“Legal Start-up for Online Legal Education”

“Legal Start-up for Online Legal Education”

By Harshit Sharma*

Introduction

Law as a subject of study serves to uphold the principles of truth and justice and thus, lays down the foundation of civilised nation. The law schools have continued to impart legal education and have been successful in not only attracting students to the study of law but also in producing the best lawyers and brightest academics in the country. Although, these law schools have lacked innovative design of courses and development of appropriate modules of teaching. The dearth of quality teachers and lack of infrastructure with a mere dispensing of the requirements of structured curriculum have been a phenomenon across the country in countless law schools. The shift in the learning model needs lecturers and students to be able to adopt technology in the process of teaching and learning. The electronic tutorials and online supervision have the potential to change the learning experience of law students.

 

Need for Online Legal Education

In an industry where learning is a constant part, the legal industry hasn’t yet fully adopted e-learning. E-learning plays an essential part in a profession where every individual is over-worked and long hours are the norm. With the advent of time these online legal education and trainings are expected to replace the law lectures and eventually take over the traditional methods of teaching in a law school. Some of the advantages of online legal education over the traditional approach are as follows:

  1. Independent of Location, one of the greatest aspect of these online educational programs is that one can pursue these courses at his/her location at a convenient time. There are no geographical constraints when one opt for these courses.
  2. Economic Benefit, one of the potential benefits of online legal education is that it is comparatively cost effective.
  3. Time Factor, since one has access to these educational courses at his her preferable location, there is a considerable amount of time which is saved which can be deployed to be used in something more productive.
  4. The traditional methods of teaching which involves long lectures from the faculties in the closed classrooms can turn out be tedious at times. However, the online courses are designed in an innovative manner to keep the students engaged more frequently and in shorter sessions that are easier to coordinate and schedule.

 

Legal Start-ups and Online Legal Education

Start-up is essentially a business idea or plan that takes shape of a newly emerged entrepreneurial venture. In the last decade or so many new start-ups have entered the legal market which have been termed as ‘disruptive.’ A bunch of new start-ups are proposing ways to make it cheaper and more efficient to provide and access legal education. Various start-ups are taking the concept of providing legal education by shifting from traditional methods to providing online legal education, training services and materials. Generally, the students are the target market but the services are also directed to the practitioners. In order to create an online learning start-ups from the ground up, one must necessarily keep in mind the following points:

  • The first step involves to discover your niche and validate your idea, which primarily involves answering how to evaluate demand before putting time and effort?
  • Selecting the right teaching platform, an analysis of the different alternatives to host your course and building and developing comprehensive courses.
  • Setting business apart with low-cost marketing and strategic networking by identifying offerings, and targeting the right audience.
  • Stay on top of current trends and ahead of the competition by managing daily operations, setting rates, and hiring a support team.

 

Conclusion

Legal Education is moving towards a more practical and experiential teaching methodology that incorporates technology, competency based learning, flexibility and a practice-oriented focus. However, the use of technology in the learning process might also result in new problems for both teachers and students, particularly for those who are not familiar with the development of technology. The technology holds great promise for improving legal education but without a strong understanding of the problem, the people associated and the process components, the technology projects can in no time become expensive failures. Online lectures, i-tutorials, and virtual supervision are only part of the future for legal education and therefore, looking forward to start an online education platform can be a profitable venture.

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*Harshit Sharma (Intern GLIC)

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Artificial Intelligence in Legal Start-up

“Artificial Intelligence in Legal Start-up”

By Harshit Sharma*

 Introduction

Change is inevitable in nature, whether one wants it or not. At the same time one must always be willing to embrace the change that is for good. Technology have had an impact over every industry and it is not different for legal industry to evolve with the advancement of technology. The number of law students graduating every year are outnumbering the opportunities that lie before them. Therefore, while searching for opportunities one must also keep in mind the possibilities of the future that awaits the legal profession in our country. The approaches of law schools raises potential questions as to whether the focus is on preparing traditional lawyers of 20th century or the legal technologist of 21st century. It is often observed that we cannot predict future, however, we can anticipate most of the aspects (not all) to place ourselves a step ahead of others.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) also known as cognitive computing, is the intelligence that is demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by the humans and animals. In much simpler terms, AI is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that works like humans. The use of Artificial Intelligence in legal industry has reduced the time taking human labour involved in searching cases, documentations, filing patents and trademarks etc. Most of the changes that Information & Technology has brought can be seen in corporates where they rely heavily on software and platforms for most of their works.

