Ramco Cements has always been in the forefront as a responsible corporate citizen
Ramco Cements has always been in the forefront as a responsible corporate citizen
Ramco Cements has always been in the forefront as a responsible corporate citizen
- AV Dharmakrishnan, CEO, The Ramco Cements

What are the activities you are involved under CSR commitment and how the government mandate is prescribing various benchmarks?
The Ramco group firmly believes that CSR is the gateway to achievement and the path for growth. Social obligations are strongly embedded in the DNA of Ramco by the founder of the group PAC Ramasamy Raja, and nurtured by former Chairman PR Ramasubrahmaneya Rajha.

Present Chairman PR Venketramaraja is steering the group with the clear focus by providing priority for social responsibility. The company's CSR schemes not only empower communities around its manufacturing facilities but also stretches caring hand, wherever a need is felt. Ramco Cements has always been in the forefront as a responsible corporate citizen. It believes that as the organisations grow, the society and the community around it should also grow. Its CSR initiatives has a long history, much before legislations had made it mandatory. The CSR activities are focused on the impact areas aligning with the sustainable initiatives and government mandates under CSR.

How are the actual and prescribed budgets for the last three years? Please give details of allocations for various activities. How long it will take for you to complete the mission you have undertaken in that particular region?

Budgets

Financial year

Amount required to be spent

Amount actually spent

Shortfall/Excess

2019-20

15.60

14.99

(0.61)

2018-19

15.42

17.97

2.55

2017-18

12.56

10.93

(1.63)

Note: The figures are in lakh ofrupees

CSR impact area

2019-20

percentage

2018-19

percentage

Rural Development

1.56

10%

2.74

15%

Promotion of Education

4.29

29%

6.05

34%

Promotion of Healthcare

1.76

12%

2.66

15%

Protection of Art & Culture

0.29

2%

0.23

1%

Restoration of Buildings

1.43

10%

0.95

5%

Eradication of Hunger

0.35

2%

0.06

0%

Safe Drinking Water

1.97

13%

1.31

7%

Protection of National Heritage

0.29

2%

0.31

2%

Rural Sport & Paralympics Sports

0.62

4%

0.54

3%

Environmental Sustainability

0.77

5%

0.57

3%

Vocational Skill Training

0.84

6%

0.40

2%

Development of Traditional Arts

0.06

0%

0.06

0%

Livelihood Enhancement Projects

0.72

5%

1.64

9%

Benefit of Armed forces

0.02

0%

0.41

2%

Total

15.00

100%

17.97

100%

What has been the impact of various CSR activities in various geographies? What is the criterion adopted in choosing the target group or community for CSR initiatives?
Primarily, the focus areas for our CSR supports are around our manufacturing units and marketing areas located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal and Odisha. As the manufacturing units and mining areas are located in rural areas and backward districts, the company's primary focus had been in these places.

The criterion for the CSR funding is based on the following:

  • Commitment made during the public hearings
  • Inputs given by district administration and elected representatives, during various interactions
  • Engagement with the village communities and their representatives
  • Inputs received from the local employees, our extensive dealer network, various government agencies, NGOs and media.
  • Disaster relief supports

The CSR teams established at corporate level and at the unit levels analyse the suggestions and proposals received, and priority areas are curated for the CSR funding. The projects and the target groups are identified and prioritised towards, socially disadvantaged, the economically challenged, and the systemically marginalised communities.

Impacts of various CSR activities:
Education:

  • Ramco Cements focuses on long-term societal development through education and has supported communities through various initiatives.
  • We have estabilished schools in all our integrated plants with ultra modern digital infrastructure to provide best in class for the rural children.
  • No of schools

    Students strength

    Teacher strength

    7

    5977

    274

  • We have established a vocational training centre - P.A.C. Ramasamy Raja Private Industrial Training Institute for providing technical skills for empowering and transforming rural youth. (case study has been attached)
  • We have adopted government schools for holistic improvement by implementing 5S concept, which has won accolades in many CSR forums.
  • We have supported improving infrastructural facilities in terms building additional class rooms, toilets, digital class rooms, improving libraries, etc., for many government schools.
  • We have established ATAL tinkering labs in our schools, towards creating curiosity in science and technology among school children. We also invite students of government schools around the factory areas to extend the benefit and to spread the scientific inquisitiveness.

Water conservation and environmental sustainability:
Ramco Cements has taken initiatives to conserve water through community programmes in our manufacturing locations and improve the ground water table and water availability for the local community.
In association with village communities and district administration, we identified water bodies for rejuvenation and have completed desilting, clearing all the feeder channels and strengthening the bunds, which have resulted in improving the ground water table.

