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Indore Inc lends a helping hand

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all about involvement of the ?haves? for the uplift of the ?have nots?, specially needed in a developing country like India.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 02:13 IST

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is all about involvement of the ‘haves’ for the uplift of the ‘have nots’, specially needed in a developing country like India.

And one need not look far to find Microsoft’s Bill Gates dedicating most of his abundance for the ‘Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ or Narayana Murthy to the ‘Infosys Foundation’ to reach out to the society. Indore too has its own luminaries, private and public business houses, who contribute their mite as responsible corporate citizens.

Men, money and material can be called the essential Vitamin M component for a healthy society. And probably realising this, these companies have taken up responsibility to help in health, education and other activities. For instance, State Bank of Indore regularly contributes to the activities for the weaker sections of the society by helping/conducting health and education-related awareness in association with NGOs. In fact, there is a separate department for it – the Community Services Banking.

“Apart from this, employees regularly contribute to a ‘Sanjeevani Kosh’, which sponsors health and education -related activities on a regular basis,” says Community Services Banking Manager Omprakash Batwal.

And mind you, these business houses and/or private companies are not into some ‘tit-bit’ donations. They are neither into charity for the sake of it but do it as a responsibility in right earnest.

Says Rathi Steel Industries director Akansha Rathi, “When we are living in a state or a society, we do have a social responsibility. I personally believe, when we are taking something, we must be able to give back to society, financially or any other way.”

However, Akansha says, “I am already involved in anti-drug abuse campaigns, particularly in rural areas. My concern is mainly women who are most of the times at the receiving end; they suffer physical and mental torture due to their husband’s habit of substance abuse.”

Impetus Technologies, Indore’s own IT major, contributes to lot of activities in education and health, of which the health aspect is presently restricted to the welfare of employees and their families.

“We are associated with an NGO Parivartan Sanstha, which is committed to the cause of providing education and general and social awareness for child labourers. Nearly 200 children associated with this NGO receive books and stationery items from the company.

Three computers were also recently donated,” says Impetus VP (Operations) Sanjeev Agrawal. The cutting-edge technology company, however, does not have a separate account labelled for CSR activities. “But the finances are allocated as per the requirement of any project that we want to be associated with,” says Agrawal.

Rathi Steel too has no separate account for this spending, but would have one after the soon to be built non-profit hospital at Pithampur. “I would soon start work in the field of maternal care by joining hands with an NGO CECOIDECON in the City,” says Akansha, who is Rotary’s brand ambassador for the pulse polio immunisation campaign.

Impetus has a tradition of helping out in educational activities, for instance, as an IT company, they partially sponsor SCS students’ exchange programme to Singapore. “We also request our employees to donate clothes, books and stationery every Diwali and Holi, which is later sent to orphanages,” adds Agrawal.

Not just Impetus, education becomes a priority for most of the business houses after health. Batwal says, “The Bank gives Rs 500 scholarship every year to five top students of class X and XII of different schools in the City to encourage talented students.”

Apart from the few mentioned business houses, Indore is lucky to have many corporates, who regularly contribute for social causes. If one tries to put things into a perspective, one can definitely say that such efforts are definitely needed to bring about a change, as most of the government programmes in health and education do not reach the targets.

First Published: Dec 23, 2006 02:13 IST