A well deserved honour

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The list of Young Alumni Achiever’s Award (YAAA) winners for 2019, announced recently by the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, straddles an amazing breadth of talent among young KGPians. The list not only includes pioneering researchers, indefatigable bureaucrats, police officers, change-makers, lawyers, film-makers, but also new-age entrepreneurs, some of whom are household names today.

Among them are Abhinav Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, OYO Hotels and Homes, Chanakya Hridaya, Co-Founder & COO of BlackBuck, a company that is revolutionizing logistics in India, Nitin Babel, Co-founder at Niki.ai, a leading artificial intelligence company in India which is backed by Mr Ratan Tata, and Rahul Jaimini, who is the Co-founder of Bengaluru-based Swiggy, the immensely popular food aggregator.

The YAA awards are conferred on under-40 alumni of the Institute whose professional contributions are recognized widely or on those who have a demonstrated commitment to excellence. The Institute started conferring the YAA awards from 2018. Last year, 12 young alumni had received the awards on the Foundation Day on August 18.

Prof. Sriman Kumar Bhattacharyya, Director, IIT Kharagpur, said to the awardees of 2019, “We are proud of your achievements, your courage to lead from the front, your unflagging zeal to take on new challenges and make a difference…May this (YAA awards) inspire you to greater heights in life.”

Among the recipients this year are young scientists such as Dr Varun Rai, Director of the Energy Institute in the University of Austin, Texas, Dr Subhajyoti De of the Rutgers Cancer Institute, Dr Ankur Jain of MIT and Dr Shambaditya Saha of the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna. Each of them has, through the scientific breakthroughs achieved by them, extended the frontiers of modern science and medicine.

There are also dynamic bureaucrats such as Raja Gopal Sunkara, IAS, Additional Project Director, Gaja Cyclone Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Rejuvenation Project, or Raj Tilak Roushan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Nagpur city, who have thought out of the box and managed to profoundly impact the way civic and police administration functions. Roushan, for example, was selected for Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation for 2018, one of the two from the entire country.

Prof. Subrata Chattopadhyay, Dean, Alumni Affairs, said, “From the major cities of the world to the interiors of the country, from science to social welfare and aesthetics, a younger generation of IIT KGP alumni are leaving their imprint in diverse sectors. Although there are 19 recipients this year, the YAA awards manage to honour only a few of them.”

The YAA award will also go to Akanksha Swarnim, founder of Delhi-NCR chapter of UPAY, an NGO providing free education to the street and slum children, Manish Kumar, Founder and CEO of , Utopia Village Pvt Ltd, which is working with more than 2,000 tribal farmers in remote villages of Odisha, Ashutosh Kumar, whose ‘Jagriti Yatra’ is a first-of-its kind entrepreneurship train journey program that has gained global footprints and been replicated in other countries, and Samarth Mahajan, whose debut feature documentary, The Unreserved, has won national acclaim and has premiered at Film Southasia 2017 and more than 50 national and international fora.

Complete list of YAA awardees of 2019:

Mr. Abhinav Sinha is the Global COO of OYO Hotels and Homes, which is one of the world’s fastest growing chain of hotels, homes and living spaces

Dr. Arnab Roy is currently Research Manager at Fujitsu Laboratories of America, where he leads a team of researchers on cryptography and privacy.

Mr. Ashutosh Kumar is the Program Director and CEO of Jagriti Yatra, a first of its kind entrepreneurship train journey that has gained global recognition

Mr. Chanakya Hridaya is the Co-Founder and COO of BlackBuck, the Inter-city trucking and supply chain startup that is revolutionizing logistics in India

Ms. Madhumita Agrawal is a dynamic young tech-attorney. She is the Co-Founder of IPexcel Services, a technology research and consulting company

Mr. Manish Kumar is a social entrepreneur, Co-founder and CEO of Utopia Ville Private Limited, which is among the very few companies that work directly with farmers

Mr. Nitin Babel is the Co-founder of Niki.ai, a platform that provides its users an AI-powered chatbot that performs a range of services as an intelligent personal assistant or ‘agent’

Mr. Prateek Bumb is the Co-founder and CTO of Carbon Clean Solutions Private Limited, a company which helps industries to capture their carbon emissions, re-use it commercially and also meet emission restrictions set by governments

Mr. Rahul Jaimini is Co-founder and CTO of Swiggy, the top-rated food ordering mobile app

Mr. Raj Tilak Roushan is an outstanding police officer and is now is now Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone-4, Nagpur City

Mr. J Sai Deepak is a litigator and one of the most impressive young jurists of our time. He is arguing counsel of his own law firm, Law Chambers of J. Sai Deepak

Mr. Samarth Mahajan is the Director and Producer of ‘The Borderlands’, a documentary film made by the National Award winning collective – Camera And Shorts

Dr. Shambaditya Saha is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna. 

Dr. Shubhojyoti De is an expert in the emerging field of genomics. He is presently an Assistant Professor at Rutgers Cancer Institute, Rutgers University

Dr. Sudip Shekhar is Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Ms Akanksha Swarnim, social activist and Founder of Delhi-NCR Chapter of UPAY, an NGO that provides free education to underprivileged children

Dr. Ankur Jain, Assistant Professor of Biology at MIT, and member  at Whitehead Institute

Mr Raja Gopal Sunkara, Additional Project Director, Gaja Cyclone Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Rejuvenation Project at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Dr. Varun Rai, Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs and Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin


Graphics : Suman Sutradhar

Graphics : Suman Sutradhar

By Chirosree Basu


  • Hats off to all awardees.
    Feeling extremely proud to be an ex IIT Kgp student of 1965 batch.
    Pray for more & more IITans to contribute to society as present day scenario demands.

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