Educational Qualification: B.A. (Economics Honors, New -Delhi), MSW (Indore,
MP), Post Graduate Diplomas in Community Development (Canada), Diploma in Agriculture Planning (Netherland), Ph.D. in Women Technology (Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi)
i. Period Worked : 25 years
ii. Scope of Work:
Regional coverage: 150 villages of Wardha Block
National coverage: 21 States of India
iii. Coverage: Rural Women, Farmers, and Artisans
Extent of Voluntary Effort: For the past 25 years, Dr.Vibha Gupta has dedicated her efforts to develop rural economy by mobilizing scientific and technical innovations, specifically in the area of water, sustainable farming, women entrepreneurship, and artisan based rural industries:
The following are the voluntary efforts of Dr. Vibha Gupta:
Co-founded the Center of Science for Villages (CSV), in Wardha (Maharashtra State). This nationally and internationally recognized institution is developing & promoting economically viable and environmentally sound appropriate technologies to generate rural employment. The Center has developed 70 technologies in the areas of renewable energy specially Biogas; mud housing; low cost sanitation; scientific extraction of forest produce specially honey and gum; single bullock operated agriculture tools; organic agriculture inputs like herbal pesticides and manure; hand made paper from banana stem and other agro- residues; improved tools for artisans like blacksmith and potters; irrigation technology that is low on water and high on yield; herbal beverages as healthy substitute to aerated drinks; low cost water filters; rain water harvesting technology and many others.
Instrumental in introducing the following policies and Programs:
Previously the houses constructed for the homeless under the Indira Awas Yojana (Government Scheme) were allocated in the name of the male head of the family leaving the women with no right or say in the property. Efforts were made to amend this policy to protect the property right of the women and Govt. agreed to amend its earlier policy. According to the revised policy it became mandatory to allocate the house constructed under the Indira Awas Yojana in the name of both the female and male heads of the family and in case of women headed families the house is allotted in name of the women.
Inspite of total failure of community toilets in the villages (due to social taboos, lack of water, local management etc.), the Govt. continued with the wasteful expenditure on community toilets. Efforts were made on national scale to focus attention on the dire need of individual toilets in rural areas. After many consultations Government agreed to restructure the rural sanitation program on national scale and allocate funds for individual toilets instead of community toilets.
Introduced ‘Young Scientists Scheme’ and ‘Senior Scientist Scheme’, in the agenda of Science & Society Division of Department of Science & Technology, (Ministry of Science & Technology ,New Delhi). The objective of these schemes is to support and encourage the spirit of innovation, work on new frontiers of knowledge, assist learning in India and abroad and encourage projects on society related S & T problems.
As Expert Committee Member of Women Science and Technology Division of Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, she assisted in setting up Women Technology Centers in the critical Arid and Desert areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan. As part of this task she traveled widely across the deserts of Gujarat and Rajasthan and interacted with thousands of rural women and 145 local voluntary organizations. The problems faced by the women of the region were compiled and published.
Turned 8 water scarcity villages to water sufficient villages by watershed conservation and development work. During summer months these villages paid for the 2.40 Crore liter water supplied to them through tankers. With introduction of primary watershed structures the water level in wells rose by 1 to 1.5 meters and 9000 cubic meter water is conserved, now the villages have sufficient water throughout the year. With watershed work 42,000 CTM soil is saved from erosion, 450 Acre waste lands brought under cultivation and 2800 Hector dry land covered under irrigation.
Mobilized 10,000 rural women and formed 600 Self Help Groups in 100 villages. These women Self Help Groups are saving their hard earned money in 17 rural banks. The total monetary transaction of these SHGs is Rs.4.50 Crore.
Empowered the rural women with production skills and entrepreneurial ability by training 367 rural women at 40 technical institutes, located in 12 States, in production of 120 marketable products. At present 34 rural enterprises are functioning in 30 villages providing subsidiary employment to 700 women (many of these women are below poverty line).
Heading the Karigar Panchayat, that is linked with 2 lakh artisans of 21 states of India. It is a voluntary movement to support, protect and empower traditional artisans. The artisans are being helped to procure identity cards; safe space in the market; regular supply of raw material at appropriate rates; improved tools; better designs; quality improvement ; standardization; product diversification; energy efficient processing technology; techniques to reduce hazards; protect traditional skills, knowledge and science; and other related issues.
Providing employment to 220 artisans in production and sale of Khadi (hand woven and handspun fabric).These artisans include spinners, weavers, dyer, processing artisans, tailors, designer, and salesmen. Unlike other Khadi units in India, the noteworthy feature of this unit is that it yearly sells Khadi worth 50 lakh Rupees without Government subsidy (rebate).
