Tata Power Mundra UMPP Empowers Women Through Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Gujarat

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India CSR News Network

MUMBAI: Tata Power, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL) has always been committed towards sustainable development of the community in and around its projects. In line with its philosophy and as a part of its community engagement initiative, Tata Power has adopted a multi-dimensional community development program that has benefited villagers of Tunda, Vandh, Modhva, Tragadi Bunder, Mota Kandagra, Nana Bhadiya, NaniKhakhar and MotiKhakhar villages in Mundra and Mandvi Taluka.

Tata Power

With the aim of ensuring a sustainable future for the villagers including the fishermen and women community, the Company has undertaken successful initiatives including Project Sujaan, Project Uttkarsh in Tragadi and Nanabhadiya villages, Kanthi Area Livelihood Programme (Gaushala) at Tunda and Vandh, Self Help Group amongst others.

Tata Power has initiated and encouraged the formation of ‘Self Help Groups’ (SHG) by way of implementing various income generation trainings and carrying out skill up-gradation trainings to help the women earn a better living. The first SHG was formed in Tunda Vandh village in the year 2008. The numbers have now reached to 45 SHGs across 7 villages of Mundra and Mandvi Taluka of Kutch. More than 450 women are a part of the SHGs and are community representatives in their villages. This program is aimed at strengthening women’s self-esteem and self-worth. Also, it enables them to enhance their living standard as well as of their families. It also reduces women’s dependency as well as gender prejudices amongst the community at large.

Information sessions and ‘Sakhi Mandal’ scheme by the Government have helped sensitize the community about the importance and need for SHGs. A special programme was also carried out to offer credit support through bank tie-ups to encourage women to initiate their own ventures. 20 SHGs have been credit linked with banks and have availed Rs. 11 lakh as credit support. Members are encouraged to save and deposit the same in a special account at a bank nearest to them. Further, 13 groups have successfully received loans worth Rs. 50,000 and 2 worth Rs. 1,00,000 each, from District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). Till date, a total of 25 groups have set up bank A/Cs and as on July 2013 and have a cumulative savings of Rs. 9.87 lakh. The promotion of micro finance programs as a key strategy for the alleviation of poverty and women empowerment has benefitted nearly 90 women so far.

Under the initiative aimed at training and development of women, the Company involved more than 40 women in exposure familiarization-visit to Tata Chemical’s Mithapur plant and provided them a first-hand insight into the workings of SHGs in that area. In other such familiarization-visits, the company took 32 women to the NGO Nakhatrana Mahila Vikas Sangathan (NMVS) in CITY and 30 women to Bhuj to provide them first-hand experience of Khamir (handicrafts). The Company also imparted agriculture-related training to 20 women and organized a familiarization-visit for 40 women in association with Vivekanand Research and Training Institute.

SHGs exemplified the Company’s philosophy by way of facilitating community participation towards various development initiatives including a sanitation program organized by CGPL. Furthermore, awareness programs on prevalent social issues like domestic violence, group strength, etc. were organized for the benefit of women in rural areas of Mundra and Mandvi Taluka of Kutch, Gujarat.

The extensive success of this unique initiative has motivated more women to participate and form additional SHGs. Due to excellent training and skill development sessions; women have now become proficient at enhancing their earning capabilities. A special program ‘Vartika’ conceptualized by Tata Power promoted value added traditional embroidery crafts and developed market linkage for women to increase their earnings and livelihood profitability. Every year, the Company celebrates International Women’s Day with the proud members of the SHGs.

Speaking on these initiatives, Mr. Anil Sardana, Managing Director- Tata Power stated, “Tata Power follows its ‘Leadership with Care’ sustainability model with complete dedication and is committed to the cause of community development. Women are at the center of building the social capital of India and their development is synonymous with India’s development. We must aim to empower women, motivate them to achieve their dreams and be independent. This change in attitude must spread across the nation, and we are committed to this cause.”

Under CGPL’s Impact Mitigation and Community Development Plan (Based on the Baseline Social Impact Assessment), Tata Power continues to serve its target neighbouring communities. Future efforts by the company will help in resolving health, sanitation and education needs of the local people. Tata Power plans to invest towards an increase in the community’s access to better living standards. The Company is also working in partnership with NGOs, State and Central bodies which have helped them to widen the reach and leverage each partner’s individual experience and expertise, thereby making substantial difference in the lives of communities.

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