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‘I wanted to do something for rural people’

Driven by a passion to do something for Bihar, XLRI alumnus Kumar Ankit founded a company that aims to root out problems such as migration and unemployment.

education Updated: May 28, 2013 18:57 IST
Gauri Kohli
Gauri Kohli
Hindustan Times

Driven by a passion to do something for Bihar, XLRI alumnus Kumar Ankit founded a company that aims to root out problems such as migration and unemployment.

What was your project about? How much time did you spend on it?
At Green Leaf Energy Pvt Ltd, we work as facilitators for converging biofuel and horticulture plantation with MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) under the social forestry model. The model involves linking 200 plants (one unit) with four rural households as Vanposhaks, who take care of the plants for five years. This provides them with continuous employment. The elderly, women and differently abled are given preference in appointment as Vanposhaks (nurturers of the forest) and are provided 100 days of employment for taking care of the plants. We conduct awareness programmes in villages about the benefits of social forestry, ensure selection of drought proofing schemes in gram sabha, provide technical and material support to the gram panchayat to raise these plantations, enter into buy-back arrangements to solve supply chain issues and finally forward-integrate into biodiesel production and food processing to complete the value chain. This way, we try to solve problems such as migration, unemployment, wastelands, Naxalism, access to energy and inefficiencies in agricultural supply chain.

How did the company grow?
We were one of the first companies in India to converge plantations with MNREGA. We were appointed as project proponents-cum-facilitators for pongamia (karanj) plantations under MNREGA by the rural development department, government of Bihar, in June 2010. We have been successful in establishing partnerships with gram panchayats and district rural development agencies for scaling up and model replication.

We get regular guidance from the XLRI faculty and IIM Ahmedabad. For technical guidance in raising saplings and nurseries, we have tied up with scientists in Indian Council of Agricultural Research. We are also getting technical support from professors in IISc, Bangalore and R&D centre of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Greater Noida, for establishing a biodiesel manufacturing unit.

Why is this project important?
The specific social challenge that this project is attempting to solve is unemployment. The project is currently running in severely Naxal-affected areas of Bihar. The people who are going to benefit from this would be from the below-poverty-line rural population, landless labourers and small and marginal farmers. In the last two years, our project has completed plantation of 80 lakh saplings, impacting around 1.5 lakh families, which has helped increase their overall income.

Elaborate on your current areas of work.
The project started operations in June 2010 with one gram panchayat in Gaya district with one nursery. We have now scaled up to around 800 gram panchayats in 80 blocks of 10 districts in Bihar and complete a colossal plantation of 70 lakh saplings.

‘Students get exposure to the social sector here’

Kumar Ankit was clear from the first term itself that he wanted to work in the social sector. He used the learnings from his MBA to work effectively in areas such as supply chain, finance and management.

XLRI also has courses such as social entrepreneurship, sustainability, development economics, and public-private partnership which gives a wider perspective to a student. This helps in giving students an exposure to the social sector and understand the problem areas.

Our students use their skills for creating a social impact
- Madhukar Shukla, professor (strategic management) and chairperson of Fr Arrupe Centre for Ecology and Sustainability, XLRI

Five facts at your fingertips

1. About XLRI Founded by Father Quinn Enright, SJ, XLRI opened in 1949 in Jamshedpur. Its postgraduate diploma in business management has been recognised by the Association of Indian Universities.

The PG diploma in human resource management has been recognised as equivalent to a master’s degree of an Indian university in the corresponding area.

2. Influencer “I wanted to contribute to solving problems such as migration, unemployment, and inefficiencies in the agricultural supply chain. I always had this passion of working for Bihar. Gaya is my hometown and I have seen vast stretches of wastelands in which farmers were not able to do anything and thus had to migrate. So, I decided to start this project,” says Ankit

3. Programmes XLRI offers a range of full-time and part-time programmes. The flagship programmes are the two-year full-time post graduate programmes in business management and human resource management and the full-time general management course. It also offers a doctoral-level programme and five distance learning one-year certificate courses via satellite mode

4. Jamshedpur It is India’s first planned, industrial city, founded by the late Jamshedji Nusserwanji Tata

It is known for the Tata Iron & Steel Company

It is one of the most populous cities in Jharkhand

This area is rich in mineral resources

5. Admissions To get admission to the flagship programme, candidates have to take the Xavier Admission Test (XAT) conducted in the first week of January every year. The candidate has to first register for XAT and use the XAT ID and password to apply to XLRI. The process starts from mid-August every year. Visit for details

First Published: May 28, 2013 14:36 IST