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ITC to invest Rs 1 bn in e-chaupal

india Updated: Oct 04, 2006 15:28 IST

INDIAN TOBACCO Company (ITC) Limited will be investing about Rs 1 billion in developing the concept of E-Chaupal. ITC Chairman Y C Deveshwar said this while delivering a lecture on ‘Triple Bottom Line: ITC Experiences’, at the 7th Foundation Day Lecture marking a decade of establishment at IIM-I campus at Pigdamber, Rau today. 
Deveshwar said that the company was diversifying into several fields and making each conglomerate a self sufficient unit by providing for its wants on a local level. The best example of this is present in the form of the highly acclaimed initiative of e-chaupal.

In order to meet the various obligations of self-sufficiency and social responsibilities in the form of generating employment the company had stepped into the neglected rural sector and the efficacy of the concept was evident in other major companies following suit.

He explained the concept of triple bottom line mooted by the company as focusing on three dimensions required from any enterprise though some of these facets remain neglected. The dimensions include financial, social and ecological aspects.

The ITC business model synergises these three dimensions with the oft repeated yet seldom followed ethic of Corporate Social responsibility (CSR).

Every enterprise is a subsidiary of society and no society can have a peaceful development until everyone shares the fruits of economic progress resulting from a just and equitable distribution of wealth.

In the last 50 years the worlds natural resources have been reduced to a half, while India’s growth rate has increased to a steady eight per cent, however, about 250 million people live on a dollar a day. Due to improper management of the precious natural resources about 13 million tonne equivalent of food productivity is lost from topsoil erosion.

The triple bottom line experience envisages active participation of consumer by giving him a ready choice between companies whose products are of the utmost quality, competitively priced and yet environment friendly and those companies who contribute in no way to the betterment of society while disturbing the ecological balance of nature.

The choice of the consumer would be the deciding factor and the competitor would have to come up with a better proposition to secure an edge over his rival. The companies could be rated on this basis in the future.

Leadership and organisational resources are needed for bringing about a transformation in rural/backward areas. A two-way system of digital, physical and human infrastructure is necessary for creating the capacity amongst the rustics to reap profits.

The goals being of a long term results should not be expected within a quarter and the trust can be maintained in the interim period only by working harder, firing imagination of those involved and winning the public by contributing to society.

ITC using this approach in one of its paper mills situated in a Naxalite area reduced the number of threats by actively involving the locals for their own betterment. The company is soon to achieve 100 percent water, carbon and solid sequestering thus becoming the only company in the world to have such high efficiency levels in recycling and waste management.

Through a countrywide network of 6000 e-chaupals and six E-Sagars kiosks have been established to provide not only material goods but also useful information and help.

Installing solar panels has solved the power problem, communication has been established through satellite network and the routine is managed using computers manned by especially trained villagers.

The retailing benefits of price and choice have been brought to the villages by eliminating intermediaries thus ensuring a better bargain.

IIM-I Board of Governors chairman BN Kalyani introduced the guest. In his address he touched upon the achievements of ITC and and IIM-I with the same gusto. Improving productivity, offering better prices, use of progressing knowledge in striking a balance by aligning farm output with market demand was attributed, as he need of the hour.

IIM-I director Dr SP Parashar shed light on the accomplishments by the institute in the field of academics and in the corporate world.

Starting from the state of the art facilities at the picturesque 193-acre campus to the number of courses, student intake and their placements.

He presented a memento to Deveshwar who later released a book on the 10-yaers of the institute. Student Hushidhar Kharas conducted the programme.