Ved Arya, founder at Buddha Fellowship Program, receiving the Business Standard Award



Social Entrepreneurs are Job Creators – Support them

Honorable Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley, Honorable Members of the Jury and friends.

Thank you, Arun Jaitley ji for taking the time off from an extremely busy schedule and conferring the award on me.

I am very grateful. Actually this award goes out to SRIJANites. 750 SRIJANites have done something for about 500,000 people in about 20 districts of this country. I wanted to tell Mr Amitabh Kant we can work in aspirational districts. My 88 year old mother is here – from whom I learnt determination. I want to acknowledge my debt to my mother. As Maithili Sharan Gupta said:

Do Do kar Prabhu ne
Daya kar Diye Mujhe,
Bigad Bhale Tu Bhaagya,
Banaa Loonga Mein Tujhe

These words have kept me going all these years. Mr Ramadorai is not here. When I joined TCS in 1981 after passing out from IIMA, he was one of the three musketeers, apart from Mr FC Kohli and Mr Nirmal Jain. Had I known he was going to take over TCS and would be taking it to greater heights, I wouldn’t have left TCS and in the process probably would have made a lot of money. NGOs are good at begging money. Today also I am going to do that. Last year, we raised about 25 crore rupees at SRIJAN.

Today, I am going to ask for 1000 crores. What is that proposal? People like me can walk away from the corporate sector from jobs like TCS and do something for the social sector. I am not being holier than thou. Why that is not happening, Sir? Not even one percent of the IIT and IIM graduates are joining the social sector. Your government has done a great job at establishing 20 IITs and 20 IIMs. But not even one percent of the 10 to 12 thousand students that graduate every year join the social sector. We were just debating, Sir, how many percentage of the people are poor in this country. 20 percent people are poor. 20 percent of the talented youth is not working to solve the problem of poverty. Top of the pyramid is not working for the bottom of the pyramid.

We have this program where IIT/ IIM graduates work directly with the poor, which we call Buddha Fellowship Program. They work on value chains, they work with community leaders and bring healthy food for urban consumers.

My proposal is can we get one crore rupee for each such IIT/ IIM graduate to work like an entrepreneur. There are so many friends here who have passed out from an IIT or an IIM who have done a great job in the corporate sector. Could we request each industrialist friend just one crore for one development entrepreneur who can make a difference in the lives of no less than 1000 families or 5000 poor people. We need 1000 crore to bring 1000 IIT/ IIM graduates and mentor them as development entrepreneurs. They will serve 1 million Poor Families and create 250,000 Jobs by 2028. If we could do that, the day is not far when we can recreate the Bay Area kind of eco-system of entrepreneurship, for the social Sector.

Thank you, Business Standard.