Towards a Vibrant Culture
A Smile on every face in Godrej
  March - April 2002   
  Vol. 2 No.2   
Know Your Founders Oddities, Eccentricities, Etc. Of Enduring Interest Corporate Commentary Back to Main Page Editorial


The Bajaj Group


“Our wealth should be utilised for improving the quality of the society and the nation. We should never fail to spend at least a portion of our incomes on the social, economic and educational development of the province where we live.”
— Jamnalal Bajaj

“Jamnalalji adopted me as father. He should have been heir to my all. Instead, he has left me heir to his all.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

BHL Hospital
C.M.O Kheri visited F.P.Camp at BHL Hospital gate on 15-12-2000. registration of ladies for operation at BHL Hospital Camp.

Jamnalal Bajaj is today recognised as founder of the reputed Bajaj Group of Companies. But for those who knew him intimately, he was the prince of patriots and easily among the most prominent selfless, intrepid and the humblest constructive workers of the Gandhian era. For long Jamnalal Bajaj was in search of a master whose steps were in consonance with his utterances, whose precepts were in accord with his practice. In Gandhiji he found such a person and, therefore, “surrendered his whole being to the Mahatma with unflagging faith and without any mental reservation.” This prompted his biographer M. V. Kamath to title his book Gandhi’s Coolie. Conscious of the low literacy percentage in India and the need to educate more and more children, Jamnalal Bajaj established the Shiksha Mandal way back in 1914.

Soon after Jamnalal’s passing away, his sons, the late Kamalnayan Bajaj and the late Ramkrishna Bajaj, in consultation with the Mahatma, established the Jamnalal Bajaj Seva Trust in 1942 in his memory to carry on various social welfare activities on behalf of the Bajaj Group of Companies. The Trust Deed of this Trust had also been initialled by Gandhiji.

Both the sons followed the aims and ideals preached and practised by their father Jamnalal. According to the late Ramkrishna Bajaj, Chairman of the Bajaj Group of Companies, “Business being a social institution, has to try to fulfil its wider obligations towards the community in which it operates. This is also in its own long term and enlightened self-interest.”

Ramkrishna was particularly concerned about India’s rapidly increasing population. In 1977, as part of the Group’s social welfare activities, Ramkrishna introduced the Family Planning Scheme in a big way at the Bajaj factories, mainly to cover the labour class. The Scheme was conceived and launched in different units of Bajaj as the Group’s contribution to Government’s natio-nal policy of controlling our burgeoning population. Ramkrishna gave much importance to this programme as he knew that successful practice of Family Planning would not only contain the population and poverty, but would also help in eliminating the evil of child labour, a cause of concern for national and international leaders.

Special Family Planning Cells were created in the respective units with knowledgeable persons to create awareness among the illiterate and labour classes. One of the Family Planning Cells, under the auspices of Hindusthan Sugar Mills Ltd. (presently known as Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd.), was able to persuade 11,022 individuals to undergo laproscopic operations in Kheri District in Uttar Pradesh during 1977 to 1982, the entire expenses being borne by the Company. The Scheme not only enabled the families of Bajaj employees overcome poverty, but also made their children educated and alert citizens.

The Bajaj Group started making sustained efforts to improve living conditions of the vulnerable sections by supplying necessary inputs and creating and fostering an urge among them to be self-reliant with a view to raise their economic and social status and standard. Some of the Group Companies of Bajaj such as Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd., Bajaj Auto Ltd., Bajaj Electricals Ltd., Hind Lamps, etc. launched their rural development programmes in 1978. These units ensured local participation in implementation of its intended programmes with special emphasis on promoting development of rural industries, generation of employment opportunities, provision of basic amenities such as drinking water, health,education, link roads, etc.

Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd.

Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd. (BHL) conducts Family Planning camps for its employees and their relatives at its Mills Hospital at Golagokarannath in U.P. and at the Railway Hospital in Maliani. Employees receive an incentive of Rs. 100/- from the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation for participating in these camps. Additionally, the District Government Health Department also provides an incentive of Rs. 100/- to the employee. Medical experts of the Primary Health Centre and Community Health Centre closely follow the employee’s case, especially after sterilization. The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation also bears additional expenses such as tents, emergency medicines, tea, snacks, etc. for health care. The Foundation, along with the District Health Department, has also provided a team of expert medical surgeons for a higher success rate in Family Planning.

Apart from the above, BHL has motivated villagers of a cluster of 26 villages at Londonpur Grant, Uttar Pradesh, to participate in Family Planning and Family Welfare programmes. Here, Bajaj acted mainly as catalyst and coordinator with the State Government, Semi-Government Institutions and the State Bank. Initially BHL encountered tough resistance from people. However, the Company successfully overcome this barrier by undertaking certain gesture projects such as renovation of existing wells and provision of pumps at public places to meet the long felt need of pure drinking water and construction of a separate small building for a primary and Junior High School, which had no building of its own. This motivated the villagers tremendously.

