The Company spent a total of `Rs 118.56 lakhs towards Blue Star’s CSR initiatives during the year, which comprised vocational training in the area of air conditioning and refrigeration (AC&R), pursuant to the Government’s ‘Skill India’ mission; community development activities around its manufacturing facilities; building toilets in Zila Parishad (ZP) Schools as part of the Government’s ‘Swachh Bharat Initiative’; and contribution to disaster relief activities.
- Vocational training initiatives by the Company executed through meaningful partnerships in industry-specific programmes with NGOs, industry bodies and other like-minded corporate bodies across India have helped in skilling school drop-outs in the vocation of AC&R. These vocational training initiatives are also being extended to MEP services.
- The Dadra factory hired apprentices under National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP) - a Public Private Partnership of TeamLease Skills University; CII; All India Council for Technical Education; and National Skills Development Corporation under the HRD Ministry. This initiative lends the much needed thrust for on-the-job training and boosts job creation by aligning skills of the workforce to industry's needs.
Sanitation in Schools
- Toilets were built for deserving Zilla Parishad schools, grappling with insufficient sanitation facilities, around Blue Star’s factories at Wada and Dadra, providing for this basic need to over 900 students.
- Blue Star is also responsible for the maintenance of these toilets since upkeep of toilets is a matter of concern in India.
- The Company also organises sensitisation sessions on sanitation and hygiene practices for the students, parents and teachers through NGOs. Infrastructure facilities of Government schools around Blue Star factories at Dadra and Himachal have also been improved, as part of a public-private partnership model.
- In addition, air conditioners and water coolers have been donated to not-for-profit organisations such as the Zilla Parishad School at Himachal, St Joseph’s College in Tamil Nadu, Bombay Leprosy Project in Mumbai, Akshar Trust at Vadodara, Apollo’s Community Health Project at Chittoor and several others.
- Blue Star made a contribution to CII Foundation during the year towards relief efforts and rehabilitation measures during the Tamil Nadu rain and floods disaster.
- Also, Blue Star also made donations to Blue Star Foundation, India Cares Foundation as well as Multiple Sclerosis Society of India.
- The Company actively participates in the Affirmative Action Agenda of CII and contributed for Development of Dalit Entrepreneurs by promoting supplier diversity, imparting management techniques and mentoring.
Blue Star was required to spend a sum of `Rs 167.64 lakhs by March 31, 2017 towards activities, as stipulated under Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013. The Company has spent a total of `Rs 172.55 lakhs towards its CSR initiatives during the year, which includes vocational training in the area of Air Conditioning & Refrigeration (AC&R) and MEP, pursuant to the Government’s ‘Skill India’ mission; installation of water purification systems and building of toilets in Zilla Parishad schools as part of the Government’s ‘Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya’ initiative; support for other health and education causes as well as CSR staffing expenses.
- As an important stakeholder for holistic vocational training initiatives in AC&R and MEP fields for school drop-outs, Blue Star has pursued vocational training initiatives through meaningful partnerships in industry-specific programmes with NGOs, industry bodies and other like-minded corporate bodies across the country. Indo-German Institute of Advanced Technology, Visakhapatnam; Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, Chennai; Gyan Prakash Foundation, Pune; and Himalayan Group of Professional Institutions in Kala Amb, Himachal Pradesh and Karnal, Haryana are some of the partners for these projects.
- Blue Star’s training personnel contribute to the set-up of customised classrooms and practical labs, curriculum development, training of trainers, monitoring the quality of sessions and imparting lectures on a regular basis at these centres. The Company constantly encourages its employees to dedicate their time and energy on a pro bono basis to impart employable skills at these centres, drawing from their extensive work experience. This initiative contributes to build a fresh young talent pool for the building engineering industry.
- The Dadra, Wada and Ahmedabad factories as well as the R&D facility at Thane hired apprentices under National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP) – a Public Private Partnership of TeamLease Skills University; CII; All India Council for Technical Education; and National Skills Development Corporation under the HRD Ministry. This initiative lends the much needed thrust for on-the-job training, and boosts job creation by aligning skills of the workforce to the industry’s needs.
- Around 60 apprentices under NETAP were trained for showrooms/sales outlets. Many of them are women belonging to lesser privileged backgrounds who get an opportunity to become earning members of their families. The on-the-job training module provides them with an excellent exposure to the modern format trade and retail landscape, and to imbibe related skill sets.
Water Purification and Sanitation in Schools
- Blue Star installed water purification systems in Government schools around its manufacturing facilities at Dadra and Wada as well as at Jawahar situated at a distance of 60 km from Wada. This project has resulted in safe drinking water for around 6000 children across 8 day schools as well as 4 residential schools in Dadra, Wada and Jawahar. The residential schools cater to children from deprived tribal communities. Blue Star is also responsible for the maintenance of these machines, which is usually a matter of huge concern in rural India.
- The involvement of the management staff at Wada and Dadra Plants ensured detailed planning, smooth execution and ongoing monitoring of the projects, to ensure sustainability of the initiative.
- In co-ordination with grassroots NGOs like Aroehan which works towards sustainable change in tribal communities, the Company will also conduct behaviour change communication sessions with the students, in order to drive home aspects of safe water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene (WaSH) for sustained behaviour change.
- Two residential tribal schools in Jawahar with a capacity of about 800 children each, had dilapidated bathing facility/toilets and clogged outlets, which have led to open bathing and shortage of toilets for the students. Blue Star has built toilet blocks to alleviate this huge concern, and will also be maintaining them.
