Press Releases

  • Corporates get together to battle AIDS: TERI, IFC, NACO & Planning Commission organise national seminar to discuss roadmap

    5 September 2005

    Consider just three facts: One, India right now has the second largest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the world. Two, by 2010 - less than five years later - we will have 20-25 million HIV positive people, the highest estimate for any country in the world. Three, the occurrence is the highest in the 18-40 years age group, which constitutes the most economically productive workforce of the country. It is clear that the problem is now not just a health issue - it has acquired serious social and economic implications. And corporates will have to take immediate action, or face the direct consequences.

    Recognising this need, TERI-BCSD, India - a 52 company strong platform for Indian corporates to accomplish their mission for sustainable development - has initiated action to strengthen Indian industry's response to the AIDS epidemic. It organised a national seminar in association with National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Planning Commission of India, in Delhi today.

    The seminar - "Business against AIDS: Towards a paradigm shift" - brought together the biggest corporate houses of the country: HLL, Apollo Tyres, DCM Shriram, Larsen and Toubro, Shree Cement Limited, Ashok Leyland, SAIL, etc. shared their experiences of working in the field. It also provided a platform for the Planning Commission, IFC Against AIDS, ILO, GTZ, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc. to offer their recommendations. Dr Dharmshaktu, Additional Project Director, NACO, gave the special address at the seminar, while Mr Onkar S Kanwar, Chairman and Managing Director, Apollo Tyres Ltd delivered the business address.

    Talking at the occasion, Dr R K Pachauri, Director-General, TERI, commented on the necessity of business organizations getting fully involved in the campaign against AIDS: "One, the nature of this pandemic is such that even businesses located in areas that are currently safe could become seriously affected. Two, the sheer size of the problem will adversely affect all forms of business and economic activity".

    The highlight of the seminar is the roadmap for action that will be presented by IFC against AIDS on the second day. Speaking at the event, Mr Iyad Malas, Director South Asia, International Finance Corporation said, "Corporates can play an important role in raising awareness on HIV and AIDS by using its workforce and distribution network as an effective communication channel". Mr Malas further added, "The results from an awareness program such as this would not reach not just all those directly within the company, but also its trade partners, business associates and customer base".

    TERI-BCSD India has also conducted a preliminary study with five Indian corporates actively involved in fighting HIV/AIDS. This report, which has identified possible opportunities and openings for these companies to implement HIV/AIDS programmes in their supply chain, shall also be tabled tomorrow.

    The primary objective of the Seminar is to explore how businesses can make a better contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and how technology can be utilized in the fight.