Vedanta, NITI Aayog join hands for ‘Aspirational Districts’ programme in Odisha

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New Delhi: Vedanta Limited has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with NITI Aayog to help improve the quality of life of the citizens of Kalahandi district, Odisha, through their CSR fund as part of ‘Aspirational Districts’ initiative.

As per the SoI signed by both the parties, NITI Aayog and Vedanta will work together to assist the district by reviewing and co-creating strategic action plans to improve lives of local communities through interventions in Health & Nutrition, Education, Financial Inclusion, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure related aspects as defined in Aspirational Districts mandate under overall development policies of the State Government.

Vedanta, in coordination with local government officials, and in consultation with representatives of NITI Aayog and State Government will contribute in conducting scoping studies and formative research for innovative solutions, demonstrating technology and process innovations in the identified sectors, co-creating knowledge products for informed advocacy of documenting best practices and evolving synergies between the State and district authorities to attain the partnership objectives.

On its part, NITI Aayog will facilitate the implementation of the joint plans developed by Vedanta, enable engagement of development partners and interaction with other implementing agencies.

Following the signing of the SoI, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said, “This collaboration will help in necessary interventions where the need is greatest to transform the aspirational districts of Odisha, particularly Kalahandi. By effectively addressing the districts’ developmental needs as identified and defined in the ‘Aspirational Districts’Programme, this partnership will help in improving the lives of the people in Kalahandi and subsequently other Aspirational Districts of Odisha.

Rahul Sharma, CEO – Alumina Business, Vedanta Limited said, “Vedanta has been contributing to the development of communities in Odisha for the last 13 years. Under our sustainable development programmes, we are already running numerous community-led initiatives for the holistic development of the local communities of Kalahandi district. We believe it is our responsibility to make a difference to the lives of all local people and empower them. The signing of the SoI with NITI Aayog will further bolster the overall development of Kalahandi district in Odisha.”

The SoI will enable Vedanta to work in coordination with the State government, district administration, and development partners to improve access to better quality services.  The coordinated efforts would help in reaching out to larger communities with combined resources of both Vedanta and government agencies.

The company will also work with public, private and non-governmental organisations to build sustainable models to create better menstrual health management, introduce learner-friendly schools, enable quality early childcare services, strengthen traditional and local enterprises, and also develop basic amenities in the community. Subsequently, Vedanta will also explore possibilities for supporting other aspirational districts in Odisha.

To do all this, Vedanta will invest in improving health facilities, classrooms, playgrounds and WASH facilities in schools and ICDS centres, formation and strengthening of women’s groups, and also contribute in improving basic facilities for water, sanitation and electricity.

With the joint efforts of both NITI Aayog and Vedanta, it is hoped that Kalahandi will improve significantly in Aspirational Districts’ ranking.

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