“Brothers and Sisters, should the citizens of the country take steps for the welfare of the nation? You imagine, if 125 crore countrymen move one step forward, the country moves 125 crore steps forward. The meaning of democracy is n ot just limited to electing a government, but its meaning is that 125 crore citizens work together with the government to fulfil hopes and aspirations of the country, this is the meaning of democracy. We have to create a partnership with the people. We have to proceed under Public-Private Partnership. We have to proceed along with the participation of the people,” Prime Minister Modi said, while addressing the nation from the rampart of the Red Fort on the 68th Independence Day, Aug 15, 2014.
Arvind Dethe, the chairman of R.K Technologies Akola, was immensely inspired by the speech. He decided to take that one step forward.
Arvind started Bharat Ek Kadam, a group comprising a team of entrepreneurs and professionals totally committed to developing the rural infrastructure in India with improvised and indigenously developed technologies that cater to the different needs of the rural mass and provide for viable alternatives to improve their living conditions.
“I wanted to change the very face of rural India by addressing the basic needs of millions of Indians who live below poverty line,” says Arvind.
Bharat Ek Kadam started working on four major fields:Public-Private Partnership models, upliftment programmes, social obligations and bridge between conglomerates/bodies.
Public Private Partnership (PPP) models
This model works on the concept of public private partnership. Bharat Ek Kadam identifies an area or specific locations where the project is to be started. The necessary sanctions and permissions are sought and obtained from the government/ local bodies/institutions. BEK engages with individuals and or other private parties/institutions interested in investing in the project and comes to an agreement to run the business. BEK completes the installation after initial formalities and hands over the project to the concerned parties.
The following PPP models have been established in many villages across Maharashtra:
A novel fledgling project of BEK that targets the ordinary citizen in every town and village, with no access to pure drinking water. Hygiene India aims to make available potable mineral water in public places at a nominal cost. It is also a source of income for many unemployed youth.
In the process of purification of hard water 40-50% of the water gets wasted. BEK has been working on the concept of sanitation for more than two years and has been able to channelize the waste water to utilize the same for in toilets.
The benefits are:
- The government saves money since the project is funded by public private partnership. All that is required is a 300 sq. ft. space to house the unit.
- What the government/local governing body needs to do is provide free water, electricity and the required space to house the RO plant.
- Providing pure drinking water at a fraction of actual cost.
- Employment for at least 50 youth per unit through micro business.
- A big thrust in the filed of sanitation and hygiene.
- Service to humanity with provision for drinking water and urinals and toilets.
Bharat Ek Kadam has installed Hygiene India frame works in cities across Vidarbha with 17 units in Akola.
The main objective of this model is to make pure water available for an entire district. Under this project, a Big RO Plant is to be installed in the district and other small water ATM outlets at various crowded areas of the city. These water ATMs are self-automated where one litre of water can be made available at just Rs.1.
Water to these ATMs will be supplied through Tankers from the main RO plant. The whole water ATM system will be maintained through GPS technology. When the water in the ATM gets over, the machine will automatically send a message to the water tanker service.
Apart from this BEK has made PPP models of smart villages, smart food parks and bus stops.
The bio-toilets introduced by BEK and designed by Arvind is the cheapest (Rs. 6,000) and the toilet superstructure can be assembled in mere seven minutes. The toilets also require minimal usage of water and are completely odourless as it ensures total dissolution of waste. Another important feature of these toilets is that it produces gas for fuel and water for irrigation as bio-products. Till now, BEK has installed thousands of bio-toilets across the country.
BEK has provisions for training of staff and young entrepreneurs. In this in-house training facility, all necessary skills are imparted to the aspirants and entrepreneurs to run the business on their own.
Obligation to society is of prime importance and BEK’s commitment on this issue is totally focused and novel in many ways. The society has its customs and traditions and marriages and birthdays are part of them. BEK chooses to convert such occasions of celebration into memorable moments with an added social twist to it.
In a country like India where toilets are not a privilege available to everyone, BEK focuses on using such occasions to gift the bride/bridegroom with a bio-toilet. By creating awareness in the minds of people to gift items of utmost utility like bio-toilets instead of other expensive gifts, BEK is i trying to create a trend that would have positive ramifications on society.
Chaitali Rathod, who was appointed as one of the ‘Swachchta doots’ (cleanliness ambassadors) for the state of Maharashtra on October 2, 2015, was gifted a bio-toilet by her father with the help of BEK on her wedding.
This envisages tying up with NRIs and HNIs and acting as a facilitator to all those interested in doing philanthropic activities in society. BEK proposes to act as the bridge for the Samaritans who wish to contribute to society and whose goodwill gestures could result in a lot of good being done for the society. BEK undertakes the execution of all projects for and on behalf of the NRIs to fulfil their aims and aspirations to do good.
Manuskicha Bhint (Wall of humanity)
Since February 2016, the “Wall of Humanity” team of BEK has been actively providing cooked food, clothes, books, household items like wheat, rice, oil etc. and medical checkup along with medicines — all for free. Moreover, it is open for the donors 24×7 to donate their clothes, shoes, books, toys, household items or anything useful for that matter that the poor and underprivileged ones can take from the ‘wall’.
We have started this “War against Poverty” and we’ll fight this war till our last breath,” says Arvind Dethe.
Here’s some insight into the man who began BEK.
Arvind Dethe started his career as a production engineer on a salary of Rs. 1,000. He started selling sugarcane juice along with his wife, at a bus stop to sustain his expenses.
His life changed when he became a pioneer of BRP technology in India as he was the only man in the country who had the know-how to convert rock phosphate into fertilizer when the Rajasthan government invested in a Rs. 100-crore project by Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Limited.
He was given the Bharat Samman award in 1997 for commissioning more than 14 fertilizer factories out of 22 in India. The R.K Bio-Toilet Technology made by Arvind was selected as among other Innovative Technologies by the government of India.
With sheer hard work and determination, he continues striving towards a better India.