We caught up with Puneet Anand, Assistant Vice President and Group Head, Hyundai Motor India at the congratulatory ceremony for 25 Art for Hope recipients
The Hyundai Motor India Foundation (HMIF) recently congratulated 25 Art for Hope recipients at Bikaner House, New Delhi. After the congratulation ceremony, we met Mr. Puneet Anand, Asst. Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. to try to better understand “Art for Hope” and other initiatives deployed by the philanthropic arm of Hyundai Motor India Ltd.
What was the thought process behind choosing the theme ‘Hope, Solidarity and Gratitude’ for HMIF’s latest initiative?
I’m just going to take you back two years when the pandemic hit the world and took people by surprise. People who actually belonged to the marginal society, people who were day laborers, were really hit very hard. They had no means of subsistence, they had no money to feed their families. Hyundai has always supported people by providing free medicines, oxygen masks, disinfectants, medical equipment, etc., but we realized that there was still a part of society that had not been taken in charge and these are the artists who failed to get a platform to create masterpieces.
All the galleries were closed and they were really struggling to feed their families, especially if you look at artists from small towns or those who simply didn’t have a digital way to showcase their skills. So we then conceptualized this art idea for hope, and hope, as you know, is for those who are brilliant in their field but lack the means to showcase their expertise. So, we then took three brilliant members of the jury to our platform – Dr. Rathi Jafer, Director of Inko Center (Chennai), Mr. Riyas Komu, a critically acclaimed multimedia artist and Ms. Priya Pall, a popular consultant in museums and the arts, former Curatorial Director of Bikaner House, Delhi, and consultant to various popular museums across the country.
How many applications did you get for your participation and on what basis were the 25 finalists selected?
We are very happy to say that 163 entries were received from all over the country, and ultimately, with the support of these jury members, we were able to shortlist 25 of the entries from 17 states under five different artistic genres. These artists have come from different places like Kerala, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and we also have a brilliant following here at Bikaner House, Delhi. This exhibition will be presented from March 11 to March 14 and the public will come to see the work. In the end, I’m sure it will also translate into commissions for these artists and bring them good value and business opportunities.
Hyundai is probably the only automaker to choose to involve art in its non-automotive form. How exactly does this fit into the grand scheme of things?
If you see, we are manufacturing people; we make parts, but when we look at the top factors in a car buyer’s purchase, the first factor is the design, and the design itself says a lot about the product. When we go a little beyond, we look at the macro level and this design is nothing but a culmination of art. So that was done by our parent organization somewhere in 2014-15, and that’s why if you see in different parts of the world we started to develop a relationship with art because that also gives us a very good insight into what consumers want, what kind of designs they like and what kind of colors they like. And it also helps us to invest in our future designs. A car is basically a flowing sense of music, it’s basically the creation of a masterpiece and I’m sure at some point all of these initiatives will help us create a much better masterpiece. work than what we have created in the past.
So that was our theme. We would like to take this opportunity and initiative not only in India but in various parts of the world. It was our first time taking this initiative but seeing the kind of response we got, we would like to have these exhibits not only in Delhi but even in various parts of the country. This will help us create special platforms for our artists and for the people of this country.
Your Be The Better Guy initiative is arguably the most successful road safety initiative of any automaker. Can you comment a bit on its success this year?
This is our fifth year running the Be the Better Guy initiative, but like I said, there’s always innovation in what we do. So this time we did a lot of field activities. As part of this initiative, we launched a campaign called “Dhyan Do”. This is a campaign for private and public transport drivers, because you can always train people to behave better, but even their driving skills and health are very important. So this is another step towards a road safety initiative in which we are training 34,000 drivers. Nearly 7,000 public sector drivers like State Road Transport Department, Haryana Roadways as well as shared mobility services have already been covered. We checked their eyesight, blood pressure, blood sugar and prescribed and provided medication if needed. We are also educating them on proper driving etiquette, and this initiative will continue throughout the year at Delhi-NCR.
In another step of our Be the Better Guy initiative, we are reaching out to young people across the country and telling them about the importance of seatbelts, driving without the influence of alcohol and speeding. We also encourage people to take a stand against the conduct of minors. There will be another version of the Be the Better Guy initiative launching in the next fiscal year.
Hyundai has pulled out all the stops with its CSR initiatives over the past two years, but with the pandemic likely behind us, do you plan to cut your budget for CSR activities and what is the way forward for this year?
So I would say that CSR and budgets are totally unrelated. CSR will always grow because society will always continue to grow. Thus, our CSR budgets will continue to increase. You would have seen that in 2020 when the pandemic hit, we invested close to Rs 40-45 crore. In 2021, when the 2nd and 3rd wave came, we had spent the same amount of money not only on activities related to the fight against COVID, but we even did a lot of things, such as working on improving people skills, Be the Better guy initiative, Dhyan Do initiative and now lately environmental things like waste management, pond rejuvenation and greenbelt maintenance. This is all part of our CSR initiatives and it will only increase. We have already undertaken a lot of school development because for two years the schools have not opened and the children are no longer used to going to school. Thus, we have taken an initiative covering 1250 schools within the framework of a project called “Back to school”. Thanks to this, children will be motivated to start taking offline lessons in schools.
Finally, would you tell me what we can expect from Hyundai when it comes to new model launches this year?
Well, a new SUV will be launched this year and as we announced last year, we are already working on six electric cars which will be launched by 2028. So there is certainly excitement in this area . Also, it has always been Hyundai’s initiative to launch 2-3 models every year. So, it is only the beginning of this year and you will discover a new product, new variants and also new powertrain options this year.
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