In recent years BHL has undertaken Family Planning programmes and social welfare projects in Uttar Pradesh in association with the Family Planning Association of India and the State Health and Forest Department for the benefit of the weaker sections of society.

BHL received an Award from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FICCI) on Rural Development in 1982, and also the Individual Golden Jubilee Award from the Indian Sugar Mills Association to the Manager, Rural Development and Family Planning in 1984.

Bajaj Auto Limited

Bajaj Auto Ltd. (BAL) initiated Family Planning measures for its employees in a small way in 1974 under the guidance of its Chairman & Managing Director, Rahul Bajaj. It gave a variety of incentives to its employees and revised them from time to time.

BAL started organising vasectomy camps with the help of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), Pune, in the Dept. of Industrial Medicine & Hygiene. The Company’s dispensary also distributed condoms free of cost. Later, BAL purchased a double puncture laproscope for Laproscopic Sterilization operations for the benefit of employee’s counterparts. Having seen the popular response to Laproscopic Sterilizations, camps were organised in the nearby nursing homes for the benefit of Company employees and outsiders. FPAI, who was taking responsibility to make these  camps a great success, was given the advantage to use the same laproscope in FPAI Camps elsewhere.

In the year 1980, when the International Labour Organisation launched the Population, Education and Motivation Project in Pune (through the Employees’ Federation of India and Mahratta Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Pune), BAL came forward to participate in a big way. It was felt that educating people to accept small family norms was a better approach than insisting on employees to accept terminal methods in Family Planning. Initially, this in-house training programme was conducted for top level and middle level management personnel in order to make them realise the importance of such programmes for their subordinates. The programme comprised a series of talks by competent faculties on topics such as human reproduction, temporary and permanent methods of Family Planning, antenatal and post-natal care, mother and child care, sex education, sterility, etc. This programme effectively exposed all participants to a course in good and healthy living.

Sanitation park
Sanitation Park set up by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation (JBF) at Wardha on 23-01-1998.(R-L): A.V Joshi, representative of JBF, Renu Gera, Officer, UNICEF, Western Region, along with a visitor.

Subsequently, tailor-made programmes for bachelors and newly weds were organised. BAL employees, along with their spouses, were invited for the 2-day training programme, so that both the partners understand their role as parents better. For bachelors a special topic on Selection of Your Partner was included in a 1-day programme. Audio-visual material in the form of charts, slides and films was used for better emphasis. A kirtan on the same topic was a unique feature of this programme.

Initially employees had to be coaxed to attend educative programmes, as they feared that they would be forced for sterilizations if they attended the programmes. However, circumstances changed gradually and the message of pure and worthwhile education went round. Educative programmes conducted by BAL became so popular that employees started coming forward to enrol their names for proposed programmes.

In 1981 need was felt to have a complete survey of BAL employees to enable the Company to understand better the marital status, family size, contraceptive practices in vogue, etc. for each 
employee. Such a detailed survey was thought to be essential to formulate future family welfare activities. Periodic updating of data was an additional feature of the survey. This survey was assisted by the FPAI.

operated ladies
Operated ladies in the camp at Mailani Railway Station Hospital

Another survey was carried out in 1981 by the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The survey covered 6,000 employees of BAL. It was found that 1,305 employees were sterilized, 609 were newly married, 1,812 were unmarried and 2,114 were eligible for spacing. The Medical Centre at the workplace, with six welfare officers, three doctors and five para-medical staff, distributed Family Planning aids to its employees. All this was done through counselling and organising programmes on family welfare for the benefit of spouses and children of employees. Among other benefits such as workers education classes, safety training, a fair price shop, a credit society, etc., BAL gave an incentive of Rs. 300/- and six days special leave for vasectomy and Rs. 150/- for tubectomy.

BAL’s present incentive pattern is Rs.2,000 after one daughter, Rs.1,500 after two daughters, and so on.

Employees undergoing sterilization are additionally given 6 days special leave with full pay. Besides, the day of the operation is treated as a day the employee has attended duty.

The Company continues to provide counselling services and distributes condoms at its Medical Centre to all its employees. It has also strengthened its services in the area of maternal and child health care. The Company’s lead centre at Akurdi, the Samaj Seva Kendra, started antenatal and post-natal services for pregnant women. Similarly, immunization services for the young ones and paediatrician’s out-patient services helped to impress upon the beneficiaries in particular and the surrounding community regarding the importance of family welfare activities.

