Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reducing child labour and out of school children - A success story at Krishnagiri district

Normally, around 10 percent of the school going children get dropped out from the schDr Santhosh Babu IASools in rural areas, for various reasons, and mainly due to poverty. Such children are being exploited as child labour and their talents get wasted. Every District Administration in India has been empowered with various schemes and enough funds.

In addition, Sarava Shikshya Abhyan, National child labour project and UNICEF also support the district administrations for sending these children back to school. Many such programmes are not implemented well due to lack of initiatives from many of the District Collectors across the country.

In this edition, we are bringing out an exclusive interview with Dr Santhosh Babu, IAS, presently the Managing Director of Electronic Corporation of Tamilnadu ELCOT. In his earlier assigned as District Collector of Krishnagiri district, he ws very successful in reducing the child labour and school drop outs to the extent of 95 to 97%. According to Dr Santhosh Babu, (i) identification and tracking of such children (ii) offering convergence package of schemes to such families would solve the problems for ever. They have also developed a new website for this purpose.

Rural BPO at Krishnagiri district
He also brought e-governance initiatives in the district for improving the administration and to reduce the corruption. The initiative like ‘Rural BPOs’ was also hailed by the various media
. He was honoured with the ‘Best Collector Award’ in 2007 by the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. Indian Express also recognized him as one of the 5 ‘Pride of Tamilnadu’ in 2008. Data Quest honoured him with ‘e governance champion’ of South India in 2006. In an exclusive conversation with me, Dr Santhosh Babu describes the success story of Krishnagiri district.

Please click to play to listen to his interview (20 m). The audio streaming will be smooth, if you have a broad band of minimum of 100 kbps. If the streaming is not smooth, please download the audio in mp3 format and then play..

You can also listen to this podcast in the following link

To download - Right click this link and save to your desktop (18 mb)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

India Vision 2020 Project : Shri.Muruganandam is proud owner of Browsing centre now

Dear Friends

We dedicate this to our Guru Dr.Kalam, who ignited our spirits !! His dedication & energy drives every step of our action

A moment of joy flash our minds as we put this across to you all. India Vision 2020 partner groups worked together to benefit an energetic youth Shri.Muruganandam( Triuchy, TamilNadu) This is an excellent example of team work - WE ARE IMMENSLY proud to have accomplished this as a TEAM , ofcourse we say this will all humility.

A request arrives ! One day( we had a request fwd'd from Dr.Kalam (Incidentally recieved from Shri.Muruganandam seeking his help). This was about a youth differently abled wanting to do more in life. We could sense bubbling confidence in him !

Background of Muruganadam:
Muruganandam lives in a town called Samayapuram near Triuchy Tamilnadu.Till his first year of higher secondary he was ordinary. Then he started developing weakness and eventually restricting his movement laterally - Both hands & legs. But this determined lad though had to discontinue his studies learned some computers(which would later help him!!). The issue is also sort of genetic with his parents & now him. Was very unhappy with situtation, he mustered confidence & wrote a mail to Dr.kalam !

Into Action:

Medical examination :
Our first task was to take medical advise on condition and the cause. Our first reponse with Mr.Srivasan' s help came from Kaveri Hospital(Dr. Manivannan- MD of the hospital). He personally sent his team to examine , give us the status.

Planning :
After this our next step was to confirm the ground reality. Our partner groups did not hesitate one moment. They had the teams visit him and give us first hand report.Seeing all the feasible options, considering his skills, our cost analysis, existing business potential we decided to set up Internet centre. Was agreed by all & we plunged into further action.

Time to Execute !
After exploring all the options we decided to get second hand system. For multiple reasons mainly to test out waters and give Muruganandam the confidence in running the show. Then came Mr.Suresh Kamat(CEO,Laser Soft) who readily offered 2 Systems from laser Soft. Muruganandam did his part by registering for Internet, then searching for old cabins, getting network router installed. After month of work we all were able to pull off and Muruganandam now is a PROUD owner !! His well wishers/friends in Samayapuram helped him a lot. The main idea for sustainable progress is establishing local support structure. We were able to establish this in better way !Recently (Myself, Udhay &Ravi Visited on Nov 23,2008 to review the progress.

Partners Involved:
SIAGM, Dream India 2020, India Sudar, YHM, Team Everest Not one partner showed hesitation at any point in time which I believe was hugely responsible for the completion !

Our Sincere & Special Thanks TO :
Dr.Manivannan - MD, Kaveri Hospital, Triuchy - FOr his ultra fast medical test response !

Mr.Suresh Kamat - Cannot thank enough as he laid the foundation by donating 2 computers. His team giving tough competition to their committed CEO !

Dr.A.U.RamaKrishna, for latest medical checkup done. His inputs were valuable. He will follow up on the research output for this treatment. For now there is no cure(ofcourse we believe in human spirit & quest !)

Mr.S.S.RajaShekar who referred Dr.Ram & also has promised further visit/help through rotract. Entire Team for their enviable DEDICATION !!

Mr.Srinivasan(Our moderator) who lead us through the whole process, giving inputs all through the way !This just the beginning , but would end the report with Robert Frost , for OUR JOURNEY WILL CONTINUE !!

Woods are lovely dark & deep.
But I have promises to keep
And Miles to go before I sleep ..
And Miles to go before I sleep ..

On behalf of India Vision 2020 team

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mr. Senthil, Young SW Engineer- US return - doing great work like Building Hospital, BPO Biz and Learning Center projects at THENUR Village, TN

Dear All,

We salute the spirit of our great forces & fellow Indians who firmly stood behind Mumbai in recent unfortunate happenings ! Together we will show our strength - as one INDIA

We were excited while through an article from KUMUDAM Tamil Weekly Magazine on 12th November 2008 (issue). It is all about Mr. Senthil Kumar, doing an excellent work at THENUR Village, Perambalur District, Tamil Nadu. We had traced him quickly through Mr. Karthikeyan, who is Kumudam reporter and he is the author of that article.

