A recent article in the India Times indicates that a growing number of Indian corporations are using Ombuds programs to handle internal and external grievances informally. In the past six months, HUL (Hindustan Unilever Ltd.), Ranbaxy Laboratories, SKS Microfinance Ltd., and Wipro Ltd. have created Ombuds offices. "It's not just about spelling out a whistleblower policy, but also about having a system that enables all stakeholders to raise concerns about wrongdoings fearlessly and have the confidence that issues, if any, will be resolved," says Alexis Samuel, Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Ombudsperson for Wipro.
In a change from the traditional role of corporate Ombuds in India, which handled only consumer and investor complaints, the new offices serve vendors, distributors, retailers and employees. Indian Ombuds also are empowered to serve as arbitrators, which is different than the prevailing model for corporations in North America. The article also said that several other large Indian corporations are considering Ombuds programs. (Economic Times of India.)
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