- Blue Star also contributed to other education causes such as the ‘Let’s READ’ programme, in collaboration with United Way of Mumbai, which was rolled out in three Government schools around Blue Star’s Wada factory. The initiative aims to help nurture a love for books among children from disadvantaged backgrounds who cannot afford to own books or have easy access to them. Portable mini libraries have been set up in classrooms for grades I to VII, along with a set of books for each child. These books are culturally-relevant, beautifully illustrated books in the local language, which are curated as per the age, language proficiency and reading levels of the children. Book reading sessions were conducted for the children by professional story tellers to make the reading activity fun and meaningful. The students are thus gradually encouraged to cultivate a reading habit, which will help build on their imagination, language and confidence levels.
Blue Star was required to spend a sum of Rs 212 lakhs by March 31, 2018 towards activities, as stipulated under Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013. The Company has spent a total of Rs 220 lakhs towards its CSR initiatives during the year, which includes vocational training in the area of Air Conditioning & Refrigeration (AC&R) and MEP, pursuant to the Government’s ‘Skill India’ mission; installation of water purification systems and building of toilets in Zilla Parishad schools as part of the Government’s ‘Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya’ initiative; support for other health and education causes as well as CSR staffing expenses.
- The Company is an important stakeholder for holistic vocational training initiatives in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (AC&R) and Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) fields. Blue Star’s training personnel contribute to setting up customised classrooms and practical labs, curriculum development, training of trainers, monitoring the quality of teaching sessions and imparting regular lectures at these centres. Blue Star also encourages its employees to dedicate their time and energy to take sessions on a pro bono basis to impart employable skills.
- As in the previous years, Blue Star continued to support the existing vocational training institutes in Indo-German Institute of Advanced Technology (IGIAT), Visakhapatnam; Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust, Chennai; Himalayan Group of Professional Institutions, Himachal Pradesh; and Gyan Prakash Foundation, Pune, through faculty and student expenditure support, and upgrading of the labs where required. A new section of service of water purifiers was introduced in IGIAT, and an AC&R lab was set-up as a part of Total Health, which is a CSR initiative of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited (AHEL) in Chittoor.
- Blue Star has enrolled apprentices under National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP) - a Public Private Partnership of TeamLease Skills University (itself a PPP with the Gujarat Government at Vadodara); CII; All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE); and National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) under Ministry of HRD. The apprenticeship programme gives students from diploma and degree programmes, the academic credit for on-the-job training, and helps bridge the connection between skills and higher education. It offers real-time training at the workplace, with an assurance of gaining a recognised experience certificate from a reputed company, post minimum service tenure of 3 months. All trainees are paid stipends equal to the unskilled minimum wage for each state, which is significantly higher than the stipends paid under the Apprenticeship Act
Water Purification, Sanitation and Hygiene
- Blue Star works to improve the availability of safe drinking water, especially for children. Students are a vulnerable population for which provision of safe drinking water can be provided in liaison with school authorities.
a. Jawahar blocks of Palghar district of Maharashtra to improve the access of sanitation and drinking water facilities in Government schools through the retrofitting and maintenance of the existing toilets, construction of hand wash stations, provision of safe drinking water, along with behaviour change communication towards cleanliness and hygiene. This project was executed in partnership with reputed grassroot NGOs, namely Society for Action in Creative Education and Development (SACRED) and AROEHAN. Blue Star also supported Impact India Foundation (IIF) in constructing purified drinking water stations in schools of Vikramgarh block
b. Similarly, Blue Star also undertook setting up of clean drinking water stations in government schools in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. The need for drinking water is vital in these schools, which often face severe water shortage.
- The implementation of the NETAP apprentice programme for women in Water Purifiers business has aided in the exposure of students to the sales and product promotions at retail showrooms. Accordingly, around 60 apprentices were hired across the country to front-end displays for water purifiers across showrooms/sales outlets. The on-the-job training module gives them exposure to the modern format trade and retail landscape, and inculcates in them related skill sets.
Education & Healthcare
- Blue Star partnered with CII and Aid India to support 20 villages in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu for the Eureka Walk ‘n’ Talk Programme, which is an after-school program implemented in villages to improve children’s speaking and writing capabilities in English, and grasp over mental maths; thereby enhancing their confidence. The project has benefitted over 1500 children between the ages of 6-14.
- The ‘Let’s READ’ programme of United Way of Mumbai, embarked on in FY17 to encourage the reading habit in children between grades I and VII at three schools around Blue Star’s Wada factory, was completed in this year. The initiative augmented the love for books and reading among children through mini libraries abundant with culturally relevant, illustrated books in English and local languages. In this year, the Company enhanced the project via regular, focused learning and story-telling sessions by professional story tellers for the children. These sessions helped introduce the children to the joy of reading, and through activities helped to learn new words, making them further confident in public speaking, as well as eased group learning. The children are gradually encouraged to cultivate a reading habit, which will help build on their imagination, language and confidence levels.
- Two special ‘In School’ issues of The Hindu, with the supplement record of all important national/international events of 2016, and the other of Independence Day, were distributed across 40 Government aided schools in Mumbai to encourage reading and augment one’s general knowledge.
The Company actively participates in the CII’s Affirmative Action Programme and contributed for Development of Dalit Entrepreneurs by promoting supplier diversity through Buyer-Seller Meets, imparting management techniques and mentoring. Under the Stand Up India Initiative, Blue Star is exploring to partner with DICCI to identify women from disadvantaged SC/ST communities, who will be trained by the Company to become dealers for its unitary products. This offers them a viable opportunity of entrepreneurship. DICCI will guide them to avail benefits of the national scheme.