South India

Improving water, sanitation, agriculture, health and care of the elderly, nutrition, education, and digital literacy.

people screened for NCDs in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
trained in AP on digital literacy
Increased net incomes for farmers
in Karnataka by nearly 3.5 x

Extending across the southern part of the peninsular Deccan Plateau, south India comprises the five states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Mostly agrarian in nature, the region is also home to several metros -- Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai being the largest. One of the reasons this region differs from the rest of India is its literacy rate — an average of 80 per cent as compared to India’s national average, which is around 74 per cent.

Despite this, however, social development continues to face several challenges. Water scarcity affects almost the entire south region, which in turn, has impacted agricultural production and farm livelihoods. In many rural parts of the region, nutrition and sanitation issues still persist along with a creaky public health care system. Out of Niti Aayog’s 101 aspirational districts, nine can be found in this region.

The strategic approach

The Tata Trusts’ interventions are aligned towards improving the quality of life of the communities they serve. The activities go beyond the realm of patchwork philanthropy as the interventions are strategically designed to be inclusive, long-term, impact-driven and supported by data analytics and technology. The regional strategies are driven through several holistic programmes including those on livelihoods, education, health care, water and sanitation. These programmes work synchronously to address the needs of the communities in a comprehensive manner.

The Trusts’ collaboration with the central and state governments in regions helps build synergy on common goals and assists 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 is no partner network. This multi-pronged approach to interventions helps the Trusts stay aligned with the evolving needs of local communities. There is a deep understanding of regional challenges, nuances and opportunities, which helps the Trusts to customise intervention strategies that are most relevant, meaningful and beneficial to a region.

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) 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 the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Tata Trusts’ main interventions have been in the Krishna district, named after the Krishna River, the third-longest river in the country. This administrative district lies along the coastal Andhra region, and includes the one of most populated cities in the state -- Vijayawada. The Trusts undertook a microplanning exercise for the entire Vijayawada parliamentary constituency and embarked on a granular-level Village Development Plan. The Trusts adopted 265 villages under gram panchayats, and designed interventions to address the challenges related to water, sanitation, agriculture, health, nutrition, and education. With the support of the government, the Trusts have been able to construct over 20,000 toilets under the Village Development Plan, making the constituency open defecation-free. The work of the Trusts, especially concerning the 80 ‘smart villages’ programme, has earned recognition and a ‘best partner’ award from the Chief Minister. On the basis of this success, the Trusts have extended these interventions across the state.

Health is a focus area and the Trusts have taken up cancer care as an intervention. The Trusts are in the process of setting-up a large hospital for cancer treatment in the pilgrimage city of Tirupati. Regarded as the ‘spiritual capital of Andhra Pradesh’, the hospital will be supported by the Dr NTR Vaidya Seva health insurance scheme of the government and will be run by Alamelu Charitable Foundation (ACF) – a Section 8, not-for-profit entity supported by the Tata Trusts.

Apart from cancer facilities in health care, the Trusts have also been instrumental in supplementing public health care through telemedicine facilities. Through a hub and spoke model of primary care, these telemedicine services in the Krishna district have resulted in more than 50,000 beneficiaries and a reduction in the out-of-pocket expenses for patients by over 50 per cent due to affordable medicines. To further supplement and increase the reach of this programme, the Trusts have also introduced mobile medical units and lab services to provide inexpensive diagnostic facilities for patients.

Besides this, the Trusts have carried out capacity-building exercises for more than 13,000 anganwadi centre (AWCs) workers and refurbished more than 250 AWCs covering four districts in Andhra Pradesh. This has benefited over 100,000 children through the nutrition programme. Along with the government, the Trusts have also invested in building infrastructure in the public system for rice fortification. The Trusts are also in discussions with the State Government to set up a Total Health Ration (THR) factory in the state.

The state is gradually seeing the success of the Trusts’ popular Lakhpati Kisan programme. Dubbed as ‘Lakshadhikari Rythu’ in Telugu, the programme aims at imparting training to farmers for generating higher agricultural output and for maximising agricultural revenue. By helping train farmers in new avenues such as bee-keeping and turmeric cultivation, the Trusts have helped create a new channel of income. In Chittoor district, the Trusts have also worked with the local district authorities to help promote local bee-keeping by creating a new brand-‘Chittoor Honey’ and marketing it through various channels, bringing in much higher revenue for the cultivators than previously.