S.No

Name of Lake / Ponds

Covered Area (M2)

No. of people Benefitted

1

Periya Lake

19459

1200

2

Chinna Lake

8535

3

Vambaran Pond

2802

4

Vettan Kullam Lake

20036

1500

5

Karukalikottai Lake

323750

300

6

Thurai Lake

42368

700

7

Bore with tank

15000 litres

400

Health care:
Touching lives through special medical camps in association with Arvind eye hospital
Enhancing infrastructural facilities in primary health centres
Building community toilets to addressing sanitation needs
Inspiring healthy lifestyles through alternate medicine like Siddha and Ayurveda medical camps

Ramco Cements is committed to health and well-being of communities. We recognise the need to support the government health delivery system for effective primary healthcare. Within this larger objective, Ramco Cements has undertaken several initiatives with rural communities focused on promoting integrated healthcare and developing health seeking behaviour and appropriate responses.

We have been successful in imbibing the practice of preventive healthcare among beneficiaries and inculcate awareness towards leading a healthy lifestyle in and around nearby villages. Additionally, sanitation has also become a prime focus for delivery to ensure people maintain the desired health standards. The provision of toilets and a concentrated "Behaviour Change" strategy towards the usage has really improved health standards of our communities.

  • Donation for ambulance vehicle to save lives in Andhra Pradesh
  • Donation of MarutiEco Care Ambulance to Ariyalur Police Station
  • Arrangement of health care guides for pregnant mothers on child care, Virudhunagar
  • Donation for sanitary napkin incinerators to Jayanth Tribal Students Hostel and trust schools -Rajapalayam, Govt. High School Sulakarai & Thiyagarajpuram Village & Kurunthamadam Govt. School Aruppukottai, Virudhunagar-Dist., Tamilnadu
  • Construction of two nos. of toilet for the Primary Health Center at Kattupringium village, Kattupringium village, Ariyalur Taluk & Dist., Tamil Nadu
  • Construction of ladies public toilet at Govindapuram village, Ariyalur Taluk & Dist.,Tamil Nadu
  • Donation of Model Hearing Aid Machines (3nos.) for deaf students at Coimbatore Dist.

Community development:
The success of a community programme is directly related to empowering the farmers, rural youth and rural woman with ability to enhance their families' income. It is an important indicator of success apart from the improvement in hygiene, sanitation, education of children and community health.

The initiatives have been designed to provide information and awareness on various skills and train women and rural youth on pursuing these alternative livelihood intervention programmes. These impact the household on a large scale and also help in improving the socio-economic condition of the family.

  • PACR ITC: Industrial training centre located at Ariyalur, which is considered as one of the backward districts in Tamil Nadu. The opportunity is provided to rural youth to learn and enhance their technical skills for immediate employment. (Refer case study PACR, Ariyalur)
    Skill development programme for educated rural youth to enhance employability skills.

  • Agroforest: The initiative towards global warming mitigation through farmer's empowerment. By encouraging, training and educating to use land effectively for multiple sustainable incomes starting with Agroforest, strengthen the local community, and to help farmers move from famine to surplus.
    Financial assistance to Auroville Botanical Garden for conducting ecological horticulture course for propagating environmentally sustainable approach, andto train new generation of professionals in the mission to protect and enhance biodiversity.

  • Eco-pro Kalvarayan Hills Tribal Welfare: Addressing the child nutrition, sanitation and agricultural livelihoods among tribal.

  • Community Total Sanitation Programme: Ramco Cements, Alathiyur has initiated community total sanitation program at Irungalakurichi village of Manakkudayan panchayat. As part of the program we are promoting health and hygiene awareness among the community, constructing 80 SMARTtoilets to eliminate open defecation and training adolescent girls & women on menstrual hygiene practices and promoting usage of napkins.

  • Kalrayan hills integrated community development project: CSR initiatives by Ramco cement along with EcoPro Team, Auroville, had initiated integrated approach for improving the lively hood of the tribal by addressing important issues such as child nutrition, sanitation, water security, sustainable agriculture through organic farming etc.

Support during natural calamity:
During times of calamities, be it a cyclone in Tamil Nadu or floods in Kerala or Odisha, Ramco is always in the forefront, contributing generously to the Relief Funds of the Government as well as lending a hand in the relief work. Food and items of basic necessity were distributed to large number of affected people. Water in tankers reached the most inaccessible places, roads were cleared of fallen trees, medical camps were held for the sick and needy. Ramco Team discharged their duties with great commitment and sense of purpose, upholding the company's culture of CSR.

Benefit to armed forces:
During the gruesome attack on the CRPF Jawans at Phulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, 42 soldiers were killed out of which Ramco Cements helped the families of eight Jawans. Ramco Cements gave fixed deposit of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of these eight Jawans.

