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Paani foundation behind silent revolution in state : Kiran Rao at TieCON Pune

The session was not about the usual business of profits and bottomlines, but about a silent revolution that has brought a huge change in Maharashtra

pune Updated: Apr 14, 2019 17:50 IST
Namita Shibad
Namita Shibad
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,TieCON,Kiran Rao
From left: Kiran Rao with Satyajit Bhatkal, chief executive officer, Paani Foundation.(HT PHOTO)

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) began the 7th edition of TieCON Pune on Friday at the Westin Hotel. The two-day gathering saw Kiran Rao share her experiences and learning from the Paani Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which she co-founded with her husband Aamir Khan. The session was not about the usual business of profits and bottomlines, but about a silent revolution that has brought a huge change in Maharashtra.

Kiran Rao spoke passionately about the Paani Foundation. She said “I am a city girl and my idea of a village came from paintings, film shoots and I didn’t really get a chance to know more about them. Going to villages and visiting them changed my perspective about my own life. At a deeper level something changed and I felt more connected with people and in a sense experienced a bright new world and connected to the vast nature. It was a fulfilling experience for me.”

Talking about ideas Satyajit Bhatkal, chief executive officer, Paani Foundation, said, “The water cup revolution started during the Satyameya Jayate series and we came across a startling fact that there is no problem in India which has not been solved, but the solution has been restricted to a specific area or village and has not converted into a mass movement. So, we have the know-how, but no scale and I think communication is the missing link between these two.”

He further added, “We came up with the idea of water cup, which is a competition and is fun, modern and participatory. It also gives an opportunity to share knowledge. We shut down Satyamave Jayate and concentrated on one issue and that is of water. Maharashtra already was a laboratory of techniques to fight endemic droughts, but this was confined to only a few talukas. There is a need to convert this into a mass movement.”

Bhatkal added, “The aim of the competition was to see which village gave the best results in water conservation. The running time of water in technical terms has to be reduced. If the water is running, make it walk; if it is walking, make it percolate. That way you would become water secured. In 2018, the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup competition had 4,000 villages participating from 75 talukas which generated 22,269 crore litres of water. The Paani Foundation tied up with Pune-based Wotr, an NGO that provides technical know-how regarding water technologies.”

Rao added, “The Paani Foundation connected me to nature and it made me realise how far we have gone to destroy nature. This gave me a chance to help conserve nature. It is a joyous celebration. The Jalmitra initiative, which we have started, was to bridge the gap between village and the city. This is bringing about a transformation where an entire community is working towards a common goal.”

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 17:05 IST