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Š Social Responsibility Forum, SBM, NMIMS

Dear Students, It gives me immense pleasure to announce the first ever ‘SRF’ magazine ‘REFLECTIONS’. Coming under the umbrella of Social Responsibility Forum of NMIMS it is meant to blend students endeavor into socially relevant causes. It incorporates various social and renewable sector issues very well studied, analyzed and published. The successful completion of magazine will find its place for celebration on its launch date 9th February along with WE Care poster presentation in our flagship event SADBHAVNA- Abhyudaya rise to change. I would like to appreciate efforts of the entire Editorial Team and others directly and indirectly involved in making it successful. I wish them luck for future and would like to encourage them to continue REFLECTIONS in the coming future. REFLECTIONS is a testimony of their combined efforts, creativity and willingness to learn about these sector. Dr. Meena Galliara Director, Centre for Sustainability Management & Social Entrepreneurship

All of us, in our daily life come across various people and situations- some of which we live, some we ignore. Those we ignore become a past soon, those we live become a memory. We never look back in to things and people we ignored. Those outcastes always grow faster then we forget them and haunt our presence in ways we never thought of. Is it not better if we pay a little attention to those tiny little things that have become competitive institutions? We, the editorial team of Social Responsibility Forum of NMIMS bring our first magazine called “Reflections�. We would call it a journey and not documentation. The destination of which is a representation of social, rural and renewable sector. The ideology is to present to you various efforts that are put in to improve the life of every category of society, various incidents that negatively or positively affect our lives, various business models that have fuelled the new wave of inclusive businesses, various real life stories that happen around us. The Reflections is a little effort on our part to bring to attention things we seldom think about. The theme of this magazine is Rural Inclusion. Fabindia- the famous urban ethnic wear store has been in news a lot- for its new collection or for the new wave of taste it has developed. We have described the business aspect of Fabindia and how it has benefited thousands of rural artisans. SEWA- an initiative by a woman to bring a life to women gives us an exquisite example of how women can make their mark in this male dominated society. How victims of communal rifts live through and after that is what is documented in the special report on missionaries of charity. This and lot more catering to the social sector has been published. We would like to acknowledge the contribution of Mr. Tom Cooke for the cover photo and Ms. Pooja Doshi for design assistance. We would also like to pay a special thanks to Dr. Meena Galliara for the guidance and to the other members of SRF to constantly appreciate and critique the work of our team. This has been a path worth travelling.

Swadha Singh Shreshth Bharti Ritika Tiwari

Dhaval Pandya Saurabh Shah


Prashant Ty


Nupur Bans

ngh Ranyal

Angad Si

February 2012


5 Countries 62 Cities 146 Stores Show case


01 02

Andaman Tribal Issue

03 04

AMRI - Fire

Global Hunger Index Beggars or Choosers

Solar ATM

Missionaries of Charity

SEWA A frontier giving chance to women to live their ingenuity

Views And Opinions

Bhopal v/s London

special report



Cover Story


Fab India A look towards economy as well as society


Is media & digital entertainment getting dirtier?


Smarty Cloudy


CSR - Policy Mandate or Business Environment Derivative?


Students Corner

THE NEWS HUMAN SAFARI - THE NEW MODE OF EXPLOITATION There might be various forms of safaris to promote tourism, but a video released by two leading British newspapers has exposed a “human safari” being promoted by the tour operators in Andaman and Nicobar islands.

the operators in connivance with the local authorities.

The Jarawa are one of the adivasi indigenous peoples of the Andaman Islands.The shocking footage released by -The Observer and The Guardian-showedthat half-clad women and children of Jarawa tribe were forced to dance and sing for the tourists as per the instructions of an individual, allegedly a policeman.

The main culprit however is the Andaman Trunk Road, which passes through the Jarawa territory. This 46 km stretch where 383 tribe people live and only four convoys are allowed to pass the road at any given time. However, at least 200 vehicles pass through this area everyday. This is part of local tour operators call “human safari” packages.Moreover, convoys are not allowed to stop on the road but the video clearly shows a stationary vehicle filming the tribals.

The report accompanying the video stated that the role of the police in the area is to protect tribes from intrusive outsiders. But on this occasion, the report claimed, the police officer had accepted bribe to get the girls to perform.Moreover, the tourists were seen throwing food and money to these tribal people during a trip organized by

The appalling video has caused horror among rights activists and anthropologists. They are raising their voices against the rights of the tribal people. These reports are not the first of its kinds, several international and local organizations have been highlighting the plight of a dying tribe. However, the pleas for help so far have fallen on deaf ears.

CHALLENGE OF HUNGER- TAMING PRICE HIKES under age of six of the same family of a tribal community from September to December 2009. Also within the last two years starvation claimed the lives of 50 among the 35-40 age group in the same village. It has been exposed that all forms of government programmes aiming to ensure food security for the poor and children have not reached Borumal village properly, a report by Asia Human Rights Commission. Extreme poverty and long-term starvation lead to the death of five members including two children

The target set at the 1996 World Food Summit was to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015 from their number in 1990-92.The

estimated number of undernourished people in developing countries was 824 million in 1990-92.In 2009 the number had climbed to 1.02 billion. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index 2011 India’s food security continues to be alarming. It ranks 67 of the 81 countries of the world with the worst food security status. The GHI is based on 3 indicators – the proportion of the population that is undernourished, the proportion of children who are under weight and under five.

BEGGARS ARE ALSO CHOOSERS The heading is not a typing mistake. It has been proven time and again that beggars choose their profession, the most recent case is in Delhi. The Delhi government is trying hard to remove beggars from its streets. The most recent measure beingincreasing the stipend three folds at beggar homes from Rs. 10 to Rs.30. These beggar homes not only provide food and shelter to the beggars but also impart earning skills like weaving, tailoring etc. But the 600 odd beggars at these homes feel that the above measures are not sufficient. On an average they earn around Rs. 100-150 on the roads begging. They have asked for an increase of up to Rs 80. Clearly rejecting the other benefits of government homes like food, shelter and skill development, the prime requirement of all beggars is higher stipend. The government has not denied their request. Delhi’s social welfare “The economic performance and hunger levels are inversely correlated. In Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan are among countries with hunger levels considerably higher than their gross national income (GNI) per capita,” the IFPRI report said. The Indian government is not able to introduce a Food Security Bill in the monsoon session and there is little agreement over who qualifies as poor enough to receive subsidized food grain. There is growing volatility in global food markets which is due to three factors: increasing use of food crops for biofuels, extreme weather conditions and climate change and increased volume of trading in commodity future markets.

minister Kiran Walia has recently stated that “We want to reform and rehabilitate beggars. We increased their stipend three folds as this will be seen as an incentive. If need be, we will increase the stipend further” The question that arises out of it isWhen will it stop? The greed of the beggars is quite evident; it will be tough for the government to fix a stipend which will quench the thirst of the beggars. A further increase in stipend will bring more inmates in these beggar homes but for how long? After a while they might feel that even Rs. 80 is not enough. The problem is that begging today is a profession and the government needs to tackle it using a lot of different rehabilitation strategies rather than increasing the stipend from time to time.

