Indian State Honoured for Great Contributions to ESG
The Chhattisgarh State Minor Forest Produce Co-operative Federation was bestowed with the esteemed Prithvi Awards 2023 in the government category for their exceptional global contributions in the realm of ESG (environmental, social, and governance).
In attendance at the award ceremony was Arjun Meghwal, Union Minister of Law and Justice. Additionally, two self-help groups (SHGs) from Chhattisgarh were recognised in the NGO volunteer category for their commendable endeavours in fostering rural development and economic empowerment within the state.
The Jai Budha Dev SHG from Junwani village in Kawardha district and the Varsha SHG from Asna village in Bastar district were acknowledged for their remarkable achievements.
The Prithvi Awards, presented by the ESG Research Foundation during the ESG Global Conference held in New Delhi on July 14th and 15th, have emerged as a significant initiative to promote ESG compliance in India. The federation has actively pursued self-sufficiency in tribal rural areas through employment-oriented initiatives utilising forest produce.
Chhattisgarh Herbals, a trusted brand in the region, encompasses over 100 forest products. These products are delivered directly to the people through various Van-Dhan Kendras, ensuring the provision of organically pure goods sourced from Chhattisgarh's forests.
The collaboration between the local administration and rural women has established a forest-produce-centric model of economic development, leading to empowerment.
Tamarind Empowering Women in Bastar
The Varsha SHG from the small village of Asna in Bastar has made a significant impact on the local economy and is steadily progressing towards empowerment. Operating under the Van Dhan scheme, this unit consists of 104 members, including 10 women's SHGs. Their primary activity, tamarind processing, has generated an income exceeding Rs 23 lakh for the local community.
The activities of Varsha SHG have benefited over 3,000 forest dwellers in the area. With the purchase of 4,500 quintals of tamarind from the local community, the region's economy has been bolstered by Rs 1.54 crore, elevating the financial and social status of the local populace.
Jai Budha Dev SHG Revolutionising Coarse Grains with 'Shree Anna'
The Jai Budha Dev SHG, comprising 244 members across 10 groups, focuses on the production and primary processing of coarse grains, specifically 'Shree Anna.' In the previous year, the group successfully procured and processed approximately 8187 quintals of coarse grains, fetching a rate of Rs 30 to 33 per kg. This endeavour resulted in a substantial income of Rs 2.45 crore for the local farmers involved.
Chhattisgarh Herbals Expanding Livelihoods in Remote Forest Areas
Dedicated efforts are underway to promote rural development and uplift the economic status of people in remote areas of Chhattisgarh. The products of Chhattisgarh Herbals, manufactured by the Chhattisgarh State Minor Forest Produce Co-operative Federation, are now available at local Sanjeevani stores, C-Mart, and online shopping platforms. These offerings include high-quality herbal, ayurvedic, and personal care items.
The entire production process is designed to empower rural women and tribal families. This initiative has not only given forest produce a new identity but has also become a testament to the self-respect, self-confidence, and self-reliance of tribal women and their families, contributing to a new chapter of progress in Chhattisgarh.
State Initiatives for Environmental Conservation
Under the 'Narva Development Program,' the state government has revitalised a total of 22,92,000 hectares of land by restoring 6,395 canals in forest regions. This has resulted in increased groundwater levels and improved water availability for irrigation purposes, as well as significant enhancements in soil moisture. In Chhattisgarh, determined efforts are being made to accelerate economic development based on forest produce.
The state has announced the procurement of 65 types of forest produce at support prices and focuses on value addition and processing. This initiative not only creates employment opportunities but also ensures a substantial income for people in remote areas. Additionally, the 'Mukhyamantri Vriksha Sampada Yojana' encourages fruit tree plantation and contributes to an expansion in forest cover.
The scheme aims to plant trees on approximately 36,000 acres, and farmers have responded enthusiastically. Over 20,000 farmers have registered for the programme, with more than 23,000 committed to planting trees on about 36,000 acres of private land under the Mukhyamantri Vriksha Sampada Yojana.
Source: The Telegraph Online