Achyuta Samanta: A Social Entrepreneur

Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, Achyuta Samanta, hailed from Kalarabanka village. Despite not being well-off, Samanta had his passion for education held high.This prompted him to start KIIT Group of institutions in a small-rented room which an initial capital of Rs 5,000— a sum gathered after borrowings. This kick started his career as an educational entrepreneur.

Gradually, KIIT expanded its horizon from ITI courses tobecoming one of the pioneersin private technical education in the state. Back in days (in 1997), private engineering colleges were elusive to Odisha when KIIT started nurturing young engineering graduates from the state. A decade and a half later KIIT University that is known for its world-class university and infrastructure, also managed to deliver some courses which other institutions could not offer. Spreading over 1.5 million sq.km, KIIT has attracted not just students but scholars, intellectuals from all over the globe to view its contributions. Samanta who was named the youngest vice chancellorof India, had bigdreams for the instituteand he hopes to accomplishit.

Samanta founded KISS (Kalinga Institution of Social Sciences) in 1993. His agenda was simple and that was to educate the tribals of Odisha in eastern India and provide them with all opportunities. Samanta had a mission to not only educate tribals but convert these social liabilities into assets for the nation. KISS which provides free education,boarding, food, medical facilities and all the other necessities toover 50,000 tribal children,in a nutshell, offers them a new life.

His goals was to establish30 branches of KISS in different districts of Odisha, besides establishing KISS-Delhi for the underprivilegedsections of Delhi-NCR. He even defies success stories as his story is linked with providing livelihood to around 10,000 through direct employment in KIIT and KISS, a creation of over1,00,000 indirect employment and more than 100 successful entrepreneurs across the country. Samanta’s individual achievements range from being the youngest chancellor to being the General President of Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). These contributions to the society have also accredited him several international awards like the Gusi Peace Prize, the highest Civilian Award from Bahrain and 38 Honoris Causa Doctorate awards from different Universities across the globe.

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