The West Zone comprises the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Maharashtra has suffered severe drought conditions for decades. This has affected the primarily-agrarian economy of much of its rural belt.
In the Vidarbha district, years of drought, low yields, poor market access, dependence on moneylenders, etc., have aggravated the economic situation of farmers and left them with crippling debt.
The Tata Trusts’ interventions in the western states straddle livelihood, crafts, education and digital literacy, health care, skill development, migration, water and sanitation.
The strategic approach
The Tata Trusts’ interventions are aligned towards improving the quality of life of the communities they serve. 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) 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
The Trusts have joined in government and non-profit organisations’ efforts to make the state of Maharashtra drought-free.
Since water conservation and water security are two key focus areas for the Trusts, they have supported the development of a drought-proofing programme, providing financial support for the equipment to be deployed for this effort, as well as its maintenance for a year. Piloted in Buldhana, the success of this intervention has led the Trusts and their partner to expand the scale and reach of this intervention in four other water-scarce districts of Maharashtra. Alongside, the Trusts also began work on the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan scheme in partnership with the state government. The project aims to restore old water storage structures and desilt existing water bodies to aid the recharge and storage of ground water for irrigation.
The Trusts’ Sukhi Baliraja Initiative in Vidarbha district of Maharashtra aims to address and alleviate farmers’ distress. The mKRISHI digital app also helps in delivering knowledge of agricultural practices and other updates to farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The initiative has provided extensive services to over 123,000 farmers in Gujarat, while nearly 157,000 farmers from 847 villages in the Vidarbha region have registered on the digital platform for these services.
In Maharashtra and Rajasthan, the Tata Dairy Mission (TDM) works with small and marginal farmers to promote dairy as a viable and sustainable livelihood option. The milk producer companies set-up under the mission have transformed lives in these states.
In the field of education, the Trusts’ multiple interventions in Maharashtra include tribal education; TEJAS, an initiative to improve teachers’ proficiency in English; the Karta Initiative that enables talented students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to acquire quality higher education; ‘Digital Education Guarantee Card’ programme that ensures education for the children of migrant labourers in rural Maharashtra, etc.
In Rajasthan, the Trusts’ Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) improves the professional development of teachers and the academic prospects of high school students from underserved communities. The Trusts also facilitate crèches and bridge schools for children of migrant workers employed in brick kilns.
The Trusts’ ‘Internet Saathi’ digital awareness programme addresses the huge gender gap in internet literacy. Women are trained to use the internet, and equipped with data-enabled devices to work as trainers to help other women in their digital journey.
The Trusts’ Skilling initiative has provided skilling and training to underprivileged youth in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, thus addressing the challenges of finding gainful employment in underdeveloped rural regions in these states. ‘Sakh se Vikas’, the Trusts’ multi-thematic transformation initiative promotes development through micro-finance, enhancing the quality of life of over 70,000 tribal households in four blocks in Rajasthan.
Health is a critical vertical for the Tata Trusts; Udaan, the Trusts’ most ambitious health initiative is developing and implementing path-breaking initiatives in several districts of Maharashtra. Through this initiative, the Trusts have collaborated with the Government of Maharashtra to reduce the burden of mental illness through community-level and institution-level interventions.
Cancer care is another significant initiative for the Trusts. In partnership with the National Cancer Institute, the Trusts are assisting in the upgradation of a cancer care facility in Nagpur to provide comprehensive cancer care to patients at affordable rates. They will also establish a satellite cancer care facility to focus on diagnostics and day care services. The Trusts are also working to strengthen government systems to promote cancer prevention and early detection so as to make a systemic change in the health sector in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are also the focus areas for the Trusts’ RMNCHA+ (Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Healthcare) initiative. The Trusts cover eight districts and over 80 facilities in these two states, and engage in identifying and treating high-risk pregnancies, resolving infrastructural gaps, and training accredited social health activists and auxiliary nurse midwives. Moreover, the Trusts are the Lead Development Partner for improving maternal and neonatal care in Madhya Pradesh.
The Trusts’ Transforming Rural India Initiative focuses on the large-scale transformation of villages in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In Madhya Pradesh, the Trusts work to implement health and nutrition-focused interventions as well as education initiatives across primary schools.
In Gujarat, the Trusts’ Coastal Salinity Prevention and Mitigation has helped develop sustainable models for the prevention and mitigation of salinity ingress, and to enhance the livelihood resilience across the villages of coastal Gujarat. The Lakhpati Kisan initiative aims to bring about irreversible change in the Central Indian tribal belt through economic empowerment. The same initiative in Maharashtra and Gujarat aims to bring about economic empowerment of farmers by creating accelerated income growth within a short three-year timeframe.
At the same time, their Transforming Rural India (TRI) initiative works to trigger large-scale transformation of villages in regions of endemic poverty in Madhya Pradesh. The Trusts have founded a separate company for providing impetus to dairy farming, while cross-pollinating their fisheries and poultry farming enterprises to build alternate sources of income. They have also successfully cross-pollinated the successful System of Rice Intensification (SRI) initiative to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Through their Crafts portfolio, the Trusts are nurturing young handloom weavers in Madhya Pradesh.
Through the Pragatee Foundation, the Trusts support the development of young leadership through football in the zone.
During natural calamities, the Trusts have expeditiously provided relief and daily essentials to affected areas. The relief work carried out in flood-affected areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra for example, stand testimony to the Trusts’ commitment towards the safety and well-being of human lives.
Alignment with the UN SDGs
The interventions by the Tata Trusts in the west zone support the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as laid down by the United Nations (UN):
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Reduced inequality
- Gender equality
- 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
The focus in the West zone is currently on livelihoods, crafts, education and digital literacy, health care, skill development, migration, water and sanitation.