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Intensify handholding support activities to rural people- CS
The Odisha Tribal Employment and Livelihood Programme (OTELP) has been rated by as a high performing programme by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

This has come to light during a Programme Steering Committee Meeting of OTELP presided over by Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik at the State Secretariat here recently.

The meeting revealed that a team of Joint Review Mission (JRM) of IFAD during its visit to the state during August this year had made a field visit in the OTELP areas and interacted with people.

The team also looked in to the processes of programme implementation and its outcomes.

The principal indicators of evaluation adopted by the team were quality of financial management, compliance with loan covenants, quality of project management, poverty focus, gender focus, effectiveness and innovativeness of implementation.

Being impressed by the progress, JRM has extended the programme by one year citing it as one of the best performing projects in one of the India’s most difficult states.

Examining the outcomes, the Chief Secretary advised the OTELP authorities to intensify handholding support activities to people at village level.

He also directed to take up capacity binding of the NGOs and agencies who are engaged in handholding activities.

According to the review, the Phase-I of the programme had started with IFAD assistance in the year 2003-04 and continued up to 2012-13.

In this phase programme was implemented in 10 blocks.

A total of 135 micro watershed schemes (MWs) in 390 villages covering 19,481 households of seven districts namely Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, GajApati, Kandhamal and Kalahandi were brought in to its fold.

The Phase-II of the programmes started in 2007-08 covering 34,556 households in 644 villages of 22 blocks in those districts.

The grant-in-aid received under the programmes till the date is Rs 299 crore against which expenditure till March, 2012 has been around 216 crore.

OTELP Plus has been planned for left out blocks in all those seven districts for 513 micro sheds in 1200 villages.

The programme will be implemented in 27 blocks out of which 12 are new blocks and 15 are left-out villages of existing OTELP blocks.

The proposal for extension of the programme to Banspai and Harichandrapur blocks of Keonjhar district was discussed in the meeting.

In the meanwhile the OTELP Plus has been launched in Koraput district covering four different Integrated Tribal Development Authorities (ITDAs).

The fund requirement for implementation of OTELP Plus for coming seven years has been estimated around Rs 555 crore.

Review of the outcomes shows that under the programme, 68,60,165 hectares of non-arable land has been converted to arable land benefiting 13210 farmers, 2249 water bodies have been created, 6379 hectares of additional irrigation has been done benefiting 12826 farmers, 5943 hectares have been brought under Rabi and 17894 hectares have been brought under Kharif cultivation.

In addition to this 10,215 households and 139 Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been directly involved in the activities like poultry, goatery, WADI model orchard, commercial vegetable cultivation, village level seed bank and farm mechanization.

Emphasizing on sustainability, the Chief Secretary directed to work out well-knit convergence plan of OTELP with similar programmes like Biju KBK, BRGF, State Plan, MGNREGA, RKVY, NHM and RLTAP. He also directed to align the activities of the programme towards creation of new means of sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction directly.

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