Our deep interventions in the areas of skill development and sustainable livelihood seek to equip local community members with crucial employment-generating skills. These include entrepreneurship development programmes for women, vocational training, financial literacy, agriculture-based skill and capacity building initiatives. A significant quantum of our endeavours is aimed at fostering grassroots entrepreneurship in India’s rural margins, with women at the forefront of economic activities.
Vedanta Skills Training Programme
Commenced in 2022, the vision behind the Skills Training Programme is to help youth from economically backward backgrounds in Kalahandi and Rayagada, Odisha by providing them with employable skills, coupled with access to employment and entrepreneurship avenues. The company has provided two batches of students with training in multiple trades like house-keeping, sewing machine operations to name a few. With this programme we aim at helping the youth upskill themselves, integrate them into the category of semi-skilled and skilled workforce with better employment opportunities and contribute to their increased per capita income.
The aim of this initiative is to enhance the well-being and decrease mortality rates among animals crucial for the livelihoods of local communities in Lanjigarh, Kalahandi. It also seeks to address seasonal infections and fatalities by organizing routine vaccination camps for animals. Lack of vaccination can result in compromised immunity and increased susceptibility to illnesses in cattle, ultimately leading to the onset of clinical diseases. By administering vaccines to animals, the project aims to diminish morbidity and mortality rates, contributing significantly to the enhancement of animal welfare. In collaboration with the Veterinary Department, a total of 75 animal vaccination camps were conducted across 20 villages, providing treatment to more than 6,894 animals.
Vedanta Skill School
Looking at the increasing demand for skilled workforce, BALCO started the Vedanta Skill School in Korba, Chhattisgarh, with a two-fold objective – to address the need for quality skill training of the local youth and to develop extensive placement linkages for providing gainful entry-level employment opportunities to them. The success of the first Skill School in Korba led to the creation of two more schools at Mainpat and Kawardha, which have together benefited thousands of young women and men in the region.
Jeevika Samridhhi is our agriculture-based sustainable livelihood project at Jharsuguda, Odisha, which focuses on effective land and water management. We undertook this project with the aim to introduce small and marginal farmers to better, more efficient, and sustainable methods of farming, thereby increasing quantum of yield and sustained return on agricultural investment. This project augments irrigation infrastructure, promotes advanced agricultural practices, application of bio-fertiliser and pesticides, with an objective to make farming a remunerative profession.
Project Land & Water Management
With changes in climate having far-reaching consequences on agriculture, BALCO decided to address the lack of awareness about modern agricultural practices among the local farming community and help them overcome challenges in agricultural yield, irrigation infrastructure and knowledge of advanced farming methods. From developing watersheds to creation of Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) and Vedanta Agriculture Research Centre (VARC), the programme continues to benefit thousands of farmers in the region.
In collaboration with the Horticulture Department, Government of Odisha, Vedanta has developed multiple fruit orchards in villages of Lanjigarh, Kalahandi district, Odisha. This initiative is aimed at delivering three-fold benefit for the local communities – introducing improved horticulture practices to rural communities, training them on building profitable market linkages for additional income generation, and create employment opportunities for the locals through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for various activities such as field preparation, pit digging, fencing, etc.
Backyard Poultry Farming
In association with the Government of Odisha’s Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) Empowerment and Livelihood Improvement Programme (OPELIP), Vedanta has introduced advanced poultry farming to over 550 rural households in Lanjigarh, till date. We have enabled their access to various farming resources to raise improved local poultry breeds in their backyards itself, with the aim of enhancing household income and providing nutritional benefits to the families.
Broiler & Layer Farming
Vedanta has developed a 500-bird’s capacity broiler farming unit and a 200-bird’s capacity layer chick unit at Lanjigarh, in partnership with the District Veterinary Department, Kalahandi, Odisha. This project is working to strengthen the local poultry production systems and generating additional income amongst farmers through broiler meat and egg production. We are ensuring financial support avenues for the farmers in the form of loans through Shaktimayee Foundation, a community institution aimed at promoting rural entrepreneurship and empowering rural women in Lanjigarh.
Feeling the need to improve the rural community’s access to better nutrition through fruits and vegetable cultivation, Vedanta is working on improving agricultural practices in the villages of Lanjigarh. We have identified around 300 families for the implementation of the pilot project. Apart from meeting the nutrition needs of pregnant women, lactating mothers, children and adolescent girls in the family, this project also encourages women’s participation in the cultivation process, and ensures farmers can sell the excess produce in the local markets for additional income.
Bio-Floc is an innovative aquaculture technology that has the potential to significantly boost fish production. In collaboration with the District Fisheries Department, Kalahandi, Vedanta has introduced bio-floc farming in Lanjigarh. This pioneering technology allows fish to be bred and produced in limited spaces using high density artificial tanks. Nutrients are continuously recycled and reused in the culture medium, with minimum to zero water exchange, thereby minimising overhead costs. With this project, we aim to boost livelihood of farmers who do not have the resources to carry out fish farming in ponds or reservoirs.
Farm Ponds to Augment Irrigation
Vedanta is working with the Directorate of Soil and Water Conservation, Government of Odisha, to develop more than 65 farm ponds to augment irrigation and water availability for livestock in Lanjigarh. Lanjigarh being a dry and rainfed area, requires perennial water storing structures to support agriculture and livestock production. Through this initiative, we are working to ensure reliable water sources for the farmers.
In order to meet the local demand for fish and parallelly ensure income generation and self-employment of the local communities, Vedanta has joined hands with the District Fisheries Department, Kalahandi, to set up multiple pisciculture units in Lanjigarh and nearby areas. The project focuses on creating additional water bodies for intensive aquaculture, where we are providing local entrepreneurs assistance for creating farm ponds and sheds, fingerlings and other resources, training and capacity building on advanced pisciculture methods.