Financial Interest

Openness and transparency is an integral part of the Mahindra Group’s DNA ensuring that all decisions are clearly communicated across the organization to build trust and boost employee engagement. With this in mind, Mahindra’s senior leadership organized the second GCO Townhall since the imposition of the lockdown due to Covid-19.

Setting the context, Dr Anish Shah, Deputy Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., gave a detailed account of the company's efforts to tackle the Corona pandemic and the efforts taken to ensure the safety of every employee. He also talked about the prospects for the Indian economy. “Even though the outlook seems gloomy, there are some bright spots – the monsoon has begun well, there is an increase in rural spending which is helping the economy, and interest rates have been lowered,” he explained.

In his address, Ruzbeh Irani, President (Group HR and Communications), Mahindra Group, talked about the efforts made by the company to ensure salaries were not cut to insulate employees from further stress. In the post Corona situation, the Group had also simplified and modernized the leave policy to ensure a better Work-Life balance. Dr Shah introduced Amit Raje, Executive Vice President, Partnerships and Alliances who has joined the Group recently. Mr Raje gave a detailed account of his formative years and his industry experience, expressing his confidence and optimism about being a part of Mahindra.

Ramesh Iyer, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra Finance, gave a detailed account of the business’s phenomenal growth. From a make-shift office, with four employees, Mahindra Finance has grown to become one of the largest non-banking financial companies (NBFC) serving rural India, with 33,000 employees across the country, and assets under management of almost Rs 80,000 crore.

Mahindra Finance went public in 2006, with its market capitalization growing from Rs 2,000 crore at the time of listing, to Rs 12,000 crore today. Stating that Mahindra Finance’s growth story reflects the Rise philosophy, Mr. Iyer said, the company’s success lies in its innovative, yet simple and transparent business approach, which also helped it develop long-lasting and mutually beneficial business partnerships.

The company has successfully created a strong, deeply penetrated rural financial inclusion model, delivered locally through a large network of locally recruited employees, who understand the customers and the nuances of the market. With its 2,000-branch network, it covers more than 90% of the districts in India and has served close to 7 million customers in over 4 lakh villages, which is more than one in every two villages in the country.

The current buoyancy in rural markets, coupled with an above average monsoon, a good crop, and the unfolding of the rural infrastructure story, all bode well for rural focused businesses. The current scenario has also afforded the team at Mahindra Finance, the time and opportunity to re-orient their thinking and strategy, to capitalize on the resurgence of the rural economy.

XUV300 Gets Global Safety Recognition

Mahindra’s compact SUV model, the XUV300, has topped Global NCAP’s six-year safety rankings for Indian made vehicles. Global NCAP is the umbrella body of consumer car safety testing bodies and has completed safety assessments on more than 38 models during this period. GNCAP has ranked the XUV300 as the safest vehicle it has tested during the 2014 to 2020 period.

Commenting on this global recognition, Veejay Nakra, CEO – Automotive Division, said, “This is a proud moment for us at Mahindra. Earlier this year, the XUV300 was rated as the safest vehicle in India by the GNCAP, and now it’s being recognized as the safest vehicle over the last six years. This demonstrates our strong commitment towards vehicle safety. It’s a big leap forward for the Indian automotive industry as a homegrown brand takes the lead on safety. At Mahindra, safety is at the very heart of all our vehicles, and we will continue to raise the bar on safety with our future vehicles.”

The XU300 scored the highest combined occupant safety rating, with Global NACP ranking it 5 stars for adult occupant protection, and 4 stars for child occupant protection – the latter is a first in India. In fact, Mahindra is the first and only manufacturer to be awarded the ‘Safer Choice Award’ by GNCAP, which conducted its official test in Germany earlier this year.

The Mahindra XUV300 offers customers 50 unmatched safety features, including some segment firsts such as 7 airbags, including dual front, side, curtain, and knee airbags; disc brakes on all 4 wheels – a first among sub 4-metre compact SUVs; front and rear parking sensors; and heated ORVMS.