Hunger Stricken Kids in Africa


Bhopal Gas Victims: Is there NO RESPITE ??

AMRI FIRE - An incident which

haunts people apart from the victims...

What is more insulting? The indian government’s unwillingness to accept the actual figures of casualities in bhopal or the london olympics hosts firm stand on retaining dow as sponsor despite its toxic legacy? Dow and union carbide have miserably failed to adequately compensate bhopal victims’ families or affected survivors, or to appear in indian courts. The indian government has also protected dow’s interests by not revising the bhopal tragedy toll. In the petition filed with the supreme court for additional compensation, the government has decided to stick with the original numbers merely admitting to a factual error in counting in the first case and not admitting to its fault in the process of identifying the affected.

Deaths tolled above 11000 in the tragedy

As per the petition, 527894 victims are classified as those with “minor injuries” and 35,455 as those with “temporary injuries”. It classifies only 4902 with permanent injuries, and 42 as utmost severe cases. This despite the fact that the safety manual of union carbide notes that “major residual injury is likely in spite of prompt treatment”.

“Justice for these people should not just be limited to the confines of our country but should transcend boundaries and prevail in international dealings as well such as the case of london olympics 2012.” NGOs gifhting for the rights of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims have slammed olympic organising committee chief Paul Deighton for his statement that the games authority would not reconsider the sponsorship contract to Dow Chemicals, even after the resignation of ethics committee head, Meredith Alexender. Deighton’s statement is extremely shameful because it continues to spread the lie which Dow Chemicals wanted everyone to believe - that it faces no liability for the Bhopal Gas Disaster of 1984. The world and Dow must know that being outstanding with regard to certain human rights does not confer a free pass to ignore others.

An extremely tragic accident which claimed at least 92 lives, most of which were helpless, has spurred a long list of concerns from all sections of the society. The fire which resulted due to safety negligence at AMRI Dhakuria Hospital in West Bengal led to the arrest of 7 of its directors. West Bengal government arrested the directors in connection with the fire. This has lead to a wave of threat amongst the region’s investor community.

MAKING MONEY UNDER THE SUN By 2020, the world’s biggest potential solar markets will be found in the developing world, areas largely ignored by solar industry today, according to executives working to bring renewable energy to rural regions. Just 1 percent of the world’s solar panel production has been installed in developing countries. The market in Africa, Asia and Latin America is potentially vast given that nearly 44 percent of the population of the developing world lacks access to electricity. So, how do you gain access to your money if your bank is many miles away? Well, ATMs. But how does a village have an ATM if it can’t power the thing? Vortex Engineering has come up with a solar-powered solution for providing ATMs to people in rural areas of India. Vortex has been installing its new ATM design and has been getting great feedback. “The initial lot of 400 solar ATMs, aptly called Gramateller (‘gram’ means village), the world’s largest order, placed by the State Bank of India ( SBI), has been winning accolades for performance and substantial energy savings. The ATMs were installed in 2010-11 across several states, usually within 2050 km of the district headquarters, Vijay Babu, CEO of Vortex Engineering, which makes these units, told IANS from Chennai. Following SBI’s success with solar ATMs, the Catholic Syrian Bank also placed an

The government has been criticised of discrimination against the industry, and the CM is now battling an anti industry image. The questions over the government’s decision are concerned over the responsibility of the directors who are not involved in the day to day operations. FICCI has urged the West Bengal government to see to it that jailed directors who are not involved in its day-to-day operations are released.

West Bengal does not enjoy a good image for industrial absorption, and the present steps will further hurt the stance. The state government’s plan to market Bengal in a programme ‘Bengal Leads’ would require urgent steps to boost investor confidence.

The real questions lies in who is responsible – • The operations staff who neglected the safety measures and misused the hospital premises. • The hospital’s ground administration who did not allow the local youth to help in the initial phase. • The vigilance authority who should have made sure of the proper functioning of the hospital OR • The directors, who were not part of the day to day activities, but are a face of the institution

order for 50Gramatellers and Indian Bank for 20, while 10 more have been ordered by other banks, he added.” The Gramatellers are more hearty versions of traditional ATMs. They cost a bit more but pay for themselves with about two years thanks to the solar energy, whereas traditional ATMs are a constant expense as they eat up generator fuel. In fact, a solar-powered ATM saves over 90% of annual expenses spent on traditional ATMs.

One of the affected victims

According to The Economic Times, the Grammatellers have a 12-hour back-up battery and needs at least five hours of sunlight daily to keep it charged. And, thanks to this back-up battery, customers can use the ATMs even when power is cut of to the rest of the village. Because they’re less expensive in the long run, other banks in countries in Africa and East Asia are also interested in purchasing units to provide to rural customers. Solar power is literally putting money in the hands of banking customers, giving them more control over their own funds. And all for a cheaper cost to both banks and the environment.

How does it work?



CHARITY The social diaspora of India boasts of its oldest roots in human evolvement. Social upliftment has been embedded in the cultures spread wide across geographic regions and historic regimes. The country has attracted people from all over the globe, for benefits of their own or for the benefit of mankind.

“By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.” - Mother Teresa Gonxha Agnes came to India on 6th January, 1929, arriving in present Kolkata. Born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu, she lost her father at the age of 8 years. Drane’s bringing greatly influenced her character and vocation. Gonxha's religious formation was further assisted by the vibrant Jesuit

parish of the Sacred Heart. She received the name “Sister Mary Teresa” in the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ireland. Mother Teresa was known for her determination, charity and courage. Dedicating her life to the unprivileged section of the society, she earned the love of the world and spread hers. On 7th October, 1950 the new congregation of Missionaries Of Charity was officially established in Archdiocese of Calcutta. The sisters were sent to all parts of India to spread the work of ‘God’. In order to respond better to both the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity Brothers in 1963, in 1976 the contemplative branch of the Sisters, in 1979 the Contemplative Brothers , and in 1984 the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. The work drew the attention of the world and

Mother Teresa was honoured with the Indian Padmashri Award in 1962 and notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

The Source Of The Unbreakable Determination Mother Teresa’s source of inspiration was her affiliation with Jesus. On 10 September 1946 during the train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her "inspiration," her "call within a call. On that day, in a way she would never explain, Jesus' thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life. Over the course of the next weeks and months, by means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her the desire of His heart for "victims of love" who would "radiate His love on souls." "Come be My light," He begged her. "I cannot go alone." He revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor.

