The inclusive development is not an obligation to be met, it is a strategy for growth and sustainability
I meet many entrepreneurs to learn about the blend between business, benevolence and beauty. H.R. Gaikwad, founder of Bharat Vikas Group who started with eight lakh rupees and eight employees in 1997 and today has a turnover of 1400 crores and 45 thousand employees. The first office was in a cattle shed and today he has two offices of more than forty thousand square feet. But this is not what I want to write about. It is also not important that he has earned the privilege of maintaining the facilities in the President’s House, the Prime Minister’s House and Office and numerous other establishments including JSW. What is worth celebrating is the value set of BVG, which has created a situation of almost no attrition of staff and achievement of extraordinary quality in sanitation, waste management, electrical maintenance and erection, landscaping, plant shifting and numerous other services. Half of the Tata Nano plant from Singur to Sanand was shifted by BVG.
How was a blend of ethics, efficiency and environment incorporated in a triangle of business, benevolence and beauty? The key drivers of growth have been a desire to pick staff (almost 85-90%) from rural areas, 50% from disadvantaged groups including around 2000 widows and abandoned women. The message is very clear. The inclusive development is not an obligation to be met, it is a strategy for growth and sustainability. People who have not studied much, have been trained to handle complex equipments, service management in strategic locations and to create beautiful landscapes in various industrial plants and facilities from a few acres to 10000 acres at an extraordinary low cost.
At a time when the economy is in downturn, there are entrepreneurs who are expanding and growing. BVG is going to set up a food park in Satara which will be a state of art facility for adding value to farm produce. When I met Mr Gaikwad and Co-Chair Mr Umesh Mane and other senior and junior colleagues, it was apparent that he had developed a unique culture of respecting, recognizing and rewarding the contribution of the staff at all levels. Jagannath, the driver of his vehicle, who took us around, has been with him from the first group of eight employees. He recalled that when they got the contract for maintaining services in the Parliament House, they realized that without mechanization of as many tasks as possible, including sweeping of the roads, they would not be able to provide high quality service and add dignity to the service providing workforce. In almost all their commercial projects, mechanization of service maintenance is one of the key contributors, according to Jagannath, for reducing cost and improving efficiency.
What kind of institutional environment do we need for such entrepreneurs to become a point of reference in the country. How should we ensure that when there is an economic downturn, economic growth is achieved through a confluence of efficiency, excellence, ethics and concern for the environment. In the morning, I was in the JSW complex where the quality of maintenance and services was of international standard. I did not know that this campus was also maintained by BVG. Having planted more than a crore of trees every year, they have created new responsibility benchmarks towards nature. I will share the story of JSW’s growth next week in the similar situation of economic downturn. It is time that India creates new points of reference for frugal, friendly and flexible management models which are no less respectful of the environment and ethics.