Why Healthcare Needs CSR Boost?

Despite being a major destination for medical tourism and the fastest growing economy, India’s progress in healthcare is slower not just by OECD standards but also as per the standards of the developing world. When compared with emerging economies and its neighbours, India faces a bigger disease burden.

Here are some of the facts which highlight the state of health care in India:

1. India has one of the highest disease burdens (20%) in the world.

2. More people die in India of preventable diseases than anywhere.

3. India still accounts for 27% of neonatal deaths, 23% of infant deaths and 23% of TB deaths in the world. Out of the total neonatal deaths, 35% are due to lack of nutrition.

4. Every fifth person in India suffers from a chronic disease and more than 6 out of 10 people die from non-communicable diseases.

5. Cancer cases in India are also likely to rise by 25 per cent by 2020 from 1.4 million to 1.7 million by 2020.

6. Disease burden to cost India $6.2 trillion by 2030.

7. Between 1990 and 2010 premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases increased by 59 per cent to 37 million from 23.2 million.

8. Nearly 40% of the Indian population of all ages has mycobacterium tuberculosis infection; and there are about 85 lakh people with TB at any given time.

9. The US has 2.5 doctors and 11.1 nurses per 1000 population, while India has 0.7 Doctors and 1.1 Nurses per 1000 population.

10. India’s ambitious National Health Policy plans to increase public spending on health from 1.15% to 2.5% by 2025, when only 17.33% of the lower income classes having access to free health care.

It is clear that the government alone won’t be able to address all the health care issues. Although the National Health Policy 2017 has been approved, the target set promises little.

Corporations should see this gap as an opportunity to partner with the government to play a responsible role in improving the health care system. What we have been witnessing so far is their focus on health camps, building hospitals or donating equipment to hospitals. Most of these activities can only generate short-term impact and the targets are poorly set.

Instead, businesses can train local youths while pharmacists can be trained to prescribe medicines for minor ailments. One example is the Fiinovation and RPG foundation partnership to train youths in ‘patient care’. Similarly, companies could fund medical education to reduce the significant shortage of doctors and nurses. The concept of barefoot doctors in China can be implemented in rural areas. Additionally, CSR funds can also be utilized to provide medical treatment and promote traditional medicines.

 

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation: Beyond the Mandate – Changing CSR Paradigms

Not long ago, not many people cared about corporate social responsibility, at least in India. The concept might be known to a few, but there wasn’t much thought on the same. In the last two decades, things have changed significantly. Firstly, the economic reforms in 1991 laid the red carpet for the MNCs to start operating in India.

With the MNCs came the concepts of cause marketing, corporate responsibility, employee welfare, volunteerism, ethical practices, etc. Few other concepts, such as the Triple Bottom Line Approach (coined by the British consultant John Elkington in 1994), Shared Value (Michael Porter in 2011) and Conscious Capitalism (Raj Sisodia and John Mackey in 2013) also came into the limelight.

It was clear that in the last two decades, the emergence of these concepts targeting the commercial enterprises came up suggesting that the businesses should go beyond the obvious financial parameters and develop a holistic framework for assessing the impact of the business operations. From the point of view of the businesses, time and again they have spoken about doing good towards the society and environmental sustainability in their annual reports. Yet, the big issues such as climate change and well-being of the people and planet are prevalent along with a huge disparity.

The passing of the CSR law in India, seemed to have formalised the social sector contributions by the private entities. With not much data, a comparison of the same cannot be made. However, at least in the last two years, there has been significant amount of funds being invested in social projects. Businesses are now taking CSR as a strategic business concept and not many are contributing as a mere charity.

The move to bring about a cultural change within the businesses in India highlighted two concerns. Firstly, majority of the companies are searching beyond their own competencies to create programmes as per the Schedule VII. Secondly, there is not enough capacity or capability in the existing NGOs to meet the requirements of the businesses.

Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company suggests that social sector initiatives require endurance and extended periods of investments in capability and delivery to make a significant impact. The concept is still evolving and incorporating sustainability issues, despite specifications mentioned in the Schedule VII. The whole idea is not to departmentalize business ethics and social responsibility, rather focus on sustainable corporate practices which includes CSR. Fiinovation suggests the idea of amalgamation of social and environmental issues within the business processes, help the businesses achieve enduring socio-economic outcome.

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The time has come for businesses to be linked with ecosystem and not empty effluents into rivers and then contribute funds towards Clean Ganga. If businesses are truly considering becoming responsible entities they have to reduce, re-use and re-cycle the waste at least by 50 per cent. Therefore, when corporate social responsibility emanate from the core competencies of the respective companies, there is a higher chance of creating systemic solutions for delivery of social benefits.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation’s Take on Health Sector Problems

The world’s second most populous country is currently facing a triple-disease burden of maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases. Despite significant efforts, India has been unable to provide affordable healthcare solutions to the masses. With India being the third-largest economy in the world, it isn’t being able to deliver world-class healthcare services to the 800 million people residing in the rural areas.

Fiinovation, a global CSR consulting company, suggests that India’s tax-based funding of healthcare is not adequate and barely support the healthcare system. India annually spends approximately Rs 6 trillion on healthcare to cater to 1.3 billion population. With an experience of over eight years in health projects, Fiinovation understands that over 60 per cent of healthcare expenditure in India is being incurred by individuals themselves. Indians usually spend a lot of money on healthcare services.

Indians have the innate tendency to ignore health issues until we are really sick. This is the reason why Indians don’t opt for health insurances. The health insurance covers less than 5 per cent of total health expenditure. Apart from this, formal private network is a small portion of India’s health sector. The people usually suffer due to such circumstances and spend heavily on hospitals, completely ignoring primary care and early diagnosis.

Understanding the situation, Fiinovation believes the sector needs a complete revamp to achieve the health targets of the nation. Like several other countries, India too needs to on taking the path of free markets and build high-performing health systems. There needs to be a push towards health insurance. Countries, such as Japan, Britain, Germany and Thailand have given a lot of emphasis on providing universal health coverage. Fiinovation believes that the government will play a crucial role in designing and supervising the entire health system of the country, instead of just focusing on state-owned hospitals and public health centers.

Equally, the private sector should join hands with the government, take cognizance of the loopholes and establish an effective healthcare system in the country along with mechanisms for early diagnosis and universal health insurance coverage. If adequate healthcare services are provided in the rural areas, it will reduce the burden of hospitals and clinics in the urban areas. A lot of lives can also be saved, if facilities for early detection and diagnosis are available. With health being a favourable sector for CSR expenditures in the country, businesses should definitely look to organise health camps and provide other infrastructural facilities to curb the prevailing health problems in India. There has always been a need to spread more awareness about the preventive measures of diseases.

At present, it seems to be an uphill task for India, however, countries such as Thailand, Brazil and South Korea had similar health statistics which they managed to turn around in the last two-three decades. India can take note from these countries and start planning for re-designing the healthcare system of India.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation Observes – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Despite increased participation of women in world politics, it still remains a male dominated world. The consequences of the same is widespread violence and atrocities that women and girls face across the globe, especially in the underdeveloped countries. Ironically, India got their first women Prime Minister in the year 1966, while United States is yet have a woman President. But, having women leaders doesn’t mean that society has become safe and secure for women.

Globally, 35 per cent of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, 2015 saw the registration of 3,27,394 cases under the head of Crimes against Women in India. Overall, the national capital has the highest rate of crimes against women. With 17,104 cases, Delhi recorded a crime rate of 184.3 per 1 lakh female population. The north eastern state, Assam is second with 23,258 cases and a rate of 148.2 suggesting widespread violence across the length and breadth of the country.

Working in the social development sector, especially on the projects related to women empowerment, Fiinovation strongly believes that violence against women is a human rights violation. Women comprises of 49 per cent of the Indian population, despite that they are subject to violence (both domestic and external), discrimination and injustices. Ironically, one of the largest democracies of the world doesn’t have any law for marital rapes. It is understandable that being a patriarchal society, violence against women and girls is a consequence of discrimination. This discrimination can be observed in law and also in practice highlighting the persistent inequalities plaguing the Indian society.

