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In line with the government’s commemoration of 75 years of Indian Independence – Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor inaugurated an initiative by Oil PSUs to support various art and crafts in the country in a webinar on 11 June 2021. Mr Kapoor also launched a project, undertaken by ONGC, to support the craft of bamboo cottage in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh.

The webinar was also graced by the presence of CMD Subhash Kumar and Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal and other senior executives from ONGC and the petroleum industry. As part of a larger initiative, central public enterprises under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) will take up 75 projects in different districts across the country. ONGC will take up 15 of the 75 projects.

Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor addressing the participants before the launch
Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor addressing the participants before the launch

In his address, the Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor said that public enterprises under the MoPNG are doing a commendable job in fueling the economy as well as bracing up the nation’s rich cultural heritage. “I am happy that ONGC is spearheading this initiative to promote the art and handicraft projects of rural India; I look forward to more such initiatives in the coming time.”

The Petroleum Secretary said that these PSU use CSR funds and sometimes go beyond CSR funds to execute these social welfare projects. “They have their own foundations, which work for the welfare of citizens, particularly in areas where these PSUs have operational presence. My good wishes to ONGC for organizing this event.”

Initiative to promote art and craft and Handicraft Project of Madhya Pradesh inaugurated
Initiative to promote art and craft and Handicraft Project of Madhya Pradesh inaugurated

Underlining that India is celebrating its 75th year of independence, Mr Kapoor informed that the government has decided that its celebrations will continue for 75 weeks. “All PSUs under our ministry are participating in these celebrations. We are organizing an event every week. As we move closer to the day we complete 75 years, we will have more events and more functions. Right now, it is heartening to note that our PSUs are organizing functions and events by involving public.”

Earlier, the event started with the national anthem, which was followed by a short audio-visual describing the initiative in details, developed by ONGC Corporate Communications. After the inauguration of the project and ceremonial lighting of lamps in Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, where the project is being undertaken, a wonderful rendition of tribal song was performed by locals.

Glimpses of the project as captured in the audio-visual
Glimpses of the project as captured in the audio-visual

Rendition of a tribal song by locals in Jhabua of Madhya Pradesh
Rendition of a tribal song by locals in Jhabua of Madhya Pradesh

Speaking on the occasion, ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar expressed his sincere gratitude to Petroleum Secretary Tarun Kapoor, under whose guidance all oil sector PSUs are gearing up to celebrate the 75 years of India’s independence by taking up multiple projects. “Oil sector PSEs are taking up a number of initiatives for Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. A series of webinars and online meetings are being organized on various technical issues recently by both upstream and downstream oil companies as part of this ‘Mahotsav’. Under the aegis of MoPNG, ONGC along with other oil PSUs will be taking up 75 projects for promoting traditional Indian art and craft to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence – one project for each year of Independence.”

Mr Kumar said that as part of this noble initiative, CSR Department of ONGC along with our foundation, has developed five projects related to five different trades under the guidance of Director (HR). He said that these projects will be taken up throughout the year catering to different forms of art and craft. These handicraft initiatives will be coordinated and implemented by ONGC Foundation, he added.

CMD Subhash Kumar speaking during the virtual event
CMD Subhash Kumar speaking during the virtual event

Talking about the project launched in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, Mr Kumar said that it will promote bamboo craft in the area through skill training for the benefit of tribal population. He mentioned that this initiative will be taken up under the leadership and guidance of Padma Shri Mahesh Sharma, founding member of Shivganga Samagra Gramvikas Parishad. He also mentioned the other four project –metal casting craft Dhokra in Dhenkanal district of Odisha, Lac cultivation in Ghumla districts of Jharkhand, wool dyeing craft Bhotia in Uttarakhand and Handloom weaving in Sivasagar district of Assam.

The CMD expressed confidence that all 75 projects will not only succeed in reviving different handicrafts across the country, but will also lead to their promotion and help generate critical livelihood for a number of people. “All PSUs have always stood with the communities, particularly in our operational areas. These projects, along with other flagship initiatives planned as part of the Mahotsav, will immensely contribute towards a resurgent and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, a dream of our Honorable Prime Minister of India.”

In her welcome address, Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal quoted Mahatma Gandhi -- India lives in its villages. She said while farming and agriculture is the mainstay of rural India, art and craft is the way of life. “I was amazed to know that the handicrafts industry accounts for over Rs 13,000 crores export earnings and is growing at a rate of 20 per cent per annum. Being labor intensive, it provides huge employment opportunities for artisans, who mainly consist of women and those from the weaker sections of the society. This is one of the major source of income for over 6 million craftsmen and craftswomen.”

Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal delivering welcome address
Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal delivering welcome address

She said that besides promoting art and craft forms, ONGC is targeting integrated development of these villages. “There, we are going to be working closely with non-profits that have been identified for helping up take up these projects. We will be supporting these villages by bringing about solar lights wherever required, providing smoke free cooking options, training local women for installation of solar panels for individual households which are not having electricity.”

Talking about the moving force behind the conceptualization of this initiative of adopting 75 art forms and handicrafts under the aegis of MoPNG, she said that the decision was taken with a view to protect our heritage and in light of the rising demand within the country and world over. She said that this way, we are integrating our responsibility that we hold towards creating energy for each Indian by participating in these rural areas.

By nature of our E&P business, ONGCians are involved with local communities in our operational areas, said Director (HR). She went on to talk about how ONGC contributed in propagation of the Bastar craft. “ONGCian JM Kothe, who retired as GM (Geology), has gone and is working in Bastar hills, where he and his wife, both in their eighties, are focusing on holistic development of the tribals. Besides providing for education and healthcare, they are also helping them create product design and marketing options.”

During the program, ONGC Foundation CEO Kiran DM took the participants through the intricate details of the project which aims to make the traditional handicraft in these region self-sustainable. He said that the foundation will focus on training, creating market connections, bringing entrepreneurs into the sector and expanding the consumer market globally.

ONGC Foundation CEO Kiran DM presenting the details of project
ONGC Foundation CEO Kiran DM presenting the details of project

ED - Chief CSR SSC Parthiban, delivering the vote of thanks, expressed gratitude towards the Petroleum Secretary for gracing the event with his presence. He also thanked the CMD, Director (HR), ONGC Foundation CEO, Chief CC, others executives and participants for making the event a grant success. He said that the program launched today will pave the way for many more such meaningful initiatives leading to sustainable growth of our country.

ED – Chief CSR SSC Parthiban and Chief CC GGM Harish Awal during the virtual event
ED – Chief CSR SSC Parthiban and Chief CC GGM Harish Awal during the virtual event

The virtual event was ably compèred by GGM - Chief CC Harish Awal. Citing from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, Mr Awal said the Prime Minister had called this Mahotsav the spirit of independence, new ideas and ambitions. He underlined that this is a key initiative towards making artisans self-reliant. To make a country Aatmanirbhar, it is important to make every citizen of the country Aatmanirbhar, he remarked.

Musical performance by globally renowned violinist Sunita Bhuyan added a rhythmic dimension to the virtual event
Musical performance by globally renowned violinist Sunita Bhuyan added a rhythmic dimension to the virtual event



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