From rags to riches:
Hailing from Kalarabanka village, a rural hinterland in the state of Odisha, Samanta had no family income to support his early education. But it was his determination and stubborn attitude towards difficulties that changed his life for the better. Well known as the founder of KIIT, Bhubaneshwar, Dr Achyuta Samanta has recently been elected to Rajya Sabha.
His love for education was backed by a teacher who helped him get enrolled in a government primary school in his village. Despite poverty, Samanta completed his Masters in Chemistry from Utkal University in Odisha and went on to establish the KIIT Group of institutions. He started his journey as an educational entrepreneur in a small rented room with an initial capital of 5000 rupees. Gradually, KIIT expanded its horizons from ITI courses to becoming one of the pioneers in private technical education in the state. In Back in 1997, private engineering colleges were still elusive to Odisha when KIIT started nurturing young engineering graduates from the state. A decade and a half later KIIT University propounded and exemplified a world-class university with infrastructure and courses that only a few contemporary institutions offered.
Later he founded Kalinga Institution of Social Sciences (KISS) in 1993. The man's whose own childhood was full of misery made it his mission to educate tribals and convert these social liabilities into assets for the nation. KISS which provides free education, boarding, food, medical facilities and all the other necessities to over 50,000 tribal children, in a nutshell, offers them a new life.
Students of KISS have not only shown their potential but have also started spreading the importance of education and knowledge in their villages. KISS offers a case study for various administrators to connect policies and people. It is the only institution to have the sex ratio amongst students favorable towards girls, where numerous tribes are first taught in their mother languages and then shifted to Odia. Students won the Under-14 Rugby world cup in 2007 and now are members of the various sports team of Odisha and India.
At KISS, a mechanized kitchen cooks the meal for 1,00,000 students every day. Also, a bio-degradable waste recycling plant converts tonnes of vegetable waste to energy. An RO bottling unit provides drinking water and solar panel provides electricity for the entire campus. KISS has now been granted a special consultative status by the United Nations ECOSOC.
This trajectory looks baffling for just a fifty-year-old man. His individual achievements range from being the youngest chancellor to being the General President of Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). These contributions to the society have also accredited him with several international awards like the Gusi Peace Prize, the highest civilian award from Bahrain and 38 Honoris Causa Doctorate awards from different Universities across the globe. This achievement not only is rare but only a few fellow parliamentarians in the history of Indian Parliament can actually claim such recognition.