INDIACSR News Network
DEHRADUN: Mr SK Patra is the President & CEO at Patanjali Ayurved Limited & Patanjali Food and Herbal Park Ltd. In an exclusive interview with Mr. Anil Jaggi, Executive Editor, INDIACSR Mr SK Patra talked how Patanjali has created rural agri-based infrastructure with business models and engaged the budding entrepreneurs.
Below is the edited transcript of the interview:
Welcome to INDIACSR, Please introduce yourself and Patanjali’s involvement in promoting Social Entrepreneurship (SE) in India.
It is a great pleasure to be associated with INDIACSR & Green Earth Alliance (GEA). To introduce myself, I would say that I have crossed the barrier of being only a professional in the field of Agriculture, Food Processing, creating value chain for large number of Indian Population who have subsistence income and are looking for enhancing their income. I had been working in the field for last several years in private sector, joint sector and public sector organizations and promoting Social Entrepreneurship in the country.
Kindly brief us about Patanjali‘s Vision, mission and objectives as well as historical backdrop?
In Patanjali since last two years, I am in the helm of Promoting the Corporate philosophy to promote good health, process all food items for mass consumption, Hygiene and Cleanliness items like detergent, soaps and cosmetics, Ayurvedic medicines and many more. The idea is to add value for all indigenous items produced by the farming community and offering them the reasonable prices and ultimately supplying those to the consumers at an affordable price.
Patanjali was, as such, promoted as a Trust under the visionary leadership of Swami Ram Dev and Achrya Bal Kishan with clear mission and vision for building a strong self reliant nation with high moral and ethical values for its citizen.
How much Social Obligation and Responsibility is attached to your business and operations? Our readers are keen to know more about of it. Please explain.
The starting point for Patanjali is of social and moral obligations. The business is attached later to fulfill these objectives. It is through business only one can produce the goods and series which we are producing at different units of Patanjali Ayurved and in Divya Pharmacy. The items are categorized as Foods and Beverages, Ayurvedic Medicines, Detergent and Cosmetics and several other Health-Care items. We procure the raw material from large number of small and marginal farmers, hill tribes and from several low income strata of the Society. We engage several skilled, semi-skilled, un-skilled labor forces, ladies and provide them the livelihood directly. There are several village outlets in the form of Swadeshi Kendras, Retail Centers etc. which provide for self employment. Besides this we create awareness and develop entrepreneurs in our Food Park with micro, small, medium enterprises.
Sustainable Business model has positive impact on overall development of organization. Do you think of CSR and Socially Responsible Approach in business need to be integrated into the heart of business policy and strategy?
The business model, so to say, is most sustainable in our case as it provides opportunities for an inclusive growth, be it small and marginal farmers, landless labours whether skilled, semi-skilled or un-skilled, small retailers, consumers and in a way are the broad based stakeholders for the organization, as a whole. Hence it is the most sustainable model where the suppliers need us, processors with large numbers employed depend for their regular income, wide spread network mostly rural based get self employed and ultimately the consumers are most satisfied with good value for their money with products at lower cost.
You are in core management team of Patanjali , which is your focus area in near future on product development and creating rural livelihood and related projects initiated by you at Patanjali?
As a member in the Core Management Team, our focus is to use these facilities with full capacity, reach out to the interior villages, and create opportunities for realizing the potential talent, social and economical upliftment and give the citizen true meaning of the republican status of the Nation.
What are the other on going programmes, you would like to share with our readers?
There are several on going programmes, just to name a few; we have the Gramodyug Trust creating and supporting village industries, Bio- Research wing to promote indigenous and organic farming, Extraction of colours and active ingredients from Natural and Herbal products, Bio-fuels and carbon conserve, solar and other non conventional energy for clean and safe environment.
Are you engaging local NGOs/CSOs or Federations for supply chain management ?
There are several NGOs/CSOs working in tandem with us. Most of the aggregation of raw materials, promoting primary processing at Rural Centers and even distribution of end Products to the rural and inaccessible areas are done by the NGOs. More than anything, they are disseminating knowledge to the disadvantaged lots.
How do you rate Indian business vs. global business on social responsibility?
India has not corporatized the Social Responsibility, though the basic nature of Indian Psyche is renunciation and gives back to the society. The country has passed through a long period of deprivation, but I think it will revive with social and economic progress. It will not only catch up with the west, it will surpass in the near future.
What are your success mantras and recommendations to combat the challenges in the global market?
The global market is looking towards India. This is the time for serious introspection to look inward and create a local base and then look outwards. This is what Japanese/Koreans and even the Chinese have done. We remained outbound so long, but now is the time for every citizen and the corporate to respond to the call of the Nation, serve the millions of Countrymen with total dedication. Think Global act local.
In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues , should get attention of SE and CSR fraternity today?
The most pressing issues that the country is facing today are inflation, unemployment and the non-inclusive growth. On inflation, food is the major issue that can be met by making the small and marginal farming both viable and sustainable and therefore the corporate must join the government in building the rural infrastructures of roads, irrigation and processing centers to reduce wastages, facilitate price discoveries and create connectivity with supply chains. Unemployment and non-inclusive growth are mutually inclusive i.e. both can be handled together by involving the large population in value chain in all sectors of the economy. India is a socialistic, democratic country. Corporate can engage in capital formation through profit but they must involve the population at large and make balance between mechanization and labour engagements.
Are there any motivational stories making direct or indirect social impact through Patanjali’s interventions , which you would like to share with your young and budding entrepreneurs ?
Patanjali has several motivational stories to share, a few of those can be narrated here. Patanjali has created rural agri-based infrastructure with business models and engaged the budding entrepreneurs. In Uttarkashi , a group of young entrepreneurs are running the cow urine based Gau Arc and phenyl. Group of ladies are processing apple chutney and murabba at Kotdwar, marginal farmers are growing American Sweet corn, baby-corn, broccoli, yellow and red bell peppers, young unemployed are marketing consumer products through a large number of Swadesh Kendras and many more. The initiative of Mega Food Park with central processing, regional processing are not merely the food parks, but infact those are employment parks for inclusive growth in the country.