What are the crushing challenges the country is facing in the socio-economic sphere and CSR activities can contribute towards fulfilling these needs?
The challenges in socio-economic sphere are as follows:
Educated unemployed youth, well connected on social media:
Due to mushroom growth of engineering institutions, there is a quantum shift from vocational skill based education to engineering and diploma courses. Most of them pass out with a diploma or degree certificate, without enhancing their skills. This has created a scenario of unemployment leading to social issues.

CSR activities to mitigate the issue:

  • Skill enhancement to rural educated youths in their domain areas for better job prospects.
  • To encourage students to opt for vocational skills, for better job opportunities.
  • To induce entrepreneurial spirit by providing right eco system.

Agrarian crisis in rural areas:
Vagarious of nature, leading to monsoon failure and flooding, creates havoc to the community depending on the agriculture. Lack of knowledge on technological advancement in agriculture sector due to small and marginal farms holdings.

CSR activities to mitigate the issue:
Rejuvenate the water bodies and feeder channels to enhance the water table
To create a platform, by demonstrating usage of better technology in association with domain experts in the agriculture field.

Rural infrastructure:
The rural areas are deprived of basic infrastructure like potable water, proper drainage, community toilets, solid waste disposal etc. CSR activities to mitigate the issue:

To facilitate creation of rural infrastructures through self-financing schemes with Dist. Rural Development agencies.
Waste segregation and disposal by integrating with community involvement.

Health care and sanitation:
The Indian healthcare scenario presents a spectrum of contrasting landscapes. At one end of the spectrum are the glitzy steel and glass structures delivering high tech Medicare and on other end with fragile infrastructure and lack of basic health care facilities in rural areas.

CSR activities to mitigate the issue:
To support primary health centres with medical infrastructure
To organise special medical camps in association with speciality hospitals.
To support Indian medical system with experts in the field like Siddha, ayurveda etc.
To educate the economically weaker section on low cost health insurance

What are the CSR activities you have undertaken on outbreak of Covid-19 and what are the challenges did you face?
The outbreak of Covid-19 had given yet another opportunity to the company to demonstrate its commitment for CSR. The Company not only contributed directly to the society by various means but also proactively partnered with government administrations, in the fight against the Coronavirus in its operating States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, West Bengal and Odisha. The company had contributed more than Rs 11 crore for Covid-19 by way of donations to relief funds and direct provision of relief materials and activities.

In all the factories, it had ensured the highest degree of safety and health to the company's employees and the employees of transport contractors, etc. The following measures were put in place since the beginning of March 2020.

All vehicles leaving the factory were disinfected and the drivers were checked for body temperature and other symptoms of coronavirus and provided medical certificate by the doctor at the factory exit for their safe passage.
All vehicles entered into the factories were disinfected thoroughly.
Every person who entered the factory was checked and certified that he was free from symptoms of the virus.
Food arrangements were done for doctors and paramedics, who were in the forefront of fighting against Covid-19.
Also food packets were distributed in rural areas around the factory and mines, for people who had been economically affected due to outbreak.

The company had donated:
Rs 2.50 crore to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund
Rs 2.50 crore to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister's Public Relief Fund
Rs 3.42 crore worth of Relief materials comprising of oxygen concentrators, thermal scanners, PPE kits, masks, gloves, sanitisers, etc. to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Governments
The company also mobilised and distributed basic amenities such as water, shelter, food and ration kits containing rice, wheat flour, oil, and vegetables, to all the needy families staying in villages around its factories and mines by working alongside district collectors, police, public health departments and panchayats. Disinfectants were sprayed extensively in villages around the factories as a safety measure.

Isolation centres
The company had also provided the required infrastructure to set up Isolation Centres for treating the patients affected with Covid-19 at Kadukur and Thamaraikulam in Tamil Nadu and near the company's plant at Haridaspur in Odisha.

The company had also donated electrical accessories, steel cots, bed, pillows, awareness posters, flex boards, etc. to the government-established isolation centres in Ariyalur and Viruthunagar districts.

How do you think the CSR scenario will pan out in general in the next two to three years, in the wake of Covid-19 impact on business revenues and profitability? The business revenues and profitability will be negatively impacted, post Covid-19 at least for one to two years. With the falling revenue, the CSR spends will see a downward trend. But, the focus of the CSR scenario will certainly shift more towards preventive healthcare, improving the infrastructure for health delivery systems and rural development. However, the corporate sector is expected to fulfil its committed obligations and ongoing projects under CSR.

Case Study: PACR, Ariyalur - A Skill Development Centre
PAC Ramasamy Raja ITI (PACR ITI) is fully committed to professional skill development of the learners. We develop, provide and continuously improve our educational programmes, so that the students satisfy to the changing needs of the business community.