Other Safety features include an auto-dimming IRVM; rear camera with adaptive guidelines; ABS and EBD standard across all variants; ISOFIX child seat anchors; 3-point seat belts for all seats, speed-sensing door locks and impact-sensing door unlocks, among others.

The Power of Solar

The power of Thinking Big seems to have been perfected by Mahindra Susten. If any proof were needed, then take a look at Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd ((RUMSL), as the best example of this thinking at work. The 750MW Rewa power plant, inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2019, has the distinction of being Asia’s largest solar power project.

Spread over 1,500 hectares in Gurh tehsil of Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh, the plant is divided into 3 units of 250MW each.

Mahindra Renewables Private Ltd has been allotted one 250MW unit through tariff based competitive bidding conducted by RUMSL. RUMSL, a joint venture between the Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikash Nigam Ltd and the Solar Energy Corporation of India, is the implementing agency of the Solar Park. Mahindra Susten was one of three companies that won the project in the reverse auction by bidding one of the lowest tariffs.

In addition to the green power generated, the Rewa solar park project is also expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to about 15 lakh tons of carbon dioxide per year. However, numerous challenges had to be overcome before the project could be operationalized. The DevCo team of Mahindra Susten’s engineering team led by the Mahindra Rise principle of Accepting No Limits worked around the challenges to complete the project.

The hard strata of the land made digging trenches to lay cables a difficult task. The DevCo team devised a new innovative method for cable laying. The all-terrain cable tray makes use of the vertical posts erected for the module mounting structure. This is the first-ever solar photovoltaic project in which this innovative cable laying method has been utilized.

There were other challenges too - power evacuation, de-monetization and the introduction of GST which affected switchyard readiness. The Mahindra Susten unit was the first to achieve initial part commissioning.

The Rewa project is one of Mahindra Susten’s largest ones implemented so far, and also the most complex considering the size, land strata, involvement of multiple off-takers and states. The Operation and Maintenance of the project is done by Mahindra Teqo, which helped the team secure similar contracts for two other projects in the Rewa solar park. The entire 750MW capacity of the park is being managed by the Mahindra Teqo team.

Riding on the experience and learning of the Rewa project, the DevCo team have now secured three more projects –two ISTS connected projects of 250MW each, and one State project of 200MW, taking its total portfolio to ~1650MWp.

Empowerment Through Education

Giving back to the community to bring about positive change & transformation has been the stated objective of the KC Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET) since its foundation in 1953. Ever since then, the trust has been actively encouraging the best and brightest students by providing scholarships for post graduate studies in top international universities.

KCMET recently announced the grant of 55 scholarships for post graduate studies abroad. The Trust had received 1,246 applications, out of which 90 were shortlisted, following a careful evaluation by the selection committee. The shortlisted candidates included 23 graduates from the various IITs, alumni from premier educational institutions such as BITS Pilani, National Law Schools, etc.

KCMET announced that the top four scholars will be awarded Rs 8 lakhs each, while the rest will receive Rs 4 lakhs. “I hope that each one of our scholars uses this unique opportunity to not only pursue their educational goals, but also creates a positive future impact on the communities in which they live and work,” said Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group.

“The ongoing pandemic has significantly disrupted the higher education sector, which is a critical driver of a country’s economic future,’ added Mr Mahindra, who headed the Selection Committee. “Despite these unprecedented times, we were able to facilitate the programme for students through virtual interviews.”

The students, who have secured admission to highly regarded international universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, and UC Berkeley, will pursue their post-graduate studies in a wide range of subjects including Computer Science, Engineering, MBA, Architecture, Design, Law, Public Policy and Economics.

Founded by the late KC Mahindra, the KCMET has continuously strived to promote literacy and higher learning in India. The goal was to transform the lives of Indians through education, by providing financial assistance across age and income strata.

Over the last 67 years, KCMET’s educational initiatives have dispersed over USD 88 million in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans, and have touched the lives of over 400,000 deserving students.

  Tweet of the Week

Pawan Goenka

It was exciting to hear clinking of metal and whirling of robotic arms after five months. Visited Igatpuri and Nashik plants over the weekend and was proud to see the lines up and running, with enhanced health and safety practices in place. Thank you team. @MahindraRise

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