Government and IITs coming up with “planning of villages”: IITG Director Social Scientists should lead Research: IITG Director at USTM workshop

9th Mile, Khanapoara, Ri Bhoi, November 10, 2022: Rural development is very critical for us. If India wants to become a 5 trillion economy, we need to solve the problems in its villages. For the first time in India, the Government, teaming up with top IITs of India has come up with “planning of villages”. This was stated by Prof. TG Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati while addressing the valedictory session of the 2-week-long capacity building programme on “Research & Training-Learning Process for the Faculty in Social sciences” here yesterday. The programme was organised by the Department of Rural Development, University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM) with support from the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

The session was also addressed by Prof V Suresh Babu, NIRDPR-NERC; Ms Anusua Butta Baruah, IAS, Scey., Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs, Govt. of Assam, Prod GD Sharma, VC, USTM, apart from others. Addressing the participants, Prof Sitharam said that the initiative of village planning is expected to be done in the tune of town planning or city planning which is quite different from the existing concept of development of villages. This rural planning would be short term as well as long term.

The short-term plan is for 5 years and the long-term planning is for 25 years. “IIT Guwahati has selected two villages from Kamrup (Rural) District of Assam in the initial stage. We are finding out which are the prime locations or properties in the villages, how do we manage the solid waste in the villages, how do we give water supply etc. basically planning for development.” Social entrepreneurship has to happen in a big way, he emphasised.

He also said that this village planning is exactly like town planning. “This village planning the process is being started for the first time in India taking only 20 villages across India as of now, which is being done by the Ministry of Panchayat Raj, all IITs and 10 schools of planning”, he added.

Speaking on research, he said that funding for Social Science Research Research is limited while in science and technology research the Government provides huge funds. Therefore, he advised that “social scientists should bring scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs into its course.

That will change the complete perspective”. “I strongly believe that social scientists should lead the research. People from a humanities background should design research problems and involve scientists and technologists in the
process of doing it, it is a key aspect of doing research. Then it will be much more fruitful as far as output is concerned. “At the end of the day, research and development is done for whom? It is for the common people. So, we should come out of the ways in which we have been doing research and broadening our perspective”, he stated.

He said that all kinds of developments, be it healthcare, engineering solutions for flood control, or disaster management, should emanate from our villages. Humanities play a major role in research and development with the science and technology component coming into its purview.

The program ended with the distribution of certificates and mementos to all the participants of the 2-week-long capacity building programme on Research & Training-Learning Process.

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