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Fiinovation analyses that challenges to efforts to prevent and end violence against women is mostly related to funding shortfall. As violence against women impact progress in many areas such as poverty eradication, combating HIV/AIDS, peace and security, etc. therefore, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, inviting all stakeholders to engage in activities that create public awareness. Today, there is a global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and significant challenge to the sustainable development goals. Yet, such violence is being witnessed every day around the world.

The ongoing theme “Orange The World” calls for global action to eliminate violence, increase resources and promote solutions. Fiinovation believes that on this day, the world will be lit in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls.

Let us dedicate our lives to keep the orange lights shining, upholding the human rights while eliminating all instances of violence against women and girls.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Fiinovation Observes – WORLD TOILET DAY

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Every year, 19th November is recognised as the “World Toilet Day” across the globe. The day is celebrated to spread awareness about the issues related to sanitation and eradicate taboos related to health and hygiene. The United Nations passed a resolution in July 2013, recognising World Toilet Day as an official International Day for drawing the world’s attention on the current sanitation crisis. On this day, several campaigns are run worldwide on educating the world about benefits of sanitation, health, and hygiene. This year the World Toilet Day is based on the theme, “Toilets and Jobs”.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that around 2.5 billion (about 1 out of 3) people lack access to improved sanitation facilities and around 1 billion of them still practice open defecation. The forced unhealthy sanitation habits lead to chronic diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition, soil-transmitted heminthiasis and schisosomiasis. It is estimated that around 58% of the diarrhea cases are caused due to poor sanitation, poor hand-washing and lack of hygiene. In 2013 alone, around 340,000 children under 5 years of age have succumbed to death due to unhealthy sanitation habits. Not only this, open defecation is also an infringement of privacy and dignity of young girls and women bringing them embarrassment and fear exposing them to sexual assault, violence, harassment and psychological trauma. However, this menace can be put to end by providing them access to toilets and basic sanitation facilities.

In India alone, around 55% of people out of 1.2 billion people have no access to toilets mostly comprising the people living in urban slums and rural areas. The central government has taken the uphill task of creating an open defecation free country by 2nd October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. They have pledged to construct 12 million toilets in rural India at the cost of Rs. 1.96 lakh crore. In his speech Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in open? Poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends, they can’t go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act might engender. Can’t we just make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?”

Deriving inspiration from the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission, many states in India have done commendable work in the field of sanitation. In a press note released by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin, around 15.04 lakh toilets have been built under the MNREGA scheme across rural India. Under this mission, 446 percent increase in construction toilet work has been observed. One lakh villages have been targetted under 35 districts to declare them as open defecation free. Sikkim has been declared as the first open defacation free state followed by Himachal Pradesh and Kerala.

Even the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been actively working towards providing people safe access to toilets and end open defecation in the world. The Government of India and World Bank has inked a $1.5 billion loan agreement for supporting the nation’s sanitation initiatives. Additionally, the World Bank will also extend technical assistance of $25 million to capacitate selected states in implementing community-led behavioral change programmes, to end the toilet related taboos and spread awareness about the regular usage of toilets by rural households.

“Sustainable development goal 6 calls on the international community to ensure access to toilets by 2030. Delivering on this basic human right — the right to water and sanitation — is good for people, business and the economy.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Manisha Bhatia

Media & Communications

Fiinovation

Fiinovation Suggests – Focus on Quality and Effectiveness

Fiinovation has been working with corporations as catalysts of change to influence CSR and Sustainability activities that creates positive impact on society. Being a CSR research organisation, Fiinovation has always focused on planning, partnership and engagement to bring about a societal change. The efforts are mostly directed towards brining in a tangible, viable and sustainable impact that will transform the lives of the communities.

