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Maharashtra Govt Ropes In Ratan Tata, Amitabh Bachchan And Anand Mahindra To Transform 1000 Villages

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Aiming to transform 1,000 villages in the initial leg of the vision, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met corporate heads and Bollywood celebrities on Thursday. A governing council headed by CM would be formed with members from corporate and state.

Industry moguls like chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, Rajashree Birla from the Aditya Birla Group and entertainment stalwart Amitabh Bachchan were amongst about 50 participants in the meeting held at Mantralaya in Mumbai. Popatrao Pawar, executive director of Maharashtra’s Model Village programme was also present in the meeting.

To start with, the government aspires to commence work of converting 100 rural hamlets to model villages by October 2nd. A mechanism will be created to facilitate this transformation. Out of the total 1000 villages, 50% will be chosen on the basis of suggestions by partnering corporate firms. Remaining 50% villages will be the ones with low human development index. It will be ensured that 25% are tribal villages.

“So far corporate houses and government have been working towards social upliftment in their capacities through corporate social responsibility (CSR). We want to converge these efforts to yield better and focused results. We have also set up a website- www.sahabhag.maharashtra.gov.in to invite funds and voluntary labour or man hour contribution from everyone including corporate firms and individuals,” said Fadnavis. They also aim to converge all the existing schemes or support them to reach the desired results.

A corpus will be created wherein government and corporate firms will bear equal funds. Maharashtra being a drought prone state, water security comes out as a major objective. The transformation sought would include water security, social development, skilling and livelihood, development of water sources, improvement in health and education sectors, forest and land with participation of locals and boosting agriculture machinery among others.

After attending the meeting, Ratan Tata said, “It has been a growing realisation in the country that we need to focus on rural areas. Tata Trusts are proud to partner to turn hinterland of Maharashtra to hinterland of prosperity.”

If the approach and mechanism works well, the governing council would prototype it to transform villages across India. “The clear approach of convergence, private sector collaboration, prototyping the approach excited me on this mission. CM has assured that he would drive the mission quarterly explains the passion,” said Mahindra.

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan has agreed to become face and voice of the mission. “I have been a part of many social campaigns and to me this is a convergence of a lot of these campaigns for overall development. Awareness and communication play an important role and if by using my face and my voice, transformation of villages can be achieved, I would be really happy to do so,” the actor said.

CM assured that the mission would be time bound and sustainable development goals set by United Nations would be important factors driving the change. The transformation would not be forced on villagers; instead the process would involve them at gram sabha levels.

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The CSR Journal Team