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Mahindra - Surveying widened horizons

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Mahindra held its second GCO Townhall during the lockdown to take stock of the Group's broad business landscape

Openness and transparency is an integral part of the Mahindra Group’s DNA. All decisions are clearly communicated across the organisation to build trust and boost employee engagement. To seed this philosophy further, Mahindra’s senior leadership organised 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 coronavirus pandemic and the efforts taken to ensure the safety of every employee. He also talked about the prospects for the Indian economy. “Despite the apparently gloomy outlook, there are some bright spots – the monsoon has begun well and an increase in rural spending is helping the economy. Also, interest rates have been lowered,”he explained.

In his address, RuzbehIrani, President (Group HR and Communications), Mahindra Group, talked about the efforts made by the company to ensure no imposition of salary cuts so as to insulate employees from further stress. In the post pandemic situation, the Group had also simplified and modernised the leave policy to ensure better work-life balance. Dr Shah introduced Amit Raje, Executive Vice President, Partnerships and Alliances, a new entrant in the Group. Mr Raje gave a detailed account of his formative years and his industry experience and expressed confidence and optimism about being an integral part of the Group.

During the townhall, Ramesh Iyer, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra Finance, gave a detailed account of the business’ 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 employeesacross the country, and assets under management of almost Rs80,000 crore.

Mahindra Finance went public in 2006, with its market capitalisation growing from Rs2,000 crore at the time of listing, to Rs12,000 crore today. Stating that Mahindra Finance’s growth story reflects the Rise philosophy, Mr Iyermaintained that the company’s success lies in its innovative, yet simple and transparent business approach which has helped it develop long-lasting and mutually beneficial business partnerships.

The company has successfully created a strong and deeply penetrating rural financial inclusion model. The model is delivered locally through a large network of locally recruited employeeswho understand customers and market nuances. With its 2,000-branch network, it covers more than 90 percent of India's districts and has served close to seven million customers in over 400,000 villages — more than one customer in every two villages, nationwide.

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