NMDC Limited – Committed to Provide a Better Life to the Underserved

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NMDC has been at the forefront of CSR and has been one of the biggest CSR spenders among CPSEs. Being a responsible Corporate Citizen, it has been a pioneer in addressing its responsibility towards society. NMDC believes that the well being of society at large is a pre-requisite for the progress of business and prosperity of the organisation. 

While pursuing its business vision of expansion in ongoing activities in India and abroad, as also by diversifying into new areas of mineral exploration, NMDC seeks to add value to its CSR effort by aiming for the eradication of illiteracy, poverty alleviation, infrastructure development in the surrounding areas of its Projects. The beneficiaries are mostly the tribal communities in the proximity of NMDC’s mines, which are in remote areas and who cannot afford education or high-end medical services. NMDC pledges to stay by the people and provide them with the best facilities that will lead to a better life. Sumit Deb, Director (Personnel), NMDC Limited, shares with CSR Mandate the various CSR programmes undertaken by the Company in and around their Project locations.

We are very mindful that our funds be spent in the most impactful and thoughtful manner, which would not only serve the community but also create a sense of pride amongst us as a team

Could you brief us about NMDC CSR?

We operate mines in different parts of the country in the remotest areas like Bastar in Chhatisgarh. Mining production impacts the indigenous population of these areas, and depending on the area their needs are different. We, at NMDC, think of CSR as a strategic tool to change the lives of those directly impacted for the better. With our CSR projects, we support causes and communities that are otherwise underserved.

We are very mindful that our funds be spent in the most impactful and thoughtful manner, which would not only serve the community but also create a sense of pride amongst us as a team. We have a unique and widely-acclaimed consultative mechanism spanning nearly the whole spectrum of stakeholders right from the village/community level to the district level and extending right up to the State Government level coordination.

What are the focus areas for NMDC in CSR?

We have framed a comprehensive CSR policy for addressing its objectives, focus areas, organisational mechanism, guidelines for identifying the CSR activities along with the implementation and monitoring strategies. We invest substantially in developing social infrastructure such as educational institutes, sanitation, healthcare, drinking water, infrastructure development and employable skill development, integrated village development, etc., primarily in the peripheral areas of our operations.

Our Focus Areas:

  • Education: Prayas – A Pursuit to Education
  • Health: Niramaya – Towards a Healthy Life
  • Infrastructure: Prakalp – Creating Infrastructure
  • Drinking Water: Payjal – Providing Safe Drinking Water
  • Skill Development: Kaushal – Skilling People

Could you elaborate on Prayas and the programmes being taken up in this initiative?

‘Prayas – A Pursuit to Education’ is a literacy and education-based initiative that is nearly two decades old. We are happy to say that from a modest beginning the initiative has now acquired the shape of a game-changer for the local communities. The initiative was launched due to the situation where a significant percentage of children residing in communities around our Projects were not even having access to the primary level of education due to lack of quality educational infrastructure in the region. We also noticed a high dropout rate among school-going children and a lack of access to technical/professional education due to economic and various other social factors. The prevalence of this difficult situation was more marked among the female student population who had very few facilities to pursue higher education.

To help these children realise their dream, we launched this programme with these different initiatives: Shiksha Sahayog Yojana, Balika Shiksha Yojana, Polytechnic College at Dantewada, ITIs at Dantewada and Nagarnar, Astha Gurukul – a residential school for SC, ST and orphans, etc., 300 single-teacher schools, Saksham – a school for differently-abled children at Dantewada, Choo Lo Aasman Scheme – Provision of tutorial support along with regular schooling from Class IX to XII for tribal students aspiring to appear in professional competitive exams like IIT/ PET/PMT, etc., and Ujjar – a programme to help 100 bright students to pursue higher education. We provide financial assistance of up to Rs 75,000/- per student, per year, for four years, and Lakshya – where we provide coaching to unemployed youth to appear for job-oriented competitive exams.

The genesis of our Niramaya Programme lies in the fact that it is a unique programme providing a mix of preventive as well as curative healthcare, and includes a component of creating awareness among the local communities and mobilising them on issues related to personal hygiene, safe sanitation and cleanliness

What are the programmes under healthcare? 

The situation which prevailed in the villages around our Projects was marked by the near absence of health infrastructure including basic medical facilities for the local communities, which included an overwhelming majority of tribals. The situation was compounded even more due to the remote nature of the project locations along with left-wing extremist activities which resulted in the near absence of any medical facility for the local population. In light of the prevailing situation, under our CSR programme, we took up some initiatives for providing medicare facilities to the local communities under the aegis of ‘Niramaya – Towards Healthy Life’. Such initiatives have developed into a full-fledged programme which aims at providing medicare and health facilities.

