The Aditya Birla group plans to set up a vocational training centre in Mavoor, Kerala, where the group’s manufacturing units once were.

In 1968, Grasim (an Aditya Birla company) set up viscose staple fibre and rayon grade pulp units across 320 acres in Mavoor.

In the backdrop of alleged environmental concerns, the company closed down the units in 1999 citing lack of raw material.

The 320 acres of land, which the Aditya Birla group owns, will now be used for a vocational training centre. The Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, the group’s CSR (corporate social responsibility) arm, plans to invest Rs 100 crore in this project.

The training facility expects to train 10,000 people a year across vocations such as Ayurveda, tailoring, carpentry, masonry and plumbing, said Rajashree Birla, wife of the late Aditya Birla, who is spearheading the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of the group.

The Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development already runs 22 vocational training units across the country.

The Centre plans to pump in Rs 150 crore this year into other CSR initiatives.

They include a cancer centre at the Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital in Pune and a telemedicine set-up at the G. D. Birla Hospital in Ujjain.

Ficci tie-up

The Aditya Birla group has tied up with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to mentor companies, especially small and medium enterprises, on CSR activities. The group hopes this initiative will gather steam this year, said Rajashree Birla, on the sidelines of a seminar organised by FICCI on CSR.

Speaking at the seminar, she said that organisations must embed CSR in their mainstream activities.

“CSR must be integrated into the marketing and community initiatives. Companies must also encourage employ volunteerism.

“CSR stimulates business development. Customers prefer companies with a social conscience.

“Shareholders and investors also gravitate towards organisations with social responsibility,” she elaborated.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 18, 2012)
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