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Corporates must invest in rural sectors

Our government is finally realising that corporate support is needed for enhancing agricultural production and development of the rural society. In most of the villages, the land holding is small and fragmented (not at one place inspite of consolidation) so the farmers need support of the government and corporates. Government can support by ensuring that district and tahsil authorities actively align themselves to “gram sabha” and “gram panchayats”. Corporates can assist by adopting a cluster of villages for economic and moral support. They will derive profits by setting up cold storages, food processing units, sale and maintenance of agricultural implements etc. Then, it should not be considered as corporate social responsibility. Look at actor Nana Patekar who is not thinking about earning profits but is working for social causes like providing assistance to drought hit farmers.

Corporates, on their own may not be willing to adopt villages, it is the duty of the government to persuade them. The government can ask organisations to adopt a village and provide them tax incentives. It is through these efforts that equitable growth will be ensured. Primary schools, health centres should be established. Milk production and processing can be undertaken so that rural society finds self-sustenance. Medium and small industries can be established such as hand looms and power looms. We have to shun this mentality that industry can only be established in big cities and not in semi-urban and rural areas. Corporates must take responsibility to develop villages to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas.

If “gram panchayats” are strengthened then pressure on High Court and Supreme Court will be reduced drastically. We already see educated lady  “sarpanch” in many villages and it’s the government’s job to encourage, facilitate and empower them. There is a need to impart training to a good workforce for electrifying the villages and ensure effective maintenance of power distribution system. The government can glorify such effort by holding official meetings in village once a while and not remain attached with “mantralaya”. The subject of equitable  distribution of wealth can thus be addressed. Hitherto, our efforts have not been directed along these lines and hence population and pollution is rising in metropolitan cities. Money will come from corporates, BCCI, rich temples, super rich spiritual leaders. It will not come easily. The government must follow the Carrot and stick policy and offer incentive those organisations who indulge in corporate social responsibility activities. Appreciation and awards should be reserved mostly for those engaged in rural, agricultural, horticultural and animal husbandry development.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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