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IITG Fraternity's Steps for societal development

Buljit Buragohain
An education institute is a place for nurturing the future of a society. Being one of the prominent institutes of the nation, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG) has been working towards this goal in several ways.

The students of IIT G have been involved in various efforts like zero illiteracy zone campaign, distribution of used clothes, blood donation camps, visit to orphanages in Guwahati city, popularization of Gandhian philosophy, efforts towards e-governance, mentoring of students from Kendiya Vidyalaya (KV), IIT Guwahati etc. to contribute towards the societal development of the nation in general and of the region in particular.

"The zero illiteracy campaign was started in July 2008 wherein the security guards of the institute and small children from nearby village were taught. The guards were taught spoken and written English. The school children were taught almost all the subjects in their curricula," said Ashish Kakran, General Secretary Students Welfare, IIT Guwahati.

There were around 150 kids from nearby villages Katinga Pahad, Reserve, Muriyapatti, Chinarpatti, Lathiya Bagicha, Amingaon AIDC etc. from class 1-10. Starting from this year, the mess workers of IIT G Hostel are being taught English and general awareness. From August 2007, the students collected old clothes from the campus and distributed to the needy in Guwahati city as a regular event.

Kakran told, “The first blood donation camp was organized in IITG campus on 1st and 2nd of April 2007. This was a grand success where around 200 units of blood were collected. Since then it has become a regular event at IITG. It's planned to make it a bi-semester regular event. The next blood donation camp was organized on 29th of March 2009, in collaboration with Guwahati Medical College (GMC). It was a 1-day camp where 102 units of blood were donated".

"The students of IITG take frequent visits to some of the local orphanages. This interaction has proved to be beneficial to both parties. The inmates of the orphanages always enjoy the presence of our students and we in turn learn a lot about human emotions and values from these kids," he told.

The National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers have started a web page to make the ideas of Mahatma popular among the current generation of youth. They also plan to have regular discussions and brain storming sessions on different implications of Gandhian philosophy and Gandhian economy.

According to him, there have come many policies both at central and state level, which encourage the use of internet for better governance. The inclusion of right to information in the list of fundamental rights is one such step. IITG is trying to build up database and information-base, which can be accessed to use these new initiatives from government in a better way.

He also told, "Mentoring of local school students by university scholars. It's a common trend in foreign universities. Following the same idea, from January 2009, class IX and XI students of Kendiya Vidyalaya of IIT Guwahati are being mentored by IITG students. This gives the KV students a scope to learn more about both curricular and extra-curricular activities. This also gives them a scope to have a more informative career decision".

The students involved in these programs are the NSS volunteers and the Group coordinators are Harpreet Singh (Spoken English for Security Personnel), Mayur Agarwal (Classes for Village Students), Rishab Parasar (Classes for Mess-workers), Tarun Chubisa (E-governance and IT), Atul Sancheti (Popularization of Gandhian Ideals), Ashish Thakur (KV Students' Mentoring).