Meeting The Nation’s Demand For Bank Notes Whilst Advocating For A Greener Future Brbnmpl’s Admirable Zero-Pollution Environment For The Workforce And The Community

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nd1Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has been in the business of printing currency notes for the Reserve Bank of India for the last 21 years. Headquartered at Bengaluru, with printing presses in Mysuru (Karnataka) and Salboni (West Bengal), the Company has contributed massively in making India self-sufficient in printing bank notes. It has successfully met the requirement of its parent organisation, the RBI, to bridge the gap between the supply and demand for bank notes in the country. The current capacity for both the presses is 16 billion note pieces per year on a two-shift basis.

Kaza Sudhakar, the dynamic MD of Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL), who has been responsible for bringing many changes in modernising the presses and augmenting the Company’s CSR initiatives talks to Archana Sinha of CSR Mandate all about the state-of-the-art technology and innovative methods the Company has employed to keep the environment at zero-pollution level, both inside the factories and in the communities they work in. He also talks about other pressing issues that India faces in terms of community building and how the company is addressing them. Excerpts…

Promoting environmental sustainability has become an important  part of running businesses. How does  your company help promote environmental friendly practices in the security printing industry?

The concept of CSR has been part of RBI  long before it became a law. We have been working at different levels in the communities where our factories are located to address many pressing issues.  Environment sustainability is one of the serious concerns we address by employing latest technologies that are of the highest standards, both in production as well as in disposing waste. This ensures absolutely zero-pollution environment for the workforce and the community.

nd2Earlier, we depended heavily on import of these papers, but with the government and the RBI setting up their own paper mills, only 50 percent of the paper requirement are imported and we are creating income-generating  opportunities for cotton farmers here in  our country. This is very satisfying. We are looking at better alignment of production of cotton and the integration of the rest of the supply chain to ensure farmers in India get better income and their spending power increases.

Ink, the other important raw material,was a hazardous material at one time. But now with advancement in technology and long years of R&D, it is no more toxic. For whatever is left to be tackled, we are in close contact with environment control agencies, and the sludge created is now being sold to various agencies approved by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) through tendering process. In fact, they are being bought and used up by cement factories in an approved manner as fuel and the ink sludge is completely incinerated.

The paper mill has zero effluence as no effluence is discharged outside. The water released is treated in the ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant), and most of it is reused for production; the remaining is used for gardening and horticulture purposes. Some of the water is evaporated in the evaporation units thus ensuring that no public amenities are polluted and no effluent is released in the air or water.

We are in the process of modernising our Wiping Solution Recycling & Treatment Plant (WSRTP) to make it totally green. Installation of New 650 TR Chiller with VFD in A.C. plant results in energy savings of 581 units per day and in turn having the cost saving for Rs. 4,067/- on a daily basis. Installation and commissioning of 100KW solar power plant on the rooftop has yielded energy saving of 1, 44,000 units per year, saving us Rs. 11.50 Lakhs per year.

Please share some of the initiatives taken by the Company to enhance cleaner air, water and surroundings inside the townships.

The areas in the vicinities are well maintained and completely pollution-free. The residential township built on a large area of 300 to 500 acres in Mysuru and Salboni have salubrious surroundings, with lots of fruit-bearing trees planted under our afforestation schemes. Around 189 acres of township is left as green belt in our townships, which is around 56 percent of the total area. We continue to plant new saplings regularly. This year we have planted around 200 saplings.

‘Effective management of ETP treated water from the paper mill has helped on-land irrigation of forest cover at BRBNMPL. Adaptation of better manufacturing practices and improved awareness among the workforce about environment protection, conservation of natural resources has been achieved. Decomposed manure from biodegradable waste is being used for the green cover in campus’ Over 400 solar water heaters have been provided at the residential quarters of BRBNMPL for harnessing renewable solar energy. LED bulbs are provided to all the township residents. The Mysuru Township has been declared as “Plastic-Free-Zone”, with strict prohibition on the use of plastic bags.

nd4Coming back to greening efforts, many open areas have been developed as gardens, parks with play areas and benches. Some areas have been left untamed by design, with no manicuring to give a feel of the natural surroundings and allowing flora and fauna to flourish. Water and air flow freely in these areas. Many birds and animals move freely and it is pleasing to see a peacock spreading  its feathers, or some rare birds foraging on the grounds of the gardens or in the forest areas of the townships.

What are the initiatives taken in the community towards preserving the environment, afforestation, offering cleaner water and sanitation to the underprivileged around the factory premises or in the city?

Joining hands with “Clean India” or the Prime Minister’s “Swatch Bharat” campaign, we are diligently encouraging a clean and healthy environment in the communities around our premises. Besides creating awareness about cleanliness at regular intervals, we have provided garbage carriers (3-Wheeler Tipper) in FY 2016-17 at Mysuru at an estimated cost of Rs.8 Lakhs to Siddalingapur Gram Panchayat covering Belavatha village, Mahadeshawara Layout.

It is well understood that the world is running out of sustainably-managed potable water. With a view to conserve water for posterity, we have joined hands with “Mysuru City Corporation” to develop Bommanahalli Lake’s (Tank) eco-system

This is expected to rejuvenate the lake in Mysuru city at an estimated cost of Rs. 30 Lakhs. We have also undertaken a project of Under Ground Drainage (UGD) Sewage Water System at Mahadeswara Village adjacent to our    township at a total cost of Rs. 20 Lakhs under the CSR activity – Sanitation and Public Health. This has ensured a cleaner environment and better health for the inhabitants. The Company has provided RO Water systems to various schools, Government hostels and charitable trust hostels for better health and hygiene.

Please share some of the other long term initiatives addressing the immediate needs in the nearby villages.

nd3Personally, I have been always interested in doing something for the community wherever my job takes me. Now this reminds me of my time as Regional Director with RBI at Bhubaneswar about 10 years back. I found that girls in government schools outnumbered boys in the lower classes. But as they progress to higher classes, there was a significant decrease in school attendance. By the time they reach Class X, only one or two girls attend school. On another incident during an outreach programme for RBI on spreading awareness about financial literacy and banking systems, one of the girls told me that the reason for them dropping out of school was the absence of toilets for them. This was alarming. Since then, I made it my life’s mission to build toilets in schools for girls in the immediate villages of our area of operations so that their education and efforts towards self-dependence is not hampered. I have been propagating the need for such basic amenities as toilets, water, books, and other such facilities which help girls overcome the obstacles in their education and process of self-empowerment.

We are also working on the rural development front by constructing hostels, classrooms, bicycle stands, ICDS centres, boundary walls etc. The Company has provided basic amenities such as furniture, TV, computers, uniform, water purifiers to the wards of various schools and hostels in rural areas like Belavatha, Siddalingapura, Laxmipura, Syadanahalli, Metagalli, K R Mill Colony, Nazarbad, P Hosalli, Bogadhi Hostel, Kesare Village in Mysuru and Kamala, Dhengasole and other villages in Salboni West Bengal. This has been done at a total cost of Rs. 1.34 Crore under the Education, Health and Family Welfare.

Health camps are regularly organised in villages as well in government hostels for boys and girls every year in Salboni and in Mysuru.

Salboni in West Bengal is in a remote area with little development. How do you address the needs there?

Right, the needs are different as the area is very under-developed and remote. Our work there involves building infrastructure for the villagers including roads, drinking water facilities, opening of dispensaries and equipping them with medicines, mainstream as well as alternative medicines.

We will always continue to follow this tradition.

nd5‘Building the entire infrastructure for schools, urgrading them, providing books and stationery, uniforms, providing financial  support to students who cannot  afford schooling, opening up of coaching classes, etc are some  of the activities we have taken upon ourselves to make schools  a fun and exciting place to be as  well as help expand the knowledge and horizons of  these precious children’

We also sponsor some sports activities in the villages around our work areas to encourage fitness and meaningful activities among youths. We are investing in promoting public health, public hygiene, and education. As a long term initiative on the education front, we sponsor educational expenses of poor children starting from pre-school level. We also sponsor private coaching to deserving and poor students by arranging private tutors through school authorities. Special tuition to socially and economically marginalised students of government hostels studying in Xth Standard, basic computer training, such as MS Office, Tally Package and communication skill development for the youth are provided on a regular basis.

nd6In the direction of working towards betterment of girl children, we are also supporting the government’s effort   towards promoting simple marriage.

Besides these, we are running free homoeopathic and allopathic clinics at remote areas for the benefit of the rural poor people. Sponsoring Thalassaemia Awareness Camp in nearby villages and schools is yet another area we are working on.

Any other initiative towards promoting employment sustainability?

We have aligned with the government’s programme of Skilling India and the Company is providing financial assistance of Rs.12 lakh for Skill Development Programmes to rural youths to help generate employment   opportunity. We are sponsoring 50 rural unemployed young graduates in and around Mysuru for various courses at Raman International Institute of Technology (RIIIT).

The Company has also adopted a few wildlife enclosures at the Zoo in Mysuru. Please share details about the initiative.

nd8Yes, conservation of wildlife is part of our environmental sustainability initiative. We have adopted four animals – an asiatic lion, a Bengal tiger and two giraffes at Mysuru Zoo at an annual total cost of Rs.4 Lakh/year with the purpose of educating and instilling empathy among the people about treating animals with love and respect.

Collaborations are the order of the day, be it in business or for long term CSR programmes. Have you also collaborated with some of the NGOs, institutions, other agencies or corporate houses to adopt a lake, village, and neighbouring area and help develop them in a holistic manner?

Yes, we have collaborated with an NGO in adopting three villages in Salboni to transform them as model villages. Currently, we are relying on direct initiatives to develop neighbouring villages, lakes etc.

Manufacturing in India is also one of your major concerns. Please share your effort towards this aspect of community sustainability.

Yes, we are working to ensure that we import as less as possible and align with the Government’s campaign of ‘Make in India. We have started manufacturing paper through a joint venture between Bank Note Paper Mill India Limited with Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), a Central Government undertaking. We also wish to manufacture ink for captive production. Recent researches have formulated materials that are bio-degradable with great colourific values with only 10-20 percent use of chemicals for binding.

nd7In fact, I consider our paper mills and note printing presses superior in upholding best eco-friendly practices to the foreign paper mills that I have visited and from where we have been importing paper. Overall, I can say that we are happy and proud to support the Government in upholding good governance practices which includes environment sustainability, education, health and skill development. We are committed to work hand-in-hand with the Government to set up more mills and factories in order to generate employment in our own country.

The corpus fund towards CSR is also going to increase considerably as we register better profitability in future. However, we are on the lookout for meaningful partnership with like-minded NGOs who are really doing remarkable work in the communities. We are carefully avoiding any bogus request for fund allocation to people with vested interests, so there is a cautious approach towards disbursing funds.

Please share anything else that we might have missed out during this conversation.

One of my major concerns is geriatric care – the care of old people. We have set up a dispensary and other facilities at an old age home recently. With nuclear families increasing and children going away from parents, including going abroad for education and jobs, more old people are living alone, and that is a reality. Concept of joint families has now broken down and many people despite being affluent are shifting to old age homes. They are an integral part of our society and we have to take them along as we move ahead.