Promoting Organic Khadi by linking the organic cotton grower with cotton processing units. For this a decentralized sliver production plant is installed. Compared to other ginning and sliver plants this plant significantly saves water and energy, generates no pollution and recycles back the organic cotton seeds for cultivation.
Natural Dye Unit set up to combat the environmental hazards of chemical dyes. The Natural Dyes unit produces eco-friendly textile and food colors. The unit has developed five unique printing techniques and 320 color shades. Out of these color shades 64 are commercially used.
To save farmers from debt, disease and death farmers of 25 villages of Samudrapur Block are mobilized, and trained to do Natural farming. At present 2000 farmers are doing natural farming on 1500 Hectare land and yearly saving more than 2.5 Crore Rupees by not buying high cost chemical inputs. In Natural farming cow dung & cow urine are basic components. To facilitate availability of cow urine to the farmers 16 cow urine collection centers are opened in 11 villages. The Natural farming has led to increase in earning by 20 to 30 %; increase in crop yield by 10 to 20%; improvement in the soil quality; revival of traditional crops (like Flax Seed); and increase in honey bee population. The primary contribution of these farmers is saving the land, air, soil and water of the region from hazardous pollutants.
Generating awareness among 3 Lakh visitors from India and abroad about Mahatma Gandhi, his principals, constructive works and rural industries. These visitors annually visit the two museums – Gandhi Picture Gallery (Sewagram) and Museum of Rural Industries (Wardha) started by Mahatma Gandhi in 1938. (Dr. Vibha Gupta is the Director of these museums.)
New initiatives Undertaken
Brought to the national forum the issue of lack of appropriate technologies for rural women working in the farm, field and factory. To highlight the technologies essential for the rural women she compiled seven books on ‘Technologies for Rural Women’. These books are published and distributed all over India to concerned institutions by the Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi (Ministry of Science & Technology), UNESCO, and National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Welfare, New Delhi (Ministry of Women & Child Welfare).
The people, in general, are loosing their faith in Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and constructive works as they are uninformed about the efforts made by Gandhians and related voluntary institutions towards restoring planet earth ,creating healthy society and safe peaceful world. To show case such efforts a week long exposition named ‘Wardha Wardhan’ is organized. In this exposition the Gandhian organizations, Appropriate Technology Centers, innovators, artisans, artists, environmentalist, animal lovers, alternative therapist, organic farmers, educationist, and institutions involved in Khadi and rural industries participate. More than 50,000 people and 100 institutions take part in this event and learn about the various constructive works, campaigns, literature and field based experiments undertaken by institutions working on Gandhian principles.
Leading the campaign to prevent the accident of man and animal drawn vehicles (Bullock cart, bicycle, rickshaw, hand cart etc.) that ply on the high ways or roads intercepting the villages. These accidents particularly occur during the dark hours of the day as there are no road lights on high ways and rural roads and the slow vehicles carry no bright or lighted object like head light, torch, lantern etc. that could make their presence visible in the darkness. Due to lack of visibility these slow vehicles are prone to accidents. In order to prevent the accidents of man and animal drawn vehicles on high ways and rural roads a Safety Strip (Suraksha Patti) campaign is organized where the children identify all Bullock cart, bicycle, rickshaw, hand cart etc. in the village and paste radium strips especially on front and back of the vehicle. The radium strip shines as the head light of the far off running vehicle falls on it and the reflection of the strip in darkness is adequate to alert the driver of presence of the slow vehicle and accidents are averted.
Lack of people’s involvement in community based program is the cause of failure of rural programs. The same had been the fate of sanitation program. The success of Total Sanitation Program implemented in Samudrapur block proved this phenomenon. Here every household in the village was mobilized to collectively deposited seed money in the bank and receive soft loan to construct sanitation unit including a Toilet and Bathroom. Bhawanpur is the first village where by motivating the community every 100 household invested their own hard earned money to built sanitation unit and open defecation became history. The success story of Bhawanpur attracted five more villages to follow suit.
Due to poverty, taboos, and water scarcity rural women are forced to adopt unhygienic hazardous sanitary napkins during menstruation cycle leading to stress discomfort, and infections. With assistance of the Department of Science and Technology good quality, hygienic and low cost Sanitary Napkins are developed to suit the requirement of rural women. These standardized natural fiber based Sanitary Napkin is easily degradable, cost very little and can be manufactured in small scale rural based unit.
Pulled out 200 potter family from state of starvation and restored their livelihood. The livelihood of the potters of Wardha totally depends on the sale of mud idols of God and Goddesses sold during Diwali, Lakshmi Pooja,Ganpati Utsav, Maha Lakshmi. In the last decade the light weight and cheap molded Plaster of Paris idols replaced the mud idols. The totally marginalized potters could sell only 20-30 % of their idols. Karigar Panchayat along with the local potters led an intensive campaign and mobilized the community, religious groups, local governmental offices and business groups to ban sale of Ganapati idols made by the Plaster of Paris and support the sale of environment-friendly mud Ganapati idols. As mud idols have bio-friendly solvent properties, resulting is non-degradation of water bodies during the immersion process. With total cooperation of all the factors the campaign was successful and 200 potters regained their lost market and livelihood. After the success in Wardha, potters in other part of Vidarbha are following this initiative.
