Overview

Being a socially responsible company, Mahindra Susten assigns high priority to promoting inclusive growth of the communities in which it operates in. The company has actively undertaken initiatives across various focus areas which include health, education, women empowerment and vocational training, in the villages that are in the vicinity of the solar plants. These projects aim to empower the inhabitants of the village, and help them access basic amenities.

To understand the impact of Mahindra Susten’s business on Rawra,
it becomes important to take into account the problems faced by the village before the company entered the region.

High migration levels

The village of Rawra largely comprises of dry grasslands, and its economy largely relied on agriculture and animal husbandry. Therefore, before Mahindra Susten established its operations in the region, the inhabitants of Rawra had little or no access to sources of employment apart from agriculture and animal husbandry. However, due to the harshness of the climatic conditions of the region and scarcity of water, the productivity and viability of these two livelihood sources is very low. This situation forced a large proportion of the people at Rawra to migrate to nearby towns and cities in search for employment.

Low aspiration levels

Due to the paucity of opportunities to gain fruitful employment, the level of aspirations among youth and students was very poor in Rawra. Youth and children in the village had little motivation to obtaining and completing school education, and very few went on to pursue higher education. Furthermore, because of lack of awareness regarding importance of education and earning opportunities, families of children and youth also assigned very low priority to getting them educated. As a result, many who fell under the employable age in the village didn’t possess the skills and education required to access employment in the organized sector.

Poorly developed infrastructure

The quality of basic infrastructure in the village of Rawra was highly inadequate before Mahindra Susten established its operations in the region. The village lacked well developed pakka roads, and most of the inhabitants live in kachha houses. Furthermore, the village lacked access to basic medical services. The nearest hospital was nearly 18 kilometers from the village, and majority of the villagers couldn’t afford its services.

Overall Impact of Mahindra Susten’s business on the community
The study showed that Mahindra Susten’s operations have had a positive impact on Rawra village across several developmental indicators.
A snapshot of the manner in which Mahindra Susten improved the lives of the inhabitants of Rawra has been given below:

Reduction in migration levels

The establishment of Mahindra Susten’s operations at Rawra led to creation of job opportunities in the region that were earlier unavailable. Both men and women were able to find sources of employment at the project site. Many of the inhabitants of the region were employed as full time employees, thereby bringing about stability and security in the income, which in turn improved their standard of living. Mahindra Susten’s operations also provided significant benefits to those who were employed on a contractual basis. The contractual employment at Mahindra Susten helped train them in skills which in turn equipped them to find employment at project sites of other companies who had established their operations in the region. According to Pahad Singh, after Mahindra Susten established its operations in the region “Migration levels reduced by up to 90%”.

Increased aspiration levels

The employment opportunities created by Mahindra Susten’s operations at Rawra had a direct impact on enhancing the aspirational levels among students with respect to education and employment. Students were now motivated to perform well in school and pursue higher education because it would help them find employment in Mahindra Susten. Mahindra Susten’s employees also invested efforts into creating awareness among students and their parents about the importance of education. This was done through not only direct interaction with students and parents, but also by organizing events during which students could visit the solar plants of Mahindra Susten to understand its functioning and the kind of employment opportunities that they could avail of there.

Improved Infrastructure

Mahindra Susten supported the construction and upgradation of roads in the village of Rawra. The company also set up a Primary Healthcare Centre in the village that provided the villagers access to basic healthcare services. The impact of the Primary Healthcare Centre has been discussed in greater detail in the subsequent section. Moreover, the increased income that was generated from employment opportunities created by Mahindra Susten enabled villagers to build pakka houses. In this manner, Mahindra Susten helped strengthen the basic infrastructure of the village in direct as well as indirect ways.

Primary Health Care Centre

Being a remote area, Rawra village lacks basic infrastructure like safe drinking water, electricity, sanitation, education. In addition to these problems, there was no full time medic to respond to any medical emergencies like deliveries or accidents in the village or nearby areas. The village even lacks the basic infrastructure required for a Primary Health Care Centre, where a trained medical person could offer services. The nearest hospital in the area is located 18 km away, in Bhap. The lack of any medical attendant in the area has had a severe effect on the maternal health of women, which is also evident from the high infant mortality rates in the area. Furthermore, this has also deprived the community from having a basic awareness of major health issues, maternal care, HIV, sanitation etc. Mahindra Susten had constructed a PHC (Primary Healthcare Centre) in the village, just opposite the Rawra Upper secondary school. The building has helped in retaining a full time ANM (Auxiliary Nursing idwife) in the Village. She resides along with her family in the PHC built by Mahindra, using a room as a dispensary. The government certified ANM is available 24 hours at the PHC and the patients can visit her any time. She also provides her services by visiting people’s homes in case of medical emergencies.