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Maharashtra plans to transform 10,000 villages through CSR

MUMBAI: It has reported that Maharashtra plans to involve top industrialists, philanthropists and executives such as Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, Mahindra & Mahindra’s Anand Mahindra and HDFC’s Deepak Parekh for a mammoth corporate social responsibility (CSR) project that aims to transform 10,000 villages over three years.

It will create a special fund using the CSR funds of corporates for the initiative and these leaders could be part of its governing board by depositing a tentative sum of Rs 10 crore each, sources in the government said.

About 50 top industrialists, CEOs and philanthropists have been called for a meeting with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday where a presentation would be made to them, they said. State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, Hindustan Unilever chief executive officer (CEO) Sanjiv Mehta, ITC chief operating officer Sanjiv Puri, Kalyani group’s Baba Kalyani, JSW group’s Sajjan Jindal, Nikhil Meswani of Reliance Industries, Deutsche Bank’s Ravneet Gill, Standard Charte ..

Government officials said the state had floated the proposal to these industrialists a few days back and had got an “enthusiastic response”. Even if 40 of them say yes to the initiative and contribute Rs 10 crore each, the government would be able to raise about Rs 400 crore for the fund, the sources said.

“Each of them will have to put in a certain amount of money in the CSR fund; the state would also match it by putting a similar amount of resources into it. But not all of these industrialists would be part of the governing board,” a senior government official said.

Government officials said 1,000 villages will be adopted in the first year, 1,500 in the second, and the rest 7,500 villages will be taken up in the third year. The state will focus on problems like infant mortality, nutrition, education, health and employment generation.

Having industrialists on the governing board would boost the confidence of those willing to be part of the initiative and assure them that their funds are being put to right use, state officials said.

“A lot of these compa nies are do ing CSR and they do yield positive re sults. But this is a scattered aptered approach. We are planning a more synchronised move with government participation with deadlines and goals in place,” a top government official said.

(Economic Times)

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