Mumbai, April 14 (IANS) In a first major initiative, the government has reached out to India Inc to involve itself in rural developmental works involving the tribals in central and eastern India.
Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh has written to top corporate houses like Tata, Reliance, Wipro, Infosys, and public sector Nabard, NDDB and others to join the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) and assist in improving the life and livelihood of the tribals.
"We have convened a meeting April 27 in New Delhi of all the stakeholders, including the corporate, civil society organizations and grassroots activists to discuss various aspects of BRLF," Ramesh told mediapersons Saturday.
He said the BRLF would be set up with a corpus of Rs.1,000 crore with half the contribution from the government and the rest coming from the other partners.
The proposal, evolved jointly by his ministry and Planning Commission, envisages concerted efforts by the government, concerned state governments and others to transform the lives of tribals who are spread across 170 district in the country.
Moreover, nearly 78 percent of tribals have been either lured or affected by Maoist propaganda and violence and consequently have not seen any fruits of development, the minister said.
Ramesh said that initiatives like BRLF would promote inclusive growth by taking the benefits of development to the tribal population living in remote areas of central and eastern India.
It would strengthen the existing rural institutions in those areas, promote and spread Self-Help Groups Movement, and support activities like watershed management, dairy development, fisheries, agriculture, forestry and other skills development programmes.
However, Ramesh assured that the BRLF would not be a government body.
"It will be run on professional lines with a chairman and a full time CEO and would be similar to the Public Health Foundation of India in structure and composition of which N.R. Narayan Murthy is the chairman," he explained.
Asked why the corporate sector would be interested in contributing, Ramesh said that their participation in BRLF would deepen their Corporate Social Responsibility besides earning them goodwill.
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