Read each of the following passages and answer the items that follow. Your answers to these items should be based on the passages only.
A successful non-resident Indian employed in the United States returns to a backward Indian village and transforms the lives of the villagers. Sounds familiar? At 31, Ashwin Naik is pacing through the path Shah Rukh Khan traced in his offbeat Bollywood movie, Swades. Naik had just quit his cushy job in a genomics firm in the US to join MIT Sloan School of Business. With a month in hand, he headed home and travelled through the remote areas of Bagalkot district in Karnataka. The woeful social condition he saw moved him. Naik chucked the MBA course and in six months set up
Vaatsalya Healthcare, a rural healthcare delivery system.
In February 2005, Vaatsalya’s first hospital opened in Hubli. Two more centres were opened in Gadag and Karwar to offer pecialist services of surgeons and facilities such as physiotherapy for children suffering from cerebral palsy. “We introduced paediatric surgery for infants below six months”, says Naik. “Else, patients would have to be taken to distant cities of Hubli or Bangalore”. Naik plans 100 more units in five states in the next three years. Mere charity by an affluent, middle-class professional? Far from it. Vaatsalya is one of the rapidly spreading ‘for profit’ social enterprises that serves the poor and brings in profit. Mumbai-based Ziqitza, an ambulance services company, is another. It never refuses a patient for money, and charges Rs. 50 to Rs. 200.
Done fleetingly in India and elsewhere till now, entrepreneurial minds with social conscience and methodically creating such models at a greater pace. “There has been a boom in the past two years”, says Varun Sahni, country director of Acumen Fund, a US-based social fund that invests in companies that target low income communities. “Currently, there are about 1,000 in India”.
The timing seems perfect. There is a wide market acceptance and funding has been coming in easily. These enterprises work across the areas including healthcare, education, rural energy, agriculture, arts and crafts, banking and more. ‘For profit’ entrepreneurs are obsessed with social and environmental impact in addition to financial returns. Since they are answerable to the investors, that try expanding the business rapidly. SKS Microfinance, for instance, started in 1998 and has now over 900,000 customers, 440 branches and an outstanding loan disbursement of over Rs. 452 crore as of August 2007.
According to the author, which of the following options describes ‘for profit’ entrepreneurs most appropriately?