 

Artificial Intelligence and Legal Start-ups

Start-up is essentially a business idea or plan that takes shape of a newly emerged entrepreneurial venture. Start-ups doesn’t come with an age barrier but planning it much earlier in one’s student life has its own benefits. The legal profession is considered to be least technologically progressive sector. However, the recent developments in the technology has provided an opportunity for budding lawyers to switch from old-aged hard labour practice of law to providing assistance to their clients with the help of technological advancements such as AI. The ideas of high-tech start-ups and new looking law firms not only provide services to their clients but also assist lawyers in carrying out their day to day work. The Artificial Intelligence can be put to use for reviewing documents, due diligence, analysing contracts, legal research, project management, legal assistance and much more.

 

  • Documentation Review: It includes the task of looking for relevant documents that are required for the purpose of litigation. The use of Artificial Intelligence in documentation review helps to sort relevant piece of data from the hay stack of data available on the internet. This saves considerable time and also increases the accuracy and efficiency. There is a need to design software in a pattern so that such software turn out to be useful rather than a nuisance.

 

  • Due Diligence: Due diligenceis an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care. The mergers & acquisition lawyers have to figure out the target contracts that are to be reviewed in an M&A deal because Due Diligence reviews are time consuming and expensive. Some top law firms are already using Artificial Intelligence solutions to review contracts accurately in half the time.

 

  • Analysing Contracts: A clear understanding of contractual obligation is necessary for the parties to the contract. It is necessary to analyse the important provisions of the contract because it entails certain actions that are needed to be taken based on time left for expiry, updates made, or eventualities triggered. Artificial Intelligence powered contract analysis can drastically improve the practice of analysing contracts.

 

  • Legal Research: Most of the work of lawyers involves searching for precedent judgements for their cases to rely upon. Searching for cases in manuals becomes a burdensome task but the Artificial Intelligence has taken legal research to a whole new level. Every related information is available at the fingertips which saves a lot of time and effort. These Artificial Intelligence driven search engines can also answer questions about a variety of practice areas, pulling from a comprehensive database.

 

  • Project Management: Sometimes Artificial Intelligence can turn out to be far more beneficial to the corporate businesses. Managing a project takes more than an effective plan and trying not to deviate from the same. The Artificial Intelligence tools can analyse risk involved in a project which a human may not consciously think of. It can also help to track progress and performance of the projects.

 

  • Legal Assistance: The Artificial Intelligence can also be put to use to build platforms that connects lawyers with their clients. The clients can chat with lawyers and seek advice and solutions to their problems. This tool also provides legal information on a broad range of legal issues. But this system is not fully developed as people still heavily rely on meeting a lawyers personally to resolve their issues.

 

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the brink of revolutionizing the legal. The prediction does not signals end of lawyers completely but only signify the changes that are ready to unfold. We may not witness altogether anytime soon robots appearing before the judges in the courts but as far as the workings of outside the Courts is concerned we will see some significant changes in the coming years. The elders who have already been into the profession for quite a long time believe that the developments in IT are over-hyped and some of them even resist the changes and often want to stick to their own traditional ways of working. Although most lawyers of today’s world have not made a connection with these changes because of little guidance in this quest but we expect an upcoming generation of open-minded because we are living in an era of unprecedented technological change.

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*Harshit Sharma (Intern GLIC)

“Online Legal Service: A way ahead in Indian Legal System”

“Online Legal Service: A way ahead in Indian Legal System”

By Harshit Sharma*

Introduction

The word service denotes the action of helping or doing work of someone. The word has a wider connotation and is often succeeded by a pre-fix which gives a definite scope to the meaning of the word. One such pre-fix is ‘Legal’ which narrows the meaning of the word ‘Services’. In literal sense, a legal service means help or assistance or free service in the field of law. The apex court on various instances has stated that legal aid is not a charity but a duty of a welfare state.

