The Story of ejunction
I believe that if one were to be serious about CSR and really do something positive and impactful, the following two conditions first need to be met:
* The leadership of the Corporate passionately believe in wanting to give back to the community without any strings attached. By community, I mean those who are less fortunate than we are.
* You need to give to the community something that they need and that you are good at providing. It is really important that the need is clearly established as also the corporates strength and capability of meeting the need on an on going basis.
In the case of mjunction which was incorporated in 2002 as a Joint Venture of Tata Steel and SAIL, the desire to give back to the community was very strong.
I had joined Tata Steel at the age of 21 and over the next 24 years that I was with Tata Steel I imbibed the culture that Tata Steel had of giving back to the community. I was personally involved with some of the work that Tata Steel Rural Development Society was doing in Hyderabad during 1989-1992 as also with Tata Council for Community Initiative in Bangalore from 1994-1997. Thereafter, soon after mjunction was incorporated in 2002 and even before our business model was established, the small number of Executives that made up the company at that point of time wanted in some way or the other to give back to the community.
I recall, that our Executives would not only visit out lying villages around Calcutta taking along with them medical doctors from Tata Steel. In three or four SUVs stocked up with medicines. So that, poor patients in the villages would be treated. Giving up their weekends for this cause, but also spending holidays, specially religious holidays at the Homes For The Aged to bring the people cheer. There were a number of other initiatives of giving back to the community by our Executives all on a voluntary basis.
However, I noticed that though the desire to give back was extremely strong in mjunction and possibly some needs of the community were also being fulfilled. We were not really offering them something that we were good at and hence the sustainability of what we were doing was always in question. As also the quality of what we were doing. We then looked within ourselves to see what it is that we do and are good at and would continue to be refine and improve, so that, the quality of our offering could only improve.
mjunction is in the business of building platforms. Platforms that not only bridge the gap between Sellers and Buyers but also pave it with efficiency and transparency with the innovative use of technology. We have done this for the steel industry in India through our business unit ‘metaljunction’ which has enabled metaljunction to become the world’s largest electronic steel market place. This was done by facilitating the smallest consumers and traders of steel to buy directly from the large integrated main producers of steel resolving, all the issues and problems which existed. Of course, this is an ongoing journey and new problems and issues do surface and also new opportunities to establish an even stronger value chain between the producers and consumers.
We did this for the coal industry as well when coaljunction designed a unique methodology for the sale of coal in India to the unregulated sectors. The methodology designed by us has enabled Coal India to sell over 400 million tonnes of coal since 2005 in a transparent and efficient manner to over 10,000 small and large consumers and traders of coal.
We have launched a number of other junctions as well which I will not talk about over here at this point of time, but come back for the story of ejunction.
So on the one hand we had a very strong desire of giving back to those less fortunate and on the other hand we had a capability to provide a platform to teach computer education. Our Executives who number close to 700 today, are extremely knowledgeable about the computer. mjunction, the Company, has the necessary infrastructure by way of hardware, software, training rooms at the various offices across the country.
As far as the need is concerned thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people in the country who would like to acquire computer education as also communication skills which would either help them in getting jobs or help them in moving to higher positions in the companies that they are already working in was firmly established.
However, as these people were either socially disadvantaged or physically challenged or economically deprived, they were not given the opportunity to learn or upgrade their skills. This then, defined the birth of ejunction.
ejunction is a Trust which was set up in 2005 which currently operates in 30 centres across the country and where computer education and communication skills is imparted in a four month curriculum that we have designed with the experts specially trained to meet the requirement of the industry. So that, when a student passes out from ejunction he/she is ready to be employed by the industry specially the Hospitality, Retail and ITES Industries. Of course, some of our students have joined other industries including the Indian Railways.
Last year 2000 students were trained in ejunction and this year the target is to increase it by 50% to 3000 students. Over 60% of our Executives train these students on a totally voluntary basis and some of our customers such as The Tinplate Co. of India and Tata Steel etc. have joined us in this endeavour and their Executives are also working along with ours in imparting this training.
The joy that this gives our Executives who come into office before office hours and stay back after office hours and also give up their weekends to conduct these classes is wonderful to behold. And of course on graduation day it is wonderful to see the students who have gone through this four month programme adding value to their life, which they would soon be able to monetise and become a more productive member of the country.