2017 has been an exciting and eventful year with significant milestones. In this entirejourney consumers have been at the heart of our initiatives and I sincerely thank themfor their trust and support. My team and I feel a strong sense of responsibility tosustain and strengthen relationships with our consumers partners stakeholders andcommunities. This is the appropriate occasion and I would like to thank all employeespartners stakeholders for unstinted trust and confidence in the company.
Nestle has been in India for over 105 years and has been a part of the societaleconomic and other changes the country has witnessed. The introduction of the Goods andServices Tax (GST) marked a historic milestone towards a single economic union for Indiawith a unified tax structure. The three core principles which we embraced were"Prepare Practice and Partner" to ensure a seamless transition. I thank myentire team and all our partners distributors for the enormous effort that has been putin. We were one of the first companies to announce the transition to GST and pass on thebenefits to consumers. In preparation of the GST roll out we rewired several keyprocesses within the organization trained over 3500 suppliers and 1600 distributorscovering the entire direct value chain of the Company. These dedicated efforts resulted inan orderly and fairly smooth transition into an environment defined by the biggest fiscalchange in independent India.
We continued on our journey to enhance consumer value of our brands with theintroduction of iron fortified MAGGI Masala Noodles. We also introduced fortified Nestlea+ Milk during the year. This is a small step taken by us to address issues of iron andvitamin D deficiency prevalent in India. It will continue to be our endeavour to fortifyour products appropriately in line with national priorities of 'Food FortificationRs. andare required to bring more of our Science and Nutrition knowledge to this cause.
Our thrust on innovation and renovation continued with the launch of MILO new variantsof GREKYO MAGGI Nutri-licious Noodles MILKYBAR and KITKAT Dessert Delight. We alsofocused on creative ways to engage our consumers. MAGGI Masalas of India engagement withGoogle was the first-of-its kind in the country where Google allowed us to use the searchengine as a platform for voting on which flavours of Masalas of India would consumers likeand want.
This year we took some important steps towards our ambition of enabling healthier andhappier lives. Through key initiatives for instance the Nestle Healthy Kids Programmeand Project Jagriti we empowered 1200000 adolescents young couples and caregivers tofollow a healthier lifestyle. 2017 was also a year when we won several awards across CSRHR Advertising Communications and Supply Chain.
I am grateful to Nestle S.A. for setting up Nestle Food Safety Institute (NFSI) inIndia. NFSI India will work collaboratively with all relevant stakeholders.
The Institute is aimed at building and sharing knowledge through partnerships tostrengthen and support the food safety environment in India. Nestle's credo has been inmaintaining impeccable standards of food quality and safety and we are committed to thecause in India.
Nestle India also celebrated the completion of 3 years of the Nestle Healthy KidsProgramme in partnership with Magic Bus India Foundation last year. This humble initiativehas reached out to over 200000 adolescents across 21 states since the inception of thepartnership. This partnership is based on sustained engagement on good nutritionalpractices and physical fitness among adolescents through sports-based sessions to makelearning easy for them.
2018 is going to be about bringing consumers closer by being responsible transparentand focusing on sustaining long-term relationships that add value. The industry isevolving at a tremendous pace and we would like to ride the tide and be ahead of thecurve. India as a country is undergoing a digital revolution and we will embrace thispositively. The role of technology is becoming an inseparable part of our social fabricand we embrace this truth in Nestle India.
Nestle India with a long history of serving engaging and growing with our consumers isalways conscious of the fact that it's Purpose and Values are at the centre of itscontinuous evolution to become an even better organization. Being nimble footed keenlyresponsive embracing numerous opportunities and being blessed with employees and partnerswith a deep sense of pride and commitment to the Nestle spirit will continue to inspireall of us on our journey yet again.
Suresh Narayanan Chairman & Managing
Director Nestle India Limited