The Path Ahead Of Mother

communal groups to question the intention behind the Missionary’s work in India. Orissa, one of the poorest regions in India, have been an area of intense missionary work. The Census of India shows that Christian population in Kandhamal grew from around 43,000 in 1981 to 117950 in 2001. Organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad frowns upon the conversion at such a high rate. According to the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967, no person shall “convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means. Hindus have alleged that conversion of the region is a result of exploitation of illiteracy and impoverishment. Thus, in terms of the law, is illegal and intentional. Kandhamal has seen a dirty history of the issue turning up into riots. Behind the clashes lie the story of two tribes – Kandha, which comprise of nearly 80% of the population and Pana. Both impoverished and backward, the tribes have been subject to the anomalies of the ancient Hindu social system. Being regarded as “Achoot” or untouchables by the religion, these tribes preferred to convert and prosper as “Dalit Christians”. The riots resulted in assassination of the Hindu monk Swami Lakshmanananda, who

File photo of Pope John Paul II holding hands with Mother Teresa after visiting the Casa del Cuore Puro Iin the Eastern Indian city of Kolkata

By 1997, Mother Teresa's Sisters numbered nearly 4,000 members and were established in 610 houses in 123 countries. Missionaries Of Charity had spread countrywide operating in the service of the poor and backward. On March 13, 1997, six months before Mother Teresa's death, Sister Mary Nirmala Joshi was selected the new Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity. The Missionaries work for the work of ‘God’, as they state it, “It is His work, that we as messengers are doing”. Several families and lives have been turned around by the work.

The Other Side Of The Story The whole model looks to be the required magic wand to turn the fortunes of a country like India. Love in the hearts for mankind and courage to give up one’s lives for the service of others makes MOC a heavenly organization. But recent years have witnessed sour times for the Missionary. Communal riots have spurred a dirty story in the serene work started by Mother. Conversion has been the main reason for


Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati (1927 - 2008) was assasinated in Kandhmal, Orissa on Janmashtami.

had spent a huge part of his life in upliftment of the tribal and backward people. Swami Lakshmanananda had criticized an NGO, World Vision, of pumping money into India after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami for conversions. The assassination indicated a nexus between the missionaries and Maoists, as a Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda mentioned that there was pressure from Christians and Dalits to eliminate Swami Lakshmanananda. The riots spread to other parts of the country and led to destruction of lives and hopes from the hearts of those who were innocent.

Though the facts of conversion and nexus with Maoists sully the divine work of charity, an important aspect is to understand the cause of the issue and develop a model which can benefit not the communal thought, but the society. An independence to equality of living, openness of thought and abstinence from oppression is the first prime step that is required to stop hatred amongst the section of the society prone to conversions. The social malpractices have to abolished not just from the law, but from the hearts of all those who think that prejudices are divided by castes.

The Aftermath

An open society and a fundamentalist approach would remove the reason for conversion and prosper with a different identity.

The incidents opened two aspects of the situation. Is the work of the missionary a mask to hide the malicious intentions of conversion, or are the conversions the end of a long period of submission of the impoverished and hence a result of self destructive model of the society? The members of the missionary give up their lives for the service of the poor. The lifestyle that is followed is one of the most difficult one that can be thought of. Working in abysmally bad conditions and difficult environment, it is difficult to believe that such efforts would be undertaken with a malign motive in mind.

A Look At The Missionary An orphanage in Vile Parle shows the missionary’s contribution to the society. Behind the guarded gates is a team of 10 sisters, who have given up their homes and dedicated their lives for the orphans of the orphanage. The orphans are are between the age of 0-14 years. They are provided quality education by in house teachers and spiritual development by the sisters.

The Balanced Model When asked, sister Stalette states, “Most of the children are babies, and need to be nurtured right from the beginning. We try to make sure that their upbringing is done in the best possible manner”. The sisters look devoid of communal differences and as sister Stalette firmly says,”We are the workers of God. As Mother was sent by God to help the society, so are we contributing, leaving our families and the blissful life outside”

As the Indian economy sets itself in the pace of development, it is vital for the social sector to unite their actions and form a strong network of help and upliftment. In the age of corporate CSR and NGOs, the government must understand the need to build a socialist model which cannot be exploited on the basis of caste, religion or culture. Economic development must be thought of, after the factors of social development are favourable. If the social framework is permeable to disparities, then it would be difficult to stop the demise of a strong and developed economy. It would jeopardize the peace and unity of the country to a dangerous extent. On the other hand, an open society and strong social network along with a strong judiciary system, would help in eradicating severe problems of naxalism and Maoism as well.

A Win For The Country And The Belief An open and prosperous society is what would allow Mother to be spiritually instigated by her belief in Jesus, and work for the followers of Ram and Allah.

VIEWS AND OPINIONS CSR is a very broad term to discuss in a few lines. Talking from an industry’s point of view, companies today in India are trying to “Make money out of environment, positively”. There has been increased focus on sustainable development and reduction in Carbon Emissions worldwide especially after the Kyoto Protocol. ITC is the only company in the world which has been ‘Carbon Positive’ for last 6 years, ‘Water Positive’ for 9 years consecutively. Companies are taking initiatives to replicate measures taken up by ITC. Also, UN agencies and World Bank grant Carbon Credits (valued very highly) to industries taking up sustainable development projects. With this and various other financial factors involved CSR is not just a policy mandate it has become a part of the business itself! ------Sajneesh Singh Oberoi, Mechanical engineer, CaterPillar

CSR, according to me, is a policy mandate which is forcing business to contribute towards society. If the different organizations start competing in CSR with each other, then it would be good for the society as a whole. This is because they would bring their corporate efficiency into doing good for environment. ----- Jaspreet Singh, Software Engineer

CSR - A policy mandate or business environment derivative? There is a paradigm shift in conceptualising the Corporate Social Responsibility. The originally defined concept of CSR needs to be interpreted in a broader conceptual framework of how companies integrate social and environmental agenda in their business strategy to create sustainability for both their businesses as well as the larger society. Growing complexities of the modern world due to demographic shifts, climate change and increasing pressure on natural resources have all brought sustainability issues to the forefront of the business agenda. CSR today is a policy mandate to create economic derivative in the entire value chain. Sustainability presents both challenges and tremendous opportunities for businesses. Businesses, which assess the gamut of sustainability issues and respond by mitigating risks and leveraging opportunities, are the ones that create competitive advantages. Such businesses respond to the changing needs and demands of the society and accordingly develop successful business models, which focus on creating long-term shareholder and societal value. ----Dr. Meena Galliara, Director, Centre for Sustainability Management & Social Entrepreneurship Cell, NMIMS

Corporates in their greed for profits, make people buy things that they dont actually need. Unless corporates give some of their profit back to the society. eventually there would be less money circulating in the society for further purchases. By storing their profits,corporate would be just like an old time village moneylender. ---- Jaspal Singh Ranyal, Orthopedic surgeon

If you have an opinion too, kindly send us at




“ The first time I set foot in Fab was in 1981. I was 23 and was going home for my first visit, since moving to India with Ravi. Gifts for my family were obviously in order and my friends Libbie and Amitav told me that I would love Fab India. “It’s got an American sensibility,” Amitav said. “You can pull things off the racks yourself – you don’t have to point at stuff and hope the guy behind the counter knows what you mean.” Amitav was right. What a beautiful store! Full of the most wonderful fabrics. ”

These are the words of Radhika Singh whose book got published on Fab India on 27th March,2011 in Dehradun. It contains people’s shared stories about what the shop meant to them. Fab-India, is “an Indian chain store retailing garments, furnishings, fabrics and ethnic products handmade by craftspeople across rural India.”

