Rohini Nayyar Prize

Meet the change makers

Rohini Nayyar Prize winners

The Rohini Nayyar Prize is awarded annually by the Nayyar Foundation for Social and Economic Purpose to a person 40 years or younger for an outstanding contribution to rural development in India. The Prize awards Rs 10 lakh along with a citation and trophy to the winner.

Deenanath Rajput

Prize Winner 2023

Deenanath Rajput, 33, led the establishment of a women-only Farmers’ Producer Organisation (FPO) in Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattisgarh in 2018. Bastar is a Naxal-affected, backward area and classified as an aspirational district by the Government of India. The FPO began with a membership of 337 tribal women. Since then, its membership has grown to 6,100 tribal women in four districts. Mr. Rajput’s work has involved providing agricultural extension services to women farmers, building a cold storage infrastructure, connecting them with national and international markets for their produce, and helping them diversify into value-added products like pickles. His work has transformed the lives of tribal women and their families in a disadvantaged geography of India.

Sethrichem Sangtam

Prize Winner 2022

Sethrichem Sangtam grew up in a remote village in eastern Nagaland. Educated at the National Law School of India University at Bangalore, he later travelled across continents, and obtained a H1B work
visa that would have allowed him to work in the USA. Choosing instead to make a meaningful contribution to his community, he returned to India to work at the grassroots level. In 2009, Sethrichem founded a not for-profit organization, Better Life Foundation (BLF), to concentrate on issues of rural livelihood security, environmental sustainability and education for change. He emphasized local participation in the development process because a process owned and appreciated by the community would become institutionalized and sustained. Since then, he has promoted 337 Self Help Groups and 3 Farmers’ Producer Cooperative Societies in the districts of Tuensang and Kiphire, Nagaland.

Among his many achievements is encouraging farming families to gradually relinquish the traditional but wasteful jhum cultivation and shift to permanent, settled farming. He now envisages adding value to the region’s horticulture produce and creating forward linkages through farm tourism and a Farmers’
Innovation Centre, an ideation lounge to facilitate innovative solutions for the common challenges faced
by the marginal farming communities.

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