SAAJHI SAMAJH 6

Including Disability at the Workplace: From Aspiration to Action

A Call to Action for Employers in Corporate India

  • An insightful discussion on making workplaces inclusive
  • Employers & employees shared their journey as well as work experience

Let us shape inclusive workplaces together!

90 mins of topical discussions

Gain perspectives from Industry Leaders and Specially abled Individuals

Network, Interact & Share

Keynote Speaker's Profile

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Mr CP Gurnani

CEO & MD, Tech Mahindra Ltd.

Mr CP Gurnani (popularly known as ‘CP’ within his peer group), is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tech Mahindra Limited. An accomplished business leader with extensive experience in international business development, start-ups, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, Mr. CP Gurnani (popularly known as CP) led Tech Mahindra’s transformation journey, and one of the biggest turnarounds of Indian Corporate History – the acquisition and merger of Satyam. In a career spanning of over thirty-six years, CP has held several leading positions with Hewlett Packard Ltd, Perot Systems (India) Ltd. and HCL Corporation Ltd. CP has also served as a Chairman of NASSCOM for the year 2016-2017. A chemical engineering graduate from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, he is a distinguished and active alumnus of the Institute. CP has also been felicitated with an honorary Doctorate degree by Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology. He also serves as an active Chairman of IIM Nagpur.

CP has been chosen as the Ernst and Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year [Manager]’, CNBC Asia’s ‘India Business Leader of the Year’, Dataquest ‘IT person of the Year’– in 2013 and Business Standard ‘CEO of the Year’ in 2014. He was also awarded the ‘Best CEO of the Year’ at the Forbes India Leadership Awards held in 2015. A recent addition to the bucket was ‘Asia One Global Indian of the Year – Technology’ in 2016. CP was also listed among the top 100 global CEOs as part of The Wall Street Journal CEO Council 2016.

CP strongly believes in promoting child education. He is on the Board of the Tech Mahindra Foundation and has been actively guiding the foundation & its projects. CP, along with his wife Anita, have also founded ‘Titliyan’, an NGO located in Noida spreading smiles, happiness and education to more than 240 under privileged children.

Our Panelists

For this session, we have assembled a diverse panel of speakers comprising of leading industry experts including corporate veterans and professionals from the government, social sector and the civil society altogether.

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Mr Ravindra Singh

Panelist

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Dr Rishi Raj Borah

Country Director, Orbis India

Dr Rishi Raj Borah is the Country Director of Orbis India, an international non-profit bringing people together to fight avoidable blindness and help change the way the world sees.

He has been an integral part of the eye care initiatives in India for nearly 20 years and developed innovative, impactful and sustainable home-grown eye care initiatives for communities across India and Nepal, impacting the lives of millions of children.

Dr Rishi is responsible for the strategy and implementation of Orbis programs in India, Nepal and Indonesia. He is also a Board Member of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight India.

His excellence in the field of eye care has been widely recognized. In the recent past, Dr Rishi has received the IAPB Eye Health Hero Award in 2017 and the IAPB Vision Excellence Award in 2020 for his outstanding contribution to the eye care community.

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Ms Aradhana Lal

Panelist

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Dr Subroto Das

Padma Shri Awardee
Co-founder, Lifeline Foundation

He is the winner of one of India’s highest civilian awards, Padma Shri for his exemplary work on Highway Trauma Care. He co-founded Lifeline Foundation along with his wife, Sushmita (after surviving a life-threatening accident in August, 1999 on one of India’s busiest highways), with the aim of reducing the 1,50,000+ annual highway deaths in India. He is the only Indian to be honoured with the Asian EMS Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asian EMS Council in 2015, whereas The Times of India calls Dr Das ‘the country’s best known EMS expert’.

