Reliance Foundation to scale up its CSR initiatives in rural South

Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation

HYDERABAD: Nita Ambani led Reliance Foundation (RF), a Corporate Social Responsibility wing of Reliance Industries Limited is planning to replicate and scale up its rural transformation initiatives across the country.

The Foundation has been focusing on rural transformation, health, education, sports for development, disaster response, arts, culture and heritage and urban renewal in 15 States across the country including the two Telugu States in southern part of India.

Jagannatha Kumar, CEO of RF and Vamsee Krishna Jasti, head of the Rural Transformation division of the foundation, said here that so far they had reached 8.5 lakh people in the two Telugu States through various social projects.

The RF’s model was to work with the communities, identify their needs, prepare a village development plan and help them in those areas. The rural transformation wing took up activities four years ago but gradually forged partnerships with like-minded organisations, including government departments and universities, they said.

Wasteland development

About 6,600 hectares of land including wastelands were turned productive in the two States and in 2,300 hectares farmers were able to raise two to three crops. Over 2.3 billion litres of rainwater harvesting capacity was created through various structures to support nearly 1,000 hectares of land in Telangana villages and 11 villages have been made drinking water secure.

Reliance nutrition gardens were established to support 2,300 people across 13 villages in Telangana and they get fresh vegetables and fruits at their doorstep. Digital classrooms were provided in 85 schools, they listed out. About 3,000 youth were trained in various skills and over 2,000 of them were linked to employment opportunities. In Kamareddy , farmer producer groups were formed to help them get better price in the market.

“Our attempt is to create replicable and scalable models of development through direct action, with community participation and innovative use of technology. Now we reached a critical mass making a difference to the lives of communities,” said Jagannatha Kumar.

The Foundation on an average spends Rs. 600 crore per year on its CSR activities in the focal areas and so far spent about Rs. 3,000 crore across the country. The incomes of communities in the Telugu States where they worked went up from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 80,000 and from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1 lakh, they claimed.