Authored by: Prashanta Bhowmik | Sr. General Manager, Operations
Mumbai | September 11, 2018
Every one of us know that the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the car we drive and the pen we use (if you still use a pen like I do), comes from different parts of the country. But how many of us spared a thought in wondering, how these goods come to us? The most used transportation in India today to transfer goods, is by road. And the super-humans who drive these vehicles are the drivers that help India Move. These drivers who drive our goods across the country are pivotal to the economic growth and are the backbone of the logistics industry.
Unfortunately, most often than not, we are ignorant of who they are and do not give them the respect that they deserve. Unlike the US and Europe where hauling a freight carrier over long distances is seen as skilled employment, India's large population, high poverty and insipid law enforcement mean driving a truck is for those who do not find employment elsewhere. Baseline surveys and interactions with driver forums have brought out various challenges which drivers face in the physical, social and economic arena. The dwindling number of drivers in the country today reiterates the fact that they suffer from myriad difficulties in their profession.
Some of the key issues they face are:
They are often looked down by society and are not treated with dignity and respect.
Challenging Lifestyle- Drivers are always on the move. Days and nights are spent in trucks or driving non-stop to meet customer demands, creating huge imbalance in their personal and social lives.
Inadequate healthcare facilities leading to unhealthy drivers– Because of the nature of their job, they have poor access to basic needs such as drinking water, sanitation and healthy food. Lack of restroom and washroom facilities on the highways, makes them prone to number of infectious diseases. Long-distance driving without minimum halts can lead to severe health issues. Drivers are prone to accidents and cardiac arrests due to their erratic lifestyle. It is often seen that drivers do not have any insurance coverage to protect themselves in any untoward accident or hospitalization. Their remuneration for such a demanding job is also not in line with industry norms.
The Indian Logistics industry moves on their shoulders, as most goods in the country are transported by roads. We at Mahindra Logistics Ltd (MLL), have genuine respect and admiration for our drivers, making the welfare of this community extremely important to us. We seek to bring forth a paradigm shift in thought-process, ensuring driver upliftment with the goal of improving their lifestyle and happiness quotient. Today, drivers prefer their children to opt for other professions, besides driving. We are striving to create an atmosphere, where their difficulties and pain-points are addressed. They should feel proud to be in this community and encourage others to join them.
Keeping this mind, an initiative named “Samantar”, (meaning equality) was launched.
A thought-leadership group formulated various welfare projects. The aim is to see these projects set standards for others to follow. Our aim is to “organize the unorganized” in line with Mahindra’s “Rise for Good” philosophy. Here are few real stories narrated by the beneficiaries that portrays these changes. - Suhasini Kadavkar, Sitaram Sahani.
Singer, songwriter Bruce Springsteen wrote, “The success of your journey and your destination depends on who's driving.” I strongly believe that the growth to success of our country is strongly linked to these drivers. And it is high time that all Logistics service providers make efforts to empower this community to ‘DRIVE’ this growth.