Dear Supporters and Well-wishers of Safe-in-India
It is with great pride and gratitude that we report the developments of our first full year of operations to you.
As you would remember, we had decided to focus on obtaining ESIC compensations and heath-care for workers with crush-injuries in the automobile sector before starting work on improving safety in the supply chain. We wanted to have 1000+ injured workers with us and obtain Rs1cr+ compensation first, to gain credibility and a certain scale in the eco-system. We are pleased to advise that we achieved this scale in 2017, ahead of our expectations as below.
But first, it’s important to thank Aajeevika Bureau, our partner and incubator, who continued to provide us excellent support and guidance in strategy, operations and management input.
Assisted 703 injured workers through the ESIC Hospitals/Dispensary processes in obtaining health-care (2016: 337). Now 1000+ injured workers registered with us, with their complete data!
40% of registered workers above asked us for help in their ESIC compensations (2016: 22%) in 2016; reflecting our increasing credibility.
Collected Rs1.5cr from ESIC (2016: Rs7lacs; target Rs1cr) for 67 workers (2016: 2), a result of us developing deep understanding of ESIC processes and mapping our intensive follow-up processes to theirs.
Ended the year with pipeline of 177 compensation cases exceeding Rs2cr (2016: Rs50lacs) but claims can still take 2-12 months.
Started and conducted 11 worker support group meetings. Average attendance 22 injured workers. A unique platform n NCR for such workers.
Collected robust data from Our 1000+ injured workers who are from c.140 tier 2/3 factories, which produce components for one or more of the three large regional OEMs. - We now have 700+ workers injured in Maruti’s Supply Chain, 650+ in Honda’s and 500+ in Hero’s. - 550+ workers with us have lost limbs/fingers in one or both hands. 300+ have had fractures - Power Press is the biggest culprit with 450+ workers injured on it. We are going to use this information to start our safety-initiatives in 2018. Our impact Report is published monthly and is here. Our real success is in the day to day feedback from our workers expressed in their testimonials. See Arjun’s video here for one such story.
Opened our first Worker Support Centre in Manesar in Dec16.
Our Team: Recruited an additional outreach executive in Jul17 and two part-time consultants including an engineering graduate from IIT Roorkee, who went blind due to illness but fought back, establishing himself as an author in Hindi, and a motivational speaker. He will help lead our worker support groups during 2018.
We now have four Shramik-Mitrs (“friends of workers”). They are, mostly injured workers themselves, willing to expend personal effort supporting others, and therefore critical to a self-sustaining support eco-system.
Registered as a Sec8 company, “Safe in India Foundation”, thanks to the efforts of our supporting CA firm JVA Associates. Our second part time consultant will organize governance for this newco. Applied for sec 80G and 12A approvals.
First set of SII independent (not as a project under AB) audited financials expected for FYE Mar18. This will start our three year track-record needed for partnerships and additional sources of funding. We are currently within the budget IIMA91 batch funded us for. Our FYE mar17 financials are here.
Started development of a cost-effective IT system under Mr Dhananjay Nene, our IIMA91 batch-mate, for majority of our data capture and MI reporting needs. Currently under production. Expected live date Mar18. Thanks are also due to Laveena Shetty for helping us maintain our website www.safeinindian.org and Monika Bharti, another IIMA91 batch-mate, who is helping us with government contacts.
First internship by six bright student from SOIL (School for Inspired Leadership; a post-grad college), Gurgoan, for first year data clean up/ analysis, and IT system development. Reports to be published in 2Q18. We also delivered our second three hour case-study/lecture to 350+ IIMA First year students on social responsibility in Nov17 and received very positive feedback on its impact from students and professors.
Relationship and developments regarding ESIC
Monthly Management Information to ESIC Gurgaon-Director and national head office to (a) show-case problems with processes (b) make recommendations (c) push for resolution of our pending cases. We believe that it has had a good impact. We will continue with this MI and will publish a consolidated report for 2017 in 1Q18 to take to DG ESIC. Good examples of changes achieved: a) Stopped corrupt practices by some local shop-keepers in distributing MRE Forms for cash. Now ESIC BO is distributing them free. b) ESIC staff, often does not acknowledge receipt of documents, which are then “lost”. We now send workers with a covering letter that ESIC staff needs to acknowledge, reducing the incidence of lost documents, though a systemic change in ESIC for this important issue is still overdue.
Detailed recommendations to ESIC on ESIC Rules and Regulations 1952 sent in Mar17 escalated in several meetings but not enough evidence yet of any material changes. Planned changes in labour laws a potential reason. To be escalated further at higher level of government through 2018.
Built good working relationships with ESIC’s Gurgaon SRO and branch offices and National HO. Safe-in-India is now the single biggest contributor to some of ESIC Gurgaon’s activities eg. a) Gurgaon Medical Boards (average 31% of all attendees are from SII), and b) Suvidha Samagam (increased attendance at this ESIC Resolution Forum from < 5 to now 15-18 workers per month of which more than two-thirds are from SII).
An understandable cynicism among workers about NGOs. Our collateral declares “free services” and our events reinforce the message.
Lost contact with c.30% of our workers as they move continuously or are not as pro-active as they need to be. Many of them return to their villages especially after injury with hopes lost. We continue to try different methods to improve this.
Delays by factory management in providing documentation for claims. Although this is ESIC’s responsibility, there is a lack of capacity/ willingness to deliver. In 2018, we plan to start following up with some of the factories directly - something we have avoided until now.
Retention of Sharmik Mitrs for longer periods especially as they move locations and have personal pressures. We may not be able to change this a lot but will recruit higher numbers for scale in 2018.
The usual corrupt practices in the system. We have highlighted specific instances and some of them have been resolved though there is clearly the need for systemic change.
We will continue building on 2017 success and credibility in Gurgaon-Manesar and consider geographical expansion in 2H18. Additional injured workers registered will be at least 1000 and we will aim to obtain compensations in excess of Rs3.5cr. We will also recruit 15 Shramik Mitrs to promote events and awareness programmes. We will conduct 12+ support group meetings for average 25+ injured workers. In 1Q18, we have already started an outreach programs in 14 villages in 1Q18.
In 2018, we will also publish a full report(s) on SII’s ESIC experiences and recommendations to influence ESIC operations and policy.
The initiatives currently envisaged for starting the Safety-agenda include recruiting a Head of SII safety initiative, publishing a report on SII’s 1000+ workers’ safety and injury experience for escalation to OEMs, conducting a consultant-led independent research in auto-sector supply chain in Gurgaon and its safety-issues, assessing possibility of safety solutions for “press-machines”, the largest contributor of all accidents in auto-sector supply chain, and creating a long-term strategy for improving auto-sector safety in India.
We are highly satisfied with first full year of operations and are now reasonably well established in the Gurgaon worker community to support them with their problems with ESIC. We feel confident that this activity will continue to grow although we will probably reach a limit soon within Gurgoan-Manesar, after which we may want to expand to another area for providing ESIC benefits.
Importantly, we now need to use this experience, data and credibility to start working on improving safety in auto-sector supply chain so that our workers do not have to lose their hands or fingers to these accidents! This will be a long term play and we believe we are up for it!
Thank you again from the Safe-in-India team and we look forward to your continued support.