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For the Sake of Tribals

Indian Masterminds Stories

For many people, there is no bigger blessing than to serve the nation. It is a job of immense satisfaction and pride. The IAS officer of 2017 batch Mr. Manuj Jindal grew up with this dream in his heart. So, after passing the 12th class, he attempted NDA and got selected. However, this was not his destiny, and in just six month gave it up due to medical reasons.

Subsequent events took him to foreign shores, and he landed himself a job in the United States. But he returned to India, probably pushed by that dream, and cleared the UPSC. 

In an interview with ‘Indian Masterminds’, Mr Jindal opened up about his struggles after leaving NDA, journey through UPSC and his initiatives for tribal of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra. 

‘It was difficult after leaving NDA’ 

He is currently the SDM in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra

To be in army was what Mr. Jindal wanted initially. When he got into NDA in the first attempt, he was so excited. Then, he faced some serious health issue and in six months after his joining, he has to give up his place. This was very hard for him and his family. Recalling his situations back then he said, “When I came back from the army, the admissions in Indian universities were closed. I had to wait for another 6 months to get enrolled. I was upset and this worsened my situation. I had to start everything from scratch and my family was also under pressure economically, but they supported me.”

Under advice of some seniors and his parents, Mr. Jindal started preparing for SAT and was selected for an under-grad programmed in USA. After completing the graduation in Economics, he got a job there with handsome salary. 

He always wanted to come back because he was not satisfied with the work he was doing., In 2014, Mr Jindal  came back to India and started hi preparation for UPSC. He says that other than UPSC there are very few position through which one can work on grassroots level. He was very passionate about getting in civil services, and secured AIR 53 in his third attempt. 

Training centers and First information boxes for Tribals 

Currently posted as SDM in Bhamragad, Gadchiroli, Mr Jindal is setting new benchmarks with his approach to work. Sharing his experience he said, “It is my first posting. The region comes in the southern-eastern most past of the district. Most of the population is tribal and naxalism also plays a major role here. Apart from that, the tribals have their unique ways of living and aren’t exposed to many things as we are. Before coming here, I prepared a lot and thought about the things I would do. But, everything can’t go as we planned. So, I changed my approached and I learnt many new lessons.” 

Manuj Jindal, IAS of 2017 batch

Mr Jindal started visiting the tribal houses for lunch and went to their fields during sowing of rice, and started connecting with them. When people came to him for issues like electricity or water supply , he would try to solve these promptly. That way, he soon became their friend and well-wisher. Earlier this year, he renovated a vacant `tehsil’ building and turned it into a training center for tribals. Around 50 young girls and boys have been part of this initiative and have learnt wood, bamboo arts and paintings. The second batch has also been started. There is an Art gallery in the center where the students present and sell their work. Before the lockdown, the total earning of the gallery was around 2 lakhs. Mr Jindal is  hopeful that it will grow more. 

Mr Jindal is also planning to set up First information box in every village of the district. It will contain the information about people’s rights, the process of applying for any loan, ration card or identity card etc. in their local language. He is also working on giving this information to them in audio format. Emphasizing about its need he said that in the absence of internet in these backward areas of Ghadchiroli, such steps meant a lot to the people.


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