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Sibadittya Baidya




Hi Sibadittya! Welcome to ICA-AP. Please provide our readers with a brief introduction about yourself and your current role in the ICA-AP office?


Hello! I feel honoured to have received this opportunity. Coming from a state located in India’s chicken neck, I was born and brought up in a small village called Tulakata Jote, near Siliguri in Darjeeling district, West Bengal. Ever since childhood, despite all the commitments, I tried to excel in studies. Besides that, I was always involved in activities like painting, taking part in sports, essay writing and representing my school at various state level competitions. After completing my class 12 from Margaret (S.N) English School, I studied Mechanical Engineering from Asansol Engineering College of West Bengal University of Technology, with the help of scholarships. After completing my engineering in 2016, I opted to join Piramal Foundation as a Gandhi Fellow, in the District Transformation Program of Surat (DTP-Surat). Now, I am pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand, where I am also part of the core committee of the quiz club of IRMA, JIGYASA. In my leisure time, I like to read, play and follow outdoor sports, especially football! I am a huge fan of Real Madrid F.C, which is also, incidentally, a cooperative!


My summer internship at ICA-AP will entail supporting the research and policy workstreams of the ICA-EU team and I look forward to adding value through my knowledge, passion and dedication.



Can you tell us a bit about how your previous work links with your current role at ICA-AP?


At the Piramal Foundation, I worked with the Block Resource Co-ordinator (BRC) and Cluster Resource Co-ordinators (CRCs) to improve the status of education in 41 government primary and upper primary schools. We had a component in the fellowship called Community Immersion (CI), where we had to live in a tribal village with limited resources. The basic idea behind CI was to have a deep understanding of the rural spectrum of the society and to introspect before proposing or implementing ideas.


During the fellowship, I had to establish a learning centre to compensate for the traditional schooling in the village. The learning centre was started as a cooperative, where every child has to contribute Rs.10 per month, to avail education. A local youth was selected by the parents as the instructor. Once the system started working sustainably, we withdrew from the system. Although, this was a small initiative based on the cooperative structure; it gave me first-hand learning of the model. This experience, I believe, will help me to offer different perspectives as well as valuable inputs regarding ground realities in the ongoing research projects.


How do you think working with cooperatives ties with your future aspirations?


That is a nice question! As clichéd as it sounds, I want to be happy and the only thing that can make me happy is learning. I look at every day as a new beginning, as an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to the society to the best of my abilities. ICA-AP, as a body of knowledge and influence in the realm of cooperatives, will definitely be a big step towards fulfilling my aspirations. I also have nurtured a desire to contribute to social welfare in our society. I joined as a Gandhi Fellow for the same reason. Apart from knowledge, cooperatives will also expand the ways in which I can give back to society.