Indian businesses have reached a stage where they look at corporate social responsibility as a perfect brand-building opportunity which not only retains talent but also positions the organisation as a driver of change. Fiinovation believes that the focus now needs to be shifted from the just being in the limelight to improving quality and effectiveness in the CSR initiatives. However, Fiinovation believes that this is not possible without the help of third party which can critically analyse the whole programme. Fiinovation offers services such as monitoring and evaluation, impact assessment and programme management which helps corporations build trust on society and solve critical issues.

Fiinovation has always been quite vocal of the fact that CSR initiatives shouldn’t be measured by the contribution amount or by the percentage of work being done rather it should focus on the impact and effectiveness of the programme. There should be increased efforts to improve the quality Fiinovation helps corporations to analyse the initiative from start-to-end so that the targeted communities benefits from these CSR projects. The challenge is stay relevant to the cause as there are high chances that what the corporation thinks of CSR, may not necessarily benefit the communities.

There are many examples for initiatives which actually went wrong. Fiinovation recommends the corporations to consult the experts before investing even a single penny. There are many activities which are taken up without proper objectives, these are just reflection of the short-sightedness of the corporations. At the end, it can be said that the CSR law is good but the corporations should be able to create positive impact on society.

Let’s hope that with the right CSR strategy at place, the corporations will be able to lend prestige to the brand, motivate its talented pool of employees and also encourage loyalty of the consumers.

By Rahul Choudhury

Media & Communications, Fiinovation

Top 10 Green Companies of India

With India making rapid progress in the field of industrialization, concerns have also been made by various sections of environmentalists regarding the repercussions on the environment. The companies themselves are now more aware about the ways in which their factories often affect the ecosystem and have taken a greener path to success. Here are the top ten green companies in India which Fiinovation believes, are showing the path of sustainability to others.

  1. LG: LG India has been a pioneer is making electronic gadgets that are eco-friendly. Recently, it has launched a LED E60 and E90 series monitor for the Indian market. Its USP is that it consumes 40% less energy than conventional LED monitors. Also, they hardly used halogen or mercury, trying to keep down the use of hazardous materials in their products.

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  1. HCL: HCL is another brand that is trying to introduce eco- friendly products in the market and it has recently launched the HCL ME 40 notebooks. These notebooks do not use any polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material or other harmful chemicals and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency already given it a five star rating.

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  1. Haier: Eco branding is a part of Haier’s new green initiative and they have launched the Eco Life Series. They have semi automatic and automatic refrigerators and washing machines, split and window air conditioners and a lot more.

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  1. Samsung: Samsung India has always had a roaring range of LED TV screens and now they have come up with eco- friendly LED backlight. They use 40% less electricity have also no harmful chemicals like mercury and lead.

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  1. Tata Consultancy Services: TCS has a globally recognized Sustainability practice and has already topped the Newsweek’s top World’s Greenest Company title. It also has a global green score of 80.4% and this has mainly happened due their initiative of creating technology for agricultural and community benefits.

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  1. Oil and Natural Gas Company: ONGC, India’s largest oil producer is all set to change the way with the invention of green crematoriums, that would serve as a perfect replacement for the funeral pyres that emit so much smoke and uses up excess oxygen.

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  1. IndusInd Bank: One of the first banks in India to discourage the use of paper for the counterfoils in ATMs, and sending electronic messages, it has contributed a lot towards saving paper and reducing deforestation.

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  1. ITC: ITC has adopted a Low Carbon Growth Path and a Cleaner Environment Approach and has already introduced ozone treated elemental chlorine free bleaching technology that has improved the lives of millions worldwide.

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  1. Wipro: Wipro, has not only helped in the creation of technology that helps in saving energy and preventing wastes, but its corporate headquarters in Pune is the most eco friendly building in this sector all over India.

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  1. MRF Tyres: MRF has launched the ZSLK series and this is all about creating eco- friendly tubeless tyres made from unique silica- based rubber and also offers extra fuel efficiency to those who drive their vehicles.

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Fiinovation has been urging corporations to incorporate sustainability within their business operations. Development of green technologies and products is a necessary step towards a sustainable future.

Complied By- Rahul Choudhury