FabIndia was a firm which started with a noble cause of building up the society, and has set an example for future companies to integrate socially respectful models of business. It features high on the list of trendsetting establishments that have shaped the way a prominent swathe of the urban Indian middle class dresses and furnishes its homes. There cannot be many professionals in Indian cities who have not, at one time or another in the last 25 years, possessed either a Fabindia shirt, kurta, bed cover, dhurrie or napkin. Without the usual plethora of advertisements, Fabindia has successfully managed to stand synonymous with the look of the Indian middle class. It has done so by adhering steadfastly, in four decades of planned growth, to principles of quality, fair pricing and customer satisfaction. But, above all, its overriding commitment to provide work to thousands of village weavers and artisans, in more than a dozen states, defines Fabindia and attracts customers to visit their stores and indulge in word of mouth promotion.

The Birth of FabIndia Fab India was established in 1960 by John Bissell, who came to India in 1958 on a Ford Foundation grant to advise All India Handicrafts Board and Cottage Industries on creating a market for handloom fabrics. On August 3, 1960, John exported a number of textile products through a small company, India Loomcraft, located in the Shankar Market area of the capital. A month later, Fabindia was born with a modest capital that John raised from friends and family in the US. The consolidation of the brand was a family initiative — a collaboration between John Bissell and his wife Bimla, a Delhi girl to the core. She worked with John at the grassroot with weavers and was the vital link between the culturally and linguistically diverse India and her American husband, who was steering the brand. Bimla Bissell, now in her 70s, manages the affairs of the John Bissell Trust that funds philanthropic projects. The Fabindia

brand has, however, changed within a framework, Mr Bissell said. John had a vision for the company that placed equitable relationships at the centre of the business model he chose for FabIndia. While “sustainable relationships” is quite the modern mantra today, at the time the company came into being, this approach was viewed as ‘radical’ and perhaps too idealistic for business of business. Initially FabIndia supplied hand woven textiles and dhurries to a number of stores abroad. Its first store in Greater Kailash in Delhi remains its flagship store. In 1998, William Bissell shifted the focus to the domestic market and the extension of its product line. Today, FabIndia is a well established brand with a product range that extends from garments for men, women and children to jewellery and accessories; from home furnishings, furniture, giftware and lighting to organic foods and personal care products.


Three year CAGR: 22.5%, 20 year CAGR 19.2%

The Growth This year Fabindia turns fifty one. With a history of starting as an export house to market Indian handloom textiles in 1960, Fabindia is now a leading lifestyle retail brand with 146 stores in 59 cities and small towns across India, and overseas. Yet more than its spectacular growth, which has turned Fabindia into a household name, its unique business model has evoked awe and admiration. In 2008 it registered

revenues of Rs 250 million, an increase of 30 per cent over the previous year, and certainly a long, long way from the Rs 0.9 million that Bissell used as seed capital when he started out. Today it creates direct employment for close to 80,000 craftspeople, and also generates employment for a number of functions like spinning, dyeing, collection of fibre, etc. Over the years, the company has

What are the various skill building and community development practices for the craftsmen and artisans? If done, are the activities outsourced? Fabindia helps the artisans to make products which are in line with the demand in the market. It advices the artisans and designs the products so that they can build better products in accordance to the urban customers tastes and therefore sell more and earn better. These activities are taken up by fabindia itself, and its designers and advisors keep in mind the core values of the traditional craftsmanship of the area during this exercise. Thus, fabindia helps the artisans polish their products to make it highly valuable. Essentially it is fabindia which is the market to these craftsmen. These people use the designer’s advice and their own expertise to revive their dwindling traditional profession. For instance , the town of chanderi known for producing chanderi(as the name goes) despite having no dirth of capable artisans was suffering from low business because there was no significant demand for chanderi sarees. Fabindia redirected their skill to produce chanderi kurtis which are now a huge success at all its stores.

not only retained its original ethos and purpose, it has succeeded in evolving an identity that is based on the intrinsic value of goods developed and sourced from thousands of artisans located across the country. While looking at an incremental 100,000 sustainable jobs in rural India, the company’s plan for the future contemplates an exponential growth in the number of artisans who will be associated with FabIndia.

The Business Model Fabindia business model has evoked admiration all over the world and has been included in Harvard Business School case study as well. It links over 80,000 craft-based rural producers, primarily weavers, block printers, woodworkers and organic farmers, to modern urban markets through its “community owned companies”, which act as value adding intermediaries between them and Fabindia. These companies are owned, as the name suggests, by the communities they operate from; a minimum 26% shareholding of these companies

is that of craft persons. The ownership structure is mutually beneficial for Fabindia and the artisans, with the retailer ensuring it has the supplies it needs while the artisans are assured a steady income. The Fabindia model has developed and nurtured a base for skilled, sustainable rural employment, and has preserved India’s traditional handicrafts in the process.

We look at the society and the economy too !! Fabindia has a good track record of adherence to principles of quality, fair pricing, customer satisfaction and, above all, commitment to provide employment to thousands of village weavers and artisans. In the intensely competitive retail sector, Fabindia’s unique business values have helped not just shape the way the Indian middle class dresses and furnishes their homes, but has set a high standard of vision, innovation and social commitment. This business model innovation makes rural artisans think, partner

and operate like businessmen and businesswomen. They share the profits, and part of the profit is ploughed back to achieve for common goals. The artisan community holds a significant stake in 350 odd companies floated by Fabindia. The plan is to extend this to every Indian district (close to 600). These are unlisted, organized, community-owned companies that run profitably and declare dividends for the artisans. Today, the company has created 25,000-30,000 shareholder artisans and the target is100,000. The most significant aspect of the model is that it pursues multiple bottom lines. Artisans can leverage their share certificate to get a loan instead of going to a local moneylender. It could well be the beginning of a massive revolution that India requires to come out of abject poverty. It creates sustainable livelihood for a large number of artisans, empowers them and gives them a deep and real sense of ownership. It keeps alive the dying traditional Indian handloom against the onslaught of power looms.

