CTARA started in 1985 with the express purpose of attending to and learning from the problems of rural India. It started first as a research center and as a platform for faculty and students to come together, discuss and work on such problems. The paradigm that evolved and guided us in that period was of appropriate technology, which included within it, the notion of region specific solutions, field work and interfacing with the informal sectors.
In subsequent years, CTARA did many projects of increasing significance, among these was our interaction with KVIC, various engineering devices and tools, and the Gudwanwadi drinking water initiative. Based on this experience, in 2007, we started the M.Tech program in Technology and Development. This is an inter-disciplinary program which focuses on the training of the Development Professional, a position in increasing demand. The development agenda is now the key to the progress of India and its people. This agenda needs informed policy and implementation, design and analysis of key programs, interfacing with NGO's and civil society, tracking performance and an inter-disciplinary study of a wider set of problems so as to reduce them to a set of disciplinary research. Our program is structured precisely around these ideas. The program itself has been widely appreciated and is attracting a broad spectrum of top students. CTARA now has a variety of interactions with the wider society. We engage with numerous NGOs, delivering solutions and studies. We engage with government agencies and a variety of ministries. We also work with many educational institutions in India and abroad.
Besides core faculty, CTARA boasts of a wide variety of associated and adjunct faculty. They bring experience and rigor from a wide variety of fields such as governance, policy, system dynamics, grass-root work, consultancy and so on.
Recently, CTARA started the Supervised Learning course offering which invites IIT undergraduates into the development program via well-designed projects with specific delivery and beneficiaries. This course has received an exciting response from students and from non-CTARA faculty as well. As many as 20 students are doing this course and engaging in a wide variety of projects.
For prospective students, CTARA holds an attractive proposition, not only because of the immense future prospects for the development professional, but also for the spirit of creativity and innovation that we train into our students. I must stress that the M.Tech program is demanding, esp. of honesty and hard work, but then so is the development agenda. Our students are our assets and our ambassadors who will lead us to a new convivial society.