Hindustan Zinc takes the lead
Responsible corporates, who have established their businesses in rural areas, engage with local community to understand their needs and requirements. Assessment studies are carried out in association with villagers and Sarpanchs and accordingly community service plans are drawn. Few corporates want to connect through specific programs and few go by the company policies and visions.
But there are few, who adopt a 360 degree approach while connecting with the local community. Hindustan Zinc, a Vedanta group company in Zinc, Lead, Silver and Green Power business is one amongst the few such corporates, and in fact has taken a decisive lead from others.
Hindustan Zinc, driven through the vision of Vedanta's group Chairman, Mr. Anil Agarwal, in about a decade of sustainable interventions, has been able to connect and build a 360 degree community development programs.
The intervention begins with the child which is about 0-6 years through engagement in Vedanta Child Care Centres. These Centres are located in every village that is connected with the business locations. These Vedanta Child Care Centres have been developed in such a way that besides nutritious food, children are also given books, toys, and taught through play-way method. There are designated supervisors who have been kept to ensure smooth running of these centres. Regular medical check-up of these children, immunization, and a record is kept towards their height, weight and other growth. Hindustan Zinc in Rajasthan has such 1500 child care centres and 18 Vedanta "Khushi" centres.
Once the child attains the age of 6 and is ready to take up formal education, he/she is enrolled in formal government schools. The government has provision for providing free books and other education material to these children. Here in formal schools, children are provided daily hot mid-day meal by the company. Thus company's intervention takes care of the health of these children. Besides, recently Hindustan Zinc has decided to completely renovate about 112 schools falling in the villages which are near the business locations, for their total repairs of structure, change of table and chairs, and providing other teaching aids and materials.
Once these children complete their formal education and want to learn vocational traits, Hindustan Zinc has made provision for providing free training to the youth under its youth training program in association with credible NGOs. There has been a large participation of girls and boys in these training programs and they are also placed accordingly. Currently, 500 youths are being trained in different vocations.
Important parts of the family are the adults – the father, mother or elderly people. To engage females of the house, Hindustan Zinc has developed the self-help-groups program, which encourages 10-15 women of similar minds to form a group and the company provides them training in the areas they can be successful. Though most of the women prefer training in sewing and stitching, some also prefer to adopt other different trainings where they develop house-hold products. The company’s engagement starts from the level of reaching out to individual houses and convincing them for adopting self-help-groups. Once the SHG is formed and the training is completed, these women are linked with markets and banks for the needful selling of products and acquiring loans from the banks, respectively. This initiative has significantly improved the economic condition of their houses and also brought them awareness about sanitation, education, self-dignity, water & electricity conservation, etc. Hindustan Zinc is running about 500 such self-help-groups reaching out to over 6000 rural women.
Parellelly, the male members who are engaged in agriculture are provided training in multi-cropping, seed selection, water harvesting, collective farming, cattle protection and their immunization and different methods towards increasing the agriculture production. These farmers are also linked with markets and banks for facilitating better returns and arrangements of loans, respectively.
Besides, taking forward the above 360 degree approach, where the company engages with the youngest and the eldest member of a village family, due care is also taken towards upliftment of infrastructure in the villages.
Few areas that company has prominently worked include providing drinking water through installation of RO Plants and constructing water tanks, building community halls and libraries for the students, construction of connecting roads and small bridges, construction of schools, sports stadiums, tree plantation, to name a few.
Currently, Hindustan Zinc is engaged in construction of 30,000 house-hold toilets in villages for the BPL families in Rajasthan, in the districts of Chittorgarh, Udaipur and Bhilwara.
The company also provides employment opportunities to the youths, particularly the unskilled. As per the Hindustan Zinc engagement policy with villagers, there is a provision of 100% hiring from nearby villages for the requirement of unskilled labour.
As most of the mines and smelters are located in village areas, away from the city, it becomes important to develop the community residing nearby in such 360 degree approach. At the end of the day, the entire family should benefit and the socio-economic condition of these families should improve with advent of the industries.
Hindustan Zinc has been engaging with about 500,000 people residing in about 200 villages in Rajasthan.
The vision is only one, as the company grows, the community residing nearby should also improve their socio-economic condition and sustainable livelihood.