PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Empowering India by Reaching the Unreached

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Sanjay Aggarwal

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has been working as a catalyst for the promotion of Indian industry, trade and entrepreneurship for the past 115 years. It is a forward-looking, proactive and dynamic pan-India apex organisation. As a partner in progress with industry and government, PHD Chamber, with special focus on MSMEs, works at the grassroots level, with strong national and international linkages for propelling progress, harmony and integrated development of the Indian economy. It has evolved as an institution of national importance. With a rich heritage of pre and post-Independent India, the organisation has followed a path of nation-building with a foundation of sound and inclusive economic policies. 

We strongly believe in our social responsibility being an important part of our business philosophy. Through our member organisations, we extend active contributions to public good under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives through the PHD Rural Development Foundation (PHDRDF) and PHD Family Welfare Foundation (PHDFWF).

PHD Rural Development Foundation

PHDRDF is a Trust established in 1981 under the aegis of the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi, to work as a catalyst to enable the resource-poor to achieve self-reliance and improve quality of life through integrated socio-economic development. We have been actively working towards healthcare initiatives, integrated school and village development programme, water conservation, training and skill development and other need-based community development activities. 

During 2019-20, we have directly touched the lives of around 1.5 lakh people in different districts across eight States including Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand. We work with support from various corporates, PSUs and international bodies as a part of their CSR activities. Some of the donors we have worked for water conservation projects are The Coca Cola India, Rotary Foundation, Kajaria Ceramics, Hindustan Tin Works Limited, Charities Aid Foundation India, Hero Futures Energies, DCM Shriram Industries Ltd, Bry-Air (Asia) Pvt. Ltd., Hager Foundation, BSES, Donaldson, Dow AgroSciences India Pvt. Ltd. in corporate/ international bodies, and GAIL India Ltd., Steel Authority of India Limited, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited., THDC India Ltd., Bharat Heavy Electrics Limited in PSUs.

We have also been empanelled by the Government of India through Niti Aayog NGO – Darpan and for Shaala Sarthi by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development for Social Development Project. 

Through Jal Sanchayan, we aim to improve and restore the natural water resource base through the construction of water harvesting structures and restoring the natural water resource base. Water harvesting structures like check dams, gabion and rejuvenation of farm/village ponds are constructed to augment the natural flow of water into the underground reservoirs, thereby, improving the water resources of the area and aid water conservation

Water Conservation Projects 

Through Jal Sanchayan, we aim to improve and restore the natural water resource base through the construction of water harvesting structures and restoring the natural water resource base. Water harvesting structures like check dams, gabion and rejuvenation of farm/village ponds are constructed to augment the natural flow of water into the underground reservoirs, thereby, improving the water resources of the area and aid water conservation.

Activities:

Conservation of water through watershed technology and practices
Rainwater harvesting structures/community pond rejuvenation
Access to water and piped drinking water in rural areas

Till date, we have constructed more than 250 water harvesting structures across six States – Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. During the last financial year, we executed 24 water projects, including the construction of water harvesting structures.

Our Foundation has been consistently working towards conservation of rainwater, with support from its donors, and constructing water harvesting structures like check dam or gabion based on the need assessment conducted with the help of our in-house technical team. We also partner with academic institutes like JNU and IIT for support in hydro-geological data analysis. These structures have not only changed lives around but also have exponentially increased the groundwater level and have been successful in turning dry land into rich vegetative areas for agricultural purposes. The change in the socio-economic conditions of the people living in the areas is evident and proved to be a sustainable solution.

Health and Sanitation 

With the PHDRDF Arogya initiative, our Foundation aims to meet the Sustainable Development Goal of Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) by actively conducting and providing free health camps for low-income population in various geographical locations across the country to increase access to healthcare.

Key Activities:

Mobile medical van services
Generic and specialised health camps
Maternal & Child Health Care Centre
Adolescent health
Awareness generation on health, hygiene, WaSH
Establishment of toilets and water stations institution at the community level

A team of qualified doctors, ANM, lab technicians and project coordinators are present for each camp and are responsible for its success. Emphasis is given on generating awareness among the community on sanitation and hygiene, maternal and child health, water-borne diseases, communicable diseases and other geography-based medical problems. These health camps are generally for women and child, generic, ENT, ophthalmologist, school health camps. During 2019-20, we conducted a total of 411 health camps providing diagnostics and health services to more than 48,498 patients across 46 locations in four States with support from eight donors. Recently, due to the pandemic situation, we also partnered with PSUs to provide health camps through telemedicine in the difficult terrains of Uttarakhand and reach the unreached to provide health services in the best possible way. 

Skill Development – Saksham

Intending to improve not just skills but generating a source of income for the youths, Saksham also aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8) and indirectly addressing the other SDGs of No Poverty (SDG 1), Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10)

Skill development increases opportunities for people to find sustainable employment or become entrepreneurs. Saksham works towards providing income-generating opportunities to youth, women and young girls through financial and non-financial services through the following activities:

Enterprise development through SHG model for alternate livelihood (bee-keeping, sanitary napkin manufacturing, dairy, livestock, etc)
Training to youth in employable skills and capacity-building for financial literacy and market-linked courses (mobile training, electrician courses, etc)
Communication skills, soft skills and personality development
Vocational training to adolescent girls and women (stitching, beautician courses, etc)

All these programmes are in collaboration with various corporates from time to time to enable the underprivileged to be financially self-sufficient.