The heirs and successors of the Bajaj family are actively carrying on rural development with the assistance of various units and trusts of the Bajaj Group. According to Shekhar Bajaj, son of the late Ramkrishna Bajaj and Chairman of Bajaj Electricals Ltd., “We have a Gandhian background as my father was a freedom fighter and we wanted this legacy to continue. So we started undertaking rural development like sanitation, schools and colleges, roads in and around our factories ... We have our own hospital, which caters to the poor ... Apart from this, we have Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation that gives away Awards to people who have dedicated their lives in the area of social upliftment.”

Rural development activities were undertaken in selected areas. Initially, it was decided to take up welfare and wealth-creating programmes in selected villages adjoining their rural-based industrial units as part of a larger social responsibility of business. These activities have since been expanded and taken up in many other areas. Some of the major rural development activities conducted by the Bajaj Group of Companies and various Bajaj Trusts during the past three years are:
Educational Activities included: * Bal Sanskar Kendras/Balwadis * Training and study tours, training programme for self-employment and motivational meetings 
* Tailoring classes * Literacy classes and hobby classes.

It is noteworthy that in the last decade of the Girl Child, the Bajaj group, particularly BAL,focused on understanding the problems and issues related to fuller development of girls in our society and make a collective effort to facilitate gender equality. Separate programmes were arranged for women and girls. A special programme was arranged with the help of FPAI on World Population Day, July 11, 1991, with emphasis on Better Status of Women — Better Society. In order to elevate the status of women, adult education classes are conducted at BAL’s Samaj Seva Kendra.

Medical Welfare Activities:
* Immunization. * Pulse polio programme. * Tubectomy operations. * Family welfare. * Awareness camps for HIV/AIDS. * Naturopathy. * Eye cure camps.

Women at Bajaj Hindusthan Ltd.Mills Hospital for the tubectomy operation on 15.12.2000 at Golagokarannath

Other Rural Development Activities:

* Centre of Child Labour Welfare. * Income generation and women leadership programme. * Bee-keeping. * Distribution of solar lantern and solar cookers. 
Carpet weaving centre. * Watershed development/model village. * Lift irrigation. * Veterinary services. * Tree plantation/horticulture/kitchen gardens.
In the past three years, the Bajaj Group of Companies and its trusts, have incurred a total expenditure of Rs. 669.01 lakhs on rural development activities.
The village, Kashi Ka Bas in Rajasthan, the birth place of Jamnalal Bajaj, and some of the surrounding villages in Sikar District have been selected for taking up development activities through the Jamnalal Kaniram Bajaj Trust. Besides the usual programmes, a programme to train workers in Gandhian activities has been started and training workers in tailoring and carpet weaving and construction of school rooms, low cost latrines, biogas, etc. have also been undertaken.
Also, in the villages surrounding Bajajnagar in Udaipur District, developmental activities such as family welfare, immunization, health camps and employment generation have been undertaken.
The Jankidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha (JBGVS) deserves special mention for its varied achievements. Jankidevi was the wife of the founder, Jamnalal Bajaj, and also a freedom fighter who played an active role in the Quit India Movement. The JBGVS provides incentives and counselling services, conducts training programmes for adolescent girls and boys and for eligible couples, conducts sterilizations, immunization programmes and a weekly clinic for pre-maternity care along with the Family Planning Association of India.
All these activities would not have been possible by JBGVS without the financial assistance of Bajaj Auto Ltd.
The free India of Gandhiji’s dream envisaged not only political freedom, but also social and economic justice for all. The Bajaj Group has been able to fulfil this dream primarily because great emphasis was laid on Family Planning and family welfare. It gave society a reason to believe that the two go hand-in-hand and that family welfare is a way of life thus bringing about a desired change in the outlook of people. All these activities were undertaken with a deep sense of commitment by the Bajaj Group, thus successfully translating Gandhiji’s ideals into reality.
Courtesy: Mr. Nikhil Tarkas, Bachhraj Factories Pvt. Ltd. (Bajaj Group Co.)

A barber gave a haircut to a priest one day. The priest tried to pay for the haircut but the barber refused saying, ‘‘I cannot accept money from you, for you are a good man — you do God’s work.’’ The next morning the barber found a dozen Bibles at the door to his shop.
A policeman came to the barber for a haircut, and again the barber refused payment saying, ‘‘I cannot accept money from you, for you are a good man — you protect the public.’’ The next morning the barber found a dozen doughnuts at the door to his shop.
A lawyer came to the barber for a haircut, and again the barber refused payment saying, ‘‘I cannot accept money from you, for you are a good man — you serve the justice system.’’ The next morning the barber found a dozen more lawyers waiting for a haircut.
– Via e-mail