Rajasthan Govt. Adopts Mobile Office Approach to Reach Remote Tribal Villages

Hindustan Zinc, A Vedanta Group company, donates a specially designed bus fitted with most modern amenities to the Govt.

For the first time in India such type of exclusive bus has been designed to reach rural tribal population

Rajasthan Govt. has adopted a unique approach to reach remote villages in deep rural & tribal areas to address their problems and provide help on location. In this regard, Hindustan Zinc, the largest company in Rajasthan and Vedanta Group company in zinc-lead-silver business, has come forward and got developed an exclusive custom designed bus, which is fully air-conditioned, and fitted with 9 cubicals, latest computer systems & servers and other necessary equipments. The bus is also fitted with over wings which once open will provide shelters to visiting villagers. There is a large 70 inches plasma screen fitted on the back of the bus which will project various schemes and programs being introduced by the Government of Rajasthan.

The District Collector of Udaipur Shri Hemant Gera informed the gathering that this bus is a medium of government reaching rural masses specially tribal population of Kotda Block in Udaipur in Rajasthan and resolve their problems in their villages itself. This is perhaps first of its kind approach in the country where the government has adopted this method to reach out to remote tribal villagers where the poor villagers are unable to travel to government offices or address their issues. The officials of Revenue Deptt; Rural Development, Panchayati Raj & Education; Agriculture, Veterinary, Women & ICDS; Social Welfare Deptt.; District Supply Office; Public Health Engineering Deptt and Ajmer Vidyoot Vitaran Nigam; Health Deptt, and SDM, BDO & Tehsildar, would be travelling in this bus to address the issues of rural people. The bus also has a Registration Counter and free distribution of medicines under `Chief Minister Free Medicine Distribution' program, he informed.

Initially the bus would reach out to 262 remote tribal villages, covering 31 Gram Panchayats of block Kotda in Rajasthan. The bus would make trip with all the concerned officers once every week, most likely Thursday, in one of the 31 Gram Panchayats in Block Kotda. There would be preparation done before the bus reaches a Gram Panchayat by the various village committees and block development officers in respect to knowing the problems of the villagers, so that there could be speedy resolutions.

The Mobile Office Bus will also be used for providing other relief to the tribal villagers in need of emergency. We would be able to make good doctors visit tribal villages for organizing health camps, Shri Hemant Gera said. The entire exercise in villages would be recorded through CCTV camera which would be reviewed by higher authority in the Govt. to ascertain the objective of this initiative. Shri Gera also thanked Hindustan Zinc for coming forward with their support to develop such bus.

Shri Akhilesh Joshi, the Chief Operating Officer of Hindustan Zinc informed that this Mobile Office Bus approach will be useful for villagers specially who find it difficult to approach the government machinery or who are some how unable to get their issues addressed. Hindustan Zinc has always been in front to adopt community welfare programs under its CSR initiatives, meant for the benefit of rural poor. Vedanta has always been working in close association with State Government and Government of India towards implementing various community service initiative.

The keys of the bus was handed over by the Chief Operating Officer of Hindustan Zinc, Shri Akhilesh Joshi to the Udaipur District Collector, Shri Hemant Gera.

Hindustan Zinc developing 3,700 Rural Women as Entrepreneurs in Rajasthan

The journey begins to a rural road in a village in district Chittorgarh of Rajasthan, away from the national highway, searching for a house that is known for running one of the most successful self-help groups in the district. Passing through small lanes and muddy roads, children playing around, we reach a house, the house of Chanchal Pareekh. Head of a Self Help Group (SHG) “Shiv Shankar Sahayata Samooh’, dressed in traditional attire, surrounded by about 15 rural women of the same village, into some discussion, relating to products designing and demands in the market, here we could see a glimpse of a real ‘rural women entrepreneur’. Chanchal Pareekh, who is also today the Ward Panch of village Ganeshpura, district Chittorgarh, Rajasthan.

Not just Chanchal Pareekh, we could see as many women entrepreneurs working towards their socio-economic independence and support to their families.

Here was an example of how rural women are replicating the success of urban women, who are not just restricted to their homes.

Rajasthan, known for colourful apparels, bandhani-bandhej, traditional handicrafts, heavy jewellery and various art forms, has been a major attraction for traditional art lovers. People cover large distances from India and abroad to reach remote Rajasthan villages to admire the skills of these rural women.

To up bring the socio economic conditions of these women and to also sustain the traditional art of Rajasthan, it was important to organize these women into a Self Help Group, popularly known as SHG which is normally a group of 10-15 women.
The journey of forming SHG was never easy. More than convincing the women, the daunting task was to approach their families for all traditional reasons and household commitments. It was difficult to break the myth that these women were potentially capable of being an entrepreneur, if given proper guidance and training. Families finally agreed with the belief that women of their houses would bring socio-economic independence.

Another challenge was now to bring rural women of different potential and temperament into one SHG and training them at par in different skills. This was essential to meet the objective of forming and making an SHG successful.
The SHG formation has importantly also encouraged the habit of thrift savings amongst these women, who have used this money for buying raw materials to make the products.

Pushpa Sharma, a member of “Saraswati SHG” is now confident enough to deal with banks independently on behalf of the group. Jyoti Pareekh, another member is happy to support her family financially. Saroj Devi, a trainer, is expert in dealing with the market and product development as per demand. Seeta Devi’s family never believed on her present success and admires her financial support to the family.

It is astonishing to know that in Rajasthan, where population of male & female are almost equal, the literacy rate in females is as low as about 53%. With such literacy rate, it becomes imperative to make these women literate so to be more socio-economically empowered.

Hindustan Zinc, a company of Vedanta Group, has by now formed 215 such Self Help Groups in Rajasthan bringing together almost 3700 women and developing them into “Women Entrepreneurs”. The company has been providing them various skill based trainings in handicrafts, tie & dye, bags, cushion covers & bed-sheets, quilts, rakhi & bangle making, block printing, zardozi, terracotta products, imitation jewellery, tailoring to name a few and also organizing regular ‘Adult Literacy Camps’.

It was indeed an unforgettable journey, though traveled alone, but bringing back the memories of the warmthness and simplicity of these women entrepreneurs in the form of their handmade crafts.