Max Group is a leading name in the field of healthcare, and its Max India Foundation is committed to the idea of public service. In this interview, Mohini Daljeet Singh, CEO of Max India Foundation, recounts the foundation’s CSR journey and talks about its many social initiatives past and present.
Q. How did the Max Indian Foundation begin and what was the idea behind it?
A. On 15 January 2008, the Foundation was launched on the Max Annual Day and its operation kick-started. The Max Group circles around life, i.e. healthcare, life insurance and health insurance. I started working with founder chairman of Max Group, Analjit Singh, in November 2007 to implement what we were planning to do, what our main concerns and vision would be. As the business grew around in 2007, the chairman felt that we have reached a point where we could give back to society. As one of the core values of Max Group is “seva bhav” [helping attitude], therefore, he felt that we should start something which would help the public on the healthcare platform.. That’s how the foundation started and I am very fortunate to have been there at the right place and to be able to take the opportunity as a founder CEO.
Q. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law in India came into effect in 2014 but the Max Group started in this direction way earlier. How did that happen?
A. We believe that it is something which has to come from the heart. We should be genuine about the things we want to do. We should not do something because the law dictates so, as it would be similar to ticking out the items to be followed. That might not look significant and might not render results as expected. Since the time the foundation started, it is completely motivated and geared to make a difference. Our work has reached out to more than 31,00,000 individual beneficiaries. All this has been done over a vast landscape of activities all around health, starting from health prevention, immunisation and holding talks.
Q. What is the impact of “360 degree” framework adopted by the Max India Foundation?
A. We call it “360 degree” because, 360 degree means all around and we feel that we are trying to give healthcare a “360 degree look”, which means we are trying to look at the healthcare from the beginning. For example, immunisation is something which a very few private partners do. If you want to protect a child, the first thing you have to do is to immunise them. That will save you millions and lakhs later on in terms of treatment and also can prevent a lot of deaths. We also conduct screenings for cancer in the health camps.
Q. The foundation has adopted three villages by now. What are the initiatives in that area?
A. The first adopted village was Rail Majra in Punjab, and we have adopted two villages in Dehradun, which are Dhakrani and Chandrothi. All our initiatives in these adopted villages are basically centered on health, but because in an adopted community you cannot ignore the allied things—with health comes drinking water, waste management and sanitation. In Dehradun’s Dhakrani we are making a complete network of sewage and underground drainage system which will be connected to sewage treatment plant. Even though education is not our mission, we have been looking after schools by providing them with RO water purifiers for clean drinking water, sports equipment, badminton courts and we have also made toilets in one of the girls’ schools.
Q. In the education sector, has the foundation come up with something of its own?
A. A new project has been started for training school dropouts and it is going really well. We have been training them in soft skills and there is an NGO which is helping us in this. These students are being taught basic computer skills and given English speaking lessons so that they can get jobs in retail outlets or in other offices. The first batch is up for placement in May and we all are looking forward to that. I can see a ray of confidence in each of these children now, especially the girls who were cloistered in their homes.