Indian Villages have been deprived of basic amenities even after 70 years of Independence. Among such basic needs Electricity, Drinking water and Cleanliness are primary ones. Many villages spend more than 12 hours a day without electricity; some villagers are yet to view their village in artificial light. Potable water is still a mirage in millions of Indian villages. Mosquitoes and Houseflies causing epidemic diseases are rampant in villages, suburbs, and cities without any discrimination.
Mr. Rustam Sengupta, an Electrical Engineering post graduate from University of California, Irvine and MBA from INSEAD Singapore, working full time for Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, also a consultant at Deloitte Consulting USA and a researcher with a Belgium based company accidentally visited a remote village in West Bengal and could witness the distress of rural masses deprived of electricity, drinking water and protection from pests.
Cricketing God Sachin Tendulkar in a TV commercial gives a message that millions of future Tendulkars from rural India shouldn’t fall ill by consuming non-potable water and persuades to drink water from a particular brand water purifier. In contrast, here is Mr. Rustam Sengupta less popular than the Cricketing-God taking the initiative to bring electricity, potable water, and mosquito nets at an affordable price to rural masses. To realize such an awesome dream, He resigned from a job that was fetching him hefty pay of $1,20,000 per annum and floated a social entrepreneurship venture back in his motherland India.
The Inside Story
Similar to various youngsters who want to make a lucrative career, Rustam was also never keen on involving in social service. During his MBA he was sent on a student excursion to remotest villages of India, with the tour objective of finding solutions to the distress faced by rural masses. Rustam and his friends could witness the horrible conditions in which the rural masses led their lives without electricity in dark hours of the night. Rustam found that excursion pointless as he did not intend helping rural folks in those days. So he continued his spree to acquire more educational qualifications. But the dark nights he spent in those villages kept on haunting him in the comfort of air-conditioned rooms and fluorescent lamps during his professional life at MNC Bank. He made up his mind to uplift the conditions of rural masses and quit his assignment with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore in the year 2009 and floated an organization called BOOND Engineering and Development Pvt. Ltd. The word ‘BOOND’ means droplet in Hindi emphasizing the saying— ‘Mighty Ocean is made up of tiny droplets.’ Rustam’s objective is crystal clear: Bundle three important necessities of rural India viz. Solar Lamps, Water purifier, Mosquito nets in a simple package at an affordable price called BOOND DEVELOPMENT KIT and distribute across the width and breadth of rural India through trained rural youths as salespersons. Thus, achieving two objectives 1) empowering rural youths and 2) improvising the living conditions of rural India.
Basically, BOOND is registered as Energy Access Social Enterprise, which has electrified more than 10000 houses in rural India in past five years. With success as Energy Access provider, they have also started developing 22 liters double candle ceramic water purifiers and knitting mosquito nets. Rustam’s responsibility does not end with manufacturing these products. His organization has partnered with microfinance institutions, NGOs, and social investors to act as distribution channel partners in taking them to remotest corners of the nation. Through BOOND, Rustam can improve living conditions of approximately 50,000 people in states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Kashmir. He equally pursues research in sustainable energy resources with the same rigor and implements his research findings first hand in the field through his organization.
Rustam can eloquently bring out the facts related to energy crunch in Nation like India. He highlights the harsh truth that India is 6th largest energy consumer in the globe, but the paradox is 25% of the Indian population (roughly 300 million) still live in darkness.
Quickly he also emphasizes the need for better health conditions in rural India by indicating WHO statistics, which tells that 10% of health issues across the globe can be improved by providing clean water, better sanitation, and efficient pest control measures. Connecting all Indian villages to coal generated power-grids is not the idea behind Rustam’s organization. He points to the statistics of WHO depicting 13 out of 20 polluted cities located in India. So the solution offered by BOOND is, of course, solar energy.
Rustam Sengupta is not only a social entrepreneur and researcher. He nurtures various hobbies like acting in theatres and directing plays. He is also an avid traveler who has visited 35 countries spread across all the inhabited continents of the earth. A constant knowledge seeker, he involves himself in disseminating gained knowledge on sustainability energy, Climate changes, and Global warming at various universities through his lectures across India. He also works as a consultant to various foreign agencies. He has published various reports and research papers prominent one being a report published on the state of Indian rural healthcare enterprises, titled ‘Sustainable & Inclusive Innovations in Healthcare Delivery – A Business Model Perspective. ‘Speaking about his experience as a social entrepreneur Rustam delightfully accepts that the journey is immensely satisfying and the impact is authentic.’ He also opines that opportunities for the social entrepreneur are endless.
Awards & Recognitions
Rustam Sengupta has successfully bagged various awards from his social entrepreneurship activity like Economic Times Power of Ideas 2010, Nokia DLD Global Challenge. Also, he is a shortlisted candidate for Unreasonable Institute 2011.
Kalam Fan Club wishes this entrepreneur greater success in future endeavors.