Mr. Arun Jain is Signalling & Telecommunication professional, with over 27 years of total experience in diverse roles. He completed his graduation with a degree in electronics & communication, and did post-graduation in Computer Engineering from IIT Kharagpur. During his long association with Indian Railways he has worked on all the fields of Signalling and Telecom like maintenance, construction and development, etc. Since September 2013 he is working with RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, at the Corporate Office based in Gurgaon (HR). Since his joining in RailTel, he has handled various roles; General Manager (Business Development), General Manager (Network Technology Planning), etc; and at present he is Group General Manager (Corporate Coordination) and also heading CSR programs of the Corporation.
RailTel as a responsible government entity is committed to sustainable growth of itself and the society where it operates. The CSR funds and efforts of the company are being invested in community development projects & people centric activities with emphasis on rural, weaker and poor sections of society RailTel has provided internet facilities at over 160 rural institutions like Government schools, Health centres, Panchayat Houses, etc spanning across 12 States/UTs, 21 Districts and 27 Blocks.
Among Various CSR activities or projects, which one you consider to be making an enduring impact on the national development scene, if any and why?
RailTel’s CSR projects range from 1) helping communities build alternative sources of income by providing livelihood trainings, 2) preparing underprivileged children to get into premier institutes, 3) Skill development and basic literacy program, etc, I find creation of IT infrastructure at rural and remote areas for the use of local population is something that is having an enduring impact and contribution in development of our nation. Information is power, and once people start using the basic internet services that enable them to do more. The degree of use of internet has been directly associated with upliftment and development of population using it, many studies have shown it. I believe empowering people to do more and choose more about their own future by getting access to such vast amount of information and services through basic IT infrastructure and broadband internet is the most important program that RailTel has been continuously working on and delivering under its CSR program.
What is the CSR policy of RAILTEL, for the long term growth of the society as well as RAILTEL?
As a responsible corporate citizen and government entity RailTel is committed to sustainable growth of itself and the society RailTel operates in. The CSR funds and efforts of the company are being invested in community development projects & people centric activities with emphasis on rural, weaker and poor sections of society especially in under developed areas which spans from Tripura in East to Gujarat in west and Uttarakhand in North to Tamilnadu in South. This policy clearly reflects in the kinds of projects we at RailTel have undertaken under the CSR program.
Do you consider CSR spend as Expenditure or Investment, your opinion?
No doubt that we are guided towards increasing the shareholder value, but as a Public Sector Undertaking of Government of India, we align our efforts towards public good at large. So, even the Corporate Social Responsibility, that has now got a strong and very much relevant statutory backing in the new companies act as well, is taken as a long term investment for the development of knowledge economy in India.
What is the status of Employee Engagement in CSR at RailTel?
The oldest of the various CSR projects undertaken by RailTel, is the creation of IT infrastructure at rural and remote areas is an extensive project under which we have covered more than 160+ (till 2014-15) locations, providing basic IT infrastructure that includes Two full-fledged multi-media desktops alongwith power back up (solar at many places) and internet broadband connectivity. At some places we have also provided a full time instructor to help local population in acquiring the requisite skills to get familiar and work on these systems independently. This entire project has been undertaken by RailTel on its own, the employees from RailTel were the ones who directly identified, finalised, surveyed and implemented the project on various sites. Even the regular maintenance of the infrastructure and continuous broadband internet connectivity is being taken care of by the employees of RailTel.
How does RAILTEL respond to the CSR provisions under CSR Act, started from 1st April 2014?
RailTel is fully compliant with the provisions of CSR rules under the Indian Companies Act, 2013. Also, we as a Public sector undertaking are committed & guided by the Department of Public Enterprises, Government of India guidelines on CSR, and we comply by that too.
Skill development is a priority area of Govt. of India. Is RailTel has any plans on this front?
Capacity and capability building has always been the core strategy for RailTel whether for its own operation or for the society through our CSR projects. Creation of IT infrastructure at villages was done with a vision to provide IT related skill development to the local population ensuring them a level playing field as available to the urban population in terms using online services and information.
Recently, our senior management toured our installations at “Panisagar” block of West Tripura and was amazed to see the rural people using the power of IT for their day to day activity. The local administration has also supported our activities and now the local people use this infrastructure for their banking related works, Aadhar authorisation, online MNREGA payments, etc. Slowly use of IT is entering into their lives.
RailTel is working on USOF and NOFN projects in six States of North East covering Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur & Arunachal Pradesh for providing OFC based network infrastructure from District to Block and upto Panchayats. RailTel is slated to lay approx. 20,000 KM of OFC in next 2 years. For this we are envisaging to provide OFC and network related skill development program in these States in partnership with Telecom skill sector council and NSDC under which we are targeting to train 200-400 youths in these categories.
Any of your thoughts for the readers of CSR Vision?
“Literacy” programs at rural locations, so that the power of information is available in the hands of common man. This is going one step ahead than the plain literacy programs being undertaken by various organisations. It is important that the rural citizens understand the basic Do’s & Don’ts of using IT.
So I firmly believe that a Digital Literacy campaign can be sustained and would be eagerly picked up the rural population. Such activity can bring a sustainable and absolute change in their habits of using IT and improve trust factor in their day-to-day dealing with various IT enabled applications. I would request all your esteemed readers to support such activities in future