Reliance Foundation works toward enriching the lives of marginalised communities of India. It enhances livelihood opportunities and provides relevant information to help reduce risks for rural communities.
By deploying locally-relevant solutions, it enhances rural livelihoods in agriculture, marine fisheries and other farm and non-farm based activities. Reliance Foundation makes systematic efforts to improve the quality and productivity of rural assets, leading to increased and more reliable yields. This ensures increased incomes and better capacities among the targeted communities.
Some of the major initiatives under the Rural Transformation programme are:
Reliance Foundation Bharat India Jodo (RF BIJ)
Reliance Foundation’s flagship programme, Bharat India Jodo, initiated in 2010 empowers marginalised communities in India by improving their lives and livelihoods. The approach involves empowering communities to take collective action towards sustainable livelihoods while working in the areas of water, food and nutrition, livelihoods and market linkages.
BIJ closely works with grassroots organisations and technical resource agencies to share best practices and to create a knowledge and resource platform for collaborative large-scale impact.
Keeping the community and their development needs in the centre, the programme mobilises, organises and strengthens the capacity of communities by adopting participatory processes. These interventions promote collective ownership, decision-making and catalyse collective action for sustainable development.
The community drives the social, economic and ecological transformation processes in their respective villages to bring about change in quality of life. Dedicated leaders are cultivated to sustain the momentum of change. Women are empowered to be financially self-reliant and become catalysts for socio-economic change in the village.
The programme has built and strengthened more than 550 village level community-based organisations and mentored 30 Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO). Building on its direct action experience, in the year 2018, the programme was scaled up to 3900 villages, facilitating sustainable development process across 12 states – for over 3 million individuals.
At the heart of all BIJ initiatives for holistic development is water security. To address the issue of water scarcity for drinking and irrigation purposes, the programme endeavours to make its intervention villages water secure.
As on June 30, 2021, over 116 billion litres of water harvesting capacity has been created by constructing or renovating water harvesting structures, including earthen/masonry dams and check dams, farm ponds, open wells, etc. This has contributed to over 52,200 hectares of land receiving assured irrigation for at least two cropping seasons. These efforts have resulted in 1,416 villages having improved access to drinking water.
The positive impact of the water interventions has resulted in reduced drudgery for women, improved land use patterns, enhanced cropping intensity, augmented agricultural production and income for communities.
In an effort to ensure food security of rural households, sustainable agriculture practices such as use of better quality seeds, application of organic manure, integrated nutrient management, and integrated pest and disease management measures are promoted.
BIJ is supplementing the nutritional intake of rural households through the promotion of a small kitchen or backyard garden, known as Reliance Nutrition Gardens (RNG).
By adopting a comprehensive approach, the BIJ programme strives towards improving the productivity of rural assets and skill sets, resulting in income enhancement. The programme builds the capacities of farmers around improved agricultural practices in collaboration with different development agencies. The cost reduction strategies and package of practices promoted by BIJ are enhancing household income through agriculture and agri-allied activities. The interventions taken up include improving productivity of land through improved agriculture practices, and agri-allied interventions like poultry, dairy, fishery, vegetable cultivation etc.
The programme is also engaged in farm and non-farm skilling through institutional collaborations and strategic linkages with government, non-government and private partners that contribute to enhancing income levels of households.
BIJ also supports farmers with establishing and strengthening market linkages to help improve their incomes and their quality of life by empowering farmers to set up Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO). These farmer-owned and managed companies help them come together as a collective, aggregate produce for economies of scale and bargain for better market prices.
The FPOs have successfully established linkages with various government institutions such as NABARD and the Department of Agriculture to leverage support for farmer training, capacity building, raising working capital and acquiring finance to purchase assets at the village level. Furthermore, the FPOs have established links with agri-input companies, agri commodity purchasers, farm machinery service providers as well as government agencies to provide quality market interactions to their member farmers. At least five FPOs have moved into processing and sale of value added products such as silage, ground nut oil, and export quality cumin.
So far, Reliance Foundation has mentored 30 FPOs spread across 12 states. As on March 2021, the Reliance Foundation mentored FPOs have recorded an annual turnover of over Rs. 94 crores.
BIJ aids in securing local ecosystems, with the larger aim of achieving sustainable development through biodiversity and natural resource management.
The program encourages ecological sustainability through resource conservation, use of cleaner technologies and promotion of biodiversity. More than 2.2 crore saplings have been planted in individual and common lands, to promote biodiversity and preserve the environment.
