Industries have a vital role to play in the process of prison reforms by way of empowering inmates with skill sets for leading respectable lives after their release, J.K. Tripathy, Additional Director General of Police and Inspector General of Prisons, Tamil Nadu, said on Thursday.

Tiruchi is an ideal place to initiate the process, Mr. Tripathy said, inaugurating STEPS (Strive Towards Excellence with Passion for Success), a flagship event of Confederation of Indian Industry’s Tiruchi Zone, to bring together successful entrepreneurs and prospective ones for sharing of ideas.

The department was keen to work together with the CII for arriving at a strategy to bring about the intended change. CII, he said, was capable of infusing respect into the lives of prisoners and making them shed social stigma and realize their latent talents, thereby helping in creation of a better society. Reformed prisoners can be assets to society, Mr. Tripathy emphasized. Rani Muralidharan, Vice-Chairperson, CII Tiruchi Zone, assured to the Prison department intervention by private sector industries for reforms by ways of arranging for adult education for elderly inmates, skill development for younger ones, establishment of production units in the prison campus, and providing counselling support.

Delivering the theme address, T.V. Murali, Chairman, CII Tiruchi Zone, said STEPS was initiated three years ago to nurture entrepreneurship culture in the zone encompassing central districts.

The inauguration was followed by a session titled ‘My Journey’ that witnessed two successful entrepreneurs K.P. Natarajan, Managing Director, K.P.N. Travels India Limited, and T. Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Homes, sharing their success stories with the audience comprising aspiring entrepreneurs, industrialists, and students of business schools.

Both speakers struck instant chord with the audience with their frank talk detailing the tribulations they had to overcome along their journey towards success. They emphasized on honesty, transparency, sustained commitment towards customers, and doing things differently through decisions of foresight as ingredients for the success of their ventures.