Villagers' Science Congress

Villagers' Science Congress

Problems facing rural India are well known. The opportunities and challenges confronting the rural population must be brought to the forefront.

The Villagers’ Science Congress is an innovative idea of Dr S.B. Mujumdar, Founder & President, Symbiosis, Chancellor, SIU. It is for the first time in the history of the Indian Science Congress that it is being held in a rural part of India i.e. at Symbiosis International (Deemed University) campus, Lavale which is situated in Mulshi Taluka of Pune District in the western state of Maharashtra.

The focus of the Villagers’ Science Congress, will not only be on outlining or tabulating problems of Villagers, but will also evolve sustainable solutions especially focusing on rural women.

Today, there are a plethora of schemes and projects which have been successfully implemented in addressing the problems.

The scope of discussions would cover the total area of the entire state of Maharashtra, from the Konkan Coast in the west to Gondia in the east, which is 3,10,000 sq.kms. There is a wide variation in

  • Physiography: Sahyadri and Satpuda mountain range and the rivers originating in these mountain ranges
  • Climate: Heavy rains to rain shadow zone, (humid and sub-humid type), vagaries of monsoon
  • Lithology: rock types and their weathering pattern which decides the quality of soil, availability of water

Based on these variables, several agro-pedological zones are in existence. Each zone is peculiar which decides the crop pattern as also poses peculiar agricultural issues.

Agro-based issues of rural areas shall be discussed in the Villagers’ Science Congress. However, locally viable professions, beyond agriculture including dairy, poultry, horticulture etc. will also be brought to the fore front whereby requisite guidance would be given on the concept of mind to market and effective supply chain management of all these products, exemplified by the strawberry market of Mahableshwar which shall be showcased as a case study.

Few of the problems confronting the rural population in general and agriculturists in particular, shall be discussed. Further, sub-themes will focus discussions on rural healthcare, civic infrastructure and development (PURA concept), rural education, public health and environmental sustainability. An interesting concept of developing a ‘Rural MIDC’ will be deliberated upon.

Women Empowerment being the central theme of the science congress, every session shall have a focused discussion on the same, especially showcasing success stories.

It is also proposed that select women entrepreneurs who have contributed significantly to the development of villages be recognized / felicitated during the sessions. The awards will be handed over by Shri Sharad Pawar and Dr Mohammad Yunus.

A special venue has been earmarked to showcase the produce and products of different regions of Maharashtra especially from tribal areas and women entrepreneurs, innovators, progressive farmers etc.

In continuation, as a ‘crystal gazing’ exercise, it may be pertinent to analyze the transformation of Mulshi Taluka due to the rapid urbanization. Various issues encompassing the same, such as civic infrastructure development, rising real estate prices, migration of the local population towards the city or conversely extension of the city in this gram panchayant area, all of which challenge the civic administration, need to be considered. It would therefore be interesting to envision and forecast Mulshi Taluka in 2050, as a prototype typical Indian Village.

All the proceedings will be conducted in Marathi / Hindi which will be subsequently translated in English. The recommendations of the Villagers’ Science Congress shall be forwarded to the Govt. for policy formulation.

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