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Renewal in Rajasthan

Inclusive, inventive and durable social development programmes are making a difference in a state that demands special attention

Rajasthan is the largest state in India by geographical size —and among the last in its human development index. The first fact is of little consequence; the second is an enduring concern that has defied policies and policymakers for long. The ground is shifting, though, as social uplift programmes that have come through the experiment-implement-supplement grind take hold across the state.

Collaborations have been critical in making these programmes effective and self-sustaining for increasingly larger numbers of Rajasthan’s populace. The state administration is a key player here, as is the central government.

Women at a meeting of self-help groups in Nana Bali in Pali district
Women at a meeting of self-help groups in Nana Bali in Pali district
This self-help group member from Kala Para village in Alwar district now rears an improved breed of goats

Community institutions, women and participatory development ... are the
pathways to progress.”

Malika Srivastava, regional manager, Tata Trusts

Complementing their efforts are a slew of nonprofits, NGOs and philanthropies that have done pioneering work in diverse spheres through inclusive, inventive and durable initiatives that are making a difference where it matters most — in the lives of people and in the overall health of communities.

The Tata Trusts have punched above their weight in contributing to the cause, and in a spectrum of spheres, including health and education, nutrition and sanitation, livelihoods and skilling. There are common elements in the method that underlines each of these: scale and sustainability, measurable impact, community involvement, a focus on women, and governmental support at every level.

“We have placed households at the centre of the matrix,” says Malika Srivastava, the regional manager for Rajasthan with the Tata Trusts. “Community institutions, women and participatory development are very important in this context; they are the pathways to progress. Our partners, particularly the state and central governments, are vital to the process. The Trusts don’t own the programmes they have initiated. We all do, together, and equally so.”