The Government of Odisha today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tata Steel Foundation for the implementation of the Jaga Mission in five municipalities of Odisha.

As part of this agreement, the Foundation will partner with the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the Government of Odisha to transform slums into livable habitats with infrastructure and civic services at the same level as developed areas within municipalities. from Sambalpur, Rourkela, Berhampur, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

The MoU was signed by Mr. G. Mathi Vathanan (IAS), Principal Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, GoO, and Mr. Sourav Roy, Managing Director, Tata Steel Foundation, at KIIT Auditorium, Bhubaneswar in presence of Shri Naveen Patnaik, Honorable Chief Minister of Odisha. Attending the occasion were Mr. Chanakya Chaudhary, Director of the Tata Steel Foundation, government officials and representatives of the Foundation.

On this occasion, Mr. Chanakya Chaudhary said, “We look forward to the project to strengthen our presence in implementing large-scale change models in Odisha State in the areas of health, education and skills development. By constantly recalibrating our strategies, new ways of operating, learning and governance, we aim to emerge as an important partner in the progress of Odisha in the days to come. Jaga Mission or Odisha Liveable Habitat Mission is a unique land titling project of the Government of Odisha (GoO) aimed at allocating land rights to eligible residents and upgrading physical infrastructure with roads, sewers, street lights, utilities toilets and a supply of drinking water. Under this two-year partnership, the Foundation and GoO will work together to provide land rights to approximately 2,50,000 families in 1,110 slums.

In addition, the Foundation will provide technical support for drone surveys, slum mapping, holistic habitat planning, and the design of housing and common spaces. It also involved putting in place appropriate institutions and processes within government to build and maintain the habitats created. Capacity building of ULBs, NGOs and associations of slum dwellers, who are the main actors in the implementation of the law on the right to land and the transformation of slums into livable habitat, will also be supported. by the Foundation.

The GoO had initially approached the Tata Steel Foundation as a funding partner for the Jaga mission phase two spatial mapping exercise and held joint planning exercises in this context. Subsequently, there was an appreciation of the implementation experience and capabilities that the TSF team brings on board. The project comes at a critical time when the Foundation’s presence in all seven districts of Odisha has been able to have a transformational social impact, including bringing 14,000 out-of-school children back into mainstream education, building 30 schools fully equipped models, by facilitating 25% increase in the average income of approximately 50,000 agricultural households and construction of multi-specialty hospitals and setting up of oxygen plants for 7 public hospitals during the Covid pandemic, among others.