How is the transparency and robustness of the revenue sharing model defined and maintained? The revenue is shared by the 17 subsidiaries that are the channel firms between FabIndia and the rural artisans. These COC reserve a percentage share for the artisans who work for FabIndia. Located in different part of the countries, these firms besides working in close relation with the local artisans guiding them about the latest trends and market requirements, offer the artisans an opportunity to be a part of their company. The shares are reserved for these craftsmen providing for a transparent sharing model. So as the firm grows, so do the artisans.


FabIndia has a variety of niche products which pertain to a certain market and region, like the designs of ‘kalamkari’ and ‘batik’. How do you select and promote such crafts? FabIndia has spread itself to vasts part of the country. The choice to promote a certain area is based on the knowledge of the area and our research and feasibility of the model within the area. Although there is great diversity in a country like India, FabIndia has been successfully growing and tapping into the varied crafts of these regions.

An Inspiration FabIndia has inspired and set an example for many firms to build a model which is socially oriented to gain benefits for the firm and its stake holders. A country, with its roots in the rural sector, has huge gains to cover from such a change in business sentiments. The following is an example of an organisation going the FabIndia way. Jain Irrigation Systems Limited (JISL) is a leading organization in agri-business operating from Jalgaon in Maharashtra. Besides being the largest provider of Micro Irrigation Systems (MIS) in India, its product range spans a diverse spectrum of the agri-business value chain. JISL has been more famous for its products, than for its business strategies, which works on developing the triple

bottom line – People, Planet and Profit. Innovation has now crept into the field, and many more organizations have adopted methods that strengthen the triple bottom line. Thus firms have started to recognize that rural and community development can help develop a strong functioning business, with an eye on long term sustainability.

There is a parallel channel of local tailors and NGOs who sell competitive handicrafts at a cheaper rate. How do you deal with it? The products that FabIndia produces cater to a very different market and have a different value. Each product is designed and produced with great market research and involvement, quality checks and above all “uniqueness”. As each of our product is unique and closely monitored, the rates corresponds to their value.The market for FabIndia, thus, has been growing and that too, at a good pace.

FabIndia works on a rural integrated market. Are local NGOs incorporated into the model to ease the Supply Chain? FabIndia does partner with social organizations to access rural areas and increase efficiency. It is not necessarily done to ease the supply chain, which in its own is usually highly efficient and robust. But, wherever the scenario presents higher accessibility, partnership is always considered.

So that is how the pricing strategy is defined? Yes, absolutely. The pricing strategy takes into account the sweat of the artisans, the technical ability of our advisors and designers, our understanding of the market and our promise as a brand to build better, sharper and socially benefitting products for our customers. It follows a bottom up approach wherein the resources utilized to develop the product is taken into account and then a margin is added. Unlike the usual retail stores, each of our product is unique and has to be accounted for accordingly. Even as the demand for the products is increasing sharply, FabIndia is not aggressive in customer acquisition or advertisements. Can the strategy of customer retention cope with the available opportunity? FabIndia does not believe in aggressive or forceful marketing. The products generally sell by “word of mouth” and the “knowledge” factor. What store comes to your mind when you think of buying a traditional kurta or a craft material? Our products speak for themselves. The expansion to 146 successful stores is a testimonial to the fact. However FabIndia does keep its customers informed about its various products and the craft behind them through the medium of banners, flyers and promotions at the stores. Details as told by Ms Prableen Sabhaney, Communications Head - India, Fabindia

For all its success, Fabindia continues to try and resist the temptation of going “mainstream”, and is content to develop and widen the niche segment where its presence is formidable. This belief is being put to test, as John Bissell’s son William, who took over after Bissell’s death in 1999, plans to open 150 more stores in the next four years! How Bissell overcomes the natural constraints of his unique business model while maintaining

FabIndia today :

the scorching pace of expansion is what the business world is waiting to find out. Given FabIndia’s past successes and its current position in the market, the answer is a no-brainer!! In the intense competitive retail sector, FabIndia ,it seems, would continue on its path of rapid growth in the years to come while maintaining its high standard of innovation and social commitment.

Number of retail stores: 146 across 63 cities. Annual sales: Over Rs. 350 crores. Number of employees: 850 on the rolls, 1,000 consultants and on contract. Number of craftspeople supplying products: 40,000. Most popular product: Garments. Number of countries to which Fabindia exports: 33



VIEWS & OPINIONS Yes. Currently, media is thriving upon sensationalism rather than straight forward journalism. The competition between 24/7 news channels has forced the media to “create” stories where there is none. Although, there is no doubt that media has improved in efficiency due to the same competition, so with a little social responsibility it can improve many times fold . ----Jaspreet Singh, Software Engineer (Caterpillar)

Is media and digital entertainment getting “dirtier”?

Yes, certainly its getting dirtier, but its nobody’s fault, its just the nature of the medium & its widespread availability .What required 5 pages to describe in text can be said by just one picture,or what required a long series of pics to say can be shown in just one video clip. Besides it ropes in more moolah. -------Jaspal Singh Ranyal, Orthopedic Surgeon

If you have an opinion too, kindly send us at

Media and digital entertainment are tools to influence people, which can have both positive and some negative results. Too much of exposure or abuse of any tool can have a detrimental effect. The persuasive nature of the content presented through these tools can influence the thoughts and behavior of the public. What constitutes to be “Dirty” is defined by the society in which we live. The type of media and forms of entertainment that we have is an outcome of our technological revolution speared by rational human beings. Technology by itself cannot decide what is ‘dirty’ and what is ‘not’. Since the user has no control over the people who develop questionable contents, it is prudent for the user has to practice ‘discrepancy’ in using the content and protect themselves by being victim of being exposed/over exposed to ‘dirty contents’. Which further implies that parents, teachers, adults in the larger society should create a sustainable social capital, who can practice greater levels of self control in using both media and digital media, ----Dr. Meena Galliara, Director, Centre for Sustainability Management & Social Entrepreneurship Cell, NMIMS



The Self-Employed Women’s Association of India is a trade union for poor, self-employed women workers in India.

INDEPENDENT “All that we women know is work. Whatever we have been through, we cannot change that. But we dream for better lie of our children. That’s why SEWA is so important for us.”- Said kanchiben agricultural laborer, Kheda District. SEWA was founded in 1972 by the noted Gandhian and civil rights leader DrEla Bhatt. SEWA’s main office is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and it works in several states of India. Presently SEWA has nine member organizations working in 35 districts of seven states, and together they account for a total membership of 12, 50,441 members. SEWA members are women who earn a living through their own labour or small businesses. They are the unprotected labour force of India. Constituting 93% of the labour force, these are workers of the unorganized sector. Of the female labour

force in India, more than 94% are in the unorganized sector. However their work is not counted and hence remains invisible. It is a confluence of three movements - Labour, Cooperative and Women’s Movement. SEWA was born out of the labour movement with the idea that just like salaried employees, the self-employed too have a right to fair wages, decent working conditions and protective labour laws. Cooperative movement is important to develop alternative economic systems where the women workers themselves would control their means of production. In the 1970’s women’s movement took a radical turn with women participating actively in social movements and demanding capability of opportunity in all spheres of life.

