National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC) Managing Director M Nagaraj has a vision to eliminate manual scavenging from India. He shared his approach to achieve it with M Rajendran of Sunday Express. Excerpts:
Define leadership as you have strived to achieve?
For me, a leader is one who leads from the front. He or she should start, whatever he wants others to achieve. For that you have to start from the stairs and clean from top to bottom. Similarly, to lead, one has to be honest and show high levels of integrity.
How do you motivate your officers?
I always talk about positives. It is acceptable to have different views and that also includes negative views. Every week, I hold an interactive session with department heads and I keep asking what needs to be done to improve their department.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
Lack of skilled workforce. I strongly feel that if the employees are trained regularly, they will be motivated to take on the new challenges without thinking negatively about them. Further, they will come back rejuvenated and pass on the positive energy to others.
How do you remain energised?
I play lawn tennis on clay court almost every day and on those days when I am unable to play I go for morning walks. This not only helps me to remain energised, but also relaxed to take on the day-to-day challenges in office.
How has the organisation performed?
NSKFDC is in operation since October, 1997, as an apex corporation for the all round socio-economic upliftment of the safai karamcharis, scavengers and their dependants throughout India, through various loan and non-loan based schemes. The organisation is playing a vital role in elimination of manual scavenging.
What is your target in 2015-16? How have you progressed?
On an average, each year we disburse loans to 20,000 beneficiaries. This year too we have disbursed loans to about 19,900 and next year we expect a much higher number. The schemes/programmes of NSKFDC are implemented through State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the State Government/Union Territory administrations, Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) and Nationalised Banks. Funds are provided to SCAs/RRBs/nationalised banks for onward disbursement to the target group of NSKFDC at concessional rates of interest for any viable income generating schemes, including sanitation-related activities.
How do you motivate yourself?
I read biographies and autobiographies. Dr. B.R Ambedkar’s writings has been a source of inspiration and guidance. Currently, I am reading a book by former CEO of GE Jack Welch ‘Winning’. I am impressed the way he turned around GE.
What do you hope to achieve through this organisation?
Eradication of manual scavenging from India. Clean toilets for everyone. Which as is also the vision and mission of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi.