The ongoing crisis of unsustainable production and low economic returns from agriculture has spurred the Sir Ratan Tata Trust & Allied Trusts to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on August 26, 2014 with the Government of Punjab to support diversification in agriculture. The MoU, which has been approved by the Honourable Chief Minister, S. Parkash Singh Badal, was signed by Mr. Arun Pandhi, Chief Development Manager, Sir Ratan Tata Trust & Allied Trusts and the Director of Agriculture, Government of Punjab.
As part of the MoU, which would be valid for a five year period, the Trusts would intensify support and efforts under their ongoing 'Reviving the Green Revolution (RGR) Initiative' that was launched way back in 2002. Efforts over the past 12 years have resulted in noticeable impact sustainable and profitable cultivation of cotton, through mass scale deployment of Integrated Pest Management technology for management of insect pests of cotton.
The RGR Cell, Ludhiana, – the Trusts' nodal agency for the RGR initiative - in collaboration with Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and Department of Agriculture, Government of Punjab plans to popularize key water-saving crops and agro-technologies, along with judicious use of agrochemicals for reduction in cost of production and financial distress of the farming community of Punjab.
As per the terms of MoU, the Trusts shall provide support to the major diversification plans of the State Government, which in turn, stands committed as an equal partner in the execution of all such mutually agreed interventions. Under this agreement, there will be an emphasis on establishing alternate marketing channels for ensuring hassle-free market clearances and better price recovery, thereby making all avenues of diversification economically viable and competitive, vis-à-vis the cultivation of rice and wheat crops. Apart from agriculture-based interventions for ensuring a sizeable shift from area under rice, to cultivation of maize, cotton, basmati, pulses and vegetables, the Trusts shall also support the Government of Punjab in Skill Development programs, with a view to generate employment for educated youth of Punjab.
The Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Allied Trusts are amongst the premier grant-bestowing public foundations based in Bombay and a part of the philanthropic arms of the Tata Group.