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Aushadhi to help rural entrepreneurs

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With an apparent aim to address its corporate social responsibility (CSR), the Guardian Lifecare-operated ‘Aushadhi’ brand of rural chemist shops, has planned to provide credit and training facilities to local and the rural entrepreneurs.

Speaking to Indiaretailing about this move, Ashutosh Garg, chairman and managing director, Guardian Lifecare, said, “This is a part of our CSR activity and we have planned to help rural entrepreneurs set up chemist shops in these areas by providing micro credit and initial training facilities to them.”

Explaining the concept of Aushadhi, Garg added, “We are not competing against any traditional or modern retailer. Instead, we are trying to provide 100 per cent reliable and improved services to our customers. All business is not done with the notion of profit. Right now we are not making any profits from the Aushadhi chain.”

Commenting on the customer profile of Aushadhi, he said, “The customer profile of Aushadhi is different from Guardian, and the products we stock also vary. While Guardian retails branded products, Aushadhi stocks generic ones.”

The idea of launching ‘Aushadhi’ is in sync with the company’s plans of dispensing reliable and genuine medicines to the rural and semi-urban communities.

Tagged with a ‘sau pratishat bharosa’ (‘100 per cent trust’ in English) legend, these stores retail rapid AIDS test kits, blood sugar and pressure kits, baby care products, ayurvedic medicines, affordable imported condoms from Thailand and China and medicines and bandages for cattle.

Currently, the company operates five Aushadhi stores. It plans to add around 50 more outlets by end-2010.

— Sarimul Islam Choudhury

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