The CII conferred the National Award for Excellence in Water Management 2019, in the “Beyond the Fence” category, to Reliance Industries for the water conservation and management initiatives of BIJ.
The BIJ programme management system is ISO 9001:2015 compliant since 2016. (The certificate was awarded in 2013, renewed as per the standards set in 2015).
Reliance Foundation Information Services (RF IS)
Reliance Foundation Information Services focuses on providing critical information to farmers, fishermen, livestock owners & rural youth across the country to improve their lives and livelihoods. Crucial information such as how to tackle pest attacks on crops; cyclone alerts for fishermen; or preventive measures against livestock diseases could help safeguard incomes and even lives.
Reliance Foundation Information Services provides validated information services to different livelihood information seekers using modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The diversity of dissemination platforms ensures that anyone and everyone can access the advisories, irrespective of their differential access to technology. This is supplemented by field based outreach as well.
Reliance Foundation Information Services collaborates with over 1,000 knowledge partners including research institutes, universities and specialist technical agencies and grassroots organisations. Reliance Foundation Information Services therefore works to bring about much needed synergy in the development sector.
Reliance Foundation Information Services’ advisories have reached nearly 11.4 million individuals in 45,400+ villages.
Reliance Foundation Information Services liaises with a vast network of knowledge partners to make the information available to people through our grassroots partners. Simple and easy to understand information in vernacular languages is shared via different technological platforms like voice SMS, WhatsApp, Jiochat, various audio-video conferences. Currently, advisories are being provided in Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Odia, Bengali, Kannada, Punjabi & Malayalam. Reliance Foundation Information Services is continuously expanding these services to include dissemination in other regional dialects as well.
The content disseminated by Reliance Foundation Information Services covers a wide range of subjects which are useful to people in rural India. When the programme started in 2013, pest management and ocean state forecasts were the main topic that was covered in the advisories. With time the demand for information grew. Reliance Foundation Information Services responded to this surge in demand by diversifying its knowledge base to include reminders on season wise agriculture package of practices, weather focused agro advisories, livestock vaccination, land preparation based on weather forecasts; government schemes and missions; shepherd insurance, hydroponic fodder management, employment opportunities, Right to Information Act and many other topics. In times of emergency, even rescue and relief information is provided.
Reliance Foundation Information Services collaborates with over 1,000 knowledge partners to disseminate dynamic advisories to farmers and fisher folk through multiple communication channels.
Reliance Foundation Information Services has reached 10.7 million individuals across 19 states and 2 Union Territories: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Bihar and Tripura and UTs: Puducherry and Daman & Diu.
The program is unique in that it not only disseminates information but also provides a platform for interaction through audio-video conferences, Jio Chat and other two way communication platforms to enable people to share queries and to consult directly with Reliance Foundation Information Services’ knowledge experts like veterinarians and agriculture scientists. Furthermore, by organising multi-location audio and video conferences, remote rural communities are able to connect with experts and with each other.
The field outreach programmes also provide avenues for interaction such as the Knowledge on Wheels for farmers and Knowledge on Ocean for fishermen.
To reach out to a larger audience, all of whom may not have access to technology, Reliance Foundation Information Services also broadcasts information using radio, newspapers, customised voice messages, and local cable TV programmes.
- Awarded the Golden Peacock Awards for Corporate Social Responsibility 2019. The award was conferred for improving livelihoods of farmers, fisher-folk and livestock owners through information Services.
- Reliance Foundation was awarded the 10th AEGIS Graham Bell Awards 2019 under the category of “Application for Social Good” for its mobile application ‘Machli’ for marine fisher on February 27, 2020 in an award ceremony held at NDMC Convention Centre, New Delhi. The award is an initiative of Aegis School of Business, Data Science, Cyber Security and Telecommunication and supported by NITI Aayog and organized with support of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), and Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOE) India a public-private partnership initiative of DoT.
- “Reliance Foundation” was adjudged the winner of “Best Innovative CSR Project Award” by UBS Forums in the 2nd Edition of Corporate Social Responsibility Summit & Awards 2019 for the case study on “Reliance Foundation Information Services Improving Livelihood of Marine Fishermen in India”.
- Reliance Foundation Information Services has been recognised by the Grand Jury as the winner of mBillionth Award South Asia – 2017 under Agriculture & Environment Category. This award recognises Reliance Foundation’s efforts to address the information gap using mobile platforms.