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Mr Prateek Madhav

Panelist

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Ms Lalita Maurya

Leader, Mentor Teachers of Hindi Group

Presently the Leader of Mentor Teachers of Hindi Group, she teaches at the UNUV R-Block, New Rajinder Nagar Karol Bagh Zone of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). She holds a total of 12 years of experience in teaching class 5 with Hindi, English, Social Studies and Environmental Studies subjects. She strives to bring innovative teaching learning experience for her students in the classrooms.

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Ms Shivani Dimri

Panelist

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Ms Lalita Maurya

Leader, Mentor Teachers of Hindi Group

Presently the Leader of Mentor Teachers of Hindi Group, she teaches at the UNUV R-Block, New Rajinder Nagar Karol Bagh Zone of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). She holds a total of 12 years of experience in teaching class 5 with Hindi, English, Social Studies and Environmental Studies subjects. She strives to bring innovative teaching learning experience for her students in the classrooms.

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Mr Ravi Gopal

Panelist

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Ms Preeti Monga

Founder CEO & Trustee, Silver Linings Trust

Blind since childhood, she is the Founder CEO & Trustee, Silver Linings Trust, who has been working towards education and empowerment of the blind, inclusion of disabled and prevention of blindness and directly as well as indirectly impacting millions of lives since 1987. Preeti is the first blind Aerobics Instructor in India, a celebrated Motivation Speaker and a highly effective counselor! Numerus prestigious awards have been bestowed upon her, including the National Award presented to her by the President of India for her ground breaking work towards employment and self – employment of people with disabilities in 2013. Also, she was honored with the Exceptional Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award by the Delhi Government in 2015. The ‘Red and White Bravery’ Award, the ‘Rajeev Gandhi Manna Seva’ Award and the Ashoka Fellowship are among some of her other significant achievements. She is also a nominated member of the Delhi State Advisory Board on Disability, and part of the Governing Council of the Skill Council of Persons with Disabilities.

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Ms Chhavi Bhardwaj

Host & Presenter

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Ms Preeti Monga

Founder CEO & Trustee, Silver Linings Trust

Blind since childhood, she is the Founder CEO & Trustee, Silver Linings Trust, who has been working towards education and empowerment of the blind, inclusion of disabled and prevention of blindness and directly as well as indirectly impacting millions of lives since 1987. Preeti is the first blind Aerobics Instructor in India, a celebrated Motivation Speaker and a highly effective counselor! Numerus prestigious awards have been bestowed upon her, including the National Award presented to her by the President of India for her ground breaking work towards employment and self – employment of people with disabilities in 2013. Also, she was honored with the Exceptional Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award by the Delhi Government in 2015. The ‘Red and White Bravery’ Award, the ‘Rajeev Gandhi Manna Seva’ Award and the Ashoka Fellowship are among some of her other significant achievements. She is also a nominated member of the Delhi State Advisory Board on Disability, and part of the Governing Council of the Skill Council of Persons with Disabilities.

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Mr MSB Sudheer Babu

Moderator

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Ms Preeti Monga

Founder CEO & Trustee, Silver Linings Trust

Blind since childhood, she is the Founder CEO & Trustee, Silver Linings Trust, who has been working towards education and empowerment of the blind, inclusion of disabled and prevention of blindness and directly as well as indirectly impacting millions of lives since 1987. Preeti is the first blind Aerobics Instructor in India, a celebrated Motivation Speaker and a highly effective counselor! Numerus prestigious awards have been bestowed upon her, including the National Award presented to her by the President of India for her ground breaking work towards employment and self – employment of people with disabilities in 2013. Also, she was honored with the Exceptional Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award by the Delhi Government in 2015. The ‘Red and White Bravery’ Award, the ‘Rajeev Gandhi Manna Seva’ Award and the Ashoka Fellowship are among some of her other significant achievements. She is also a nominated member of the Delhi State Advisory Board on Disability, and part of the Governing Council of the Skill Council of Persons with Disabilities.

