Accelerating transformation of Rural India – Ambuja Cement Foundation

Over the years, we have visited NGOs doing good work in water management, women empowerment, livelihood development, education, health, skill and entrepreneurship development. Our visit to Ambuja Foundation’s work in Gujarat, astonished us to learn that this NGO encompasses all the initiatives stated above. It has impacted 2.5m people till date. Read on to learn more about this outstanding foundation.
Our Visit to


at Kodinar, Gir Somnath in Gujarat, on 22-24 January 2020.

  From water scarcity, to surplus, for thriving Agriculture  

Over 20 years and at a cost of US$15m (Rs1.1bn) ACF transformed 1200 sq kms in Coastal Saurashtra Gujarat from water scarcity to surplus water. ACF achieved this by linking local rivers with all sources of water in the region, converting depleted limestone mines into water reservoirs, rooftop rain water harvesting, building check dams, restricting saline water ingression through tidal regulator, focus on less water intensive crops, drip irrigation systems. Consistent water availability has ensured farmers ability to grow 3 crops in a year, compared to a rain fed single crop twenty years ago. This has tripled farmers income on a conservative basis.

Significantly growing value of agricultural produce

Cotton, Groundnut, Mango and vegetables are few of the main crops in ACFs area of operation in Gujarat. For Cotton, ACF partnered with Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and is currently reaching 35,000 farmers.  BCI, a global organisation, trained local cotton farmers in best global practices for gaining higher output, superior quality of product, reduced pesticide use and efficient use of fertilizers. Additionally, ACF has started booking contracts on commodity exchange platforms to lock the price ahead of cotton’s harvest. Similar initiatives in Groundnuts through Fair Trade, market linkages for Mangoes and other vegetables have dramatically raised farmers profits from each crop.
ACF, a part of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), has set-up Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) for the district of Gir Somnath. The purpose of this institution is to build capacities of farming communities through training, demonstrations and on farm research so as to reduce time lag in technology transfer.

Skill development led job placement/entrepreneurship support

ACF provides skill training through its Skill & Entrepreneurship Development Institute (SEDI). SEDI provides courses of 4 to 6 months to rural youth in areas such as  nursing, electrician, welders, BPO etc. The youth are either placed in well paying jobs or are provided all the requisite support to become entrepreneurs.  ACF runs 33 SEDI programs across 10 states in India. ACF has trained over 65,000 youth since its inception 9 years ago.

Locally relevant women empowerment initiatives

ACF has promoted 700 Self Help groups (SHG) with 8600 women from rural areas. These SHGs have constituted the Sorath Women Federation (SWF). SWF has created locally relevant, yet, very powerful initiatives such as savings of few grains per day for creating Food Security during famines or floods. Interestingly, the Group which saved few grains per day, used its reservoir of grains to distribute food to the needy people without any external assistance during the pandemic. Additionally, ACF works on developing financial independence for widows, especially younger widows. At the time of our visit, we saw few young widows being trained to become electricians and nurses.

Creating online access to talent during Pandemic despite no physical access to remote areas

ACF leveraged internet availability across its areas of operation by digitally reaching over 100,000 people during the ongoing pandemic. ACF team organized Webinars with experts for areas such as health awareness including need for wearing face masks & social distancing, sustaining livelihoods during the pandemic, climate change and soil health. All of its 33 skill training SEDI centres are operational digitally. Interestingly, ACF secured jobs for its trainees through digital interviews.

Additionally, ACF`s SHGs made & distributed face masks to local municipalities, sanitation workers and those providing essential services.

 To Conclude

ACF is led by an outstanding and passionate team which is highly mission oriented in its approach. ACF has having achieved superior outcomes by use of highly innovative practices across most of its initiatives, ACF team continues to accelerate transformation of rural India.

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Manish Jain
GormalOne LLP

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GORMALONE September 15, 2020 0 Comments

3 Jobs for every Trainee, by making India, “the Animation Capital of the World” – MAAC

Declining jobs for educated youth & migration to metro cities in search of employment is one of the key challenges facing India today. In contrast, we met the trainees of MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics) from non-metros across India. Each of these trainees gets 3 or more job opportunities.
Interestingly, the Return on investment (ROI) for the fees paid by these trainees on their training is significantly superior to ROI on fees spent for popular courses such as engineering, medicine etc.
How superior is the ROI of this training? What has led to this transformation? Can this be scaled, especially in non-metros?
To learn more about these questions, read on
Our Visit to


at Mumbai, on 13th December 2019.

5 time Higher ROI on Fees as well as Reduced time of Training

A 4-year Engineering degree course from private universities costs upwards of Rs 300k (US$4,000) & leads to a starting annual salary of Rs 300k (US$4,000). In contrast, an  18-month, advanced animation course at MAAC costs Rs 150k (US$2000) & leads to a starting annual salary of Rs 300k (US$4,000). Whilst we have oversimplified the course timelines & their fees, majority of MAAC’s courses pass the hurdle rates stated above.

Unique Platform which has created a strong bridge between Recruiters & Trainees

Fresh graduates require additional training on joining their companies. MAAC has developed a unique proprietary platform which enables recruiters to review the projects on animation of the trainees. This ensures that the recruiters are able to hire trainees for their very specific job requirements. This, in turn makes the trainees productive for their recruiters with minimal needs of additional training. More importantly, since some of the recruiters are global companies, they have started selecting few trainees for their global requirements.