Intending to improve not just skills but generating a source of income for the youths, Saksham also aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8) and indirectly addressing the other SDGs of No Poverty (SDG 1), Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10).

Even during the lockdown, when the entire nation went on a no-work mode, the girls from our stitching centres went on to stitch 2 ply/3ply cloth masks and sold it at an affordable price, bringing them some good money and a good opportunity for livelihood. The girls strictly followed all precautionary measures while at work to prevent infection. 

School Development – Shiksha

Over the decades, we have been focusing on quality education and the overall development for a child to grow in a conducive environment. 

Upgrading infrastructural facilities also encourage students to participate actively in sports and allow them to grow in physical activities while also focusing on mental health. As part of the awareness generation activity, we held sessions on behaviour change activities on maintaining basic health and hygiene

Access to quality education plays a vital role in improving the socio-economic conditions of the rural communities and an important aspect to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of Quality Education (SDG 4). Shiksha aims to provide quality and equitable education to the less-privileged children through partnering with corporates and PSUs to upgrade the quality of education and infrastructure in government schools while focusing on the following:

Improving learning levels
School infrastructure development
Teachers training programme
Bridge schools/adult literacy
Construction of toilets in schools
Preventive healthcare camps for school children
Awareness generation and behavioural change

During 2019-20, Shiksha has benefitted around ten schools and more than 6500 school-going children. Over the years, we noticed that the number of children dropping out of school has reduced. There are many reasons that children drop out of school – poor sanitation, poor infrastructure and absence of education platforms like functional computer laboratory or STEM laboratories. Improving in these areas and providing access to quality education has not only seen a rise in students enrolling themselves and completing their education, but also improvement in their grades. Upgrading infrastructural facilities also encourage students to participate actively in sports and allow them to grow in physical activities while also focusing on mental health. As part of the awareness generation activity, we held sessions on behaviour change activities on maintaining basic health and hygiene. We also educate and make them understand the ecological balance and its importance through various eco rallies.

PHD Family Welfare Foundation During COVID-19

During this worldwide crisis caused by COVID-19, we have, through our member organisations, State Chapters and Secretariat, responded to the appeal of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, by coming forward with a significant contribution of Rs 528 Crores to the PM-CARES Fund set up for this purpose. 

We reached out with necessary assistance to deprived sectors and migrants staying in resettlement areas who were helpless and worried about their family and future due to the lockdown. We actively assist in many areas. Distribution of items is still done till date in collaboration with many donors

As we were progressing towards our goal of reaching the unreached, India and the entire world witnessed an emergency and came to standstill with the COVID-19 declared as a pandemic by WHO. During this critical time, our PHD Rural Development Foundation supported the frontline COVID-19 warriors and workers, with support from The Coca Cola India, and distributed more than seven lakh bottles of juices and energy drinks even during the lockdown period. The juices and energy drinks were distributed to frontline health workers in hospitals, police personnel, traffic police, fire service stations, orphanages, ashrams, old age homes, migrant labourers, factory workers, MCD workers, COVID-19 relief centres, sanitary workers, security guards, villagers, slum areas and other needy people. The juices were distributed individually by our team and volunteers and also handed over to District Administration offices for further distribution. The juices were distributed in different locations across 12 States including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana and Rajasthan.

As COVID-19 continues to spread unpredictably, it presented a growing risk to all stakeholders involved in any assistance, particularly during food distributions and other activities. 

We organised free mobile medical camps and free distribution of dry food packets, sanitary napkins and face masks, etc., for the needy residing in rural areas of Assam, Gurugram, Bhiwadi and the resettlement colonies of Delhi/NCR.

We reached out with necessary assistance to deprived sectors and migrants staying in resettlement areas who were helpless and worried about their family and future due to the lockdown. We actively assist in many areas. Distribution of items is still done till date in collaboration with many donors.

We started distributing dry food packets containing flour/rice, pulses, sugar, salt, tea leaves, etc., to our beneficiaries and the needy living in resettlement colonies of Sanjay colony of Okhla Phase-II, JJ Colony, Bakarwala, Chanchal Park, Bakarwala Road, Shahpurjat, Shriniwaspuri, Rangpuri Pahari, Vasant Kunj, Mandi Village, Sector 12, Rohini, Hauz Khas artists, Sangam Vihar Police Station, Noida and Lakhimpur District of Assam with support from the former President and members of PHDCCI, its GB members and other donors.

We organised multiple free health camps and also distributed medicines at the doorstep of needy people, migrants and needy people who were facing limitations of going out due to the total lockdown as well as in resettlement colonies of Delhi/NCR and free diagnostic care. Clinical services and medicines were also provided to the patients. 

Face shields, cotton masks, sanitary napkins were distributed to the women, needy beneficiaries and the patients with support from donors. We also distributed face shields and N-95 masks to frontline warriors like health faculties working in North Lakhimpur Civil Hospital, Assam and as well as police personnel in Delhi. Our mobile medical vans staff distributed masks to the needy and the patients who were not wearing one while coming for a check-up. These masks were donated by different donors.

Doctors on duty under the PHDFWF-SMPF & PHDFWF-Jaquar mobile medical van projects organised awareness talks where patients were taught to protect themselves from the virus.  

We restarted our regular health check camps from May 20, 2020, in the rural villages of Haryana and Bhiwadi with support by our donors.

We have been helping contribute to a larger audience and the society by focusing on the needs of the future generation and working on the overall development for the socio-economic growth of the country.

Sanjay Aggarwal is President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.