Mumbai, often referred to as the financial capital of India, is not only renowned for its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets but also for its significant role in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. In the fiscal year 2021-22, Mumbai emerged as the largest beneficiary of CSR funds in the state of Maharashtra, receiving a staggering Rs. 2,890.8 Crores out of the total Rs. 5,229.31 Crores allocated to the state. This remarkable achievement underscores Mumbai’s status as a favoured destination for corporate entities seeking to fulfil their CSR obligations.
In FY22, a total of 2018 companies contributed to Mumbai City’s thriving CSR landscape, collectively disbursing Rs. 2,890.8 Crores towards a diverse range of social and developmental projects. Among the various focus areas, health, education, and rural development took the forefront, with a substantial expenditure of Rs. 1,724.4 Crores, Rs. 730.13 Crores, and Rs. 184.01 Crores, respectively. These investments have played a pivotal role in addressing critical societal issues and enhancing the quality of life for the city’s residents.
Leading the charge in this philanthropic endeavour were some of India’s corporate giants. Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS) emerged as the top contributor, dedicating a commendable sum of Rs. 693.84 Crores to CSR initiatives within the city. HDFC Bank Limited followed closely, with an allocation of Rs. 280.15 Crores, while Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) showcased its commitment to social responsibility by disbursing Rs. 115.94 Crores towards various welfare projects.
As we delve deeper into the realm of CSR initiatives in Mumbai, we will explore the impactful projects, innovative strategies, and positive transformations brought about by corporate entities in this dynamic city.
Top CSR Initiatives in Mumbai
Reliance Foundation and Akshaya Chaitanya Tackling Hunger
One of the standout CSR initiatives making a profound impact on the social landscape of Mumbai is the collaboration between Akshaya Chaitanya and Reliance Foundation. Together, they have embarked on a mission to combat hunger and vulnerability in the city, focusing on two key areas: providing nutritious meals to children in municipal schools and extending support to families of patients in public hospitals.
This transformative initiative addresses a critical issue facing underprivileged children in Mumbai – the lack of adequate nutrition during their formative years. By offering wholesome meals, it not only nourishes the bodies but also nurtures the aspirations of these young minds, breaking down the barriers to education and brighter futures.
Moreover, the initiative extends its reach to the families of patients from vulnerable sections of society who often struggle to access hygienically prepared food in government hospitals. By making these meals readily available, it eases the burdens carried by these families during times of distress.
Jagannatha Kumar, CEO of Reliance Foundation, has emphasised the overarching goal of this initiative: “By serving food to people who cannot access it easily, we want to ensure the well-being of all.” The foundation’s extensive network of partners was instrumental in providing food aid during the pandemic, and this partnership with Akshaya Chaitanya continues that commitment significantly.
The impact of this collaboration is already tangible, with meals now being served across 19 government hospitals and 102 municipal schools in Mumbai. Among the countless beneficiaries of this initiative, is an 8-year-old Rukaiya, a resident of Daarukhana’s slums and a student in a municipal school in Byculla. With dreams of becoming a doctor, Rukaiya’s future was jeopardized due to the lack of proper nutrition. Orphaned at a young age and cared for by her grandmother, her story is emblematic of the vulnerable children whose lives are being positively impacted by this endeavour.
Akshaya Chaitanya’s ambitious vision for 2025 is to serve 1 lakh vulnerable adults and children, just like Rukaiya, every day in Mumbai. As this partnership between Akshaya Chaitanya and Reliance Foundation continues to flourish, it stands as a shining example of how corporate social responsibility can create meaningful change in the lives of Mumbai’s residents.
PNB Housing Finance’s Mobile Medical Units
Another standout CSR project in Mumbai is spearheaded by PNB Housing Finance, a prominent player in India’s housing finance sector, in collaboration with their CSR arm, Pehel Foundation. This noteworthy endeavour is none other than the ‘Mobile Medical Units’ initiative, implemented in partnership with the Wockhardt Foundation. The mission is to bring accessible primary healthcare services to the doorsteps of those who often go underserved – construction labourers and their families in bustling metropolises like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.
PNB Housing Finance and Pehel Foundation share a steadfast commitment to uplifting society through a multitude of initiatives spanning healthcare, education, women’s empowerment, and environmental conservation. However, it is the ‘Mobile Medical Units’ program that has emerged as a beacon of hope for the unsung heroes of the real estate industry – the construction workers. Despite being the backbone of the construction sector, these labourers frequently face insurmountable challenges in accessing essential medical facilities.
Mr. Girish Kousgi, the MD & CEO of PNB Housing Finance, articulated the significance of this initiative by stating, “Provision of healthcare services to underserved communities is a major challenge in our country, primarily due to limited access and insufficient economic resources.” He further added, “As an organization that goes beyond the realm of financial inclusion, we believe that this project will foster healthy individuals who contribute to the progressive growth of the country.” In essence, this initiative bridges the healthcare divide, providing free primary healthcare services to construction workers and their families residing in underprivileged localities.
Ajhay R Somvanshi, the Chief Operating Officer of Wockhardt Foundation, expressed gratitude towards PNB Housing Finance for their invaluable support in launching the ‘Mobile Medical Units.’ “Through this partnership,” he stated, “we will be able to extend our reach to urban slums, ensuring that those in need have access to free primary healthcare at their doorsteps.” The collaboration aims to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of people who may otherwise struggle to receive proper medical care.
