December 09, 2016

Government of Uttar Pradesh and Tata Trusts - towards health, development and progress

  • Introduces Aadhaar-enabled Public Distribution System (AePDS) in Lucknow
  • Double Fortified Salt (DFS) available in 10 districts
  • Multiple programmes leverage technology to aid marginalized communities in UP
  • Multi sectorial approach towards development – from Data to Digital Literacy
From left: Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts and Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, at the announcement of the joint initiative

Lucknow: The Government of Uttar Pradesh and Tata Trusts today announced their joint initiative to leverage the current digital revolution in the country and strengthen the public distribution system (PDS) in the state.

Tata Trusts have successfully installed electronic Point of Sale devices (ePOS) to ensure the operation of an Aadhaar-enabled Public Distribution System (AePDS) in the Fair Price Shops (FPS) of the entire urban region of Lucknow. This will assist FPS owners to service their customers using Aadhaar authentication leading to the improvement in efficiency and transparency. With over 8 lakh transactions already through the ePOS devices, a coverage of 667 fair price shops and an overall Aadhaar authentication rate of approximately 60 per cent, this is another instance of a successful technical collaboration between the Trusts and the state government announcement. As the first steps towards achieving complete coverage, ePOS devices including SIM cards, and operating support for 5 months have been given to the FPS, and the owners have been oriented on digitization in batches.

On November 25, the Trusts and the Government had also announced the launch of Double Fortified Salt (DFS) to address iron and iodine deficiencies prevailing amongst the population of UP.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, thanked Ratan Tata for his presence at the event and said, “It was about a year back when the Government of Uttar Pradesh and Tata Trusts signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together in several sectors including agriculture, health, nutrition, education, migrant labour etc. The ePOS scheme is a part of this MoU with Tata Trusts.” He further added that, “The name ‘Tata’ is synonymous with credibility and trust in India. The Tata Trusts has played a significant role in the execution of various schemes under the MoU.”

Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, said, “With technology at the helm, our partnership with the Government of UP aims to mobilise resources and be a catalyst of change. A change that will be experienced by generations for generations to come. We hope our work towards poverty alleviation, job creation, increasing income, education and health will help create a new, Uttar Pradesh.”

Adopting a ‘Data to Digital Literacy’ approach to development, the Tata Trusts are working towards harnessing technology to address key developmental challenges, an approach that finds its roots in the shared vision of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and Mr Tata that technology can act as a force for good.

Uttar Pradesh remains one of the focus geographies for the Tata Trusts’ developmental work. Here, the Trusts are also implementing “Internet Saathi”, a programme jointly developed with Google India that aims at promoting awareness about the Internet among rural communities with a strong focus on women. The objective of this initiative is to help bridge the gender divide in Internet usage. The ‘Internet Saathi’ programme aims to cover 36,000+ villages in UP, reaching over 4.5 million beneficiaries by March 2017, in line with the Government of India’s Digital India Initiative.

Similar programmes have been initiated to make a difference to education, health and livelihoods sectors in the state. Through its ‘Direct Education Program’, Tata Trusts seek to enhance access to quality education through imparting 21st century skills and learning; improving curricula in schools and madarasas; and facilitating teacher training and technology integration in course modules and pedagogy. Spread across 8 Blocks of 4 priority districts, the Tata Trusts’ own teams will reach more than 9500 Women, children and adolescents; while implementation partners will reach another 42000 individuals. With a view to bringing prosperity to farmer households, Tata Trusts have helped in improving productivity of specific crops while developing end to end value chains for selected high value crops. By establishing high-tech nurseries, solar water lifting, and a women-owned milk producer company, Tata Trusts along with the Government of UP, have assisted in creating farm based enterprises with well-developed value chains. Joint health schemes and projects like the 108 Samajwadi Health Service and the 102 National Ambulance Service, are also rendering remarkable services to people in need, in far flung areas and interior regions.

Mr Tata also called upon the Governor, Ram Naik, to appraise him of the development efforts, mentioned above, which Tata Trusts are implementing in collaboration with the government in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Naik appreciated Tata Trusts’ initiatives in UP and looked forward to continued support in the progress of the State.

About Aadhaar enabled Public Distribution System (AePDS):
The objective of the AePDS is to bring in operational accuracy and efficiency to the PDS thereby ensuring adequate supply of commodities to its beneficiaries. The digital system will eliminate leakages, reduce systemic inefficiencies and ensure transparency. Furthermore, it will monitor real time transactions and obtain beneficiary level data, which will aid in designing better more targeted policies and improved resource allocation and utilisation. Leveraging cutting edge technology, Tata Trusts worked with the government to modernise the PDS system at scale by providing technical assistance and programmatic management support; providing trainings to FPS owners on the use of electronic Point of Sale devices; and monitored the progress of the utilisation of the electronic devices.

About Double Fortified Salt:
It can be seen that the general population in Uttar Pradesh is highly prone to adverse effects of iron deficiency disorders. The health impact of this deficiency is long lasting and grave. Iron fortified salt has been extensively tested and its effectiveness in improving iron status and reducing the prevalence of anaemia has been clearly demonstrated. The vehicle used for fortification, namely salt, is universally consumed by all segments and is the chosen vehicle because it constitutes an unmatched distribution platform. DFS is one solution that can become a vehicle to significantly reduce the prevalence of anaemia in the state. The Tata Trusts conceptualized and designed a program to deliver DFS through the public distribution system to address iron deficiency anaemia in 10 districts of Uttar Pradesh. The program’s goal is to distribute DFS in an efficient, transparent manner at scale across Uttar Pradesh, leading to a major health impact.

About Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts are amongst India's oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. Since its inception, Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of philanthropy to make impactful sustainable change in the lives of the communities served. Through direct implementation, partnership strategies and grant making, the Trusts support and drive innovation in the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance and media, arts, crafts and culture. Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy, the Trusts catalyse social development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation.

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Nikita Crasta
Rediffusion / Edelman, Mumbai
M: +91 9821071527