Organized movements in 30 villages to protect and propagate indigenous seeds and revive commercially viable traditional crops. This movement led to locate 15 new varieties of rare seeds. As a result of this movement many farmers in the region started growing traditional commercial crops like Linseed (Flax Seed), Custard Apple, Ambadi (hibiscus Rosa) plants. These rain-fed crops do not require irrigation or chemical inputs; they prevent soil erosion and add to the farmer’s income.
Saved local horticulture plants like Custard Apple and wild Ber from destruction. The best quality Custard Apple and Ber grow as wild plants, in Samudrapur region. Previously these fruit plants were slashed down in big numbers for fuel wood and other house hold purposes. Through series of village meeting and technical training the villagers are made to realize the medicinal and commercial value of these plants and their role in protecting soil erosion. Now many villagers started planting new plants, protecting the old ones, methodically harvesting and selling the fruits in the local market.
The Government’s mission to construct rain water harvesting structures to meet water crises is restrained due to the high cost of large capacity water storage tank. This challenge is met by disseminating in rural areas the new system of rain water harvesting costing as little as 1500 o 2500 Rupees. In this system the pipe that carries the rain water from the roof top is attached to the hand pump .By this means the rain water from the roof is channeled to hand pump pipe that carries water to the aquifers. Thus instead of investing on large size ground water tank the freely available under ground aquifer is utilized as reservoir. A specially designed filter is attached to the inlet pipe which filters the rainwater before it is discharged in the hand pump.
Dr. Vibha Gupta and group of young scientists formed the Academy of Young Scientists. The Planning Commission assigned the Academy the work of Involvement of Young Scientists in undertaking Society-Related Science & Technology Problems. The assignment involved meeting students, teachers, scientists, activists at technical institutes, universities, National and Regional laboratories. As an outcome of these exercise two schemes to support projects of Young and Senior Scientist was included the schemes of Department of Science & Technology. She worked for the Planning Commission on the ‘Science and Poverty Alleviation Program’.
At the instance of the Union Public Service Commission, Government of India she was part of the committee to review the system of the Civil Service Examination and recommend changes, innovations in its method.
Impact made by the work on the surrounding areas :
10,000 Rural women are saved from the clutches of money lender and cycle of indebtedness. These women are formed into 600 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and are saving their hard earned money in 17 rural banks. The total monetary transaction of these SHGs is Rs.4.50 Crore. Circulation of this money is strengthening the rural economy and adding to its growth.
34 micro enterprises set up in 30 villages where 700 rural women (many are below poverty line) are earning livelihood and subsidiary income. These enterprises are run by women labor and farm workers who are trained in 40 Technical Institutions in processing and manufacturing 120 products.
Political empowerment of rural women is reflected in 12 women members of the SHGs being elected as Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat Member (Member of Village Council) and Zilla Parisad Member (Member of District Council).
2000 Farmers are released from the vicious circle of debt, disease and death by shifting from chemical based farming to Natural Farming. . These farmers are doing natural farming on 1500 Hector land and yearly saving more than 2.5 Crore Rupees by not buying high cost chemical inputs. The Natural farming has led to rise in income of the farmers by 20 to 50 %; increase in crop yield by 20 to 40%; improvement in the soil quality; revival of traditional crops; and increase in honey bee population. The primary contribution of the farmers is saving the land, air, soil and water of the region from hazardous pollutants.
Pulled out 200 potter family from state of starvation and restored their livelihood. The crises made them to come together and work as constructive organized force. They have also assured their market by improving quality their product. Now they are not only earning good amount of money but also investing it in right direction.
2,00,000 artisans of 21 states practicing different crafts have come under the umbrella of Rashtriya Karigar Panchayat where they are recognized and assisted in their creativity, dexterity , scientific knowledge, technical know-how , tradition and culture. These artisans include wood worker, black smith, bamboo worker , leather artisans, honey gatherers, potters, metal worker, weavers, grass weavers, toy makers ,stone and wood carver, housebuilders, artisans making indigenous food and sweets etc.
220 artisans provided with year round employment in khadi production, processing, and sale. Many of these artisans, from Muslim community, were associated with handloom industry and with shutting down of handloom industry had lost their source of livelihood. As Khadi Artisans they are not only provided them with daily bread but also insurance, provident fund and pension.