Section 2 (1) (c) of the Legal Service Authority Act, 1987 defines Legal Service as:

“legal service” includes the rendering of any service in the conduct of any case or other legal proceeding before any court or other authority or tribunal and the giving of advice on any legal matter.

Legal Service in Indian Scenario

The quality of legal service plays a very important role in the development of justice delivery system of a country. The more efficient the service would be, the easier will be the access to justice. The history of legal service in India can be traced back to the times of British Regime, the British indeed brought an expensive system of administration of justice. The concept of legal service has been developing ever since then. The Indian legal system promotes the concept of providing legal service to those in need which is evident from the readings of the provisions of various laws.

The concept of Legal Service has a Constitutional backdrop in Article 39-A which expressly talks about Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid. This Article emphasises that free legal service is an inalienable element for ‘reasonable, fair and just’ procedure, for without it a person suffering from economic or other disabilities would be deprived of the opportunity for securing the ends of justice. Order 33 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 provides for filing of suits by indigent persons. It enables persons who are too poor to pay court fees to institute suits without payment of requisite court fees. Section 304 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides for legal aid to accused at the expense of State in certain cases. Apart from this, the constitution of 3-tier machinery namely the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA), State Legal Service Authority (SLSA) and District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) under the Legal Service Authority Act, 1987 has laid down policies, principles, and guidelines to implement the Legal Services Program throughout the country.

Online Legal Service

The concept of Online Legal Services is not new but is in budding phase in a country like India. With the ‘Digital India’ paving its way, Online Legal Services is not a distant dream. According to a report “Internet in India 2017” published jointly by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar IMRB, the number of Internet users in India was estimated to be 481 million in December, 2017, marking a considerable growth of 11.34% over the last estimated figures of December, 2016. India is ranked second largest online market, next to China. The internet has become an indispensable tool, the role of Information Technology in delivery of Legal Service will enable people to turn for basic guidance on substantive as well as procedural issues not to lawyers but Online Legal Services.

E-Learning

E-learning refers to any type of learning facilitated via electronic media. In an industry where learning is a constant part, the legal industry hasn’t yet fully adopted e-learning. However, there are online courses, webinars and other digital media that are offered by various academic institutions and also law firms which are easy to enrol and ready to go. E-learning plays an essential part in a profession where every individual is over-worked and long hours are the norm. The benefit of this e-learning is that it is easy to deploy, independent of location and saves considerable time. E-learning also helps to get a brief insight of all what is happening in the legal world which is largely dynamic in nature because of changing laws at the need of every hour. With the advent of time these online legal learning and trainings are expected to replace the law lectures and eventually take over the traditional methods of teaching in a law school.

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

The Online Dispute Resolution is a practice of alternative dispute resolution system which uses technology to facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties. It primarily involves e-negotiation, e-mediation or e-arbitration, or a combination of all three. ODR is still missing from the Indian scenario. The ODR is much speedier and less complex in comparison to the traditional litigation. Considering the current state of the justice system in India, the need for ODR will be felt very soon and we must prepare ourselves for the same by establishing a sound technology legal base.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. Indian legal service industry, which is often termed as the least technologically progressive sector is being transformed significantly by Artificial Intelligence. Start up like SpotDrafts, CaseMine, NearLaw etc. have changed the face of Indian Legal Sector. It assists by automating tasks such as due diligence, document drafting and performing legal research.

Online Legal Advice

There are various platforms today which offer legal advice to its clients free of cost and some of them even charge a nominal fee. But this system is not fully developed as people still heavily rely on meeting a lawyers personally to resolve their issues. These systems can provide legal information, online documentation, legal guidance, and even legal advice across the internet. Such a system will not only help the clients to save their time but will also turn out to be cost effective as clients will have a wide range of options to compare and choose from what is more appropriate for them.

