ITC Limited, one of India’s leading multi-business conglomerates, is strengthening its enduring partnerships with relevant stakeholders to rapidly scale up its social investments programme. The company has forged 83 public-private partnerships (PPP) with several state governments and government bodies, 24 technical collaborations with national and global organisations, and is working with 82 NGOs apart from thematic experts for village-based institutions and other partnerships.
ITC is also working with NITI Aayog to improve agriculture and allied sectors in 27 aspirational districts of eight states and has till date covered 2.5 million farmers. Additionally, it has institutionalised major agriculture practices in several states with the aim of reducing water use and cultivation costs and improving productivity to make agriculture more sustainable and climate-resilient.
ITC’s partnerships with state governments and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) are across thematic areas including water stewardship, agriculture, biodiversity, solid waste management, women empowerment, livestock, sanitation, vocational training, and education. ITC signed six partnership agreements during 2020-21 with various state governments for soil and moisture conservation, and education. These partnerships enabled ITC’s Social Investments Programme to raise a total of Rs. 81.76 crore in 2020-21 by way of community contributions and external sources for almost all the important interventions across all projects. Of the total PPPs, several are multi-district PPPs impacting the whole state.
Highlighting the company’s approach to scale up its programmes running under corporate social responsibility (CSR), Dr Ashesh Ambasta, Executive Vice-President & Head, Social Investments, ITC said, “Given the sheer magnitude of development challenges, ITC believes in the power of collaborations to accelerate social development in order to produce deep and enduring impacts at scale. Accordingly, multi-stakeholder partnerships are at the core of ITC’s Mission Sunehra Kal programme. We have been, and continue to, actively collaborate with the government for scale, with apex technical and research institutions to remain contemporary, with NGOs for effective mobilisation, and with grassroot institutions for local knowledge and sustainability. This provides the foundation on which to spearhead transformative social initiatives that significantly benefit the poor and marginalised.”
In 2020-21, the company signed two tripartite memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the Government of Rajasthan under the Rajeev Gandhi Jal Sanchay Yojana (RGJSY) for the promotion of sustainable livelihoods based on watershed development in Jhalawar and Hindoli districts benefitting 37,295 acres and 10,657 acres of area respectively. It also signed an MoU with the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Bihar for the revival of Ahar and Pyne systems in the entire Munger district and Watershed Development Department of Karnataka for drought-proofing of watersheds in 29 districts covering the entire state. These agreements will benefit 1.07 lakh acres in Bihar and 1.12 million acres in Karnataka.
In the area of education, ITC this year signed an MoU with Samagra Shiksha, Kamrup district, Assam to strengthen the capacity of block resource centres and cluster resource centres on leadership, pedagogy, and academic monitoring of teachers. Similarly, it entered a partnership with the Women Development and Child Welfare Department of Andhra Pradesh to build the capacity of child development project officers and supervisors of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) department. This is besides further enhancing the pedagogy of 28,000 Anganwadi workers in the six districts of the state.
ITC’s technical and knowledge partnerships with national and international organisations including the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) are aimed at improving the resilience of the ITC Mission Sunehra Kal (MSK) project villages and preparing farmers to mitigate climate change-related challenges. These partnerships cover farmers from 1,618 villages of 14 states under the Climate-Smart Villages (CSV) and climate risk assessment initiative.
The company under its partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is working towards the revival of key ecosystem services provided by nature while developing templates for drought-proofing agricultural catchments and achieving unit water security in factory catchments as part of its tie-up with International Water Management Institute (IWMI). It has also partnered with WWF-India for river basin water initiative and Better Cotton Initiative, with International Water Management Institute (IWMI) for developing drought-proofing template and with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and Vasant Dada Sugar Institute for water use efficiency in banana, coconut and sugarcane crops.
ITC’s partnerships with NGOs and thematic experts are helping it to build empowered community-based organisations that can function autonomously and enable community participation in the execution of 139 projects pan India implemented by the company under the ITC Mission Sunehra Kal (MSK) programme. ITC’s community development interventions under the Mission Sunehra Kal development model are in the areas of water stewardship, social forestry, climate-smart agriculture, women empowerment, improvement of education and skilling and improvement of health and sanitation. The company to date has created 10,524 user groups of 1.64 lakh members with a corpus fund of Rs 22.22 crore.
ITC, as an integral part of this partnership model, invests in the financial and project management skills of partner NGOs to ensure robust outcomes and enable capacity building through exposure to ITC projects across geographies to cross-fertilise learnings. It has put in place a process of structured “Dialogue” with NGO partners for pulse check and for feedback and forward planning.
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