Each Mobile Medical Unit is a self-contained healthcare facility, equipped with essential medical equipment and staffed by a dedicated team comprising a registered doctor, trained pharmacist, and licensed van driver. These units serve as a lifeline to beneficiaries, offering immediate treatment for a range of ailments, from common colds and skin infections to more serious conditions like hypertension and diabetes. Furthermore, patients requiring specialized treatment are referred to hospitals for advanced care. In addition to providing medical aid, the initiative also focuses on educating and sensitizing individuals on crucial aspects of health, hygiene, and sanitation.
In a city as bustling and diverse as Mumbai, initiatives like the ‘Mobile Medical Units’ program exemplify the transformative power of CSR endeavours. By delivering healthcare directly to those in need, not only alleviates suffering but also serves as a testament to the profound impact that corporate entities can have on the well-being of the communities they serve.
Suvidha centres by HUL and JSW
Another significant CSR initiative that has emerged in Mumbai is through the partnership of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and JSW Foundation. Their strategic collaboration aims to establish ten new ‘Suvidha’ centres across the city, building upon HUL’s pioneering public-private partnership with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and HSBC India which has already made a profound impact on the lives of 300,000 people annually since its launch in 2016.
The expanded network of Suvidha centres, facilitated by the JSW Foundation, is set to provide a safe and dignified sanitation experience for an additional 200,000 individuals residing in low-income communities in Mumbai. These centres offer a comprehensive solution to hygiene and sanitation needs, encompassing safe toilets, purified drinking water, showers, and even laundry services – all under one roof.
One of the key highlights of this initiative is affordability, with drinking water priced at just Rs. 1 per litre and a family monthly pass available for a mere Rs. 150, ensuring access to essential services for those who need it most. Furthermore, these Suvidha centres are designed to be environmentally conscious, incorporating rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems, thus contributing to the conservation of over 300 million litres of fresh water over a decade. Additionally, these centres will be powered by solar energy, furthering their commitment to sustainability.
But these centres are more than just physical infrastructure – they prioritise the safety and well-being of women and children through inclusive design, ample lighting, CCTV cameras, and an emergency panic button. Moreover, to create a sense of ownership and pride within the communities they serve, the centres will employ staff from nearby areas.
Beyond the physical facilities, HUL and JSW Foundation are committed to driving a positive change in health and nutrition behaviours within the surrounding communities through extensive home-to-home visits. This holistic approach to community well-being exemplifies the power of CSR initiatives to foster lasting change and empower local communities.
Mrs. Sangita Jindal, Chairperson of JSW Foundation, expressed the significance of this partnership, stating, “Our partnership with HUL and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to establish 10 state-of-the-art Suvidha centres in Mumbai reiterates our commitment to empower local communities and pave the way for a brighter future, particularly for women and children.” Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of collective action in addressing urban sanitation challenges.
Dr. Iqbal Chahal, Commissioner & Administrator of BMC, underscored the commitment to expanding access to quality sanitation and hygiene facilities, particularly focusing on the safety and well-being of women and children. This public-private partnership represents a significant stride toward creating a safe, inclusive, and healthy city for all Mumbai residents, exemplifying the remarkable impact that CSR initiatives can have on the communities they serve.
Kotak Junior Scholarship Program by Kotak Mahindra Bank
The Kotak Education Foundation (KEF), the CSR implementing agency of Kotak Mahindra Group, has introduced a transformative initiative known as the Kotak Junior Scholarship program. This program is designed to provide vital support for the further education of meritorious students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, specifically targeting Class 11 and beyond.
KEF’s vision for this program extends beyond financial aid; it seeks to establish a robust support system at the grassroots level, nurturing the overall education and development of the future youth of the country. Over an initial term of 2 years, this program caters to Class 11+ students from various boards, including SSC, CBSE, and ICSE.
What sets this initiative apart is its holistic approach to student development. Beyond offering financial support, it includes one-to-one mentoring, career guidance sessions, assistance with entrance exam preparation, exposure visits, and even home visits. This comprehensive engagement strategy aims to empower students not just academically but also in terms of their overall personal and professional growth.
KEF’s scholarship program has a rich history of supporting students for over a decade, benefiting over 3600 scholars to date. Remarkably, more than 800 alumni of the program have transitioned into successful white-collar professionals, contributing to leading companies and esteemed institutions.
Jayasree Ramesh, Executive Committee Member at KEF, emphasized the organization’s enduring commitment to empowerment through education, stating, “With the Kotak Junior Scholarship, we are focused towards a concrete student engagement plan to develop strong and qualified professionals, thereby helping their families rise above poverty.” This initiative not only opens doors to higher education but also paves the way for a brighter future for these deserving students and their families.
The eligibility criteria for the Kotak Junior Scholarship are stringent, ensuring that it reaches those who need it the most. To qualify, students must have scored more than 85% in their SSC/CBSE/ICSE Examination, secured admission for Class 11 in colleges within Mumbai, come from families with an annual income of less than Rs. 3,20,000, and reside within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
Kotak Karma, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) identity of Kotak Mahindra Group, underlines the organization’s commitment to creating a positive and lasting impact on society. Through initiatives like the Kotak Junior Scholarship, KEF exemplifies how CSR can be a catalyst for transformative change, enabling bright young minds to overcome barriers and pursue their dreams in education.