Punjab, India — 12/17/2017 — The felicitation ceremony of Birlasoft's CSR Project 'Shodhan' was held at Ageti, Patiala, Punjab. Birlasoft, an IT services company, part of the C K Birla group with the support of Project Advisors from Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) and Implementation Partner, SEED CSR, educated farmers in Punjab on recycling crop stubble.

Delhi NCR witnessed a tremendous increase in air pollution during early winter months. According to a study by an international team using satellite and ground-based instruments, it is shown that the crop residue burning has become a common practice in northern India and particularly in Punjab. It is contributing to atmospheric pollution over the entire Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) that may have climate and health implications. In Punjab alone, farmers burn 35 million tons of paddy every year.

No doubt our government is taking many initiatives regarding this issue but to offer one more helping hand towards saving our environment, Birlasoft initiated a project named 'Shodhan'. Shodhan means purification. It aimed to educate farmers of Punjab about disadvantages of stubble burning and advantages of recycling them. The whole program was implemented successfully with the help of Seed CSR with a wide impact.

Highlights of felicitation ceremony of 'Shodhan'

This project ended with Successful felicitation ceremony which started with lamp lighting. The Chief Guest was Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon – Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, while the Guests of Honor were Dr. Charanjit Singh (Deputy Director, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Patiala) and Mr. Manmohan Kalia (Joint Director, Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Punjab). From Birlasoft, Mr. Anjan Lahiri (CEO), Mr. Dharmendra Kapoor (COO) and Mr. Samit Deb (CPO) welcomed all the dignitaries and addressed the huge gathering of around 400 people including farmers and co-operative society heads from the nearby villages. It also had representatives from PAU, media and some government officials. The chief guest and the guests of honor felicitated some of the supportive farmersof project 'Shodhan'.

Mr. Samit Deb (CPO), BirlaSoft said CSR project Shodhan Phase 1 has covered 2 villages, 1600 acres of land and 2100 beneficiaries in 2017. This pilot project of Birlasoft has proven to be a catalyst in making change in the conventional practice of burning crop residue during the harvest season in the month of October –November to get ready for new crop. Birlasoft, A CK Birla group company, strives to be a catalyst and to be part of a big change and will continue to work with other stakeholders of this ecosystem like companies, volunteers, civic society, and NGOs to join hands with us to make this initiative a bigger moment in 2018 along withreducing PM 2.5 particles from the air of Delhi NCR and nearby states.

Mr. Anirban Roy (MD & Founder of SEED CSR) said “we are proud to be a part of Birlasoft's Innovative CSR initiative and look forward to expand in other regions and make a great impact.

Project Shodhan's core team members interacted and thanked all the farmers for making this project a success.

About 'Shodhan'
Birlasoft initiated Shodhan with the aim of providing end- to -end solutions to the farmers for reducing paddy burning and recycle them for better farming. Over 250 farmers were benefitted in 2 villages of Patiala, Punjab. Ageti& Bibipur, the pilot villages recorded 'zero' crop stubble burning during this harvest season.

During the 6 months of the project, Birlasoft with the help of its implementation partner mobilized farmers, brought behavioral change by generating awareness among farmers about paddy burning.

Birlasoft and SEED developed information dissemination system among targeted communities improving their livelihood scenario in the targeted villages towards the reduction in paddy burning. The center was identified in the centric project location to disseminate information and support farmers and beneficiaries through regular sessions of counseling. Farmers were also sensitized about farming machines and equipment required for straw management.

Impact of Birlasoft's Project 'Shodhan' that made it a huge success-Ageti and Bibipur, the pilot villages recorded 'zero' crop residue burning during this harvest season. Alongwith with the awareness and education of farmers on ill-effects of paddy burningBirlasoft provided sustainable system to farmers to practice straw management.

Through Shodhan, Birlasoft has presented a great example of how brands can make a difference if they are really determined to do so.Birlasoft along with some help fromSeedCSR, have shown a live example of effective and strategic implementation skills. A good collaboration can do wonders and 'Shodhan' is the proof of it.

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