Driving Financial Inclusion

For over 25 years now, Mahindra Finance, India’s leading Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) has partnered with unbanked and under-served communities across India to drive financial inclusion. This mission recently got a significant boost with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, anchoring an investment round of USD 200 million in Mahindra Finance.

According to a recent study by the IFC, even though Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) account for more than 80% of industrial enterprises and over 45% of exports, the total credit gap for MSMEs in India is around USD 397.5 billion, around 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Targeted lending to MSMEs owned by women and the financing gap for MSMEs in low-income states is acute.

While the IFC has invested 75 million dollars from its account, it is mobilizing another 125 million dollars as parallel loans. From the pool, at least USD 100 million will be earmarked for MSMEs owned by women. Mahindra Finance has also committed USD 225 million to this pool. This investment will be used to create a dedicated pool of financing for MSMEs in low-income states. It will also help enhance credit in rural and semi-urban regions, with customized solutions for women borrowers.

‘Baby Cheetah’ Sprints To BS-VI Norms

By April 2020, all vehicles in India will have to meet stringent new Bharat Stage 6 (BS-VI) emission norms, which are equivalent to the Euro 6 standards prevalent in Europe. Much ahead of this deadline, the Mahindra Group has launched its first BS-VI compliant SUV, the stylish and thrilling XUV300. The BS-VI version of the XUV300 will be available on all its 1.2-litre turbo petrol offerings.

The Bharat Stage Emissions Standards (BSES), introduced in the year 2000, are automotive emissions standards mandated by the Government of India to keep a check on air pollutants from internal combustion engines - both petrol and diesel.

Rajan Wadhera, President, Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., said, “We are delighted to launch our first BS-VI vehicle. It is a milestone in our BS-VI transition journey. Despite tight timelines, along with our suppliers, we have met the challenging requirements of these tighter emission norms, much ahead of the stipulated timeline. We will progressively upgrade our entire range with cleaner emissions technology.”

In keeping with the spirit of ‘Make-in-India’, the Mahindra Group is aligned to the Government’s vision of transitioning to BS-VI compliant vehicles before April 2020. At a substantial investment of over Rs 1,000 crores, the Company has already developed 8 diesel and 8 petrol engines (most petrol engines will be CNG ready) over the past 3.5 years to prepare for the BS-VI mandate and is fully prepared to meet the deadline across all the product categories.

Building Targets

A pioneer of the green homes movement, Mahindra Lifespaces is the only real estate company in India to get its targets approved by the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi). Globally, Mahindra Lifespaces is now among the first 7 real-estate companies whose targets are in line with the level of de-carbonization required to keep global temperatures below 1.5-degrees celsius as approved by SBTi. These emissions targets set a clear roadmap to optimize the carbon footprint and enable the transition towards a low carbon economy that will reduce future climate change risks.

Sangeeta Prasad, MD & CEO, Mahindra Lifespaces Developers Ltd., said, “We are delighted about the ratification of our science-based targets, which further strengthens our commitment to sustainable urbanisation in India. Our sustainability initiatives are also an essential element in Mahindra Lifespaces being a responsible and trusted partner to our customers and other stakeholders.”

As per studies, buildings are known to cause between 30% and 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In India, 70% of all buildings needed by 2050 are yet to be built. The transition to green buildings, where energy consumption is reduced by more than one-third, is very critical.

Companies around the world are responding to the need for making the transition to low-carbon business models of the future. This provides a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly companies need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Growth Through Commitment

For nearly five years, Sneha Ravindra Parab, Deputy Manager, Employee Relations, Mahindra Auto Sector, has marshaled a team of 4,500 blue-collar associates to mobilize forces on the factory floor with clockwork precision. From looking under the hood of the car to resolving employee issues on the shop floor, she has done it all with élan to ensure efficient operations at Mahindra’s Auto Sector Plants in both, Nashik and Kandivali, Mumbai.

With a Masters in Labour Studies from Maharashtra, Sneha joined the Mahindra Automotive Sector as a Management Trainee – Employee Relations under “Young Sparks Program”. Since then, she has been sparking change and leading the charge from the front. During the first few months of induction, Sneha was welding, painting and assembling vehicles on the production line. Armed with the necessary hands-on experience soon Sneha started training associates, handling organizational development, and conducting employee engagement activities. Today, she is the only female member in a team of eight who together deal with labor unions, handles grievances and manages Industrial Relations from Mahindra’s Kandivali plant. Sneha has consistently been the ‘Achiever of the Year’, a coveted title conferred by the Chief of Manufacturing Operations, Automotive Sector.

Appreciating the work atmosphere of the organization, Sneha says, “If you ask me why I have been with the Mahindra Group for 5 years, the answer to that is simple
– I love the work culture of the organization. Whether it is providing equal opportunity to everyone in the Company, or felicitating employees for their contribution – the Group values the uniqueness of every individual working here.”

As Sneha speaks to Echo, she acknowledges that an employee relation role in a manufacturing unit, that is still considered a male bastion, came with its fair set of challenges. While the Mahindra Group gave her the much-needed impetus to carve out a niche for herself in a role not much-frequented by women, Sneha augmented the virtuous cycle. She nurtured a supportive and collaborative culture that soon grew to facilitate an environment of growth and inclusion.

Instead of taking the usual approach, she chose to be flexible and break the existing biases against women by
re-writing the rules. By investing time and effort and connecting with people at a personal level, Sneha could slowly challenge the apprehensions about being the only female member on the floor. As the attitudes toward workforce participation as well as the available professional opportunities shift, Sneha strongly advocates that team-building is the biggest gate pass to acceptance.

The window by Sneha’s work-desk overlooks the factories. As the discussion comes to a close, a middle-aged factory worker comes hustling down during his recess and asks if ‘Sneha Madam’ will join them for the ‘5-min chai break’. Sneha smiles and goes. Knowing how coveted these
5-minute breaks are in the factory production line, the gesture in itself reflects and celebrates the intrinsic values of inclusion that Mahindra is known for.

  Tweet of the Week

CP Gurnani, CEO and MD, Tech Mahindra

For an intentionally-diverse & naturally-inclusive company like @tech_mahindra, every day belongs to people with different abilities. Here's a big shout out to my colleagues who refuse to accept any limits. From disability to #ThisAbility this is #ADay4All

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