NEW DELHI: PNB Housing Finance policies on CSR are oriented towards stakeholder-participation approach, where the target groups are seen as stakeholders in the community. Whose well-being is integral to the long-term success of the company and not merely a charity-oriented approach. Anshul Bhargava, Chief People Officer of PNB Housing Finance Limited shared his views with Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR Network on how his company is serving the society. Excerpts of an interview:
Tell us about your Saksham Philosophy.
Saksham stands for capable or skilled, PNB Housing through its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives aims to be a catalyst that enables the marginalized community to become capable and self-reliant, and to act as an enabler.
At PNB Housing Finance Corporate Social Responsibility is a way of life. We have embodied the principles of corporate responsibility in our business philosophy and operations. In our journey so far, we have built a sustainable business model and created value for our stake holders. We are confident that we will be able to improve the lives of under privileged and reinforce our humble collective efforts towards nation building.
What are some of your social initiatives close to the organization?
Our CSR initiative anchor on the values of the company, to make a real difference to the chosen social cause. Our programmes attempts to move the needle on the social problem, and at the same time make an intangible contribution to the Company’s culture.
We have identified construction workers are their immediate family members as our key stakeholder for the CSR intervention. We have started two interventions in this regard-skilling of construction workers and setting up day care centres for their children at construction sites. Besides this we are also investing supporting formal education for the underprivileged, improving access to health care and environment conservation.
What is the strategy around the skill based training for construction workers?
Of the 4.4 crores employed in the sector, 98% of workforce is under ‘informal’ arrangements. Because of poor schooling and virtually no investment in their technical skills, vast numbers of migrants enter the labour market as unskilled workers. Poor skills result in unsteady work, low wages, and early exit from employment and wastages on construction sites. There is also poor access to information on new opportunities and linkages for diversification.
In partnership with CREDAI CSR Foundation we have initiated skill development programme through our two models, on-site training and off-site training. Skill enhancement, in trades like Masonry, Bar Bending, Electrical, Painting and Shuttering, are being provided with an aim to not only enhance their professional capabilities but also bring about stability and sustainability in the workers life.
On-site training model: is a is a mix of ‘Classroom’ and on- the- job training’ conducted at the construction sites itself for a period of about 4 weeks. These trainings are based on National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Qualification Packs (QP) of NSDC aligned for industry specific job roles.
Off-site centres: the primary objective of our off-site centres is to skill the unemployed youth and then to tie up with either construction companies or labour contractors to deploy such workers at CREDAI’s members construction sites.
Tell us about your partners for this initiative?
We have partnered with CREDAI CSR Foundation (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India) with an aim to train 8000 construction workers pan India. The initiative is in line with Government’s Skill India Mission program, a vision to make India the World’s Skill Capital. With this partnership we believe that we will be able to enable the construction workers to enhance their skills and earn better wages in times to come & upgrade their lives & families.
What kind of job scope these people have on completion of the training program?
One of the most significant output indicator in on-site training model is the number of workers who are certified post the completion of the training project. So far 4186 workers have been certified by Construction Skilling Council of India or Plumbing Council of India. This certification further act as an enabler for the workers to seek jobs with better wages.
Whereas for off-site trainings one of the most significant impact indicator in off-site training model is the number of workers who get placement opportunity post trainings. Post assessments placement drives are carried out at the skilling centres and students get placed with a minimum starting salary of Rs. 9000. Besides ensuring employment this also helps in eliminating the petty contractor from the system and curbs the exploitation of the construction workers. So far on an average 70-75% placements have been done per batch.
What do you aim to achieve with this initiative?
Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development of any Industry. They have become even more important given the increasing pace of globalization and technological changes that are taking place. With the skill up gradation we aim for an inclusion growth of the construction workers. We are not only focussed on providing technical up gradation to the construction workers, it is also an attempt to improve the socio- economic condition of the community at large. Additionally, we are also looking at improving social and behavioural aspects, mainly health and sanitation of the workers and their family.
How has been the impact and reach of this initiative across India?
The CSR objective of the company, which aims at working towards the socio-economic up-liftment of the construction workers and their immediate families. In our journey so far we have trained a total of 12,955 construction worker. With an average pass percentage per-batch 72%.
We have established off-site centres in difficult locations like Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra and Bangoan and Malda, West Bengal to create employment for unemployed tribal youth. So far 946 unemployed/semi-skilled youth have been placed with registered labour contractor post completion of the training from our off-site centres.
Are you associated with any other social initiatives? Please elaborate.
Though majority of our intervention focus on the welfare of construction workers and their families. Besides the skilling of construction workers we have also established 32 day care centres in 10 cities Pan India for the children of construction workers. Through these centres we aims to prevent malnutrition, ensure early learning and pave the way for school enrolment, thereby increasing the likelihood for a life of dignity. Through this intervention we have been able to support 3000 children living at the construction sites.
We have also adopted two schools through under our CSR programme, through this intervention we are ensuring formal education to 400 children. We have also improved access to health facilities in government hospitals by donation equipment’s to ensure more patients can be treated. We are have also started working for environment conservation. We have adopted a green belt in Haryana and we have refurbished the existing infrastructure and we are committed to maintain the same.
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