Govt setting up Rs 1,000-cr corpus for Naxal areas

Rural Devt ministry is setting up a body with Rs 1,000-cr corpus to promote empowerment in 170 districts, including those affected by Naxal violence.

Mumbai: The Union Rural Development ministry
is setting up a body called `Bharat Rural Livelihood
Foundation` (BRLF) with a Rs 1,000-crore corpus with the help
of India Inc, to promote economic and social empowerment in
170 districts, including those affected by Naxal violence.

"I have already written to the Tatas, Reliance, Infosys,
and Wipro, apart from the dairy cooperative NDDB, and Nabard,
to be the founding members of BRLF. My ministry is giving
initial corpus of Rs 500 crore," Union Rural Development
Minister Jairam Ramesh said here today.

"I want the rest to come from the corporates," Ramesh
told reporters after a meeting with the NABARD brass here.
"We have called a meeting on April 27 in New Delhi of all
the stakeholders, including corporates, civil society
organisations and grass-root level activists."

This is the first time the government is formally
reaching out to the private sector to tackle the Naxal
problem. The Foundation will work for improving livelihood and
habitats of tribals in 170 districts, 78 of which are severely
affected by the Maoist violence, Ramesh said.

NABARD and the government-run National Dairy Development
Board too will be a part of the Foundation.

Ramesh added that foundation will not be a government
body, but will run on professional lines, with a chairman and
a full-time CEO. "In structure and composition, it will be
similar to the Public Health Foundation of India chaired by
the Infosys co-founder N R Narayan Murthy."
The foundation will support developmental activities in
watershed management, dairy, fisheries, agriculture, etc.

On how the corporates can participate, he said, "Those
who pay higher amount as donations, say Rs 200 crore, can get
a board position. But I am sure it will not be a government
body and the government will not have any say in its day to
day functioning."

BRLF funds will be disbursed to the civil society and
NGOs on a need-based manner, he added.

"The move is part of the Budget proposals. The Foundation
will scale up civil society interventions and transform the
lives and livelihoods of the adivasis in these 170 districts
spanning Andra Pradesh, Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand,
Maharashtra, Madya Pradesh,Odisha,Rajasthan and Uttar
Pradesh," the Minister said.

When asked whether donations to BRLF would be considered
as part of CSR initiative, Ramesh answered in the affirmative.

Naxal violence has been on the rise in the recent years.


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