TVS Motor Company and Confederation of India (CII) has join hands together and has launched ‘Village Budha’ project at Thattanahalli village in Attibele on the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu border.
Venu Srinivasan, past president of CII and Chairman, TVS Motor Company said that through the project, a concerted effort is being made by CII to create a structured approach for manufacturers to engage with villages.
He further added that the project promotes the concept that business and society are inter-connected and interdependent, providing both the context and impetus for development.
While launching the project, Srinivasan said the aim is to train 150 to 200 ‘Village Buddha’ experts in the first year through three models and cover at least 10,000 villages over the next five years.
CII will train guides, mentors and subject experts from Indian industry with proven experience of implementing village improvement practices and supporting community activities inrespect to expand the module.
Needs of Rural market
Shoji Shiba, Chief Adviser, Champions for Societal Manufacturing Project, explain the Village Buddha programme and said that it is built on three beliefs: Today’s unsolved problems of the society are tomorrow’s business opportunities. Society can be best improved through systematic and organised initiatives. And business and manufacturing/services capability will enhance if business organisations work with society.
Shiba further said that Village Buddha will help companies appreciate the needs of rural markets and develop business models to tap opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid. The concept also envisages corporates working with the villagers and panchayats to identify breakthrough projects around community needs such as clean water or self-sufficiency in energy and education.
Karnataka Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj HK Patil appreciated the initiative and said that it offered an opportunity for holistic development of villages by inculcating a sense of brotherhood between industry and society. Earlier, contributions from the industry meant donating physical infrastructure.
Part of CSR strategy
Navas Meeran, Chairman, CII Southern Region, and Managing Director, Eastern Condiments, said, “Through this process, organisations will explore and enhance their capability to develop new businesses and offerings for the emerging markets in the rural and urban fringes of India, where significant growth is expected in the coming decades.”
CSR is increasingly becoming part of business strategy. It is estimated that more than 10,000 companies are already implementing CSR activities in villages. Village Buddha is designed to address this latent need in a systemic manner, he added.