The Maharashtra government Thursday announced a public-private partnership model for the development of 1,000 most backward, tribal-dominated villages in the state. It involves the government, corporate sector and NGOs coming together under a trust, pooling in finances, resources, knowledge and technology.
An institutional mechanism will be evolved for the trust, which will have its own corpus and be listed under the Companies Act. Half the villages will be shortlisted by the government and the rest by the corporate sector.
The state will provide 50 per cent of the funds while the remaining will come from the corporate sector.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis discussed the model with 70 prominent personalities, representing diverse fields such as industries, financial institutions, NGOs, academics and cinema. Industrialists Ratan Tata and Anand Mahindra, actor Amitabh Bachchan, banker Arundhati Bhattacharya and Rajshree Birla of the Birla Foundation were among those who attended the event.
“The villages would be selected on the basis of their backwardness and how low they rank on the human development index (HDI),” Fadnavis said, adding, “Sustainable socio-economic growth in every village to gradually bridge the rural-urban divide is our mission.”
Elaborating on the scheme, he said, “Each village would be provided better livelihood opportunities, health and education facilities. It would have adequate infrastructure complete with mainstream communication, to ensure it no longer remains isolated from the overall state growth.”
Acknowledging that corporate sectors and NGOs have been working in various fields, Fadnavis said, “Our emphasis on convergence is to avoid the thin-spreading of resources. Instead, we have decided to pool all our resources and make transformation of villages a common goal.”
The CM said funds were not the only objective of roping in the corporate sector. Apart from finances, their expertise in diverse sectors such as skill development, technology and capacity building would help address the distinct challenges every village is facing, Fadnavis said.
Stating that village development was no longer being seen through the narrow prism of poverty alleviation and literacy, he said, “We want to scale the development index for assured agro-industrial growth founded on the geographical and climate conditions of each village.”
At the meeting, Rajshree Birla assured help to 300 villages.
Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Group, said, “I believe the Chief Minister’s initiative is greater than we imagined, as it emphasises on involvement of the rural community.”
Anand Mahindra, chairman and MD of Mahindra & Mahindra Group, said, “The emphasis on convergence is what struck me most.” Speaking on the occasion, Bachchan said, “I have decided to lend by voice to generate awareness and communication for the village transformation.”