Conclusion

The concept of Online Legal Services is turning out to be a reality in today’s world. But at the same time these developments in the field of legal world will turn out to be disruptive for the practicing lawyers and law firms. However, it seems impossible that these technological advancements would ever replace the Judges and their judgements which are based on legal reasoning driven by empathy and humanity while dispensing justice. The concept of Online Legal Services in totality will bring with itself some challenges not only for the lawyers but also for the clients who may end up resting their case in wrong hands. The scope of error would be minimal but when a human can make errors, the software and online platforms cannot be trusted blindly. I only portray mere possibilities of near future which may or may not take course but the future of Legal Services is waiting to unfold to forge new paths of our most important social institution.

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References:

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*Harshit Sharma (Intern GLIC)

Need for Innovation in Legal Sector

Raconteur-Legal-Innovation-Cover-768x968

By Aarsh Chokshi*

(With the Prime Minister’s policy of “Start-up India Stand-Up India”, entrepreneurship has become the word for the country. Entrepreneurship is defined as, ‘the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit’[1]. In my opinion, Entrepreneurship is about solving the problems. It is about figuring the problems faced by the people or the society and solving them through innovation. For an instance, Ola and Uber provided the solution to the problem of public transportation, through OYO rooms we do not need to go physically to the hotels and Flipkart and Amazon have become online shopping centers.

Legal sector in India is faced with multitude of problems, whether it may be pendency of cases, low strength of lawyers and judges or lack of technology. Lack of awareness of the common man towards the laws of the land has become a burden on the judiciary. These issues have taken deep roots in the system and it is critically harming its efficiency. Through innovation, ideas and hard work these problem can be worked out.

Although in our country, legal sector is seen to be the field most averse to innovation. Right now, it needs entrepreneurship the most. Legal entrepreneurship is the word, which every student of law school should be talking about instead of futile pursuit of jobs.)

“Legal entrepreneurship completes the puzzle of the legal sector, by being the fitting block.” – Anonymous

Entrepreneurship in India is field growing faster than any; there are more start-up today in the country than ever. India is third in terms of number of start-ups opened every year. Entrepreneurship is something that crops out of a problem, actual or potential and it fills the void caused by that problem. As mentioned in the introduction, it is about solving the problems faced by the people or the ‘Aam Aadmi’. For an instance, earlier you had to go the different markets and select the goods, now with the arrival of Flipkart and Amazon, you can buy the goods at the tap of your phone and goods will be delivered at your home. Public transportation was difficult, but now Ola and Uber have made it easy and cost-efficient using technology. Best and efficient choices can be made through apps like Policybazaar, Oyo rooms and Zomato.

Traditionally, in our country legal field is considered reluctant to change and slow moving. Lawyers are considered to be latter abiding citizens and innovation, not the word for them. Free flow of ideas and opinions is not done as confidentiality and security is given more importance. Innovation and entrepreneurship is generally not something law students aspire. However, the reality should not be the same, as the legal field today entrepreneurship the most.

Judiciary in our country is a system, which promises rights and safety to the citizens of the country. It keeps in check whether the legislature and executive are not encroaching their limits and not abridging rights of the citizens. It is a system which settles disputes between people amicably, by resorting to the right path. It tries to secure every of citizen, right to move freely, right to approach the court when required, right to speak and express freely. In fact, when the other two parts of democracy (legislature and executive) fail, judiciary is the one people can put their faith on.

However, the efficiency of judiciary is thwarted owing to multitude of problems facing the legal sector. Pendency of cases, lack of technology, alarmingly lower strength of lawyers and judges. Not only the judiciary but also people of the country face problems due to these issues. ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’ in a common parlance of law but in our country delayed justice is general norm. This delay is large number of cases pending in the courts, due to the low strength of judges and lawyers.

Lack of awareness of the people about the laws is one of the major issues concerning the legal system of India. Legislatures, Supreme Court and high courts have multiple times come up with proper set of rules, guidelines, and laws, instructions for the welfare of certain section or the whole of the society. However, as that people are not aware about their rights, they are exploited or left out.