MISSION OF SEWA SEWA is committed to organizing women workers in the informal economy to protect their livelihoods and work towards their development through skill development and creating market linkages, developing microfinance institutions, linking with social security programmes and promoting skill and education among their daughters and children.

FUNCTION AREA OF SEWA Sewa is involved in the following areasLivelihood protection of street vendors by providing them with a permanent space and a legal identity, and of construction workers by providing a legal identity, social security and skill upgradation. Livelihood promotion primarily for home-based embroidery workers, by creating direct market linkages and providing skill training in embroidery as well as alternative livelihoods. It openly advocates implementation of the National Policy on Street Vendors, receipt of adequate benefits due to construction workers through the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board and the passing of the bill demanding Social Security for the Unorganised Sector. In micro-finance, it ensures that members have access to savings and loans and are prevented from being exploited by money-lenders. It provides social security by creating linkages to Government schemes. It also provides vocational

training, supplementary education and personality development programmes for children, adolescent girls and women members. It ensures better quality of environment by working on civil issues and problems related to water and sanitation in collaboration with its sister organization, Mahila Housing Trust (MHT). Mr. Sanjay is currently the Director of SEWA Delhi. An ardent hard worker, he has been associated with Sewa since 1999. An MPHIL from JawaharLal Nehru University, he joined SEWA as a student. We had an opportunity to interview him and know his views on the status of women working in the informal sector. Q) What has been your experience of working in SEWA with the readers? I have been working with SEWA for the past 13 years and have seen SEWA Delhi grow from a small initiative to a 26,000 strong member organization. I joined SEWA as an organizer to organize women street vendors in Delhi and form Self Help Groups. I was alone when I joined SEWA and faced lot of challenges initially. With limited resources, we had to overcome various obstacles and work really hard to accomplish the tasks. Today we have a very strong team of about 150 members. All of us work together and have grown both as an individual and as an organization. It has been a very fulfilling experience. The best part is when you work with poor people you don’t have anything to lose. One thinks of gain or loss when one is working with people of similar stature. It is very encouraging and satisfying when every effort, be it a microfinance program or a livelihood program or an education and skill building program brings a positive change in the lives of people. It acts as

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Directore(SEWA)

“The poor should be given a level playing field.”

Training Session in progress at SEWA


At SEWA, women are given enough liberty and are shareholders in the cooperatives. Sewa focuses on developing economic activities for women as institutions.

Trends in Unorganised Sector

a source of motivation for me and my team. Q) What difficulties did you face while setting up SEWA in Delhi? SEWA Delhi was established in the year 1999 in Jahangirpuri. Initially, there was no office and I used to travel 35 kms every day to reach Jahangirpuri. It was a very difficult phase as I had to do everything on my own without any support. Opening the first bank account took me one month. The banks did not know about microfinance and were very reluctant to open bank account for the poor customers. So I had to visit various banks across the city to convince them to open a bank account for the poor. After some time we opened a new office and formed teams. I trained these teams on how to approach the bank. Finally, credit cooperative were formed in the year 2007.This was created after various Self Help Groups were formed which had access to a large number of people. By doing this we took the banks out of the system. After some time we got our institution registered which again went through a very complicated process and involved multiple

levels of compliance. After some time we approached the Delhi Government for financial assistance as we wanted to reach 1 lakh poor women through this cooperative. This was the financial inclusion project. We provided them with door step banking facilities as women could borrow money at lesser interest rates and also there was no extortion as is the case with the money lenders. Today we have 5000 members with a working capital of worth Rs 2 Crore.Also women were given enough liberty as they are also shareholders in the cooperatives. Sewa also focuses on developing economic activities for women as institutions.

Q) What are the expansion plans of SEWA into other states? Currently the plan is to deepen our roots in these 9 states as there are a lot of areas that are yet to be covered in these states. Once we feel that we have well established ourselves in these 9 states, then we will concentrate on expansion to other states. However, in the meanwhile if there is a demand to form a SEWA organisation in any other state, then we will evaluate the necessity of it and take action accordingly. As one can see the informal sector is growing, both in the urban and rural sector, SEWA will eventually be present in all the states. Q) How is demand for SEWA in a state known? There are mainly 3 ways through which demand for SEWA is proposed. Firstly, there are established self-help women groups in a region or a state which demand for a SEWA organisation. Secondly, state government or an established NGO may request for our assistance and support. Thirdly, we might discover the need for SEWA organisation based on our research. For instance in Bikaner, we were conducting a research on papad workers. The city has over 50,000 papad workers; every other household is involved in the manufacturing of papads. But unfortunately these papad workers were exploited and there were no NGO’s to help them. It was then that we decided to set up an SEWA organisation in Bikaner and now we have successfully managed to increase the minimum wage of a papad worker. Q)What were the problems associated with mobilizing women at the grassroot level? How did you deal with them? Initially it was very difficult to convince women to form Self Help Groups. Poor women were often cheated by various Chit Fund Companies in the 90’s and hence were very reluctant to be a part of Sewa. However when they realized that they would withdraw money from the banks with their signature, then it became easier for us to convince them. Also after one successful group was formed then it was easy to form more groups. Q) SEWA has been based on Gandhian Ideals. How difficult is it today to follow these ideals? Honestly, Gandhian Ideals have not lost their relevance; it’s just that people no longer believe in it. We have always strived to ensure

that all members are well aware of the ideals and follow them regularly. All the leaders have regularly instilled the ideals in the respective members reporting to them. One of the most important ideal of Gandhiji- Nonviolence is the core of all of our protests. We have never involved ourselves in any form of violent protest against the State or the Police. We also put in efforts to support local industries and use Indigenous products as much as possible. Its challenging to practice these ideals but till date we have manage to hold these ideals. Q) SEWA has been fighting corruption for more than 30 years, One of your founder Elaben said that - “I feel there is no real need for a new law. Our country has so many laws to curb corruption, and if even 50% of those are implemented, there will be a real reduction in corruption”. Can you elaborate more on it? Our Indian constitution has provision for many laws, but the real problem is the regularization of these laws. More than 50% of the laws are not properly implemented. We work with labour in abundance, and have witnessed a lot of labour laws violation, like minimum wage is not given or workers are regularly asked for overtime without pay. Firstly, all laws should be implemented, bringing in new laws might not necessarily improve the situation as there is a chance that the new law is not properly implemented. People should unite and protest for the regularization of existing laws. We believe that India still hasn’t obtained its second independence- “The economic independence” and we are helping the poor to attain that. Q) What is SEWA’s take on the new poverty line (Rs 27 for rural population and Rs32 for urban population) ? These lines are always unrealistic. As per the new findings, if you have Rs 33 in urban conditions, then you are no longer poor. BPL cards never reach the poor who really need it and there are families who have 4-5 BPL cards. A government committee headed by Arjun Singh Gupta found out that around 70% of Indians have low purchasing power which basically means that 70% Indians are poor. Planning commission should use such reports for reference instead of opting for complex calculations to introduce impractical BPL lines. State governments under the micro finance scheme SGSY believe that if they fund a family once, then they have changed their status from BPL to APL!!! Poor should be connected to benefits scheme no matter how many times they have used them.