The Trusts recently introduced Badi Parivartana – a school reform programme that aims to make students future-ready by improving school education and student outcomes through holistic education. This programme is already gaining momentum and has garnered the support and advocacy of the state government. Alongside, the Trusts have also introduced skill-building initiatives to specifically target the challenges of finding gainful employment in underdeveloped regions of the state.

Under their Social Justice vertical, the Trusts support programmes that focus on the care, protection and reintegration of abandoned, orphaned or runaway children, and planned interventions to combat human trafficking.

In the state of Telangana, the Trusts’ focus has traditionally been on health care. With the active involvement of the health commissioner and the health secretary, the Trusts have successfully set-up a Digital Nerve Centre — a health platform that connects the primary health care system to district hospitals for the screening of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). In the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the Trusts have screened over 4 million people for NCD.

Witnessing a rise in the elderly population, the Trusts have taken the initiative of introducing a geriatric care programme for the state. Under this, the Trusts have facilitated the implementation of the Government of India-led National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly in Medak District, which enables access to comprehensive care, both preventive and promotive, for the elderly. In addition, the Trusts have also started a contact response system for the elderly, in collaboration with Department of Senior Citizens, Government of Telangana, accessible through a toll-free number 14567. This free service provides telephonic support including information, guidance, and emotional counselling for the elderly while also helping rescue abandoned senior citizens, who are subsequently either reunited with their families or accommodated in old age homes.

Apart from health care, the Trusts are also active in other focus areas such as education, livelihood, water, sanitation and migration.

In the state of Karnataka, the main focus of the Tata Trusts has been in the northern region, especially in the Yadgir district. Popularly monikered ‘Yadavagiri’ by the local people, Yadgir boasts of rich historical and cultural traditions. The Trusts have been able to implement multiple interventions through Kalike -- an associate organisation of the Tata Trusts. The Trusts have been able to achieve scale in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme, and promote education, girl child development and agricultural-related livelihood activities. The Trusts intend to expand their scope of work in the state by focusing on water, sanitation, livelihood and health care.

In Tamil Nadu, the Trusts have also been able to kick-start the adoption of mKRISHI, an innovative mobile application for farmers developed by TCS. Through mKRISHI, the Trusts, along with their partners, are able to broadcast updates on best farming practices and information on the local weather, different types of soil, and the usage of fertilisers and pesticides along with providing a platform for addressing queries.

Internet Saathi, the digital literacy programme of the Tata Trusts, has seen widespread adoption in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The programme aims at empowering rural women by helping them acquire digital skills and using them to teach students, teachers, anganwadi workers and farmers. Existing professionals such as tailors and beauticians have been able to augment their existing skills and open-up new livelihood opportunities. These Saathis have taught over 4.2million people in Andhra Pradesh, while in Tamil Nadu, the programme has been able to cover 80-90 per cent of the state under the digital literacy programme. An honourable mention is Bujji, an Internet Saathi from Somavaram village in AP, who has been chosen as ‘The 1st Hero Saathi’ of the programme across the country.

In sports, the Trusts-supported Pragatee Foundation enables the development of young leadership through football across Tamil Nadu. The Trusts’ support for arts continues in the ‘Transforming Culture, Transforming Lives’ initiative by Kattaikuttu Sangam, which imparts free training in the heritage theatre form of Kattaikuttu to youth from underserved communities in the state, with a focus on education, health care and the preservation of the arts.

Alignment with the UN SDGs

The interventions by the Tata Trusts in the south zone support the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as laid down by the United Nations (UN):
  • No poverty
  • 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

Know more about Tata Trusts’ work in the South Zone

Initiatives operational in the southern states of India

State: Andhra Pradesh

Initiative: Village Development Plan, Lakhpati Kisan programme

State: Tamil Nadu

Initiative: mKrishi