For example, in the case of Pt. Parmanand Katara v. Union of India [2], the court held that immediate medical treatment should be given to the injured in the hospitals. However, majority of the populace is unaware of the decision and guidelines issued by the court, hence not being able to exercise their right.

In the statute Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizen’s Act, 2007 it is provided that it is obligatory for the children to take care of their parents. However, many senior citizens are not aware of the act, hence forced to live in old-age homes.

Legal entrepreneurship can be the solution to these problems. Through ideas and innovation, solution to these problems can be reached and bridge between the legal sector and people can be filled. New methods and techniques can help in refining the system and removing out the inaccuracies, which cripple it. Through Entrepreneurship, the force of the system can be improved and justice is delivered efficiently.

For an instance, the legal system is a complex set of rules, guidelines, orders, bye-laws and other instructions, it is quite difficult for a common man to understand it. Even a law students has to refer various documents to understand them properly. Academicians and law students can start an app or website, through which they can publish blogs, videos or articles to make the law simple to understand for the common person. This idea will make people aware of their rights and duties, make them law abiding citizens. Through this idea, the people can be more aware of law and ultimate purpose of taking law to the society can be achieved.

Legal entrepreneurship can help the judiciary in solving the problem of pendency of cases. Law students with the help of IT experts can develop a software which tackles the procedural matters of the court. This software can store documents, information of witness and other matters to make it timely. The procedural irregularities can be reduced through this idea and time of judiciary can be reduced.

10 years ago, an IT expert, Sushant Sinha dreamt of making available the judgments of high court and Supreme Court free of cost on the internet. There was a government website already in place, but searching on it was very difficult for common man. He made a plan to make the website up to the standards and convenience which the other paid websites give, and making it available judgments of high courts and supreme court free of cost on internet. He worked out on this plan and made his website. Today, we all know the website as Indian kanoon. Indian Kanoon has increased the access of law to the common man and is fulfilling the purpose of taking law to the society. [3]

In 2011, Hrishikesh Dattar founded a startup named ‘Vakilsearch’ that aims to help the common man as well as corporate groups solve legal troubles using technology. This startup is centred around an automated online-platform that offered a wide range of legal services – such as company incorporation, trademark and patent registrations, etc. – with the help of in-house and marketplace experts. Vakilsearch dreams to make the process hassle-free, affordable for the common man, to address legal requirements. [4]

Besides Judiciary, entrepreneurship can also help lawyers. Today, almost every person of the country uses phone with the net connection. With the help of technology, an app can be developed, should be made compatible with all type of phones. Details of lawyers can also be linked through this app. People can talk to the lawyers directly on their phones, instead of waiting for hours in their offices. There are many unemployed lawyers on one corner of the country, and on the other side, poor people do not have access to legal aid. With use of such technology, bridge can be filled up. This will assist to achieve the dream envisaged in Article 39-A of the Constitution.

Legal entrepreneurship is not something that students studying in law colleges aim to do. Most of the law students want to enter into corporate field to get job in corporate firm or want to enter litigation. Legal entrepreneurship will prove to be the better career for them, at the same time they will help the society. It is high time that legal sector need to be improved, so that people access to justice can be made easy. Legal entrepreneurship can help solving the problems, to help achieve dream of Justice for All.

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* 2nd Year Law Student, GNLU & Student Member, E-Cell, GNLU Legal Incubation Centre.

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[1]. Entrepreneurship, available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneurship accessed on 4 August, 2017.

[2]. Pt.Parmanand Katara v. Union of India, 1989 AIR 2039.

[3]. Issues of Importance available at http://sushant354.blogspot.in/2009/01/indian-kanoon-road-so-far-and-road.html accessed on 4 August, 2017.

[4]. Meet the Entrepreneur Who Is Making Law Simple, Affordable and Accessible for Indians Available at http://www.thebetterindia.com/68609/vakilsearch-law-hrishikesh-dattar/ accessed on 4 August 2017.

Image Source :- https://www.raconteur.net/legal-innovation

GLIC Invites Business Proposal Plan for the year 2017-18

Dear Students/Alumni,

Greetings from GNLU Legal Incubation Center!

Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar (GNLU), Gujarat has launched Legal Incubation Center (GLIC) to encourage and support start-ups in the fields of law and management with allied interdisciplinary areas which will act as a support system for budding entrepreneurs. The Incubator set up under the scheme aims to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment amongst students as an attractive and viable career option.

Business Plan Proposal

GLIC invites business plan proposal from GNLU Students & Alumni to be incubated (in terms of guidance and financial support) for the year 2017-18.

Please send the proposal by August 15, 2017, 11-59 pm in attached format.

Proposal Format https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByOQgLw9m5UoZVU0VkhiRnlMa28/view

For any query, please write to Dr. Kalpeshkumar L Gupta, E-mail :- kgupta@gnlu.ac.in, Mob. 99248 97691.

All the best.

Regards,

K L Gupta

B-Plan-Proposal-Poster

 

 

 

Mirakle Courier, Mumbai – A case of Social Entrepreneurship

Mirakle-2

Mirakle Courier, Mumbai – A case of Social Entrepreneurship

by :- Dr. Kalpeshkumar L Gupta*

Mirakle Courier, Mumbai[1]
Mirakle Couriers is a courier agency that provides employment for the hearing impaired. We can see them in orange coloured t-shirt having logo of Mirakle Courier on the road of Mumbai City. Mirakle Courier is the only privately run, for profit organization in India that employs only hearing impaired people. The company hired men and women from underprivileged part of the city train them and deploy them for courier service. Salary given to employees is competing to the same industry. For this work company has been awarded the National Award for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities by the Ministry of Social Justice, Government of India in the year 2010. It has also won the Hellen Keller Award, Echoing Green Fellowship in the year 2009. The award is given to outstanding employers of person with disabilities as well as the most outstanding employees with disabilities.

Many of us see the person with disabilities a helps less guy. What they can do in these types of situations? How they can stand their own feet? But these issues can be resolved by providing better opportunities to them. We can create an inclusive environment for them. Mirakle Courier is exactly doing this by involving person with disabilities. Being a private company it was a difficult task for the company to work on this business model but the company did it.
“In India people with different abilities have been discouraged for a long time; as a result of this discrimination, there is a strong sense in their minds that they are not capable of anything. I am just using the word ‘they’ for reference, we are one team and there are no differences,” says Dhruv Lakra, Founder of Mirakle Couriers. On the website of the company it is written that “We are not a charity and do not help deaf people, we merely help them help themselves. Most of them have grown up in an over-protected environment or have been badly treated for being physically different. We believe that to overcome this we must help bring out their true inner potential. We do this by employing them in a highly competitive and professionally demanding courier business where we push them to rise up to the occasion. By working with us they gain copious levels of confidence while also gaining financial independence. The result is that many of them are able to go back home and support their families rather than having to be helplessly dependent on them.”[2]

According to Rohan Mehta, Marketing & Media person at Mirakle, “Deafness is an invisible disability. People who are deaf can read, write and see so a courier company was a good idea as it does not require much speaking. Besides, the deaf has an excellent visual sense. They are very good at remembering roads, building and even faces, which is a good skill to have in the courier business.”[3]

“We have maintained a zero-defect record.
No packet has been delivered to a wrong address, so far.”
Dhruv Lakra, Founder and CEO, Mirakle Couriers

Lakra clearly mentions that the company is full for profit organization so that they can be independent for their operation and they will not have to bank upon any donation. Private sector must realize that it has a responsibility towards people with disabilities. But more than that, there are disabilities that do not prevent a person having them from working in the mainstream. If the corporate sector recognizes this, many more people will find a better means livelihood. If the private sector is given incentives to hire persons with disabilities, it might help the situation in India, Lakra suggests. He points out that the corporate sector in the United States and in several European countries have clear policies – such as tax benefits – for hiring the disabled. The Indian government needs to adopt such strategies, he feels.

Origin of Mirakle Courier….

Mirakle Couriers was founded in January 2009. Started by Dhruv Lakra who combined his education and experience in both the business and social sectors to come up with a for-profit social enterprise. The idea to help the deaf was triggered by one particular incident he experienced while traveling on a bus in Mumbai.

