Measurable. Sustainable. Replicable.
The Chitrakoot Project is an integrated and holistic model for the development of rural India, based on the principles outlines in Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism to create a society based on the complementarity of the family, primary school and the local population. The Chitrakoot Project is a self-reliance campaign that was launched on 26th January 2002 and will cover 500 villages around Chitrakoot in 2 phases. The 80 villages taken up in the 1st phase were self-reliant by 15th August 2005, and the remaining villages achieved self-reliance by 15th August 2010. The Campaign has also been started in the villages covered by the Institute in Gonda and Beed districts.
The self-reliance campaign covers all aspects of individual, family and societal life of the villagers. The key to the campaign is the concept of Samaj Shilpi Dampati (SSD), ‘graduate’ couples that lives within the villages itself, and are responsible for motivating and guiding a cluster of 5 villages.
Foremost among the aspects covered is income generation. This is achieved by introducing watershed and soil management techniques where necessary; new and improved farming technologies through 2.5 and 1.5 acre model farms that enable small and marginal farmers – who account for 80% of the rural population — to look after the family needs plus save; and by increasing Non-Farm Sector incomes through entrepreneur training and the formation of income-generating Self Help Groups (SHGs) that are both stand alone, and vertically integrated.
Issues of health and hygiene are the second most important aspect of the campaign, as an unhealthy individual is incapable of working to improve his/her economic condition. Regardless of the manifold benefits of Ayurveda and Naturopathy – Allopathic intervention – when the ratio of doctors to population is in excess of 1:10,000 and the cost of medicine high, is impractical. Therefore, in issues related to health, the Chitrakoot Project looks to Ayurveda and Naturopathy to keep villagers healthy. Locally available herbs and nutritional vegetable gardens are the key interventions used in this area, including a Dadima ka Butua, a collection of 34 Ayurvedic local herbs and preparations that can be used to treat common ailments. Where Ayurveda is not applicable, as for example in Dentistry, state-of-the-art facilities have been provided at Arogyadham, Deendayal Research Institute’s Ayurvedic & Naturopathy Hospital & Research Centre at Chitrakoot.
Illiteracy and social consciousness is the third area covered by the campaign. A ‘functional literacy campaign’ developed by TCS is was also conducted for the villagers by the Samaj Shilpi Dampati, our Educational Research Centre and the 4 schools that operate within the Project area. Ram Darshan, a unique museum that highlights socially relevant aspects of Lord Rama’s life helps villagers inculcate human values to encourage them to live in a spirit of co-operation and harmony with each other.
The outputs of the Self Reliance Campaign were measurable, and resulted in Self Reliant Families; Prosperous Families and Self Reliant Villages.
The process for the interventions in the villages that form part of the Self Reliance Campaign were found to conform to ISO 9001:2000; ISO 9001:2008 andISO 9001:2015 standards. The Institute is also recognised by the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India as a Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO).