Airports Authority of India (AAI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in India have recently signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on a new partnership to enhance livelihood opportunities and provide better living standards to communities living close to airports in India.
According to AAI sources, airports boost local economic development by creating jobs within their ecosystems and attracting new businesses. However, due to unplanned land use and haphazard growth, economic development around airports remains low, creating slum like settlements in the airport vicinity. To address this, the partnership will focus on adopting a holistic ecosystem-based approach with human development at the centre and enable the environment for sustainable economic and social development, especially for women.
“Following a holistic ecosystem-based approach that keeps human development at the center of its interventions, the partnership will work towards creating an enabling environment for sustainable economic and social development, with special focus on women and children,” added Mr Sanjeev Jindal, General Manager, Engineering and CSR, AAI.
Speaking about the collaborative initiative, Ms. Francine Pickup, UNDP Country Director in India, said, “India’s airports have grown rapidly in line with the country’s growth and economic standing. This initiative is important because it seeks to support the social and economic development of the disadvantaged communities around those airports.” Acknowledging the interdependence between institutions and communities, the partnership, will adopt and empower community clusters around airports.
The project will start with the airports of Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi and Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati that have witnessed a tremendous growth in passenger traffic in the last few years. Though despite fast economic growth in those cities, the development in villages around the airport is extremely low. These villages lack access to basic amenities like roads, education, drinking water, health care, and job opportunities. To address these issues, this partnership seeks to make interventions in the areas of health, education, livelihood options, skill development and disaster management in the selected villages, in order to improve the living standards of the people.