hy would engineers and management professionals, with degrees from institutions like MIT and Harvard, choose to apply their brainpower to small-scale irrigation setups in tribal Jharkhand? For Deep Joshi, who did exactly that, the pressing question was, what’s stopping them? The co-founder of Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), Joshi, now 60, says that for people with the finest management, social science or engineering education, there are few more worthy intellectual challenges than rural underdevelopment. "Development work is considered intellectually inferior, unlike high science, industry or diplomacy. We want to prove that it is both a challenging and a noble choice," he says.
Taking HR and bottomline profits as seriously as any blue-chip corporation, PRADAN recruits top professionals, including IIM and IIT graduates, and puts their expertise
to work on projects to enhance agricultural productivity and promote rural livelihood, via animal husbandry, dairy farming and sericulture. The result is a group that
is active in seven states, helps 68,000 families support themselves, supervises over Rs 100 crore worth of newly-created economic activity, and keeps on growing.