Microfinance Awareness Meeting, Ahmedabad

Q) There is lot hue and cry about poor people getting uprooted for development. What is SEWA’s take on it? Nobody is against development but first proper rehabilitation program for the poor needs to be established. You can’t uproot the poor from the city and provide them housing facilities at the outskirts. Travel expenditure increases fivefolds because of rehabilitation. Is this fair? We see new malls, hotels, private hospitals and private schools opening up all across the city, at times even in prime locations, but the government doesn’t have enough resources to rehabilitate the poor within the city. We believe that if government wants to shift them to the outskirts, then they should also provide schooling facilities and jobs in the outskirts. Poor should be given a level playing field, the need is to decrease the divide between rich and poor but such measures only increase the The founder divide. Q) If you have to give a message to MBA students, what would it be? Today is the age of collaborative projects, we see public private collaboration, private community collaboration etc. A great degree of social development can be achieved through such partnerships. Tomorrow most of you will be leading private enterprises; you should understand the importance of such partnerships and form as much collaboration as you can. Creating employment and Skill set development are two other areas where you can contribute. These days a lot of new innovations are coming up with regard to social projects, it would be helpful if you can use your knowledge and creativity to develop innovative projects which benefit the poorest of the poor.

Elaben believes that India is yet to attain its second independence The economic independence



One Mistake One life to live A soul to connect Dreams to achieve A heart to follow But one mistake.. The road is tough But not too hard Choices are many But not so vast And that one mistake Struggle I accepted with grace With no sign of pain on my face Happily, I decided to live life With both my kids and wife But just didn’t correct that one mistake I wish I had understood this on time My family wouldn’t have been crying for me Seeing them in a situation like this Fills my dead heart with loads of grief I know I will live on Forever in their hearts and minds Despite having gone too far For anyone to find Too late, but I now know my mistake Fire at one end, A fool at the other And a bit of tobacco in between.. (As written by Nishtha Sardana, MBA, NMIMS)

A road so different.... Walking through the woods green and long, Inadvertently brought on my lips a tranquil song, Of Nature’s beauty, So gentle yet so strong. The flowing broth, Held my wounds to soothe The merry din Had my heart to win. The wind blew in a bluster, Still the clouds began to cluster. And though the blowing wind drives the clouds away. It was a different story altogether that day. Ergo, it started to pour. Not just water, but eternal bliss. The animals were all happy and gay, Chattering nonchalantly, they all seemed to say, Welcome to our hearts! O enervated soul! This place, thou consider thine own. The weather was cold, but their hospitality was warmer, And shattering the peace, I heard a clamour. What I saw confirmed my worst fears. Next to its dead mother, a rabbit lay in tears. Two roads diverged in a wood, Man took the one less travelled by, And that has made this difference. We came, we saw, we conquered. But will we ever get back what we have lost? I am not optimistic, And so would have been Robert Frost. (As written by Kartikeya Negi, MBA , NMIMS)

RIGHT TO LIFE By Swadha Singh

She lays still in womb, Feet and hands curled up, Protected by warmth of layers; Closed are her eyes and tiny ears, She kicks gently…. she coos gently; Anticipating to step into new world; And fulfill her dreams. Blind, unaware of the world, And its unfair means…. The day she opens her eyes Her load seems to heavy Even to woman who bore her for months; She is left to earth and winds.. The one who longed for a life, Receives the cruelty of mankind, For no reason other than being SEX……… Female foeticide is a process of aborting perfectly healthy female foetuses after about 18 weeks (or more) of gestation just because they are females. The same foetuses would’ve been allowed to live if they were males. There is no question that female foeticide is not just unethical but it is downright cruel as well. Despite a law banning sex selective abortion is in force for a decade, as many as half a million female foetuses are aborted each year in the country. Gender discrimination in our society is so entrenched, that it begins even before a girl is born. Baby girls are throttled, poisoned or drowned in a bucket of water. A baby girl tied in polythene bag and dumped in a public dustbin left to be torn away by wild stray dogs an incident that took place in the capital. To cite a couple of more examples, of many, the recovery of pieces of bones of newly born female foetuses from a hospital backyard in Ratlam district of Madhya Pradesh in February 2008. And bodies of more than 100 foetuses found outside an abortion clinic in Pattran town

in Punjab in August last year were both deplorable. Though India has a history of skewed female sex ratio, what the country is witnessing today is the systematic extermination of the female child, with the ultrasound machine serving as an instrument of murder. Clinics offering ultrasound scanning facility have mushroomed throughout the country, and despite making pre-natal sex determination a penal offence, doctors and parents alike rampantly violate this law. A survey in Maharashtra showed that an alarming 95% of the amniocentesis scan were being carried out for sex determination. In India, the 2001 census reveals that the overall sex ratio is 933 females for every 1000 males, showing a marginal increase of 6 points from the 1991 census of 927. However, this is a very sorry state indeed and we are doing much worse than over a hundred years ago when the sex ratio was 972 in 1901, 946 in 1951 till the 933 today. More and more baby girls have either been aborted or killed as infants since 1961 and that this trend continues strong even today. Indeed, an improvement in the child sex ratio has only been marked in one state, Kerala, and two Union Territories, Lakshwadeep and Pondicherry. Everywhere else, there is a decrease in the number of girls. The greatest offenders in this area are the northern and the western states, with Punjab and Haryana leading the pack. In Punjab, the child sex ratio has decreased

A survey in Maharashtra showed that an alarming 95% of the amniocentesis scan were being carried out for sex determination


It has been calculated that more than a hundred million women are missing because their parents wanted a son

by 77 points to a new and horrifying low of 798 females to a 1000 males, and Haryana has seen a decrease of 60 points, meaning there are now only 819 females to a 1000 males. Other offenders high on this list are Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chandigarh and Gujarat. This is not so much a legal problem as it is a social disease. The soncentric model of our society forms the foundation of the practice of female feticide and infanticide. Girls are made to face discrimination before birth, at birth, and throughout their lives at the hands of their families. Even those girls who are allowed to live get second-class treatment. They are denied adequate medical and health care facilities, they are denied adequate nutrition, and they are denied educational facilities. They are often subject to physical and sexual abuse.

