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    Sukhi Baliraja Initiative
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    Himmothan Pariyojana
    Reviving the Green Revolution
    Drought Proofing in Rajasthan
Home > Institutional Grants > Rural Livelihoods and Communities > Strategic Plan 2011: Rural Livelihoods and Communities Portfolio
Strategic Plan 2011: Rural Livelihoods and Communities Portfolio

In 2006, the Trust commissioned a comprehensive review of its efforts over the past five years within its Rural Livelihoods & Communities (RLC) portfolio, as a key step towards the preparation of its Strategic Plan 2011 (SP – 2011), which would be the guiding light behind its grant making efforts over a five year period, beginning with the fiscal 2007-08. Notably, the RLC portfolio constitutes almost 70 per cent of the Trust’s annual programme-funding outlay.

The review team was led by Dr RS Tolia (Chief Information Commissioner, Uttaranchal and former Chief Secretary, Government of Uttaranchal). He was ably assisted by Professor Tushaar Shah (Advisor to the Director General, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, and former Principal Scientist and Team Leader of the IWMI-Tata Water Policy Research Programme, Anand) and Dr YC Nanda (ex-Chairman, NABARD).

Briefly, the Strategic Plan submitted to the Trust:
Noted that the Trust has successfully positioned itself as a proven catalyst of critical activities in nearly all major rural livelihoods issues and is pro-actively in the process of strategically aligning its interventions and resources in up-scaling various directly-targeted poverty alleviation interventions in the regions where it is needed most.
Appreciated the range and multiplicity of the Trust's initiatives and the speed with which it has been able to convert them into reasonably well identified key initiatives that have been suitably aligned with the recommendations of Strategic Plan 2000.
Complimented the Trust's pragmatic approach, whilst noting that even the approach to the eleventh Five Year Plan has suggested similar public - private partnerships in all possible areas, considering the sheer magnitude of resources required for achieving the goal of faster and inclusive growth at 9 per cent.
Delineated as many as twelve 'rural development requirements', as priorities for the RLC portfolio, which include, amongst others:
Rural income generation interventions
Rural wage employment
Rural housing
Rural social and food security
Need for integrated food-based intervention etc.

The overall analysis made by the review team guided the Strategic Plan to very spontaneously focus on reviving the agricultural sector within the country (‘regaining agricultural dynamism’), besides ensuring that all segments, especially the marginalised communities, are reflected within grant making endeavours (‘inclusiveness in growth’).

Some of the key recommendations emanating from the Strategic Plan
The Strategic Plan recommends further consolidation of the Trust’s initiatives, pronouncing it as the best outcome of the earlier two Strategic Plans. It exhorts the Trust to urgently set up a Programme Advisory Committee (PAC), if a further quality-wise systematic approach of its grant-making operations is desired. It also mandates the Trust to continue and improvise on its systematic approach to grant making through introduction of suitable structures of reporting to directly reflect outcomes, linking interventions to outputs, and finally to intermediate and strategic outcomes.
The Strategic Plan strongly recommends synchronisation of such reviews with the Five Year Plan periods of India, citing how this would be beneficial to the Trust's operations, especially in aligning its interventions with national thrust areas and priorities, which change from Plan to Plan.
To further deepen this exercise, the Strategic Plan recommends that the Trust fast forward and establish various cells, citing “State Immersion” as the key to ensuring a long-term collaboration and cooperation of partner agencies, non-profits or institutions within a particular state.
In the area of water sector research, it is recommended that proposed research be undertaken in collaboration with the concerned host-state, if it is intended to be mainstreamed into policy.
Within the states falling under the Central India Initiative (CInI), the Strategic Plan suggests following the recommendations of the Parthasarathy Committee report, both through the proposed modifications to be carried out in the national guidelines and through local prioritisation. It further recommends due weightage be given to poverty ratios, given that only those districts with below average poverty ratios are likely to receive funds under schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Sam Vikas, etc.
Under the Himmothan Pariyojana initiative, the Strategic Plan highlights the initial gains achieved in organic agriculture, rural poverty, and rural water and sanitation. It also explains how it is possible to dovetail with on-going externally funded projects in watershed, livelihoods, and water and sanitation projects, whilst recommending that a state area-wide approach be followed, avoiding any overlap.
Within Kharash Vistarotthan Yojana, the funds made available by the Twelfth Finance Commission and all related agencies are recommended to be channelled through a coordination committee, under the aegis of the chief secretary, Government of Gujarat.
Within Reviving the Green Revolution, the Strategic Plan suggests identification of research priorities through Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) type mechanisms. The Trust is exhorted to broad band its partners within the initiative, which currently revolves around the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana. Interaction with the directorate of agriculture (Government of Punjab) needs to be nurtured more intensively. Finally, a generic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Punjab, with a clear focus on appropriate policy impinging on substantial issues, is deemed necessary.
Within the Trust’s microfinance portfolio, the Strategic Plan recommends the replication of the Centre for microFinance (CmF) in up to five states from the list of 13 priority states identified by NABARD. The CmF needs to be nurtured and developed into a centre for excellence within a period of 5 – 7 years. The review mission believes that the Trust, along with Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, has the potential of making a major contribution to this sector. Consequently, a dialogue with NABARD needs to be initiated.
The Strategic Plan is in concurrence with the present organisational structure of the Trust, along with currently functioning cells. However, with an increased engagement at field level perceived in the immediate future, the Strategic Plan also recommends that at the Trust office, the Programmes Manager should be provided with corresponding staff support, as part of a Programme Planning and Partnership Cell, to facilitate the execution of SP 2011. This should be made responsible for servicing the proposed Programme Advisory Committee.

The Strategic Plan exhorts the Trust to enter into generic Memoranda of Understanding with participating states, like the one in force with the Government of Uttaranchal, besides also drawing up a panel of local experts and former experienced government bureaucrats well versed in rural development sectors.

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