People’s Science Institute

PSI is a public interest research and development organization composed of young professionals dedicated to the task of nation building. Founded by Dr. Ravi Chopra, PSI seek to eradicate poverty through the productive, sustainable and equitable use of human and natural resources.


Established in 1988 with a start-up grant from ICA, the Institute has pioneered creative ways to use science and technology in the service of the poor. They believe that the active participation of the villagers in planning, managing, and implementing development programs is crucial for the success of any project. PSI promotes practical research, communication, and training as key steps in self reliant development.

PSI has established a niche for itself by using a systems approach to scale up projects from the village level to the district level, and by using creative methods of communi cating scientific concepts, technological details and social messages to literate and illiterate people.


Water Resource Management 

PSI undertakes studies on hydrology, the environmental impact of large dam projects, traditional water harvesting and irrigation systems. In particular, they train people in methods of micro watershed development. The basic principle of their water resource management work is optimizing the rainwater “harvest” and ensuring its equitable distribution with minimum conflict.

As part of the Sukha Mukti Abhiyan (Drought Proofing Program) in the Palamu district of Bihar, 176 small earthen dams were constructed in over 125 drought prone villages using local funds. Four thousand acres of land can now be irrigated with only 20% of the cost of water from a large dam. This spectacular achievement has attracted attention all over India.

Disaster Mitigation 

PSI conducts research on the causes and impacts of disasters. It studies disaster- resistant traditional architecture, and provides training and building materials for post – disaster reconstruction. PSI has taken an active role in rebuilding homes after the Latur and Uttarkashi earthquakes.


Environmental Quality Control

PSI monitors water, air and soil samples and devel ops user friendly, low cost pollution measurement methods. They are involved in capacity building of citizens’ groups, which volunteer to gather and interpret pollution data. In addition, they have actively implemented projects to monitor Dehra Doon’s water supply, and the pollution from rice mills in Mahasamund.

Sulha Multi Abhi!Jan

Village Development Fund

This is an outcome of the Palamu project. To enhance self- reliance, the villagers have contributed part of the labor and invested in Village Development Fund. These funds, covering 125 villages have now exceeded one million Indian rupees. The funds are used for women’s development, credit and loan programs.