Bhubaneswar: Odisha Forestry Sector Development Project (Phase2) (OFSDP-2) was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Government of Odisha. CM Patnaik acknowledged the support of JICA in the state of Odisha and mentioned how JICA’s assistance has contributed to the progress of the local communities in Odisha especially in the forestry sector.
The inauguration ceremony was organized by the Forest and Environment Department, Government of Odisha and was attended by Shri Bikram Keshari Arukha, Hon’ble Minister, Forest & Environment, Parliamentary Affairs and Information & Public Relations, Odisha; Shri S.C Mohapatra, IAS, Principal Secretary to Government of Odisha, Forest and Environment Department; Shri A.P Padhi, IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha; and Mr. Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office, along with various senior forest officers and the DFOs of the Project Divisions, in addition to CM.
Mr. Takema Sakamoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office gave a keynote address at the unveiling of ceremony. He said, “OFSDP-1 was successfully implemented and is a perfect example of replicability and promotion of sustainability. After the success of OFSDP-1, the Government of Odisha replicated a similar program and introduced it as “AMA Jangala Yojana”. With the launch of OFSDP-2, our further involvement in providing assistance to enhance forest ecosystem along with sustainable livelihood of local people will deepen in the state of Odisha. The Japanese concept of socio-ecological production landscape “Satoyama” would also be piloted in some protected areas of Odisha among other several new initiatives. The major role of JICA’s assistance is to improve sustainable forest management, sustainable biodiversity conservation and community development, which will ultimately raise the economic growth to sufficient levels to meet the needs of the local people and will make improvements in the standards of living.
The Project consists of similar strategies and approaches to its previous phase, OFSDP-1. OFSDP-1 succeeded by way of promoting livelihood activities involving the Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) from the project villages and promoted cluster based business activities. Going forward, in OFSDP-2, cluster based business promotion will also be planned and promoted from the early stage of the project, and Project Management Unit (PMU) will establish an exclusive unit, Livelihood Resource Centre (LRC), under PMU to provide specialized business promotion support for business planning, marketing, product development and facilitating linkages with financial institutions and other resource organizations and also to provide financial support to cluster SHGs. The partnership ecosystem will further be nurtured by LRC and will make it more sustainable. Additional components have been added to strengthen the Project in OFSDP-2 with an all-inclusive approach. Some of them are enhanced support of cluster business development, gender mainstreaming, climate changes through scientific monitoring methods and needs based strategic funding.
JICA had signed the Loan Agreement of 14,512 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 850 crores) for OFSDP-2 with the Government of India on March, 31 2017. JICA’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan conditions are very concessional, i.e. 0.3% interest rate for project activities and 0.01% for consulting services and 40 years of repayment period (including 10 years of grace period). The loan agreement of OFSDP-1 was signed in 2006 of 13,937 million Japanese Yen (approximately INR 800 crores) and successfully completed in 2016.
The Project is being implemented by the Forest and Environment Department, Government of Odisha.
In Odisha, till date, JICA has assisted 13 loan projects in the field of Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, Power and so on. Together they have amounted to 160 billion Japanese Yen (approximately INR 9,200 crores).
Also, JICA is currently deploying a young Japanese volunteer in Bhubaneswar as a special coach for rugby so as to enhance people to people exchange for deeper mutual understanding.