The genesis of our Niramaya Programme lies in the fact that it is a unique programme providing a mix of preventive as well as curative healthcare, and includes a component of creating awareness among the local communities and mobilising them on issues related to personal hygiene, safe sanitation and cleanliness. We also provide free treatment to local tribals at our NMDC Project Hospitals in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. The flow at our Project Hospitals is in the range of 1,00,000 out-patients per annum and 10,000 in-patients per annum. Some major projects which fall under Niramaya are free medical treatment at Project hospitals, Hospital on Wheels – providing medicare facilities in remote villages through mobile medical vans, organising regular medical camps for local tribal population and contribution to Maa Danteshwari Sanjeevni Kosh for referring poor patients to higher centres of medical care.

Could you brief us about the infrastructure CSR programme – Prakalp?

We believe in growth for all. We always lay a strong emphasis on creating infrastructure in and around the Project locations since our inception. This was also necessary due to the extremely remote nature of our NMDC Project locations. Over these years, the thrust on creating sound infrastructure has continued and we are facilitating mainstreaming of the local communities and the entire region. We have been undertaking infrastructure activities in partnership with local State authorities. These initiatives extend from creating roads to creating school buildings, health infrastructure to community centres. Our initiative ‘Prakalp – Creating Infrastructure’ programme provides basic amenities like drinking water facility, water tankers, street lighting, CC roads, drains, construction of haat or bazaars for the local population. Other than these, we also use Prakalp for development of agriculture, milk dairies and poultry farming. This helps to promote agriculture and animal husbandry among the local people and the adjoining communities for livelihood enhancement. We also help in the construction of roads, high-level bridges, bypass roads, ashrams, hostels, health infrastructure and community halls under the Prakalp scheme. Similar initiatives have been undertaken in project locations in all the States that we operate.

Some important infrastructural initiatives under Prakalp include the construction of a 100-seater ashram at Jagdalpur, construction of hostels in 10 schools in Bastar District, Chhattisgarh, construction of 14 hostels in Narayanpur District, Chhattisgarh, construction of Boys and Girls Hostel in Sukma District, construction of 10 community Bhawans in 10 villages of Sukma District, construction of Gaurav Path, a 4-lane road at Bacheli and Kirandul in Dantewada Dist. Chhattisgarh, various development works like roads, bridges, culverts, drains, repair and maintenance of buildings, etc., undertaken in Gram Panchayats of Kuakonda, Katekalyan, Geedam & Dantewada blocks of Dantewada District, Chhattisgarh, Construction of CC Road in Navaletti, Dist. Bellary Karnataka, construction of NH-63 to Kodroji, Bijapur District, fencing works in 100-hectare land in Kondagaon District, construction of an auditorium in Bellary Dist., Karnataka, and promotion of solar energy by installing solar pumps, solar electrification works, solar equipment distribution in various gram panchayats in Dantewada and Geedam blocks.

We believe in growth for all. We always lay a strong emphasis on creating infrastructure in and around the Project locations since our inception. This was also necessary due to the extremely remote nature of our NMDC Project locations

Tell us about the Kaushal programme? Which are the skills development activities involved in this?

‘Kaushal – Skilling People’ is aimed at the emancipation of the backward communities residing around NMDC Project sites. Skill Development initiatives have been undertaken to provide opportunities for local tribal youth and women to gain meaningful employment and for livelihood generation through skill development.

Some of the projects undertaken under Kaushal are skill development training for tribal women to help them gain experience and help them in trades like vegetable cultivation, tailoring, sisal training, etc., providing training for youth in Dantewada, Bellary, Bastar on mining and steel sector-related skills, enhancing technical training for students in areas situated around the projects, and improving competitive capabilities and employability by imparting general and technical skills.

What other social development programmes does NMDC focus on? 

One other project that is close to our heart is our quest to provide clean drinking water to the people living in the vicinity of our Projects. We have undertaken measures to provide clean drinking water to the communities. Under Nal Jal Yojana scheme, we have been able to successfully cover all the surrounding villages of its upcoming steel plant at Nagarnar. We have partnered with State Governments for the Group Water Supply Scheme to provide clean drinking water and safe drinking water through pipelines.

Some of the projects undertaken by us are:

  • We have installed about 350 hand pumps/ bore wells and dug around 40 open wells/ in Dantewada Dist, Chattisgarh
  • Hand pumps have been installed in villages around Donimalai Project in Bellary Dist. of Karnataka
  • An initiative has been taken for providing clean drinking water through installation of storage tanks and laying of a pipeline for distribution of water to nearby communities
  • Installation of 39 water purification plant buildings in Bellary Dist., Karnataka
  • Providing clean drinking water to surrounding villages around DMP, Panna Dist., Madhya Pradesh

We follow a multi-pronged implementation strategy with regards to CSR initiatives. We always look for partners who can help us with the grass-root level implementation of the projects, and this is where NGOs play their part. A huge segment of our CSR initiatives are being implemented through NGOs and also through the Anganwadi staff of the government

Please share with us the highlights of NMDC support towards Government initiatives?

