Bhārat Abhiyān (UBA) is a much needed and highly challenging initiative in this direction.