Go vote, India Inc tells staff
Corporate India, among the worst hit by the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, is using the emotional momentum that tragedy generated to get its employees to go out and exercise their franchise. From informal gatherings around water coolers, overflowing with conversations underlining the importance of one’s right to vote, to mailers being sent out to demystify the electoral process, all attempts are being made to encourage employees to cast their votes during the upcoming general elections.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has internally sent out mailers, providing information on the electoral process and detailed FAQs list like how to get registered, what forms to fill up, where to collect voter identity cards, among other things. At informal gatherings and unit head meetings, sources said, employees are being encouraged to do their bit as part of the world’s largest democracy. An official from a leading corporate firm said: “Post 26/11, people have become very vocal about a lot of things. We tell them informally that they should vote if they so firmly believe in what they say.’’
Tata group company Tata Tea, which has been running a brand promotion campaign called ‘Jaago Re’ built around the theme of voter rights for over a year, has been actively taking the campaign to various IT and telecom companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS and Tata Teleservices.
Since IT companies house a large number of employees, the idea is to target a base of young techies. TCS, for instance, is the largest employer with 1.14 lakh employees on its rolls. The ‘Jaago Re’ campaign carries a social message and promotes voter registration. It targets the younger generation of first-time voters. Said Sushant Dash, associate president, marketing at Tata Tea: “Various IT companies have been approached to create an awakening among the youth on the importance of exercising their right to vote as a means to bring about the change they seek.’’
According to Bangalorebased NGO Janaagraha, with which Tata Tea has tied up for the campaign, only 10% of the country’s youth votes.
The Aditya Birla group will notify its employees on how they could take time out on election day to cast their votes. “That itself will be an encouragement for them to go vote,’’ said Santrupt Misra, director (HR & IT), Aditya Birla Management Corporation.
Larsen & Toubro chairman A M Naik, however, said: “We will not tell our staff anything like this (to vote). This is a fact that people should know. At L&T, all our staff is educated. There are no illiterates. Unless they are out of town, 95% of our staff votes.’’ Videocon International chairman Venugopal Dhoot said: “We will mail all our staff that they should cast their votes. We will allow employees to take a 4-hour break any time on election day. If some employees are out of their domicile town, we will give them a day’s off so that they can exercise their voting rights.’’