"We should not be looking down on a disabled person like they have lost something": Hyundai's Puneet Anand

"We should not be looking down on a disabled person like they have lost something": Hyundai's Puneet Anand

Hyundai aims to create awareness towards people with disabilities in India.

Puneet Anand

Mumbai: Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) India’s first smart mobility solutions provider and largest exporter since its inception has launched ‘Samarth’ initiative for the awareness and enablement of people with disabilities in India. The initiative is aligned with Hyundai’s global vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’ that aims to enable an inclusive, progressive world through the power of mobility. Through this initiative, Hyundai aims to help create a more aware and sensitised society towards people with disabilities in India.

With over 26.8 million differently abled people in India, Hyundai understood the need for creating awareness in the society towards disabilities. With the launch of ‘Samarth’, Hyundai Motor India is India’s first automobile company to launch an inclusive mobility project at a mass scale. Hyundai will partner with NGOs and media network to create a mass movement while also aligning Hyundai dealerships and network to become more inclusive. With technology, partnerships, product innovations, and storytelling, ‘Samarth’ aims to turn the world into a level-playing field for all.

Another highlight of this event was the presence of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh who is also the brand ambassador of Hyundai. He spoke on his long-standing association with them spanning over 25 years and also about the partnership with the GoSports Foundation and Samarthanam Trust, which will further provide holistic support to para-athletes in India towards the quest for Paralympics.

Nevertheless, Indiantelevision.com on the sidelines of the event, spoke to Hyundai Motor India's corporate affairs and communications associate VP & vertical head Puneet Anand, where he talked on numerous things regarding this initiative.

Edited excerpts

On this initiative taken in any other countries and the strategy behind it.

It's not the initiative its the thought behind this. India is home to around 26.8 million people which are disabled, and I'm sure other countries also will be having similar problems. The thought is the same. We want to make these people enabled so that they can become 'Samarth' to do the elite jobs. But maybe the concept is the same, the way of providing this may be different in other countries. But largely what we're looking at in India is to enable these paralympics, the people who are very strong in athletics, but some who are not able to perform to the best of their abilities.

Secondly, we also want, especially in India, where cricket is a fever, we also have very strong blind cricket people. So we are going to support 150 blind cricketers, both males and females together so that they can really excel in that area, we are also going to provide around 700 of these disabled people with specially designed assistive devices like wheelchairs, so that they can become more confident and they can perform their job with a more meticulous way.

At the same time, our dealerships will go into the disabled friendly in next couple of months, or website will be disabled friendly, we're also planning to introduce certain specially assisted devices with which they can take the comfort of our car like swivel seats, so that they can actually exit and enter the car without any problem. So these are all thoughts, which help them to become more meaningful, more inclusive, and make this country proud by doing what they can achieve.

On initiative being beneficial for these people as employment rate of disability people in India is pretty low

It's not a question of employability, it's a question of their prestige. Today, me, you or anybody is equal. We should not be looking down on a disabled person like they have lost something. He should be equal among everyone. India should be an inclusive country. So these 26.8 million people is huge number, why should they be different from the rest of the country? So we want to give them that pride. We want to make this message known to all the people of the country that don't treat them differently. Treat them as your brothers and sisters so that they can do wonders for our country, which is as great as India.

On the partnership with GoSports Foundation and Samarthanam Trust

Our initiatives are divided into two areas. One is support for the Paralympic and para athletes for which we are tied up with GoSports because they are excellent in that area, both are NGOs and the second one is support for the disabled people by providing them special devices like wheelchairs, which will be working along with Samarthanam Trust, which is a very old foundation who's working in the area of disabled people.

So, with these two associations in our target will be supporting our target of these paralympics, various athletes, and at the same time will also increase awareness because these people have strong knowledge. So we will use their knowledge to aware the people of this country that yes, whatever is possible, please support these people

On car safety and tackling complaints from consumer

We are the only company which has already introduced six airbags across all our models. Even the government has not made it mandatory. Three point seat belt, seat belt reminder are already part of this. Recently, our Verna got a Global NCAP five star rating. So as a company, our car and not only this, we have technology, like most of our cars are eight hours equipped. So we are not only working on active but also passive safety. So together as a country, along with the government of India, we're working towards safety. And we assure that we'll continue to invest in these areas even though the government mandates them.

On the message and expectation regarding this initiative

Our initiative is awareness. Yes, we may be doing a big job, but I think India is a very vast country as 26.8 million people is not a small amount. So yes, Hyundai can work on these people. But as an inclusiveness, the entire country needs to come forward. They need to be aware of this vision. And I think if we are able to spread this thought that everybody should need to treat these people on equal footage as an ordinary human being.