Here’s Why Tata Power and Dabur Are Queuing Up to Assist Politicians in Rural Development

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s more radical calls to action was the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana where members of parliament were tasked with the responsibility of developing three villages by 2019, in constituencies other than their own. It’s found resonance not just with politicians eager to establish themselves as more than just a local entity but also with a slew of corporates.

Poonam Mahajan, MP and daughter of the late BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan has adopted Charoti, a village in Thane district, Maharashtra, roping in three brands: Babool from Dabur, Grassroot a fashion label by designer Anita Dongre and an auto maker who prefers at this stage to remain anonymous. Babool and the auto major will be shelling out Rs 40-Rs 50 lakh in the first 6 to 8 months, focusing on education, drinking water and solar power. Grassroot will create employment opportunities for the women in the village.

Besides politicians several marquee companies are also responding. For instance, Tata Power has adopted Kadachimeth, a tribal village in Thane district of Maharashtra and aims to transform it into a model village by 2017. The village lacks basic amenities and in the next three years, Tata Power plans to engage in developing roads, education facilities, medical outreach, and solid infrastructure.

The motives of course are not all altruistic. Brands will expect something for their pains and beyond just the positive publicity of doing well by doing good. According to Samyak Chakrabarty, founder of Social Quotient, an agency that’s associated with many such projects: “We believe that the donor and doer are equally important as the receiver. We are trying to move away from the typical NGO model and function as a for profit social enterprise that develops tangible incentives for corporate entities who fund our projects.” And so post phase one, of financial assistance, the brands will look at ways of monetising this association, says a senior official in the know.

A mail sent to Dabur did not elicit any response, but designer Anita Dongre, says, “Poonam Mahajan approached me, after hearing about my brand Grassroot which is all about empowering women. I will be helping her provide employment opportunities and also better livelihoods for the residents of the village.” Grassroot will train the women by setting up a sewing and hand embroidery unit in Charoti. “With Grassroot, we move craftsmanship from cities and take them to the villages, so that the residents of the village, who lack employment are not forced to migrate,” says Dongre.

Source: The Economic Times (link opens in a new window)

infrastructure, rural development, transportation