The relevance of IRMA

B. Naga Trinadh
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Verghese Kurien
Verghese Kurien

It was one of the best moments of my life when I met the Great Verghese Kurien in Anand. Out of curiosity, I asked him what made him settle down in a small village like Anand, when he had a Masters degree from a US university. With a gentle smile he replied, “True development is the development of men and women, and this idea made me stay in this little town for more than 50 years as an employee of farmers, and I was never able to give this up for what many call a better life. I hope to enthuse young women and men to adopt my passion as theirs”.

As a member on the board of management of IIM, Ahmedabad, Dr Verghese Kurien suggested IIM–A students should serve the nation for at least three years before going in search of greener pastures. Upon hearing this, one of the members on the board, who was a top industrialist from Ahmedabad, took his cigar out of his mouth and said, “So, Dr Kurien, you want our graduates to go and milk cows?” Dr Kurien stood up and replied: “No, you continue to teach them how to suck on cigars”, and then resigned from the board. This event led to the birth of a unique institution — Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA).


Recently, the Organising Committee of Agriculture Leadership Awards, under the Chairmanship of Professor M. S. Swaminathan, pioneer of India's Green Revolution, presented the Agriculture Leadership Award 2011 to IRMA, under the Development Leadership category. The decision was arrived at, keeping in view the transformational role that IRMA has played in rural development through academics, research, and developmental initiatives. With the rapid increase in management professionals, most management institutes are doing all they can to emphasise their 100 per cent placement figures, attract MNCs, flaunt those staggering salary packages, and send their students to corporate offices in leading cities across continents. Unlike most of the institutes that prepare professionals for this rat race, IRMA strives to improve the lives of millions of people in the rural areas.


While we look at cities like Mumbai or Delhi as big markets, the fact is that the smaller towns are changing rapidly, and also serving as extremely important centres for the growth of manufacturing, industry and services. IRMA is consistently contributing to policy formulation, advocacy and research pertaining to the rural economy and the development sector.

It doesn't come as a surprise that the rural development ministries of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat are doing well; they have been recruiting IRMAns for the past few years in their tribal, rural and development-related departments. Innovations such as E-choupal, that won the Stockholm Challenge award 2006, or the various cooperative societies that are being spearheaded in many rural pockets are just a few of the social and economic contributions of IRMA .The Rs 25 crore grant to IRMA in the Budget is just a token of recognition.

(The author is an alumnus of IRMA and works in the development sector. )

(This article was published on March 23, 2012)
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great work Naga!!!

from:  Nikesh Kumar Das
Posted on: Mar 24, 2012 at 09:39 IST

Good Read !

from:  Arun
Posted on: Mar 24, 2012 at 15:49 IST

As a passout from IRMA, i am forever grateful to Kurien, and the IRMA
family for the road that they set me on.

from:  Nidhi Tewari
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 12:18 IST

As much as I'd like to appreciate the concept of IRMA, I'd also like
to recommend a revision or an alter on the perspective towards the
Rural Sector. Probably IRMA should focus on bringing attention of
larger Corporations to look at the Rural Space on Business Value
aspect than just a Social Value aspect. Enough of CSRs in the Rural

Also, as good as e-choupal has been on the limelight for winning
awards, practical scalability and sustainability has been subjective.
Still hope that it is practically possible and scalable. An award
should be considered as an encouragement point than a Destination or
ultimate recognition.

Hope to see some reasonable evolution.

from:  DSo
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 12:44 IST

good article

from:  kiran
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 13:17 IST

As a person who has been associated with Dr V Kurien for more than 20
years, it gave me great pleasure to read the article written on IRMA and
its founder-Chairman, Dr Kurien, by an IRMAn. It is only appropriate
that Nobel laureate and Green Revolution leader Norman Borlaug had
called Dr Kurien as 'one of the great agricultural leaders of [the 21st]
century'. Dr Kurien is indeed a 'Bharat Ratna' whether or not Government
of India feels so!!

from:  Joseph P A
Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 11:00 IST
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