After graduating from prominent business schools and management institutes, most graduates look abroad or in the corporate sector for lucrative job opportunities—which seems to be the dream of most youth in the country.
But seldom do we come across youngsters who voluntarily opt out of the rat race – forgoing hefty paycheques to instead work in the rural development sector.
Ritraj Singh had studied at the prestigious Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), where he was among the top 50 in the PRM 37 batch with 2.82 GPA. This meant that he could have easily clinched a job with a ₹10 lakh per annum salary package.
However, with a salary of ₹3.5 lakh per annum, Ritraj took the road not taken by accepting a job offered by Urmul, a non-profit organisation based in Bikaner town that works towards the welfare of weavers in the Great Thar Desert.
In fact, amongst the PRM 37 batch, Ritraj’s salary package is the lowest. But that is least of his concerns.
It was during his time at IRMA that his eyes ‘opened’ to the state of grassroots communities in the rural sphere of the country and their struggles, which shaped his priorities around the social welfare of these communities.
“It did not happen in a day. Before joining IRMA, I did not have any such inclination. During my internship, I came across the difficulties faced at the grassroots level by agencies, who are working towards implementing government policies aimed at poverty alleviation. I realised it was better to work at the grassroots level and hence chose to go for development sector,” he told Times of India.
Ritraj hails from a simple background. His father is a manager in the sales department of a fertiliser firm while his mother takes care of their household.
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Previously having associated with Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) and Chhattisgarh State Rural Livelihoods Mission as part of his internships, Ritraj will now work closely with rural weavers based in the arid, desert regions of Bikaner, Jodhpur and parts of Jaisalmer.
Lauding the young man’s thoughtful decision, IRMA’s placement coordinator professor Pratik Modi mentioned that Ritraj would be provided with an additional pay by IRMA in tangent to his income for the next three years as per the institute’s policy.
“We have a unique scheme to promote such individuals who are dedicated to the development sector. Ritraj is eligible for a minimum ₹3 lakh per annum fellowship which will be provided by our institute for the next three years,” he added.
Kudos to motivated youngsters like Ritraj, who have consciously chosen to work for the betterment of the rural poor, in a time when they are met with only apathy and indifference from the government and concerned organisations.