Regional Economic Development Uttarakhand
The Regional Economic Development programme is based with the Uttarakhand Government's Department of Rural Development, where it is helping the state to bridge the existing economic divide.
It combines activities designed to promote social equity, inclusive growth and poverty reduction, with uses of the rich natural resource base that ensure ecological stability. The programme aims to make markets work for the poor, stimulating market forces where possible to enable economic participation. It relies on dialogue amongst key actors and on partnerships between public, private and civil society organisations.
The project aims to reduce regional economic disparities, it is helping to link the rural economy of Uttarakhand with markets by strengthening different agricultural, as well as rural tourism value chains, thus, creating additional jobs and income opportunities in the hinterland. The official partner is the Rural Development Department, Government of Uttarakhand.
Programme interventions range from guiding research and development for the commercialisation of Himalayan nettle fibre, improving transparency in buyer-seller transactions through improved access to market information, imparting know-how on branding of products and services from the region at larger national and international platforms.
- With its market oriented approach, the programme focuses on promoting business and investment opportunities that link rural economies in the remote hilly regions with the more prosperous markets in the plains, complementing the rural development agenda of the state government.
- In the Himalayan nettle value chain, for example, GIZ has facilitated improvement in processing of the yarn through establishing a specialised Research & Development centre. The customised technology results in improved quality fibre production at the grassroots level, hill-based rural MSMEs, thus, improving the economic returns to the poor. At policy level, the programme has contributed to advocacy for a Minimum Support Price for nettle yarn by the State Government in order to promote the sector. Uttarakhand has been declared as a nodal state for Nettle and Hemp promotion by the central textile ministry.
- The project has built the capacity of key stakeholders for promoting the state of Uttarakhand, especially in the tourism sector. It has facilitated participation in domestic and international promotional events, aiming to boost sustainable tourism.
- The project is helping to establish institutional platforms to foster public-private dialogue on regional economic development. It is promoting MSMEs and the demand for their services through innovative measures such as the introduction of mobile-based market information services for the rural poor farmers. While the project is supporting the scaling up for this service in the agro-business area, its partner organisations are extending it to other areas like Health Information service for rural women.
- Although RED is focused on the State of Uttarakhand, its initiatives have implications in all the 11 Indian Himalayan states and other small states in India. The programme supports, for example, the effort of selected civil society groups to establish the Indian Mountain Initiative, a forum including all 11 mountain states aiming to persuade the Government of India to consider a mountain specific development agenda.