Once upon a time, Dhruv was sitting on a bus next to a young boy looking eagerly out the window. In fact, he was not just eager but actually being very restless. He was looking around anxiously, seeming slightly lost. Dhruv asked him where he was going but the boy did not respond. It took him a few seconds to realize that this boy was unable to hear or speak. He was deaf. Though the bus conductor regularly announced the stops this boy still did not know where he was. Dhruv took out a piece of paper and wrote to him in Hindi asking him where he was going. Through the back and forth pen and paper exchange, it suddenly dawned on Dhruv how difficult life was for the deaf. Something as straightforward as a bus became a struggle.
It is an invisible disability. You can not know when someone near you is deaf as there are no obvious physical attributes, and so it is totally ignored. It is also a silent (voiceless) disability. There is very little public sympathy for the deaf, and by connection, a severe lack of government support for them in India. Particularly when it comes to employment there are no opportunities because no one has the patience or the foresight to learn deaf language and culture. This is how Mirakle Couriers was born.

Over the next few months, Dhruv spent time exploring the deaf culture and learning Indian Sign Language. He focused on a courier business because it requires a lot of visual skills but no verbal communication. The deaf is extremely good at maps reading, remembering roads and buildings because they are so visually inclined.

Over the last two years, Mirakle Couriers has grown to operate in 2 Branches in the city, employing 70 deaf employees and delivering over 65,000 shipments per month. While the men work in the field, the women operate the computers. The company hopes to train the men to take up supervisory and managerial positions as well.

Lakra says it has not been easy convincing companies to give his firm business. “Corporates are reluctant to hire us as they are scared that parcels may not reach the destination or that we do not have adequate capabilities to handle important documents,” he says. “Furthermore, courier services are a ruthless business. However, we are good at what we do and have landed some big clients like Vodafone, Aditya Birla, Godrej and Boyce, and that has been extremely beneficial. As companies begin to realise their corporate social responsibility, they may show more interest in hiring us.”

Mirakle has carefully worked on its operations and has fine-tuned logistics to provide a well-oiled and error-free system. Lakra says this was necessary because the work was to be carried out by persons with disabilities. Text messages on the mobile phone have been an extremely useful tool in their work. Yet there are problems that occasionally mar his employees’ confidence – such as not finding an address or run-ins with rude, insensitive watchmen or receptionists. Now the more experienced boys know how to handle these situations, he says.[4]
A company also trains them to reach the certain level so that they can be treated badly for any mistakes. Company also conducts reading writing workshops for them. In the begging Mirakle courier approached the school of hearing impaired to recruit staff. But for the last couple of years, a person comes to Mirakle for jobs.

Final Note !!
As we know that Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India is doing a remarkable job for the upliftment of the disabled persons in India by establishing different types of autonomous organizations engaged in achieving various types of objectives regarding disability. It is not only government’s duty to help the disabled but also of the society to participate in this journey of upliftment. Some of the organizations have been excellent examples by showing their path breaking work as we show in the chapter on the role of society in the development of a disabled individual.
We have to think about the inclusive growth of the disabled person not just by providing them a basic facility like food, shelter etc. but we also have to work on the overall growth of those people. We have to make them self-reliant and independent. I always remember one quote given by Confucius, a Chinese Philosopher “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”. In our case, it means that we have to create job opportunities for these people so that they can be self-made. Government is performing its duty at its own pace but as a citizen of India, one should come forward to take care of this segment of the society which is often neglected by us.

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*Coordinator – GNLU Legal Incubation Center

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[1] Mirakle Courier, Mumbai available at http://www.miraklecouriers.com/ accessed on 15/07/2012

[2] Anupama Katakam, “A courier company in Mumbai shows the way in providing employment for the hearing impaired.” Frontline, Volume 28, Issue 03, Jan 29-Feb 11,2011 available at http://www.frontline.in/fl2803/stories/20110211280308500.htm accessed July 20, 2012

[3] ibid
[4] ibid