I, Shiva and Udhay made a visit to meet Mr. Senthil at THENUR Village on 23rd November 2008, Sunday and it was an inspiring sunday for all of us.

Brief Introduction about Senthil and

We were stunned to see Senthil's simplicity and enthusiasm, when we saw him at Trichy. He was standing in simple dhoti-shirt dress and a parcel (cotton box) received from Chennai for his BPO Biz, and then we started towards THENUR village. He is doing great job and please go through the below report.

Senthil was a mechanical engineer and working in Mumbai and then moved to IBM, Bangalore. He was very determined and dedicated to do something for poor and village people. In 1999, he decided to go USA for 5 years to make more money and come back to do something for village people and the best part is that he is on his way to achieve his goal.
In fact, he was a Technical Director in Detroit, USA when he resigned and decided to come back in 2004. Honestly, I don't know how many youngsters can do this.

The first fortunate people belongs to THENUR village chosen by Senthil, which is on Trichy-perambalur border, Tamil Nadu. His uncle donated some acres of land and he started an NGO called PAYIR with the help of his friends.

Firstly, Senthil wanted to give Primay Health Center to take care their health.

An outpatient health center with 2 beds, a laboratory and a dispensary has been successfully completed. The health center currently provides first aid and primary health care. Dedicated Doctor is appointed to take care of around 4000 families in that area. Basic health records of visiting patients are maintained.This also gives paramedical staff some hands on experience. Infact these local health workers are given fomal medic training.
Payir has contructed In-patient ward, but it is incomplete due to lack of funding. They need another 3 lakhs to complete in-patient ward, so that minor surgeries and deliveries can be taken care.

Learning Centre at THENUR Village

He has constructed a Learning centre near to Hospital Building. The major objective of the learning centre is to provide an informal education to children of the village (4 - 14) yrs. Emphasis is on imparting useful real life skill education which the children can relate to and put to quick use. For the children between 4 -9 yrs the main subjects would be tamil and mathematics.

In addition to the above the room will also serve a small library - providing newspapers, magazines and books.

BPO Business at THENUR Village

PAYIR started BPO center with 11 computers and few are donated by MRF Company. He is getting jobs from Chennai and he would complete the BPO assignments by village people with little education like 8th standard to 12th standard. Senthil got Broadband internet connection (2 mbps) to THENUR Village and that is another achivement.

Sewing Machine Project

Senthil discussed with few companies in Tirupur and trying to take another project for village people. He would bring materials with measurement to thenur village and will be stiched by trained tailors from the same village. In this way, he would create more employement to those village people. Looking at investment of 3 lakhs(10 machine x 15,000 + other seed capital). Infact he is looking at crating a business model to give back 8% back to investors

Self Help Groups

Facilitated by the interaction between Payir and the local villagers a self-help group has been formed by the villagers. This group has come together to self finance and run a small diary project. This group consists of both men and women, which is significant considering currently the village women are not part of any initiative outside their homes. Also notable is the fact that idea was conceptualized and brought to fruition by the villagers themselves, with Payir merely playing an advisory role.

Organic farming:

Payir runs an organic farm within the land donated to it. The main goal of the farm is learn, develop and train villagers on new/traditional environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques. Currently we have a paddy plantation, a coconut grove and a garden of herbs.
We have started producing coconut compost within the farm; this is being used to fertilize the grove and garden. We hope to shortly make this available the villagers for them to use and sell.

Material used and job creation

Most material used in the construction is low cost and environment friendly like earthen bricks, earthen tiles and thatching.

Most of material for construction was locally sourced - An all women's unit took up the brick making, using hand press machines, during course of construction. we visited the site and got hand first hand operation of the machine. Most of the labor for the construction came from the village


We all know that Senthil would have needed more money for all the above projects.
Senthil has spent all his savings more than Rs. 40 lakhs and he is on his way to achive his goals in life. When we heard this from him - we felt that we are standing in front of a REAL HERO and an excellant human being.

Above everything, Senthil stays in that village and his house doesn't have electricity. He doesn't have any TV or music system. He has very simple cot leads his simple life along with village people and for them.

Why and How Senthil Chose THENUR Village
Thenur village is around 40 km from Trichirappalli, Tamil Nadu (need to go via Manachanallur) and it is a border village between two districts Trichy and Perambalur. Thenur is a typical caste-based village in Tamil Nadu where agriculture is the most important occupation. Thenur has a population of about 3500 belonging to some 13 different castes and at least 2 different religions - Hindu and Islam, predominantly the former. Going by the panchayat records, about 50% of the 550+ households fall under the marginal income group while at least 50 families fall below the poverty line. About 25% of the households are landless labourers - most of them either surviving on landed agriculture/ live-stock farms or dependent occupations and others work as stone breakers, well diggers, construction workers on daily wage scale.

Key challenges
- Lack of primary health care facilities and sanitation
- Very high school drop out rates
- Viable farming and agricultural practices, animal husbandry
- Lack of around-the-year employment opportunities mainly during non-agricultural seasons (or failure of rains) Water management - during rainy season

Current Requirements

1. Deploying teachers at few schools around those villages.

2. Funding to complete In-patient Unit (He needs around 3 lakhs to complete)

3. More donations to run their Hospital and other projects.

You can more information at
You can see all the photos at India Sudar blog at

India Sudar and India Vision 2020 platform are very much look forward to be a strong partner with Payir as we do with other organisations. It is our moral duty to support this extra-ordinary initiative !


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