Tripura is among the fastest-developing states in North East India despite being the third-smallest in size. Home to a diverse population including various ancient tribes, it has vast reservoirs of oil and natural gas. Tripura’s forest resources include bamboo, medicinal herbs and wood, which are being utilised for setting up of forest-based industries. Although agriculture has been the main source of livelihood for the residents, fisheries, handloom, handicraft and tourism are gaining strength.
Since Tripura is rich in natural gas reserves and surplus in power, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has come out with the North East Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 to fuel the development of the entire region’s hydrocarbon potential. The state is keen to to build stronger infrastructure, biotech parks, food parks and a rubber park. In fact, CSR in Tripura has jumped more than 200% since the law came into effect. CSR fund inflow in the State grew from merely Rs. 1.33 crore in 2014-15 to over Rs. 23 crore in 2018-19 according to data from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
In FY2020-21, the state received Rs. Cr. in CSR funds from 22 companies. The top three spenders in the state include Oil And Natural Gas Corporation Limited, Ongc Tripura Power Company Limited and Container Corporation Of India Limited, which spent Rs. 3.17 Cr., Rs. 1.68 Cr., and Rs. 0.63 Cr. respectively, for CSR programs in Tripura. The top three areas of focus for these initiatives include education (Rs. 6.05 Cr.), health (Rs. 1.52 Cr.), and gender equality (Rs. 0.83 Cr.).
The most successful interventions for CSR in Tripura are seen in livelihood and rural development. Here are the top projects
Livelihood projects by Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts have signed a MoU with the State government to develop models of livelihood that can be replicated in the entire state for the social upliftment of people in rural areas of Tripura. Fish is a major component of the daily diet here. The state is going through a transitional phase to become self-sufficient in fish production. With an aim of doubling the existing fish production, Tata Trusts’ fishery development project in South Maheshpur has been implemented by the Centre for Microfinance and Livelihood (CML).
The CSR initiative kicked off after conducting a baseline survey that led to the formation of Activity Groups (AG) at the hamlet level. Fishermen and fisherwomen were provided with basic training on fish farming – starting from pond development and management to seed stocking and disease control. Since the launch of this initiative, many people in the region have joined AGs. They are being trained on several aspects of scientific fish cultivation. The fishers are now able to produce their own seedlings, thus meeting their family’s requirements and also selling their produce in the local markets to earn profits.
Tata Dairy Mission, another livelihood project, has given a ray of hope to rural women from the State by facilitating an alternate source of income. 854 women from 27 villages of Durgachomuhani and Salema blocks are enrolled as members of Tridha Milk Producer Company. A dairy plant with a capacity of 5,000 litres per day has been set up for strengthening the procurement and marketing of milk and other dairy products.
ONGC protects Korbong Tribe
The Korbong tribe, nestled in the hills of Western Tripura, is on the verge of extinction and had only 31 families in 2018. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) adopted Korbongpara village in Western Tripura District to protect the tribe and provide basic amenities to everyone living there. The CSR initiative is aimed at creating self-sustaining livelihoods to revive the Korbong tribe as well as develop it into a Model Village. The project is creating income generation opportunities for the villagers through pisciculture, duck and goat rearing, piggery farm and cross bred cattle schemes.
TFDPC rehabilitates Jhumias
In the local lingo, a Jhumia is a tribal who practices shifting cultivation or “jhuming”. This ancient slash-and-burn technique of agriculture is how the Jhumias subsist. Rather than building villages, they move within the forest and live in tree houses. Modern society, with all its notions of “owning” land and property, has shunted the Jhumias and left them homeless. Tripura Forest Development and Plantation Corporation Limited (TFDPC Ltd.) is a PSU of the Tripura government that has been making a constant endeavour to rehabilitate the Jhumias by raising Rubber plantations. Not only are the plantations providing a place of rest for this tribe in the interiors, but it is also generating employment and helping people raise their income levels. In certain areas, the income levels have gone up to Rs. 15000 per month for a family.
ITC and Tripura Bamboo Mission
The state government has mobilized CSR funding from ITC Limited towards technical support and creation of planting material focusing on Tulda bamboo. Resource is the backbone of the bamboo based activities of the state. Under the government’s Tripura Bamboo Mission resource generation programme, the focus has been to address the resource requirement of the various bamboo value addition clusters. While Bamboo Plantation in the state is being undertaken by the Forest department in forest areas, TBM is implementing high quality bamboo plantation on private land. TBM is organizing the bamboo growers and farmers engaged in commercial bamboo plantation and nursery into Bamboo Producers’ Societies. TBM has promoted women Self Help Groups for creation of quality bamboo planting material in the plantation area.