MARG and MSSRF JOIN HANDS FOR STRATEGIC KNOWLEDGE CONNECTIVITY PARTNERSHIP

~Pilot project to empower rural communities~

~Vernacular audio advisories and multi-media approach as a key tool for demand driven information dissemination ~

~Partners include farmers, fishermen & Self help Groups (SHGs) ~

Chennai, November 18, 2011: MARG Ltd., one of India's leading infrastructure companies and M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) – a not for profit research organization, today announced the launch of a new project on "Knowledge Connectivity for providing Integrated Agricultural and Micro-Enterprises Advisories" in the districts of Karaikal & Nagapattinam. The project will be executed jointly by MARG & MSSRF and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Prof. M S Swaminathan, Chairman, MSSRF and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), GRK Reddy, Chairman & Managing Director, MARG Group and Dr. Ajay K Parida, Executive Director, MSSRF.

Although MARG & MSSRF have in concept agreed on long term association, the duration of the current project is one year spanning across 12 – 15 km radius of MARG Karaikal Port. The project will be executed by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation with the financial assistance of MARG.

"Knowledge Connectivity for providing Integrated Agricultural and Micro-Enterprises Advisories", is a joint initiative of MARG and M.S. Swaminathan Foundation and is a unique program that aims to utilize the positive aspects of science for the good of the society. The focus of the programme is 'empowerment of the rural communities'. This unique project would address the gap between "scientific knowhow" and "field level do how" using different Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools. The project will provide need based locale-specific demand-driven dynamic information in vernacular language using various communication methods such as audio messaging using mobiles, phone-in-programmes, capacity building trainings, fortnightly news papers, help line etc.

Expressing happiness on this benevolent initiative, GRK Reddy, Chairman and Managing Director, MARG Ltd. said, "I am honored and humbled to be associated with this benign project and also with an organisation of impeccable credentials i.e. MSSRF. This project forms part of MARG's Social Responsibility initiatives that follow an underlying philosophy of inclusive growth. We have been proactively working closely with communities around our project sites through a spectrum of developmental projects to improve the vital social parameters such as education, health, employment etc. The experience of MSSRF in combining science and technology to deliver pragmatic solutions is sure to immensely improve the quality of life in rural communities"

In the 1st phase of this joint endeavour, a need assessment would be conducted with different target groups – the fisher folk, farmers and SHG members to gauge their needs and interest using different participatory techniques.

The project will also develop farmers / fisher folk / SHGs database to provide the season / need based advisories. Each day two audio advisories for three different target groups - fisher folk, farmers and SHGs will be disseminated on a daily basis. The project will also set up a help line and conduct phone-in-programmes to provide further clarifications/information to the fisher folk, farmers and SHGs based on audio advisories.

Commenting on the partnership, Prof. M S Swaminathan, Chairman, MSSRF and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) said, "I am happy that the role of knowledge connectivity in promoting a green economy characterized by inclusive growth is being recognized. Activities in this area will be the most appropriate method of implementing the Rio+20 Agenda of the coming year".

This is the first time that such a project is being proposed in the Nagapattinam District. The project will select pro-active & progressive fisher folk, farmers and SHG women in the selected villages to receive & disseminate information through cascading method. Thus the project is envisaged to benefit 20,000 rural populace.

About MSSRF:

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation is a non-profit research organization and was established in 1988. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) has all along been developing and following a pro-nature, pro-poor, pro-women and pro-sustainable on-farm and non-farm livelihoods through appropriate ecotechnology and knowledge empowerment.

M S Swaminathan Research Foundation is carrying out research and development in six major thematic areas such as Coastal Systems Research (restoration of mangrove forests, alternative livelihood for fishing community, etc.), Biotechnology (developing salt and drought tolerant transgenic rice varieties, testing availability of oil content in different biofuel crops / plants, lichens diversity, etc.), Biodiversity (documenting endangered and medicinal plants, providing necessary training to village community to maintain biodiversity register, conserving genes and seeds through ex-situ community based gene bank, and in-situ on-farm conservation etc.), setting up of bio-villages – biovillage paradigm involves sustainable management of natural resources and developing sustainable on-farm and non-farm livelihoods as eco-enterprises managed by self-help groups, Food Security (promoting community - based grain bank, developing urban and rural food insecurity atlases to understand the factors involved in food insecurity, providing livelihood training to women farmers particularly in the "farmers' suicide hotspots", etc.) and Information, Education and Communication (addressing the issues related to sustainable development using different information communication technology tools) for knowledge empowerment of the resource-poor, largely illiterate and unskilled rural women and men. For more information visit www.mssrf.org.

ABOUT MARG

MARG Limited (BSE: 530543), incorporated in 1994 and headquartered in Chennai, is an infrastructure, real estate development and services company. The Company is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and its shares are traded on the NSE under the category of 'Permitted Security'. The holistic regional development undertaken by the group is unlocking economic prosperity and creating inclusive & sustainable growth models.

With over two decades of reassuring presence and the credit of pioneering the development of economic growth centers, MARG's portfolio spans across the entire infrastructure value chain - urban and industrial infrastructure, urban residential clusters, marine infrastructure & services, malls and EPC division. The group is expanding its sectoral presence with airport projects in Bellary and Bijapur and Multi-level car park projects. Listed by Dun & Bradstreet among "India's Top 500 Companies 2010", today MARG Group has projects worth more than Rs. 5000 crores under execution, a seasoned human capital of more than 1000, global partners in the Infra space and offices spread across India, Singapore and China. The MARG CSR brand – MARG Parivarthan complements these business verticals.

More information on MARG is available on http://www.marggroup.com

About MARG Parivarthan:

The CSR arm of MARG group was born out of a vision to master plan the existing social fabric. Inclusive growth has been the guiding philosophy of MARG through which at all our major project sites it ensure that the surrounding population is included in the development processes and the progress is two way and mutual. MARG as an organization have redefined the fundamentals of urbanization by creating eco systems where surrounding environment is an integral part of MARG's forward march.

MARG CSR initiatives have been developed as a business model, well integrated within its business operation. The commitment is for a complete SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION of neighborhoods with sustained and diligent focus through a spectrum of development programmes under 9 different thematic areas viz: Education, Health, Skill Training & Employment, Community Infrastructures, Environment, Relief & Rehabilitation, Welfare programmes, Culture & Sports promotion and Social Cause promotion.