Naveen Kundu, CEO and Managing Director, Mercury Travels, recently donated a sum of INR ten lakhs to the daughter of a martyred soldier. He was attending an event hosted by a prominent news channel and decided to chip in, admirably in a personal capacity. Speaking exclusively to TF, he said that he had long been donating to the families of slain soldiers and wanted to do more for the grieving families, when asked to comment on what prompted him to take the call.

He voiced his concern on the lack of empathy on the part of the industry, advocating for a more cohesive approach in helping the armed forces and their families. He lamented that industry gatherings were being restricted to less important activities and networking over cocktails, perhaps indicating that it needed to step up and exhibit more generosity in acknowledging the sacrifices of the armed forces. He suggested inviting some families at each of the industry event and providing them with financial assistance. “It is our duty as an industry,” he reflected. He also cautioned against taking the “NGO” route, noting that it only complicated matters and shifted the focus from the core issue. “It must be spontaneous and from the heart,” he reasoned.

The industry needed to look at the plight of families of the armed forces and bring them under the ambit of their CSR spending. “Everybody is working in areas of health, education and others. Perhaps, they could also look at the defence sector,” he passionately added. He also shared that he had decided not to take a family holiday this year. “I told my family that we won’t be taking a vacation this year,” he said, adding that it was incomprehensible to undertake a vacation at a time when soldiers were laying down their lives for protecting the country. 

Naveen Kundu has already exhibited a tremendous sense of citizenship responsibility by donating a substantial sum. He has also raised a pertinent question about the need for tourism industry in India to come out with a more caring and concerned outlook towards social causes. We are seen as aaltu-faltu, sair-sapata, and a fun-loving industry. That is why the elitist status, perhaps. More industry leaders could emulate his footsteps.