Coming from a lower middle class family, I always aspired to join IIT” said Swaraj Akhode , one of the IIT aspirants from MGL Unnati batch. As he narrated his journey from the times of struggle to cracking into an IIT Roorkee college, the journey in itself is an inspiration for all those aspirants who fight against the odd to mark success against struggling times. He recollects of how inspite of talent, financial implications were a major hindrance for many like him but determination and mentorship from CSRL and MGL changed his life. Going back into struggling times, after he cracked the entrance exams, how time challenged course of fate as he got infected with conjunctivitis and was on the verge of losing his eye sight. “The support received at that point of time from my friends, faculty and MGL really boosted my confidence and my real Unnati is because of MGL Unnati.”Swaraj also throws light on how his teachers played an important role in shaping his life in context for IIT preparation. In another similar story, Smitha Athawale mother of Sushmit Athawale who cracked IIT thanked MGL Unnati and CSRL for their support to young ignited minds for fuelling their dreams. “I had never thought that, I will be able to see my son doing so good as we were financially not stable to sponsor his studies” said Smitha.
Swaraj and Sushmit are not just success stories but they are representative of that marginalized society where talent needs support to excel and make India proud. With an underlying objective of working towards the upliftment of weaker section of society, Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) felt the need to help meritorious children from weaker sections of the society in Maharashtra, who have the talent to compete in IIT/NIT but do not have the Project MGL Unnati means to bear the expenses of costly private coaching institutes. This led to the launch of a flagship CSR intervention of Mahanagar Gas Limited. MGL tied up with Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership Delhi in 203-14, which conducts Abhayanand Super 30 Program of coaching students for JEE entrance exams in various parts of the country. The project envisages training and mentoring of meritorious students from the economically weaker background for a period of 11 months. Under the project MGL Unnati in the last five years, MGL has reached out to 110 students. 95% of the students mentored under this project have been able to secure admission in technical studies. 80% of students have cleared JEE (Mains) and 35% have qualified in JEE (Advance).
The year 2017 -18 is going to be a milestone year for the project, when the first batch of MGL Unnati students (2013-14) are expected to graduate out of their engineering colleges and secure jobs. All 30 students of the batch cleared JEE Mains, while 17 cleared JEE advance. MGL felicitated all these 17 students with one time scholarships of `25,000/- each on 4th of December, 2017. Sri. Rajeev Mathur, Managing Director said “Corporate Social Responsibility at MGL is not just a practice; it’s a core value which is merged in the mission and vision of the company working for a sustainable futureand bringing about a radical change in the lives of individuals. The objective of this initiative is to give an opportunity to meritorious youngsters from economically weaker sections to rise above their limitations and achieve their dreams.” He appealed to the youngsters to take maximum advantage of the program and to mentor other students from economically fragile background whenever such opportunity arises.
A multi dimension approach towards mobilization of this initiative is taken up which includes passing information through words of mouth, utilization of CNG stations for information dissemination, setting up of stalls, distribution of pamphlets, visit to government schools, networking with NGOs, etc. MGL employs a systematic approach towards selection of students for this program. As prerequisite eligibility candidates annual family income should be below `2.5 Lakhs. The candidate has to undertake a competitive examination and interview for final selection.Before the students join; they along with their parents are made to visit the Centre for final orientation to environment, facilities and schedule of the programme. The rigorous residential training is designed to cover all the aspects of JEE examination. The students are provided free coaching, food and accommodation for the entire duration of the training. Emergency and medical needs are also taken care of by the project. While the Centre mainly focuses on JEE coaching, students interested in answering other exams such as BITSAT are also encouraged and appropriately guided. For most students however, the primary aim is to get through any engineering stream at an IIT. Coaching of 30 – 35 hours each for Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics subjects is completed by December- January and time remains for revisions. Couple of lectures are scheduled on a daily basis.
Despite the scheduling, the focus is on adult learning and no student is forced to attend classes. If a candidate feels that he is well versed with the particular topic scheduled to be taken up on that day, he is free not to attend the class and continue self-studying. The faculties are available to solve doubts at any time and can be reached on phone if required. The students have access to internet at the computer lab for doubt solving. A full time academic officer from premier engineering institute is also placed at the centre to address doubts of the students and to help them in particular topic. Weekly tests, structured along the JEE pattern, are conducted to evaluate the student’s retention levels. Mock tests on specific modules and combined tests are also conducted. Review and feedback sessions are conducted to counsel the students for better performance. Additionally, the weekly tests ensure that the students are prepared and are able to manage the stressful conditions associated with the entrance exams. MGL believes that the only way to transform a nation is through the means of education. Therefore at MGL, we will continue to focus on promoting education.