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New FTCI CEO aims to make Tibetan co-ops more viable

December 9, 2010

Phayul
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
By Tenzin Pema

BANGALORE, Dec 7: Tibetan co-operative societies – which serve as the basic means for sustenance of Tibetan settlements in India – should be made more viable for future generations through the implementation of innovative management strategies, the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the Federation of Tibetan Co-operatives in India (FTCI) said.

Mr. Tashi Wangdu -- former diplomat and senior civil servant of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) – took over as the new CEO of FTCI earlier this month, bringing with him a clear vision for the federation through an impressively long list of initiatives he plans to execute in his new role.

Speaking about the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint Mr. Tashi as the new CEO, Mr. Pema Delek, Chairman of the FTCI, said “I am sure that Mr. Tashi, with his vast knowledge and experience, will strengthen the co-operative societies and take it to the next level.”

Armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience from working at the grass-root level, Mr. Tashi’s take over as CEO comes at a crucial time in FTCI’s history as the federation looks to turnaround many of its operations, which includes the Tibetan co-operative socities, hotels in Gangtok and Dharamsala, an export unit in Delhi and Tibetan organic products division.

The FTCI, the first federal body of the Tibetan co-operative societies, serves as the apex body of 15 Tibetan co-operatives societies in nine India states, ranging from Karnataka, which houses the biggest Tibetan settlement, in the South, to Orissa in the east, to Jammu and Kashmir in the north, and Maharashtra in the centre. Two thirds of the Tibetan populace in India are members of the co-operative societies.

“Tibetan co-operative societies, which are registered bodies in India, act as the foundation for financial sustainability of Tibetan settlements, and ensure the preservation of Tibetan identity and culture. As such, it is very important that they are managed properly and made viable,” said Mr. Tashi, who served as the Representative of Dekyi Larsoe and Lugsam Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe and as Chief Representative of South Zone, Bangalore.

From among his many plans, Mr. Tashi lays particular emphasis on reviving some of the co-operative societies in smaller Tibetan settlements that have been running under losses for many years. In addition, Mr. Tashi aims to raise funds to develop infrastructure in the existing units like the handicraft centres, tractor sections, and incense-making centres.

“New projects that we are looking to undertake include starting dairy farming and food processing units, introducing banking system in co-operative societies and setting up new hotels in Delhi and Bangalore on the lines of Hotel Tibet in Delhi and Gangtok,” said Mr. Tashi, who was most recently Secretary at the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Delhi.

“I am also keen in introducing Brand Tibet goods through strengthening the export unit in Delhi and entering the global corporate world,” he added.

Along with providing regular training to the staff of the co-operative societies to update their knowledge and skill, Mr. Tashi seeks to create awareness about the importance of co-operative society to its members and about the development of entrepreneurial skills to start self employment units.

He intends to make the FTCI’s vision of generating employment opportunities within the Tibetan community a bigger reality, through exploring possibilities of setting up business process outsourcing (BPO) centres in major Tibetan settlements, and helping young entrepreneurs by providing training, guidance and funding.

Mr. Tashi also intends to promote Tibetan Organic – the brand name through which FTCI markets organic products from Tibetan settlements that do organic farming as envisioned by the 12th Cabinet of Tibetan government in exile.

In order to strengthen the CTA’s organic farming policy, Mr. Tashi intend to explore the market for Tibetan organic products, and get premium pricing for these products.

“Although majority of our members are into agriculture, they have been growing mainly maize and rice, which are mainly monsoon-based farming. As such, the introduction of irrigation and more cash crops is important, just as it is necessary to locate markets for them,” Mr. Tashi said.

Mr. Tashi will be based in Bangalore city, where the corporate office of FTCI is located.

FTCI, which helps the Tibetan community by creating employment and supporting farmers and entrepreneurs, was established in 2005 and has an annual turnover of more than Rs. 5 crores.

(For more details on FTCI and its operations, please see www.ftci.co.in)

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