The North Zone includes Delhi and the states of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and union territories of Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir. Developmental issues that plague this region cover a wide spectrum of issues due to the differentiated geographies of the involved regions. Environmental degradation has led to the rapid depletion of natural resources in the Central Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The loss of forest cover has caused widespread soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, decreased agricultural production and has led to large-scale migration. The remoteness of several locations in these states only exacerbates the problems.
In Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the overuse of agricultural technology such as high-yielding seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and farm mechanisation has led to myriad problems associated with agriculture. What further exacerbates the problems in these regions is the practice of crop residue burning, which is one of the factors that contribute to air pollution. Small and marginal farmers who are majority in the country as well as in the north zone have issues pertaining to non-viability of farming with rising input costs and inadequate market linkages.
The strategic approach
The Tata Trusts’ interventions are aligned towards improving the quality of life of the communities they serve, with special focus on marginalised rural communities. There is significant focus on aspirational districts as well. The Trusts have a deep understanding of regional challenges, nuances and opportunities, which helps them customise intervention strategies that are most relevant, meaningful and beneficial to a specific region. These interventions are strategically designed to go beyond the realm of patchwork philanthropy to be inclusive, long-term, impact-driven and supported by data analytics and technology.
The Trusts’ regional strategies are driven through several holistic programmes including those on livelihoods, education, health care, water and sanitation. These programmes are layered to address the needs of the communities in a comprehensive manner.
The Trusts collaborate with central and state governments in regions to help build synergy on common goals, and to assist in achieving the desired reach, scale, impact and momentum of the programmes. Working with local partners and associate organisations has helped build the Trusts' presence in all regions. Direct implementation projects are conducted by deploying field teams even in remote locations where there are no partner networks. This multi-pronged approach to interventions helps the Trusts stay aligned with the evolving needs of local communities.
The Trusts design their strategies for sustained positive change, which is often achieved by projects that aim at strengthening the complete ecosystem. This involves building sustainable community organisations wherever required, such as producer groups, Self Help Groups (SHGs), farmer groups and local community resource personnel that add to the impact and outreach of the programmes.
For improving programme outcomes, the Trusts leverage their global network of like-minded partner organisations for sourcing new technologies and expertise. Successful programmes are replicated across locations through cross-pollination and cross-learning -- after piloting and localising them in newer regions.
Our work in the region
In Uttar Pradesh (UP), the Tata Trusts’ focus has been in the thematic areas of livelihoods, education migration, health and nutrition. The Sujalam Sufalam Project helps farmers in UP to double their agricultural income through basket of interventions. Through Migrant Resource Centres, the Trusts deliver labour-friendly services that address migrant vulnerabilities and improves social security. Under their Urban Habitat initiative, the Trusts have also submitted a detailed mapping-cum-assessment report on Solid Waste Management and conducted training programmes on capacity-building for sanitary inspectors and others.
The Trusts’ education interventions through their Eastern UP Initiative, improving quality of education accessible to poor communities. The Trusts’ Women’s Literacy Programme has embarked on building functional literacy in women in high-need districts. The Trusts run literacy centres in villages enabling women to develop a capacity to read and engage with numbers in an organic manner. School and Madrasas Improvement programme focuses on improving quality of teaching learning in government schools and Madrasasto enhance student learning and overall development through building foundational skills, prompting reading through libraries, develop 21st century skills through Integrated approach to technology in education and so on. Work on Early Childhood Education provides stronger basis for pre-school children to develop cognitive, social, linguistic skills while adolescent education work focuses on building life-skills, reaching over 40,000 learners.
In Punjab, the Reviving the Green Revolution (RGR) cell works closely with the Punjab Agricultural University to develop best practices in agriculture. RGR’s Integrated Productivity Management in cropping systems helped promote inter-cropping to maximise yield and income through the diversification of crops. The Trusts-supported Happy Seeder helps in sowing seeds and reducing the impact of climate change by curbing the practice of burning crop stubble. mKRISHI, the Trusts’ digital app, delivers information productivity and profitability as well as weather updates, pest control measures and the latest information on agricultural best-practices.
The Tata Dairy Mission works with small and marginal farmers in the villages of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to promote dairy as a viable and sustainable livelihood option through women led Milk Producer Companies set up with technical inputs from National Dairy Services Water conservation and water security are two key focus areas for the Trusts. The Trusts’ Himmotthan Pariyojana’s WATSAN programme focuses on building community knowledge towards the management of natural water resources in Uttarakhand. Alongside, their solar-enabled irrigation initiative seeks to harness solar energy to alleviate the drinking water problem that besets the mountain communities in the region.
The Trusts’ Central Himalayan Livestock Initiative endeavours to enhance the livelihoods of these communities through livestock and micro-finance focused initiatives. The Small Holders Poultry Project allows household poultry enterprises to flourish. The Trusts’ Mission Pulses Project enhances the income of farmers in Uttarakhand through productivity enhancement, improved post-harvest processes and collective marketing initiatives.
The Leh Livelihood Initiative implements ecologically and socially sensitive interventions in water conservation and horticulture in the Leh region of the union territory of Ladakh. Interventions in this region also include developing green house to promote off season vegetables, artisans’ skill development, developing apricot value chain, artificial glacier formation.
Health is a key focus area for the Tata Trusts; in Uttar Pradesh, the Trusts have been supplementing public health care through telemedicine facilities. Through a hub and spoke model of primary care, the Trusts have leveraged telemedicine services and mobile medical units in the Mathura district in UP, keeping special focus on non-communicable diseases. In the state’s Gorakhpur district, the Trusts’ medical interventions are focused on preventing the spread of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, and cover over 20,000 people. The Trusts have also introduced mobile lab services to provide inexpensive diagnostic facilities for patients.
Alignment with the UN SDGs
The interventions by the Tata Trusts in the north zone support the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs ) as laid down by the United Nations (UN):
- No poverty
- Reduced inequality
- Partnerships to achieve the goal
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Clean water and sanitation
- Decent work and economic growth
- Sustainable cities and communities
While ‘safety nets’ for rural poor are important, Tata Trusts are keenly creating opportunities and building capabilities of rural poor which would serve as a ‘climbing rope’ for them to become engaged contributors to India’s inclusive growth.