Mumbai: Change 1000 villages, change Maharashtra. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's innovative new scheme brought together top corporate leaders and a superstar.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan joined Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Rajshri Birla and the Anil Ambani group to discuss the roadmap for the state's "social transformation mission".
Mr Fadnavis, who will head the governing council that will run the mission, is looking to tap into the Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR initiatives of top companies to develop the villages, reduce poverty, aid agriculture there, ensure telecom connectivity and improve health services.
"25 percent of these villages will be from the tribal areas. By October 2 work should start in 100 villages and we have to ensure that this can be implemented anywhere in the country. All departments will have to work together. Only those people who really want these schemes will become beneficiaries," said Mr Fadnavis, adding that this will "supplement deficiencies in existing schemes and programmes."
Corporates and the state government will contribute 50 per cent each of the funds and the companies will also step in to help in their area of expertise. For instance, Anil Ambani's group has pledged telecom services for the villages. The Aditya Birla group will adopt 300 villages.
"The Tata Trust is happy to join this initiative. With growing industrialisation we will also have to strive for this kind of change. This will change the state of Maharashtra," said Ratan Tata chairman emeritus of Tata Sons.
Anand Mahindra of Mahindra and Mahindra said, "this is extremely positive thinking of change. If this project works then this will be an example of change before the country".
Amitabh Bachchan, an ambassador of the mission and who already endorses several government programmes, called it "an amazing programme."
"Many schemes related to health and education are in this programme. I feel that if we act on today's announcement then change will definitely happen," the 73-year-old actor said.