ITC Ltd's Internet-based rural project, `e-Choupal', has won the inaugural `World Business Award' instituted in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, says an official release by the company here on Wednesday.
Announced in Paris on Monday, the worldwide business award recognises the significant role business can play in the implementation of UN's targets for reducing global poverty by 2015.
The award will be presented to ITC at the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) World Congress on June 8, in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Selected from 64 nominations in 27 countries, the `e-Choupal' project has been specially recognised for making a "significant contribution to society by deploying innovative and productive skills of a business enterprise and striving to address the challenge of development through a core business activity."
Commenting on the award, Mr S. Sivakumar, Chief Executive of ITC's agri-businesses, said, "the e-choupal project has demonstrated that it is possible to closely dovetail the objective of business enterprises to create shareholder value with the subordinate goal of creating value for the larger society."
Describing the project as the single largest IT-based intervention by a corporate entity in rural India, Mr Sivakumar said e-Choupal has enabled the Indian farmer to readily access crop-specific real time information and customised knowledge in his own native language.
Pointing out that the choupal network helps aggregate demand in the nature of a virtual producers' cooperative and in the process facilitating the farmer's access higher quality farm inputs at lower costs, he said it also creates a direct marketing chain, eliminating wasteful intermediation and multiple handling, thereby reducing transaction costs.