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Agents of change

education Updated: May 02, 2012 13:18 IST
Gauri Kohli
Gauri Kohli
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It’s not just the corporate or consulting firms that are giving a chance to students from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to showcase their skills and talent. Some innovative suggestions from these budding managers have got a thumbs-up from a few state governments as well.

Take the case of IIM Raipur. After hosting a workshop last year, which saw participation of the top brass of all Chhattisgarh government enterprises, the students showed keen interest in working in some key areas to aid the growth and development of the state. Twenty students of IIM Raipur have been offered internship projects with the state government in the areas of public distribution system, healthcare, finance, rural development, and woman and child development, among others. The internships came with a stipend of Rs. 50,000 for two months. “Generally, IIM students want to work with corporates, but IIMs are meant for addressing a bigger purpose than just (offering) management degrees. During these internships, our students work directly with policymakers and study rural fund management, microfinance and communication strategies etc,” says BS Sahay, director, IIM Raipur.

Students at IIM Shillong are also getting a feel of the rural pulse. Krishna Chaitanya, a commerce graduate, is pursuing his internship with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). His role is to ‘perform financial planning for an ailing regional rural bank (RRB).’ The project exposes him to the often overlooked rural class which does not have equal access to credit as compared to their urban counterparts. “My stint so far has made me realise the number of stakeholders in policymaking, the acts and policies concerning RRBs, the need for financial inclusion, the hassles in implementation, sustenance and the effort that goes behind policy framing,” he says.

Ananya Roy, also doing an internship with the RBI, has been assigned a project on FDI in retail. She has to assess the current scenario of the Indian retail sector and then evaluate the benefits (if any) of introducing FDI to the sector. Roy has so far become aware of some of the consequences of FDI in the Indian scenario on the face of infrastructure, policy and supply chain issues. “Since regulation of FDI has been a debatable issue, the perspectives of RBI and its working methods have provided me with immense takeaways. It has also helped me get better clarity on the issues of employment, food price volatility and in understanding the condition of current retailers and farmers as well,” says Roy.

Ankit Kumar Hetamsaria, an engineer who is interning with Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), is working on a project related to the financial implications of renewable purchase obligation (RPO), as per government regulations in the corporation’s Guwahati refinery. Hetamsaria’s role is to help improve the decision-taking measures of IOCL by providing a deeper understanding of the RPO across the various domains within the organisation. This project has given him an opportunity to interact with people in the renewable energy sector, the difficulties faced in implementing such projects and the hurdles in the government’s huge efforts to cater to this segment.

What got him interested in working with the government in future undertakings and in being a part of dealing with the energy crisis is the fact that the domain is huge and untapped.

Then there’s bITeSys. This systems club of IIM Shillong, in collaboration with National Informatics Centre Meghalaya and the Government of Meghalaya, is working on the expenditure monitoring project for Integrated Child Development Services Scheme, Government of Meghalaya. “The club is helping the government find out various ways of using technology to monitor the expenditure of the programme,” says Manavendra Roy Choudhury, a student of IIM Shillong.

IIM Ranchi will present the two best papers that prescribe pragmatic solutions to the Jharkhand government for future implementation. The institute also plans to forward the best suggestions to the Centre for schemes that come under the latter’s purview. “The idea of social projects serves the twin purpose of bringing social sensitivity in young minds and finding solutions to problems,” says MJ Xavier, director, IIM Ranchi.

Get the social edge
* In an effort to inculcate a sense of social responsibility, IIM Ranchi students are taught the legal and social aspects of business which carries 40% of the total weightage. Best social work projects are also given cash awards

* At IIM Shillong, students can opt for elective courses in corporate environmental management and sustainability; rural marketing and energy environment innovation and geopolitics that give them a sense of corporate social responsibility

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