Capgemini, the French multinational IT giant made the latest contribution of Rs 50 crore towards fighting the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic for augmenting efforts of India’s central and state governments in times of crisis.
Kumar Anurag Pratap, the company’s CSR Leader, shares his thoughts on enabling a proactive approach, through innovation and program designing, to make the company’s CSR initiatives relevant in these unprecedented times. Excerpts:
What does Capgemini’s CSR envision?
We are a responsible and sustainable company using our expertise to create a positive impact in society. As Architects of Positive Futures, we are committed to our three fundamental pillars: Diversity and Inclusion, Digital Inclusion, and Environmental Sustainability.
Capgemini CSR interventions affect over 2 million people pan-India, and implemented through holistic partnerships of aligned values. Over the years, we have collaborated with multiple partners, NGOs, and government bodies to create maximum impact. Capgemini has already positioned itself as a thought leader with an array of impactful interventions and programmes. We intend to create change and inspire everyone around us to be a change maker.
What are your CSR focus areas?
We operate our CSR objectives as Architects of Positive Futures. We aim to bring positive change by collaborating with partners and clients and focusing on diversity and equity. Our programs/policies include a refreshed equal opportunity policy, Capgemini La Lumiere – pre-school initiative, and emphasis on the emotional and mental wellbeing of all employees.
Our objective is to reduce the digital divide in the country by introducing the internet and technology to underprivileged sections and create a socio-economic impact on a wider scale. This includes programs on providing basic education to underprivileged girl children, technology solutions to farmers, digital academies for the youth, mentorship programs by Capgemini leaders to train underprivileged youngsters in professional skills, training and job opportunities to women from tier 3 and 4 cities, and so on.
We have received wide recognition for our efforts. Recently, we won the Golden Peacock Award For Corporate Social Responsibility National level in the Consultancy sector. Besides, the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) adjudged Capgemini as Winner in the Education category (Mega Enterprise category) for our project 21st-century education for government school kids.
On sustainability, we are committed to being carbon neutral by 2025 and net-zero by 2030. Our Bangalore campus is India’s first corporate campus to have Net Zero Energy Platinum certification. Through our ‘Net Metering’ initiative, Capgemini Bengaluru EPIP and Hyderabad Gachibowli campuses export excess solar power generated to respective State electricity boards daily.
As part of our emergency response strategy during natural disasters or other calamities, our priority is to save people’s lives and help in their recovery by joining hands with the government, community, and civil society.
How are you addressing the issue of the digital divide?
In my opinion, Digital inclusion is fundamental for the future. By “Going Digital,” we want to make education and the internet a means to empower people. We want to bridge the gap in not only learning but in access to digital devices, with a special focus on LGBTQ communities, nomadic tribes, migrant workers, People with Disabilities (PwD), families engaged in manual scavenging and waste picking, commercial sex workers, senior citizens, etc.
Through Digital citizenship, we offer early tech exposure for underprivileged youth to keep pace with technological disruption and make them skill-ready for new careers. This might be as basic as using e-commerce websites or WhatsApp. This initiative includes homemakers and senior citizens who form a major chunk of the population but are deprived of formal education. We also provide basic education to people on cybersecurity and phishing to safeguarding themselves on tech platforms.
With Tech4Positive Futures (T4PF), we bring together technology, business, and society to create a better world. Our solutions include an app for tracking missing kids, an intelligent data platform via mobiles for on-time recommendations on better farm practices and optimize crop products, Counselling Support via toll-free helpline services, an online destination for environment education in child-friendly and engaging content, and devising an app to Reduce Maternal Mortality.
Please tell us about your Digital Academies.
As I mentioned earlier, our digital academies enable the youth with future-ready digital skills to enhance employability prospects. From 2018 to 2020, we have trained over 8000 youth, with a placement rate of nearly 86%. The areas of training include Computer Operation & Digital Education (DCODE), Web Developer, CRM – Voice & Non-Voice, Data Entry, Software Testing, Data Analytics, Test Engineer (Software Testing), Software Development, Data Science, Core Java, Transaction Processing Executive, Spatial Reasoning, CCNA Routing and Switching, Java Full Stack Developer, Digital Marketing, etc.
We have around 26 centres, with 7 exclusively for PwD.
We have recruited many youths from these academies into our organization. For example, a student called Nishanti had joined Capgemini’s Digital Academy and now works with Capgemini. Hailing from a farmer’s family, she is the first graduate in her family. There are other youths who are well-placed in the corporate world today.
Capgemini has developed some tech solutions for real-life problems. Please tell us more about them.
Through Capgemini’s Tech4Positive Futures programs, we look to unleash our energies to turn technology and innovation into a driving force of social and sustainable development. This includes creating solutions through pro-bono support, including a one-stop solution for information and services for PwD, App-Based Audiometry Test, usage of advanced data analytics to surface intelligence and leads on identifying missing person information.
We also collaborate with academic institutions in innovation — building Robotic Vehicle for Sewer Line cleaning with IIT Madras, accelerated development of COVID19 antigen and antibody with Indian Institute of Science, etc. The CapSarathi mobile app, developed in collaboration with Sarthak Educational Trust, is a one-stop solution for PwD, and helps in empowering them digitally, economically, and socially. With high scope in rural areas, it fulfils accessibility requirements across 21 disability categories and available in six languages – Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali. It will be available in more Indian languages in the next phases.
We also encourage start-ups by offering marketing expertise, technical assistance, financial guidance, and mentoring.
How are you ensuring smooth operations of CSR programmes during the pandemic?
We used COVID as an opportunity to create something that can positively impact vulnerable and marginalized people.
Beyond running digital programs for the underprivileged during COVID, we enabled schoolchildren from government schools to access digital coaching and introduced teaching via the Teacher’s program through YouTube. We started learning centres with computers in slum areas to help kids continue their learning. These centres operate on a slot basis as they limited capacity.
To evaluate overall progress with partners, we built a great working model for virtual meetings, created SOPs for financial audits, and restructured the entire program to address our needs. Our virtual events were very impactful. With no location barrier, people from across the world participated and engaged with us and made all our CSR initiatives a great success.