Bookletpedia by Piyush Poddar- A unique initiative to empower people in villages of India

Piyush Poddar has done his Master’s from Delhi School of Social Work, and Bachelor’s in Commerce from Hans Raj College, University of Delhi. He has experience working as a consultant with the MPSRLM and organizations like Azim Premji Foundation, Society for All Round Development, and Rajasthan Mahila Kalyan Mandal, Ajmer. His experience at the grassroots led him to found Bookletpedia, which works to bridge the information gap that exists at the grassroots through contextual and interactive Information, Education, and Communication materials to make people in the villages informationally empowered.

What exactly is Bookletpedia?

Bookletpedia is a non-registered firm of professional social workers passionately designing contextual Information Education and Communication materials with an understanding of the ground realities. We design contextual posters, booklets, pamphlets, brochures, and flipcharts for individuals and organizations working with people in the development sector with an aim to bridge the information gap that exists at the grassroots and to make capacity-building participative and more effective

Tell us about your journey of founding the organization? 

While working as an intern in October 2020 during a household study in Jawaja and Silora blocks of Ajmer by Rajasthan Mahila Kalyan Mandal (RMKM)  Piyush Poddar found that although people had job cards under MGNREGA, they were not aware of the wage rate and the number of days they had to work. This was the case despite the act being in place for more than 15 years. It was at this point that a need for contextual material in the local language was realized and the seeds of Bookletpedia were sown.

What was your inspiration behind helping people at the grassroots level?

“When you are doing any work, do it as worship, as the highest worship, and devote your whole life to it for the time being.” Swami Vivekananda

I realized that with Bookletpedia, I was trying to find a solution to the most pressing issues that plague the welfare programs: the issue of accessibility and that if backed by a dedicated team and capacity building, contextual and interactive IEC materials have the capacity to transform how communication takes place at the grassroots level. Take for example our MGNREGA booklet (backed by the Rajasthan Mahila Kalyan Mandal, Ajmer team, and capacity building) that has helped the organization reach 3973 households (September 2020- March 2022) in Silora and Jawaja blocks of Ajmer and empowered them to access benefits under the scheme. This along with other booklets is empowering people at the grassroots to access benefits under various welfare schemes of the government. One of my professors at the Delhi School of Social Work told me and I quote “Success is measured by outsiders whereas satisfaction is measured by you, choose what you want to go after”. I chose the latter and I am determined to work hard for that satisfaction.

What regional languages do you create these booklets in? What welfare schemes do you cover? 

We have so far developed booklets in Marathi and Marwari, and we are open to developing them in any local language, given that translation is possible. We have so far covered the central government and Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra govt. welfare and entrepreneurship schemes. Following are the schemes:

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
  • National Social Assistance Program
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana- Gramin
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
  • Atal Pension Yojana
  • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
  • Sahaj Har ghar Bijli Yojana- Saubhagya Scheme
  • Ration Card
  • Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin
  • Ladli Laxmi Yojana
  • PM Kisan Samman Nidhi
  • PM Matru Vandana Yojana
  • One-stop Center
  • Kamgar Setu Yojana
  • Udyam Registration for MSME
  • FSSAI Registration for Food Businesses
  • Registration under Shops & Commercial Establishment Act
  • Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana
  • Self-Employment Loan Scheme for Disabled Professional
  • Dairy Udhyamita Vikas Yojana

Any future plans for expansion? 

While working as a consultant with Madhya Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission, Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, we realized that the District Administration headed by District Collector requires support from field experts to successfully manage the district to ensure development. For example, a district in Telangana has a large number of malnourished children and being an aspirational district, the district is regularly monitored by the NITI Aayog on health and education parameters. The district collector wants experts from the field of communication to design a Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) strategy to reduce the rate of malnourishment. This is where Bookletpedia is planning to expand and partner with district administration to go beyond developing the IEC materials and focusing on planning and executing an entire SBCC strategy.

What are your sources of revenue? How do you plan to expand that? 

For developing the IEC materials, we enter into paid partnerships with organizations and government agencies, and we have a standard rate chart for various materials. Apart from this, we also generate revenue through the sale of a booklet named “Parivartan” which has detailed information on 35 welfare schemes of Madhya Pradesh and the Central Government. In a period of one year (since July 2021) we have clocked a revenue of Rs. 3,05,000. In order to expand it, we are looking to enter the field of SBCC and increase our partnership base.

What role do you see yourself playing in India’s making as a leading nation

 Mahatma, Gandhi said, “ I would say if the village perishes, India will perish too. The revival of the village is possible only when it is no more exploited”. As an agency working to reduce the information gap at the grassroots, we see ourselves working on making information available and accessible so that there is :

  • Increase in access to welfare schemes
  • Increase in participation of people in the local governance
  • Increase in awareness about gender issues, malnutrition, domestic violence, child labor, Village Poverty Reduction Plan, Gram Panchayat Development Plan, and other social issues
  • Capacity building of Community Resource Persons
Vidhi Bubna
Vidhi Bubna
Vidhi Bubna is a freelance journalist from Mumbai who covers international relations, defence, diplomacy and social issues. Her current focus is on India-China relations.