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SAIL communities: Living as a coherent whole
CB Bureau, New Delhi, March 10, 2011
A week ago, a fully equipped ambulance came on Delhi roads with the purpose of ferrying needy patients and carrying out other social welfare activities. The ambulance is funded by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) as part of its CSR programme.

Earlier, the company had provided similar mobile medical units or ambulances to NGOs such as Deepalaya, Anygraha, Drishtidaan and HelpAge India. It is one of the many social initiatives that SAIL engages in with the sole purpose of 'making a meaningful difference in people's lives', which apparently is the company's tagline.

'SAIL's spending on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities goes beyond the minimum requirement of two per cent of profits stipulated by the government,' CS Verma, chairman of Sail, had said in a statement last month, after receiving Shining Star CSR Award for exemplary contributions towards corporate social responsibility (CSR).

The health focus

Since inception, SAIL has pioneered the cause of providing health facilities to all sections of society. For people residing in remote villages of the country, SAIL has been organizing strategically-planned health camps in and around its plants and units. Villagers are sensitized on health issues, and people detected with major ailments are referred to the multi-speciality SAIL hospitals. The company bears the entire cost of the patients' and attendants' travel, stay and treatment.

According to the company's claim on its website, in 2009-10, more than 3,850 camps were organized, benefitting over 2.32 lakh people by providing free health check-up, path-lab treatment, medicines and immunization.

There are about 20 hospitals situated throughout the country having a total strength of around 4,500 beds for the benefit of employees, their dependants, and the peripheral or the underprivileged. These hospitals employ around 6,000 doctors, medical and paramedical staff.

In partnership with National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and ministry of health and family welfare, SAIL launched an AIDS awareness and control programme. Till date, about Rs 32 million have been spent for implementing the policies of National AIDS Control Programme-II (NACPII) in all its units.

On the agriculture front

In August 2009, at a village near Namkum in Jharkhand, SAIL in association with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and The Art of Living (AOL) Foundation distributed about 330,000 tomato seedlings among 115 farmers. The seedlings, of the Swarna Sampada variety developed at ICAR, have the potential of producing 500 tonnes of yield in the month of October. The revenue thus generated can help in extricating these poor farming households from the BPL mark.

SAIL also distributed 2,400 mango saplings among 350 households of Hahap village and asked villagers to pledge to nurture them as their own children.

In March 2010, a massive irrigation project for 65 acres of land was undertaken by SAIL's CSR wing at Hesapiri village, Namkum. About 100 farmers benefitted from the project.

The above initiatives are instances from the many programmes that SAIL CSR engages in on a regular basis in all the regions where it has its units.

Peripheral development
Several socio-economic surveys reveal considerable benefits emanating from SAIL's efforts that reach the interiors up to a radius of 8-15 kilometres of its area of operations.

Programmes are undertaken by each plant in close co-ordination with the respective state government, district administration as well as panchayats, social organizations and people's representatives of the area. In the last five years, the major plants have spent nearly Rs 10 million each from their allocated budget to carry out various peripheral development programmes every year.

Education

Over the years, SAIL has opened about 200 schools that employ more than 6,000 teachers in the steel townships. Over 100,000 children across the country go to these schools every day. These schools provide free education, boarding and lodging facilities to underprivileged children.

Last year, Bhilai Steel Plant adopted 36 tribal children of Chhattisgarh region and admitted them to one of its schools.

Sports and cultural activities

SAIL has established academies for handball, hockey and football at Bhilai, Rourkela and Bokaro, respectively. The handball and hockey academies are joint ventures with Sports Authority of India (SAI).

These academies have produced Commonwealth, SAF and National Games champions. SAIL also provides sports scholarships to encourage employees and children of employees to participate and win in sports.

During natural calamities
SAIL under its CSR programmes has the provision of providing relief to people affected by natural calamities. Its employees, too, support such causes through financial or relief material assistance, or through providing medical supplies as also construction of houses, schools and dispensaries.

SAIL was a major contributor of relief material to the earthquake-affected in Jabalpur on May 21, 1997, and Bhuj on January 26, 2001. During cyclone floods in the eastern coast of Orissa in October 1999 and October 2001, relief material worth over one crore rupees was channelized through SAIL.

Among numerous awards that the company has won for its CSR initiatives, the recent ones include Wockhardt Shining Star CSR Award, FICCI Award for Rural and Community Development Initiatives, and Businessworld-FICCI-SEDF CSR Award.


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