The soncentric model of our society forms the foundation of the practice of female feticide and infanticide.

Unfortunately, various schemes to counter this situation brought out by many states as well as at the central level have been ineffective in reducing the extent of this problem. Removal of this practice must involve: • Focus on the humanist, scientific and rational approach and a move away from the traditional teachings which support discrimination. • Empowerment of women and measures to deal with other discriminatory practices such as dowry, etc. • Simpler methods for complaint registration for all women, particularly those who are most vulnerable. • Publicity for the cause through the media and increasing awareness amongst the people through NGOs and other organizations; • Regular appraisal and assessment of the indicators of the status of women such as sex ratio, female mortality, literacy and economic participation. Infanticide is a crime of murder and punishment should be given to both

parents. There ought to be stricter control over clinics that offer to identify the sex of a foetus and stronger check on

abortions to ensure that they are not performed for the wrong reasons. Doctors must also be sensitized and strong punitive measures must be taken against those who violate the law. It has been calculated that more than a hundred million women are missing because their parents wanted a son. We have made significant scientific and technological progress and we churn out some of the brightest minds every year in every area possible. But if we can’t check female feticide all this progress is absolutely worthless. How can a society expect to survive without women? Indeed various studies have shown that having far fewer women in a society leads to increased violence in a society, particularly against women. If the macabre practice continues, it would spell doom for both sons and daughters and will have a disastrous impact on the future generations.


Meet Ashraf.

The 13 year old boy who is holding those two plies of jeans with more dexterity than any international cricketer holds his bat.

Scores of small strings of loose thread are stuck on his trouser. I shoot standing behind him so that he doesn’t shy away or lose his concentration. Photography here is equivalent to committing murder. Of-course because the company is ISO certified. The ISO auditor returns back from the owner’s office as he gets all his information there. You will find more than 100 Ashrafs in this factory, officially working 8 AM to 8 PM. The owner says they do take a break in between and he doesn’t slog them here. Naushaad, is another boy I met. He barely reaches somewhat above my waist and tells me he is 14. He came with his uncle to the city as there was no money at home and his father died. He has been working here for

1.5 years and gets Rs. 800 a month, which he is collecting to send to his home. His uncle tells that he generates a worth of Rs 3000 per month for him by working under him; obviously I know he is understating when I see the boy doing the work. This is the scene of a typical domestic as well as some exporting garment manufacturing unit in the localities of Ludhiana, Jaipur and even Delhi. Garment industry might be a small sample size. You can find child labour everywhere. Even in your next door. Child labour here, is no crime. Child labourers like Ashraf, who were born in some unknown village in Bihar or UP, lives their 10-11 odd years in penury struggling for two

times meal but probably at 12th year the time ripens for them. School is a distant dream; they can’t even count what the sequence of their birth in their family is? The only thing that’s happening for them is a child birth every year at home. Government funding is limited and that too with vultures ripping their portion while the meat flows down. When the burden on family grows, some distant uncle who has been visiting village come to house and tells about the opportunity in the cities. He agrees to train and feed the boy for a year if he comes with him. And so with every visit home there is a fleet of 6-7 interns with an average age of 12 years moving on with their uncles to become the child 24

labour of India. Of course it appears to be a win-win situation for the parties involved. The child who was getting half fed gets two times meals, a shelter, vocational training and freedom from domestic abuses. A middlemen uncle gets hefty commission for getting the child who is 4-5 times cheaper than a regular worker and owner who can now match any costing in the world. The only loss is that the hands which should have been holding text books or a cricket bat now holds two plies of jeans that many of us will wear. The owner has same argument. He believes he is doing nation building. “These kids” he says “What would have they be doing if I didn’t employ them? Becoming pick pockets, criminals and God knows what. Instead to reprimanding me, government should give me legal permission to provide skills to these kids. I am running a vocational training center. I should be allowed to give certificates to these kids.” His words, sharp and full of pride, do ring the bell somewhere inside me. Except of my nurtured ethics which I try to hold, nothing seems to disagree with him. I question myself- What will these kids do if they were not here. The words of the owner hold a lot of truth. It’s not like there has been no concern to the problem. Governments in past have tried a lot to eliminate it strategically. But the efforts, just like other have been maundered, vandalized and abused with all the precious funds either landing in the pockets of executives or getting consumed by the inefficiencies of the system. Also besides corruption, there are other reasons which make the implementation weaker. Here is an overview of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) launched by the Indian Government in the year 1988.

National Child Labour Projects htm). With this rate it seems that it will (NCLP) Under the scheme, Project Societies at the district level are fully funded (I read 75% funded on GOI website) for opening up of special school/ Rehabilitation Centres for the rehabilitation of child labour. The child workers identified are put in the special schools and provided the following facilities: • No formal/formal education • Skilled/craft training • Supplementary nutrition @ Rs. 5/per child per day • Stipend @ Rs. 100/- per child per month • Health care facilities through a doctor appointed for a group of 20 schools. According to census 2001 there were 12.6 million child laborers in India. The total budget allocated in year 2006-07 was Rs. 862 million, making it approximately Rs 700 per child per year, (even if we ignore the (in) efficiencies of the distribution system). No wonder 2 times meals with possible income of Rs. 500-1000 per month has been a bigger attraction for our children. But the question still remains do we enough centers set-up in order to impose a complete ban? to absorb a capacity for 12.6 million child laborers in India? With such a small investment on such a large issue the results have been marginal. As per latest data available on the website of Govt. of India, it has so far covered only 0.4 million children under the scheme. (Refer

take forever to tackle the problem, until something unconventional is done to solve it.

One of the studies done by UNICEF in this regard found that after the Child Labor Deterrence Act was introduced in the US, an estimated 50,000 children were dismissed from their garment industry jobs in Bangladesh, leaving many to resort to jobs such as “stone-crushing, street hustling, and prostitution”, jobs that are “more hazardous and exploitative than garment production”. The study suggests that boycotts are “blunt instruments with long-term consequences that can actually harm rather than help the children involved.” With the view to bring the cases of child labour into fore, the government of India has a provision of toll-free help-line no. which any citizen can use to report a case. Now the question is whether a person should call and report such case to deprive the children of the meager earnings which allow them to have 2 meals a day and a shelter? Is there any surety that the relieved children would be having a better life after that and they would not be caught begging on streets? Is banning actually the solution? It’s high time to also confront the issue from the viewpoint of the harsh realities of any developing country instead of the lenses of international society, else child labour will continue to be a tacit social service in our country and we would continue wearing jeans made by some Ashraf! (As written by Swarnim Kuber Pathak, MBA, Department of Management Studies IIT Roorkee)


Nmims SRF Reflections oct 2012  
Nmims SRF Reflections oct 2012  

Nmims SRF Reflections oct 2012