Kolkata: The Bengal panchayat department has decided to guide industrial houses in taking up rural development projects as part of their corporate social responsibility for the benefit of villagers.
At present, the panchayat department, the corporate sector and NGOs take up development projects separately.
“As the corporate sector doesn’t have the infrastructure to find out the actual requirement of an area before taking up a development project, people don’t sometimes get the desired benefits. The panchayat department wants to guide such organisations in selecting the schemes as gram panchayats know the requirement of an area,” said a senior government official.
Sources in the panchayat department said the tobacco-to-hotel major ITC had already accepted the panchayat department’s idea and organised a workshop on Saturday to get to know about the ongoing development schemes in Mogra I and II gram panchayats in Hooghly.
Sources said convergence of the schemes taken up by panchayats, corporate houses and NGOs was required for economic development.
“The initiative is unique and it could be the first module in the country where the corporate sector would be working in tandem with gram panchayats for rural development,” said D.K. Pal, the advisor to the panchayat department.
According to sources, if the panchayat department can start some projects with the ITC soon, it could encourage more companies to join hands with the department.
“A panchayat can take up projects under certain schemes known as tied funds (funds allotted for specific projects). There is a requirement for more projects. Once large companies join hands with panchayats, such schemes could be taken up under the CSR,” added another official.