History
PACR ITI is situated in Govindapuram Village, Ariyalur District, Tamil Nadu. Ariyalur is one of the backward districts in Tamil Nadu. This institution is run by The Ramco Cements. Having seen the skill levels of the people of the Ariyalur district our then Chairman, PR Ramasubrahmaneya Rajha started this industrial training institute to improve the skill levels of the youngsters in Ariyalur district. The institution is situated adjacent to the Ramco Cements factory. Ramco extends many practical training to the students of PACR ITI in its factory premises.

Trade details & target group

Trade

Duration

Minimum Qualification

Sex

Units

Sanctioned Strength

GQ

MQ

Total

Electrician [NSQF]

2 years

10th Pass

Male, Female

4

20

20

40

Fitter[NSQF]

2 years

10th Pass

Male, Female

4

20

20

40

Instrument Mechanic [NSQF]

2 years

10th Pass

Male, Female

2

12

12

24

Welder [NSQF]

1 Year

10th Pass

Male, Female

2

20

20

40

12

72

72

144

Started in the year 2010-11 with 21 students and one trade of welder, it upgraded to other trades viz. fitter, instrument mechanic and electrician and in the very next year. The ITI is equipped with latest equipment in the laboratories to impart practical knowledge to the students and to prepare them with requisite skills and make them suitable for immediate placement in various industries.

Salient features
Facilities offered:
RO drinking water system, uninterrupted power supply, technical library, multimedia class and fully equipped computer centre, scholarship facility, bus facility, 100 per cent state-of-the-art latest equipment for workshops, qualified staff members, trainees group policy, female trainees trained, placement cell, and government quota trainees trained.

Results
The overall pass percentage till July 2019 is 92. Out of this 85 per cent have secured placement. Also all the trainees, after completion of 18 years of age are getting placed. Besides, Ramco Group of Companies, the key recruiters include, Eicher Motors, Stann Bio Medical, Wheels India, TVS, JPM Group, L&T, Dhanalakshmi Sugars, etc. Act apprenticeship for trainees are given in the nearby cement factories: Dalmia, Ultra tech, Chettinad and Arasu Cements.

Achievements
ISO 29990:
Learning services for non-formal education and training. The ITI successfully implemented ISO 29990 standards and was certified in the year 2018. A complete set of procedures and systems are in place with periodic audit for monitoring.

STRIVE PROJECT (Skills Strengthening for Industrial value Enhancement)
Objective

The Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) project has been developed by the Government of India to meet its commitment for providing skill development opportunities to the youth including economically disadvantaged/underserved communities and to develop a globally competitive workforce.

Result areas
Various interventions and their associated outcomes have been categorised under four primary components called the "Result Areas" each targeted towards a particular area of concern/improvement. Totally 154 Institute Strategic Plans (ISP) were submitted across the country. In the first phase, only 33 Private Industrial Training Institutes were selected including our PACR ITI and based on the grading value and ISP, PACR ITI was declared the 3rd best in the country with a composite score of 73.7 per cent.

Summary
PACR ITI started in the year 2010-11, and with a steady progress in our sustainability goal, we have equipped 832 trainees who have passed out acquiring various skills so far and have provided placements for 705 with 85 per cent successful career progression rate (CPR). Having set up the infrastructure and giving training to the local students, we are able to improve the skill levels of the district youth and are giving them livelihood to sustain.

Case study: Water conservation beyond the fence
On successful implementation of water conservation within our factory premises, we took it to the surrounding villages of our factories situated in Ariyalur District. We have created, deepened and strengthened the bunds for 6 ponds surrounding our plant areas and one around the mining area. This also includes cleaning up the feeder channels and providing water for drinking and irrigation purpose.

Target group
Villages surrounding our plant and mines namely: Govindapuram, Eruthukaranpatti, Nallambathai, Ameenabad and Pudupalayam.

Salient features
Infrastructure area - waste land/small pond area: There were lot of lands near to the villages which were earlier served as pond and over a period of time with accumulated sledges, became waste land or the area of the pond was insufficient to hold water.

Challenges
To convince the villagers on importance of water and its conservation
Recharging the ground water
Need for ponds/reservoirs

We have provided end to end solution in water conservation with safety as our utmost responsibility and also by engaging our own machinery for these activities and also identifying the feeder channels and cleaning them.

Beneficiary -Primary and secondary

S.No

Name of Lake / Ponds

Covered Area (M2)

No. of People Benefitted

1

Periya Lake

19459

1200

2

Chinna Lake

8535

3

Vambaran Pond

2802

4

Vettan Kullam Lake

20036

1500

5

Karukalikottai Lake

323750

300

6

Thurai Lake

42368

700

7

Bore with tank

15000 litres

400

Project cost and time line
The cost involved for these water conservation projects was Rs 32.4 lakh and it took two years (2017-2019) to bring a complete shape to all the projects.

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