Punjab, the land of five rivers is known across the world for its delicious food and brotherhood. People from Punjab are known to migrate to various countries of the world and settle there, making their culture, music and lifestyle very popular throughout the globe. Punjab has a predominantly agriculture-based economy. This is why it is also called the “Food bowl of India.”
Punjab has been reported to be a CSR deficit state. Despite its contribution to the economy and the need for improving the per capita income of people residing in the state, it has been difficult to attract CSR in Punjab. In FY2020-21, the state received Rs. Cr. in CSR funds from 331 companies. The top three spenders in the state include International Tractors Limited, Nabha Power Limited and Trident Limited, who spent Rs. 13.59 Cr., Rs. 4.34 Cr., and Rs. 3.6 Cr. respectively, for CSR programs in Punjab. The top three areas of focus for these initiatives include health (Rs. 49.05 Cr.), education (Rs. 47.87 Cr.), and environment conservation (Rs. 16.6 Cr.). Let us look at the top CSR initiatives in the border state of Punjab.
Navi Disha by TSPL, a Vedanta Subsidiary Company
Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vedanta Limited and the largest thermal power plant in Punjab, has been implementing its CSR initiative Navi Disha which is benefitting over 1100 farmers from 26 villages in the company’s periphery. Under the project, the company has been helping the farmers reduce input costs, adopt advanced agricultural practices and improve production from their agricultural lands.
Punjab is an agrarian economy, with a major share of agriculture and allied activities in the country. Over the years this agrarian economy has evolved from subsistence farming to commercial farming. Under Navi Disha project, TSPL has attempted to address agriculture-related issues by CSR in Punjab and organized several trainings and workshops on modern agricultural practices, integrated pest management and optimized use of chemical fertilizers for the farmers of Mansa & Bathinda District. This has resulted in increased saving on inputs costs of Rabi crops by 12% and on Kharif crops by 52%. In 2020, the company was accorded the Greentech CSR award for outstanding achievement in the promotion of sustainable agriculture for this program.
PNB Metlife’s Project ‘Damini’
PNB MetLife, one of the top 10 private life insurance companies in India, is another company to introduce CSR in Punjab. It has launched its CSR initiative Damini recently focusing on supporting and empowering underprivileged girls and women in Semi-Urban and Rural India. Under the initiative “ Damini” PNB MetLife India Insurance Co. Ltd. will support initiatives across various life stages from girl child to women. The CSR initiative in Punjab is launched in collaboration with project Nanhi Kali which is expected to support 1000 underprivileged girls in the Moga district.
The Damini initiative includes engaging with girls through concept-based learning, cooperative learning and bi-annual assessment and evaluation. They will also be provided with a school supplies kit that will include a school bag, uniform, stationery and hygiene products. In order to tackle drop-outs, Nanhi Kali, the project partner will be recording and monitoring their progress to keep a tab on absenteeism. These regular checks will help in timely interventions in case there are issues faced by the girls. Volunteers will also engage with parents of these beneficiaries and important stakeholders in the community to build awareness and sensitise these influencers to change negative mindsets and attitudes towards the girl child.
Ambuja Cement Foundation and Pernod Ricard Foundation’s Initiative for the betterment of Truck drivers
Contributing to the development of the state through CSR in Punjab are Ambuja Cement and Pernod Ricard, which have come together to chalk out a long term corporate social responsibility plan to help tackle substance abuse and health issues among truck drivers. The CSR program in Punjab also aims at preventing the truckers from falling prey to road accidents. The CSR project is a three-year-long intervention that Pernod Ricard Foundation and Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) will conduct in three phases. They have chosen a group of 3,500 rural truck drivers in Derabassi (Punjab). Under the project, one of the aspects that will be focused on is behaviour change with respect to responsible consumption and nutrition.
For continued impact, the implementors will build a committee within the trucker community that comprises union members, local government and local organisations. The foundations will set up a vision care centre for eye care of the beneficiaries, alcohol and substance abuse counselling, road safety sessions by the RTO, and support groups for the migrants so that they are able to take ownership long after the intervention is completed.
While Pernod Ricard has made a commitment of Leaving No Trucker Behind when it comes to preventive healthcare and road safety, ACF has organised health camps on HIV and STI for over 71,000 truck drivers. It has been working with government agencies like National AIDS Control Society, Punjab State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society and private players like the CSR arm of Apollo Tyres for the good health of truckers.
Project Moo by Hindustan Unilever
Another CSR Project being implemented in Punjab is ‘Project Mooo’ which is a part of ‘Prabhat’ which is a community development initiative of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), launched in partnership with UDAY – a skill development organization partnered with the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC). The project is first of its kind holistic AgTech solution that aims to tackle milk deficit, traceability, and personal extension issues through dairy management and knowledge and Communication Technologies (ICT) training. The project was launched at Mohi Khurd Village in Rajpura, Punjab, India. It aimed toward creating sustainable livelihoods for farmers by imparting dairy skills to rural farmers, including women dairy farmers. This included fixing of awareness camps on dairy as a sustainable business, providing digital & financial literacy, visiting farmers at their doorsteps with a team of dairy experts.
The application harnesses the facility of massive data to supply demand-led extension training to farmers. The analytics-based learning approach follows the ‘just-in-time learning’ model offering skills and techniques that transform the dairy management practices. It helps the farmers in calculating their costs and profits. The app maps the life cycle of every cattle owned by farmers, sends need-based alerts, offers learning video and tools, connects to local experts, and provides benchmarking stats among other features.
In order to make sure last-mile connectivity, each farmer was given Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) training also by the Village Level Entrepreneurs at the farmer’s doorstep.