Gumla, once an unassuming district in Jharkhand, has shed its anonymity and emerged as the "Ragi Capital of India." This remarkable transformation owes its credit to the unwavering dedication of IAS officer Sushant Gaurav, who, in a mere 18 months, revitalized the fortunes of this poverty-stricken district.
Located 100 kilometers from Ranchi, the state capital, Gumla agricultural landscape was solely reliant on paddy cultivation. This single-crop dependence rendered the district vulnerable to the whims of weather and market fluctuations. Additionally, paddy's water-intensive nature strained the region's already scarce water resources. Recognizing the need for a sustainable and resilient agricultural system, IAS Sushant Gaurav championed the shift from paddy to ragi cultivation, particularly among women farmers. Ragi, a millet variety, thrives in drought-prone environments and boasts high nutritional value, making it an ideal crop for the region.
Empowering Women Farmers:
To promote ragi cultivation, IAS Sushant Gaurav established 5,500 women's self-help groups, equipping them with training in ragi farming techniques. He also facilitated access to quality seeds, fertilizers, and implements, empowering these women to become agents of change. Sustainable livelihoods for ragi farmers were ensured through market linkages. IAS Gaurav played a pivotal role in establishing the district's first ragi processing unit, capable of handling 1 ton of ragi daily. This processed ragi is then transformed into value-added products like laddus and noodles, marketed both locally and beyond state borders.
While Gaurav's success in promoting ragi is noteworthy, his focus extended to holistic development across various aspects of life in Gumla. He modernized schools with smart classrooms, revitalized libraries, and promoted digital access, fostering a love for learning and equipping residents for the digital age. Recognizing the importance of physical activity and social engagement, he established a sports equipment bank and promoted participation, nurturing talents and fostering valuable life skills. He improved access to healthcare facilities, raised awareness about preventive measures, and invested in infrastructure, leading to better health outcomes for the community. Gaurav encouraged participation in various initiatives, promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility. He supported dialogue, local arts & culture, and self-help groups, fostering a stronger community spirit. Gaurav's holistic approach has led to improved literacy, increased sports participation, better healthcare access, and a more vibrant community. His vision serves as a model for addressing the interconnected needs of individuals and communities for sustainable development.
Recognition and Impact:
IAS Sushant Gaurav's transformative initiatives haven't gone unnoticed. He has received recognition from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the prestigious Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Administration. The story of IAS Sushant and Gumla is a beacon of hope, showcasing how dedicated leadership and innovative thinking can drive positive change. By empowering farmers, promoting sustainable agriculture, and focusing on holistic development, IAS Sushant Gaurav has transformed Gumla into a model district, inspiring others to follow suit.
News- Input Better India