We believe that there is a great need to supplement government efforts in every area of human development to facilitate faster progress of the country. We are committed to the Swachh Bharat Initiative. We have taken up various activities in and around the project areas. Under the Swachh Vidyalaya initiative, 2089 toilets blocks have been constructed across schools in six districts of Bastar Division in Chhattisgarh and Panna District of Madhya Pradesh along with the construction of 70 additional toilet complexes in Sukma District of Chhattisgarh. It is the resolve of our organisation to support the Government in every possible way to accelerate the nation-building initiatives. Continuing with the initiative of providing access to safe sanitation and promoting hygienic practices amongst the rural population, we have partnered with the Govt. of Chhattisgarh under the Nirmal Gram Yojana for providing toilets to village households of the Bastar region. As a result, more than 20,000 toilet units were constructed under the project across 107 villages of the Bastar region during the year 2007-08.

The initiatives taken by us for the overall development of the areas, which include providing best-in-class educational and health facilities around our operations over all these years, have not only improved the socio-economic profile of the region but have also contributed towards mainstreaming of the local communities who have historically been marginalised

Does NMDC work with partners? 

We follow a multi-pronged implementation strategy with regards to CSR initiatives. We always look for partners who can help us with the grass-root level implementation of the projects, and this is where NGOs play their part. A huge segment of our CSR initiatives are being implemented through NGOs and also through the Anganwadi staff of the government. Some of the flagship CSR initiatives are being implemented by us directly like novel schemes such as Shiksha Sahayog Yojana. The majority of the initiatives are implemented in partnership with service providers, State authorities, and in some cases, all the three partners put together.

How do you measure feedback?

The initiatives taken by us for the overall development of the areas, which include providing best-in-class educational and health facilities around our operations over all these years, have not only improved the socio-economic profile of the region but have also contributed towards mainstreaming of the local communities who have historically been marginalised. This mainstreaming gets reflected in various aspects of daily life viz. better transportation facilities and connectivity to the outside world, enhanced aspirations especially of the younger generation to dream and achieve big by exploring opportunities for studying and working. The efforts put in by us in the development of the regions around our various projects are moving in the right direction. We have also commissioned impact assessment and social audit studies to measure the impact and assess the feedback from the stakeholders.

How is NMDC battling COVID-19? What are the measures taken for the same?

Being a responsible corporate entity, we have engaged and taken up the following measures to prevent and battle COVID-19:

  • We have given Rs 1000/- each to all contractual, daily salaried workers and trainees including their regular employees to meet expenses for preventing COVID-19. We have donated Rs 155 Crores to PM-CARES Fund. Following the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s call, our employees contributed a day’s salary (totalling Rs 1.25 Crores) to the PM-CARES Fund.
  • We contributed Rs 60 Lakhs to fight against COVID-19 in the district of Ballari, Karnataka. This amount has been spent on procuring beds and oxygen line to COVID-19 designated District Hospitals. We are committed to helping our society to evolve through this pandemic with more strength and courage.
  • We have contributed Rs 50 Lakhs to the Hyderabad Police Commissioner, Hyderabad City, to enable police authorities to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other allied material for prevention and containment duties relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
  • We are engaging tribal women of Naxal-hit Dantewada in the production of masks and sanitisers. We have distributed more than one lakh masks and hand sanitisers made by tribal women groups of Dantewada to our personnel, COVID Warriors and those in need to prevent the coronavirus infection.
  • We have the technology to close gaps for patient care at our Project hospitals in the remote areas of South Bastar, Chhattisgarh, through video conferencing. We are also organising free health check-up camps at all our NMDC townships in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • A WhatsApp group of senior doctors, Head of Projects and Head of Personnel has been made with Director (Pers) interacting with them regularly for resolving any issues that may crop up.
  • Milk is one of the essential items during the lockdown period. We ensured uninterrupted supply in our Project townships and nearby areas through a tie-up with local villagers under the Bailadila Kamdhenu CSR scheme.
  • We are distributing food grains to helpless and needy villagers under the Anna Danam initiative of GoI in the Bailadila Iron Ore Mines, Steel Plant at Nagarnar (Chhattisgarh), Donimalai Iron Ore Mines and Plant (Karnataka) and Diamond Mining Project (Panna in Madhya Pradesh). More than 50,000 relief packages consisting of food grains and other necessary items were distributed to needy families.
  • We have taken up sanitation drives in residential areas, public buildings, market places, hospitals, RO Plants, etc., at NMDC townships in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Highlighting the concern, our Project teams are also working towards raising awareness among the local villagers. We have also started the most modern mist-fogging decontamination drive in the townships and surrounding villages of our Project locations regularly.