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Home > Business > Special

India Inc opens its heart and purse

October 20, 2006

Independent India may have emerged as a thriving democracy and an important military player in the global arena, but it is IT that has given India an edge on the global business map. Today the arrival of the BPO culture and McDonald's has ushered in an era of consumption in urban India.

But while the past 60 years of oppression-free India may have resulted in the birth of the global Indian, the children of those living on the outskirts of high society still have no access to education and security.

What does freedom mean to the rural poor who still go to bed hungry, while the rest of India prides itself on being one of the fastest growing economies in the world?

With so many malnutrition deaths among children, the time has come for the urban privileged Indian to take a step forward and make a difference to the millions, who suffer due to chronic hunger.

"I've always said that I'm a compassionate capitalist, which means that I am a capitalist in mind but a socialist at heart. So while wealth creation is important, it's also important to realise that you have to use a part of the money that you make in the corporation to make a difference to the disadvantaged people outside the corporation," says Infosys chief mentor and former chairman, N R Narayana Murthy.

Infosys believes that people in the corporate world need to donate their time and emotions (including a minor monetary contribution), instead of making only a one-time contribution through their cheques books.

"Without passion, money is of no use. Conversely, even if you have passion but no money, it's still no use since you wouldn't have enough resources at your disposal. What you require is an equal amount of passion and resources to make a difference," suggests Infosys Foundation chairperson, Sudha Murthy.

While Infosys may have contributed through their mid-day meal programme, another company ABB Ltd-a company in the power equipment sector has also understood the significance of empowering the underprivileged and making them financially independent.

"We believe that we are duty bound to remain sensitive to the larger environment. Our country has over a billion people but yet 30 per cent of the population still lives below the poverty line. It's just not the financial strength of the company that drives us, but we have to help the needy to stand on their own feet," says ABB vice chairman and managing director, Ravi Uppal.

ABB recently adopted a primary school on the outskirts of Bangalore and provides food to 700 children in the school. Most of these children belong to families living well below the poverty line.

Infosys and ABB are just some of the big companies that have used food to bring about a social change, Havell's - a growing leader in switchgear and CFLs - is also using the same model of providing mid-day meals to tackle hunger and malnutrition in the country.

Havell's cooks food at their factory unit in Rajasthan, and these meals are then distributed to various government schools under the mid-day scheme.

It appears that Indian companies have finally begun talking about corporate consciousness and taking their role in removing hunger and malnutrition seriously.

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Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: Firms Opens their Heart & Purse......

I certainly understand Sudha Murthy's perception that passion without means, maybe useless to her, but the fact of life, in India till date, is more ...

Posted by Dutt Sharma

Sub: our priorities

There is something terribly wrong with economic planning in India. 5 star culture has shot up in large Metros, and high-end consumers are buying items ...

Posted by D.J.Ray


Its great to know what these money giants are doing and I feel its rightly said that to level up each and every Indian, both ...

Posted by Meeta

Sub: Firms open their heart & purse

Doesn't mean that those with the passion but without the money cannot make a contribution - it's these very same dedicated folks who will make ...

Posted by labrea



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