Having a vision and transforming into reality can be a journey of thousand miles. Understanding villages and adopting a bottom-up approach to transform one is one hell of a task. Visionary IAS officer Dr. Heera Lal has proved that it is possible to equip our villages and villagers with the best of everything through existing resources and set up examples for others. He is an IAS officer with 26 years of experience as a civil servant. He is currently posted as Additional Mission Director, National Health Mission, Uttar Pradesh, and Additional Project Director in UP State Aids Control Society. Throughout his career, he has served in various departments of the Uttar Pradesh Administration in different capacities. His last posting was District Magistrate, Banda, where he had undertaken various initiatives and introduced many low-cost Innovations.
I have three unique techniques that I feel the country also needs to adapt to; 1. conversion of available funds, inputs, ideas, and resources. 2. No cost or low-cost actions and activities. 3. Active involvement of stakeholders to ensure ownership of participants. ~ Dr Heera Lal
His initiative Model Gaon is inspired by Gram Swaraj of Mahatma Gandhi and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) of the late president of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam. It is a sum of 20 innovations done in Banda district and governs strictly on people participation. The understanding that most of India still lives in villages and has to migrate, searching for a better life, drives Dr. Lal’s vision. Bringing technology, superior skills, entrepreneurship, and inclusive learning to Banda has been one of his best deeds as a District Magistrate. Villages in India that are financially viable, socially equitable, and eco-friendly are a new concept altogether.
‘I just realized that the issues like; malnutrition, unemployment, and adequate education needed to be addressed and in a more sustainable way.’ ~ Says Dr. Heera Lal
Dr. Heera Lal worked personally in the conceptualization and implementation of the model. He sent a team of village pradhans (leaders) to Ralegan-Siddhi’ (model village of Shri Anna Hazare) and ‘Hivade Bazar’ village (Padam Shri Popat Rao’s model village) to acquire practical know-how from Changemakers’ work. This helped educate these leaders and, in turn, have them educate the rest of the village. He also made sure that local people understand the concept of government-run programs by frequent visits to; ‘Vikas Bhawan’ and ‘Mandi Samiti.’
The people in villages should know that ‘Knowledge is power’ ~ Dr. Heera Lal.
Apart from this, Dr. Heera Lal has also been working on addressing other issues in the social fabric like Malnutrition and Women Healthcare, Water Conservation and Ground Water recharging, Prison Reforms, Tourism Development, Enabling Farmer Prosperity through agro entrepreneurship, Awareness campaigns for increased voting percentage, and Rural Women Empowerment through entrepreneurship development among others. His approach is that of no cost or low cost governance. He doesn’t believe that one needs money or power to bring in reforms but a vision. He has successfully utilized the existing resources from every village he’s intervened in and made a difference.
‘We think 3P (Power-Position-Paisa (Fund)) is required to begin any good work. But I differ. For commencing any good work, we need a vision, intention, passion, positive attitudes, and fire in the belly. If we start anything with good intention, 3P follows our intention automatically.’ ~ Dr. Heera Lal told KenFolios during the interview.
He’s continuously been trying to bring the government bodies, non-governmental organizations, and Think tanks together to help him use up his 26 years of knowledge for the betterment of people. After all, knowledge is supposed to be a means to an end. His rural upbringing and Urban experiences have been major contributing factors to his work. This superhuman is always on a learning mode and has already acquired his PHD and is now working towards a DLit Degree. He believes in understanding and applying good governance to make the society a better place. He’s one of the finest social entrepreneurs working for people and their happiness. He has created a legacy that will outlive generations.
“If you can’t be a pencil to write anyone’s happiness, and then try at least to be a nice rubber to erase someone’s sorrows” ~ Dr. Heera Lal
This story is written by Arshita Singh.
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