About Saajhi Samajh 6

Background

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed on December 3 every year to promote the understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities (PWDs), according to the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

The 2011 Census reported that there are 2.68 Crore Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in India. Close to 1.2 crore people are in the working-age group of 15-59 years, although 64% continue to be non-workers. This translates to almost a staggering 78 lakh people. Reports published by the International Labour Organization and the World Health Organization suggest that these disability numbers are under-estimated. Instead, they suggest the population of PWDs in India to be 7 crore – making the employment scenario for the PWDs bleaker.

 Given this situation, it is not surprising that PWDs are often seen as a liability for the family and society.

Why Inclusive Workplaces for Persons with Disabilities?

On the policy front, India has made some big strides in the disability inclusion sphere. The Disability Act, 1995 paved the way for social protection and inclusion of PWDs, while India’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) reinforced India’s efforts in this direction. In spite of the policies, there is a long way for both the private and public sectors to realize the paradigm shift to the world of social inclusion of the PWDs.

Even today, PWDs still do not experience equal access to education in mainstream schools or colleges or find suitable/desired job roles in workplaces. While policy directs every employer not to discriminate on the basis of disabilities, the world continues to harbour its ill-founded inhibitions and lack of confidence towards the work-related capabilities of PWDs. Such notions further percolate as a societal stigma among them. However, at the same time, there are many organizations that also feel that there is an advantage in hiring PWDs owing to their loyalty and the ability to be more focused at what they do; this also helps in increased retention rates. But overcoming the fear of social stigma and employers’ perception still remains a challenge.

The population of PWDs represent an untapped pool of skills that can only help the business grow, but due to the existing misconceptions, prejudices, physical and information barriers their connection with the outside world is deeply affected.

TMF and its work for the PWDs

Tech Mahindra Foundation, the CSR arm of Tech Mahindra Limited, has been working for Youth with Disabilities for over 7 years now. Its employability program, titled SMART+ (Skills for Market Training for Youth with Disabilities), prepares young men and women with a diverse range of disabilities (visual impairment, hearing/speech impairment and locomotive disability) for workplaces. The program provides hands-on training and exposure to the rich curriculum and learning resources that help them develop life-skills and support them with jobs to become financially independent. The Foundation works towards ensuring that PWDs have an equal opportunity and the access to a better future. This program has impacted over 10,671 beneficiaries in 11 major cities of India, including Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chandigarh and Vizag.

Saajhi Samajh – The Sixth Edition

The virtual discussion, titled ‘Saajhi Samajh’ (or Shared Understanding), is a quarterly conference by Tech Mahindra Foundation to address issues and topics ranging from employment to education that has a direct bearing on society including its own set of beneficiaries.

Continuing to advocate its tradition, philosophy and ethos, the sixth edition of Saajhi Samajh aims at bringing out affirmative action steps from employers and experts on how we can promote the idea of an inclusive workplace for PWDs. This edition of Saajhi Samajh was held on 6th December 2021. It was conducted as a virtual panel discussion among some leading industry experts from the corporate as well as professionals from across the social sector, government and civil society.

Glimpses of Saajhi Samajh 6

Saajhi Samajh in News

Glimpses from Previous Editions of Saajhi Samajh

The previous edition of Saajhi Samajh, held in April 2018, was a resounding success, in which the Keynote Address was delivered by the then Director of Education, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Ms. Saumya Gupta. A detailed report of this event is available here. The third edition of Saajhi Samajh was held on 3rd June 2020, wherein Mr. Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi delivered the keynote address, and was well accepted by the youth and academia (the detailed report can be downloaded here). The fourth edition of Saajhi Samajh was focused on enhancing First Aid in Schools and included a virtual launch of a school safety program and panel discussion, spearheaded by industry experts and educators. The research report released during the event is here. The fifth edition of Saajhi Samajh was conducted on the occasion of World Sight Day, wherein a panel discussion with experts was organised and an exclusive research report was released for a better understanding of the significance of Eye Health.

Previous Saajhi Samajh

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