Delivering curriculum content through Augmented Reality

MAAC is amongst the first adopters to deliver its curriculum through AR. This makes high quality education available across the most remote parts of India.

Global Media players setting up base in India due to  availability of Skilled talent

Animation projects of global media players requires larger sized teams across multiple skills to work in tandem. Based on the availability of skilled people across India, we have seen one global media giant raise its Indian team size from 50 to 5,000 in the past 4 years. Interestingly, this Media giant is targeting 50,000 people team in India in the next 5 years. Companies such as Disney, Sony & Turner have started offshoring increasing animation content to India. Fortunately, companies such as MAAC are consistently increasing their capacity to train rising number of students to match the increasing demand for animation talent.

Confluence of factors should sustain India’s   dominance as “Animation Capital”

We believe there has been a confluence of 4 factors that will sustain this trend. These are:
1) Outstanding MAAC Team – Very rarely do we get to see the commitment, passion, competence and opportunity rolled into one. MAAC team falls in this group
2) Internet availability across India – This has ensured companies such as MAAC’s reach into non-metros where the youth with high aspirations, commitment and competence can be trained
3) Increasing interest of global players to set up base in India – This trend is creating a virtuous cycle of recruiters’ rising need of skilled people and availability of committed, competent and trained youth, leading to positive outcomes for animation-related businesses.
4) Animation work is age & location agnostic – Hence, people of all age groups across the country can participate in this trend.

 To Conclude

“Sustainable livelihood” in non-metros is an outcome of this trend
Animation needs highly diverse skills sets spread across Gaming, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Visual Effects, 3D etc. This ensures people with different skills can be a part of this movement across India. Most importantly, this skill has brought students from deep interiors of India such as Rewari, Mahad, Kanpur, Guwahati at par with students from metros of Mumbai, Delhi in terms of sustainable livelihood. Hats off to the MAAC team.

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Manish Jain
GormalOne LLP

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GORMALONE January 9, 2020 0 Comments

Making Milk Farmers Win, Against All Odds – Hatsun Agro

Our visit to Sholapur in July 2019 demonstrated the power of “doing business with a Purpose”. To give you the rationale for our conclusion, we are sharing a short history on Sholapur Milk farmers pre 2015, .
Pre 2015- villages at Sholapur, such as Wagholi, were
(i) black listed by banks for 100% defaults on bank loans.
(ii) Unemployment & migration to urban areas was high.
In July 2019, (i) the same banks are chasing the villagers of Wagholi by offering new loans, since majority of their past dues have been repaid.
(ii) Unemployment & migration has declined sharply.
(iii) Milk led farm income in this region has risen by more than Rs 2 billion  since 2015.
Interestingly, Sholapur had 3 droughts since 2015. What lead to this sustainable and transformative change? Read on
Our Visit to Milk Farmers of 


at Sholapur, on 26th and 27th July 2019.

 Hatsun’s entry in 2015 led to Transparent Pricing

Hatsun Agro, is India’s largest private sector dairy, with a significant presence in 6 Southern States of India such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka amongst others. They started procurement of milk in Maharashtra at Sholapur in 2015. Pre 2015, farmers were paid effective price of less than Rs 17 per litre of Milk. Hatsun started with 50% higher price at Rs 25 per litre in 2015. Hatsun offered higher incentives for better quality milk. Higher quality milk fetches Rs 32 per litre today, for the Hatsun farmer.

 Quantity and Quality of Milk have improved significantly since 2015

Hatsun provides free animal husbandry services to its milk farmers such as
(i) improved cattle genetics through high merit semen
(ii) better artificial insemination services
(iii) guidance on growing fodder which raises nutrition
(iv) training on use of preventive techniques to avoid cattle diseases which lead to anti-biotic free milk.
(v) use of software technology to track genetic and lactation history of its cattle. Additionally, Hatsun does testing of milk to avoid multiple sources of adulteration. As a result, within 4 years, annual Milk output has increased by 80 million liters combined with significantly higher quality at Sholapur.

 Milk farmer profitability has grown manifold within 4 years at Sholapur

Hatsun has increased profits from milk farming through higher milk output per cow and sharply reduced costs. Cattle Feed accounts for more than 70% of total costs in milk farming. Hatsun has halved feed costs of its farmers by
(i) providing free seeds of high nutrition & higher yielding perennial fodder which grows with minimal water
(ii) Providing mineral rich feed supplements at low cost
(iii) reduced labor costs in feed making through development of Silage. Silage is green fodder converted into dry fodder for use in Summer, when green fodder availability declines. Additionally, Hatsun shares insights on farm automation with improvised machines which raises per person productivity.

 Sustainable and transformative change at a large scale

Hatsun’s initiatives, besides increasing farm profits have provided a new hope and confidence for existing farmers as well as their next generation. We understand that Hatsun is setting up a large dairy processing plant at Sholapur to be operational in early 2020. We believe this will ensure that the transformative changes of the past 4 years are sustained in the long term.

 To Conclude

We believe, Hatsun is a very strong Role Model for the private sector businesses of India in “doing business with a Purpose”Hatsun today, positively impacts more than 4 million people in India either as its farmers, customers, vendors and employees.

 Play a role in India’s development

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  • By connecting us to corporates’ who can support our “Sustainable Livelihood” initiatives.

Manish Jain
GormalOne LLP

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GORMALONE September 25, 2019 0 Comments