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‘Auto’ Annadurai plans to launch CSR initiative
He doesn’t own a billion-dollar company, but he feels his income from driving a share auto is enough to be shared with farmers
Meet this modern-day Manick Basha, beside whom the ‘autokaaran’ song wouldn’t be appropriate for anyone else! Annadurai hails from a family of auto drivers, he says proudly, and his ‘amazing auto’ has gone on to become popular country-wide. Equipped with topnotch gadgets, including an Amazon Echo speaker and the latest iPad, he believes serving his customers and seeing a smile on their face is his life’s motto.
Over the past three years since he first began driving his auto, he has made quite a few changes and developments, some of which he shares with DTNext in this interview.
Everyone’s been worrying about paying their taxes this month – they hesitate and cry — but you’re an individual who is happy about this!
I was initially worried that I wasn’t paying tax because being one among the many travellers on these roads I felt like I wasn’t contributing anything to the upkeep of my country. This year, since my income has sufficiently increased, I’m able to contribute my share though it’s just a drop in the ocean. I like to think of filing returns in a positive way; at least the government is able to provide subsidies in midday meals for so many children thanks to the tax we pay.
Do you think there is any topic on which education should be made compulsory in schools and colleges?
A couple of months ago, the CEO of a company said he’d like to give me an electric auto, with which I’d like to travel the nation and spread awareness about preventing rape and harassment of women. I feel topics like good touch and bad touch and overcoming abuse should be taught to everyone. Just bookish knowledge gained from an educational institution is not going to get children anywhere in life.
There were talks of you launching your own CSR initiative.
Yes, I’m in touch with a few companies to help me collect at least Rs. 10 every day from auto drivers (who are willing). My aim is to collect at least Rs. 60 lakh per month in this manner and distribute it to small farmers to help sustain their livelihood. Finally, after a lot of ups and downs, I’ll be ready to launch this project in September.
What will you speak about in your next TED talk?
It bothers me how the affluent still look down upon public servants like me. Only when they know I’ve already given three TED talks does their attitude change. I would like to address the hardships the labour class faces and request people to respect everyone around them, irrespective of who they are or how many assets they possess.
What are your plans for Independence Day this year?
I initially used to offer free rides on this day to those born before 1947. It was not benefiting many people, save five or six, so this year I will be offering free rides to anyone who is 47+ years of age on August 15!