10 water scarcity villages transformed to water sufficient villages. The water conservation structure led to rise in water level of wells by 1.5 meter 42000 CTM soil saved from erosion, 9000 cubic Meter water is conserved.
Recovered 450 Hector waste land and converted it into cultivable land. 2800 Hector acre land is brought under Irrigation. Enabling farmers to take two to three crops instead of one crop thereby increasing the earning of 1000 farmers.
The Plantation of 1 lakh trees, including Neem, Karanj, Bamboo, Palas, Sagwan, Seeta Phal,Ber, in watershed area changed the quality of soil , increased water retention capacity and decreased depletion of soil. The impact will be visible after few years when the trees start bearing fruits.
Reaching out to 3 Lakh people from India and abroad who come to Wardha and Sewagram to learn about Mahatma Gandhi, his work and principles. These visitors visit the two museums – Gandhi Picture Gallery ,Sewagram (Gandhi Chitra Pradarshani)and Museum of Rural Industries, Wardha (Magan Sangharalaya) started by Mahatma Gandhi in 1938.
The Center of Science for Villages (CSV), in Wardha (Maharashtra State) co- founded by her is doing commendable work on national scale especially in the area of Rural Mud Housing and Sanitation.
The policy to allocate the house constructed under the Indira Awas Yojana in the name of both the female and male heads of the family and in case of women headed families the house is allotted in name of the women, has benefited many women all over India to have equal right over the house and land given to the Below Poverty Line families by the Government.
The Government by allocating funds for individual toilets brought sea change in the sanitation scenario in the villages, especially for women and young girls. All over India where ever sanitation programs are implemented the individual toilet assures women privacy, safety, hygiene, mental peace and physical health.
The‘Young Scientists Scheme’ and ‘Senior Scientist Scheme’, included in the agenda of Science & Society Division of Department of Science & Technology, (Ministry of Science & Technology , New Delhi) brought many crucial issues of national importance that would have remained outside the realm of Science & Technology programs. It gave opportunity to many hard core scientists to work on society related S & T problems.
vii. Extent to which the work done (Modal) can be replicated by others; and prospects of continuity and potential for future development The three major objectives of all the activities under taken by Dr. Vibha Gupta are:
To empower the rural women, farmers, and artisans by reducing their
2007 - Grass Root Divas published by The Indian Merchant
Chamber on International Women’s Day 2007 placed
Dr.Vibha Gupta in the list of Management Gurus of Rural
2008 - Shantabai Dhamankar Award for Outstanding Social
Worker by Kusth Niwaran Samiti, Panvel, Raigarh,
2008 - Women social Worker -2008 Award by Gandhi National
Memorial Society, Agakhan Palace, Pune,Maharashtra
Work at the international forum:
As Executive Committee Member of International Network of Socially Appropriate Technology Information Systems closely worked with community based voluntary organizations in Senegal (Africa), Lima and Peru (Latin America).
When Houses for the Poor was the leading scheme in many SAARC countries, with the support of UNESCO, organized courses on Low Cost Housing for Architects and Engineers of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Assisted the UNIFEM in preparation of policy document for the World Women Conference held at Beijing, china and also participated in meetings held at United Nations, New York for drafting a composite agenda for Beijing World Women conference.
Studied the problems of Rural Housing and Sanitation in Nepal, Bangladesh and Srilanka and met concerned government departments, voluntary organizations, school of planning and architect to develop systems to reach out to women and the poorest.
Organize short-term course on Technology for Rural Women for women professionals of voluntary agencies of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. This program was sponsored by UNESCO.
Some of the major forums where she was invited to present the rural constructive programs and technological intervention introduced in rural India : Institute of Appropriate Rural Technology and Extension Skills, Glueksberg, Germany; Student Pugwash at John Hopkins University, Baltimore,USA ; The Southern Illinois University, St. Louis, USA; The World Bank, United Nations women wing, US Environmental Protection Agency, Institute of Policy Studies, World Watch Institute, World Wide Net PAN IIT, Indian Television Network at Washington DC; The Earth times (Earth times Foundation, United Nations) New York; Village Technology Network, Boston; Ahimsa centre , Pomona, California Polytechnique, USA; Terrafutra, Florence, Italy; UNESCO , Paris, France; Schumacher Center for Technology & Development ; ITDG Intermediate Technology Consultants; Resurgence and Center for Alternative Technology Appropriate Technology Center in United Kingdom.
Gandhi Hut Revolution & After (1987, pp.40)
Compendium of Technology for Rural Women Vol. I, II & III (1980,1990,1996, pp.200-230)
Building Dreams in Mud: Low Cost Housing & Sanitation (1998, pp.83)
Rural Women Technology Training Manual (2000, pp 360)
Mahilaon Ki Sthiti- Rajasthan & Gujarat (2001, Hindi-pp.117)