Socio-economic empowerment of tribal and rural poor and protection of natural resources, Tripura
Title: Socio-economic empowerment of tribal and rural poor and protection of natural resources, Tripura
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Government of Tripura
Overall term: 2009 to 2013
The federal state of Tripura, surrounded on three sides by Bangladesh, is one of the most isolated and underdeveloped states in the north-eastern region of India. With 58% of its total area being forest and 26% devoted to agriculture, Tripura has good potential for sustainable local economic development based on its natural resources. However, the poor linkage between market demand and producer potential is discouraging private sector investment in processing, trade and quality control. The state government provides substantial support for rural development through various centrally sponsored schemes and state projects. However, these public programmes fall short of expectations in terms of their contribution to poverty reduction or the enhancement of the natural resource base. The challenge does not lie in the availability of funding, but rather in the need for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the large public investment programmes for local economic development.
Planning, implementation and monitoring of public and private investment programmes has improved in the natural resource management sector in Tripura, and the programmes are contributing more effectively to sustainable local economic development.
In a combined programme of support for the state government of Tripura, KfW Entwicklungsbank is providing financial support, while GIZ provides technical advice. The financial inputs consist of investments at the village level in two of the state's tribal districts. This helps to support participatory planning, institution building, improvements in the productivity of degraded land, natural resources management and livelihood promotion. To complement these financial investments, GIZ's technical cooperation uses a three-pronged strategy:
- Support for sectoral departments and administrations at the block and district levels, enabling them to understand and deal more effectively with the challenges of local level planning, implementation and monitoring, thereby making the village development plans effective points of convergence
- Piloting of commercially viable models for micro-enterprises based on the natural resources available to the tribal and rural poor, which can be scaled up through public and private investments
- Developing mechanisms for creating development partnerships with the private sector, through which to promote natural resources-based enterprises and local economic development.
Results achieved so far
The Government of Tripura has issued instructions to relevant departments concerning the convergence of various public funding programmes to support the implementation of village development plans. The preparation and implementation of these plans call for intensive capacity development and close monitoring in order to make sure there is effective community participation and that the different sectoral departments are properly coordinated.
The project has helped producer groups in five pilot villages to establish micro-enterprises for selected local produce offering rapid, short-term returns in the first six months. Each of these producer groups is pursuing a combination of two or more products from a list of six that have been identified as providing rapid returns (incense stick, banana fibre, fish, mushrooms, eggs, compost). This approach helps to mitigate the risks of producing and marketing single products.