INDIA CSR News Network
NEW DELHI: “Inclusiveness is an important goal in the growth story. The Planning Commission has created a nodal window for receiving suggestions from grass roots NGOs and Civil Society so that ideas are received from the people most impacted by the decisions taken.
This will help in bringing in creative and relevant ideas for catalyzing change.” said Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Member Planning Commission, Government of India at the 3rd CSR-CSO Bridge organized by CII in partnership with the National Foundation for Corporate Governance with the World Bank as an institutional partner, in New Delhi on 2 and 3 December 2013.
Dr Hameed congratulated CII for this initiative and for creating a platform that could enable the ingenuity of the corporate sector and the strengths of Civil Society organisations to reach pockets of the greatest deprivation.
Mr Onno Ruhl, Country Director – India, The World Bank pointed out that the estimated Rs 20,000 crore that would become available to the country as a result of the 2% CSR contribution from the corporate sector would place India in a unique position and enable it significantly to impact the gaps that exist in areas such as Education, Health Care, Nutrition and Gender.
Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman, CII Development Initiatives Council and Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises reiterated CII’s continuing agenda to make India’s growth story more inclusive in consonance with India’s growing economic strength. While the growing number of millionaires as also the growth in the size of the middle class was a matter of satisfaction, we need to urgently address the problems of poverty, the low levels of literacy, sanitation, health, and regional and sectoral imbalances, he said.
Mr Pradeep Bhargava, Chairman, CII Industry-Civil Society Interface Committee and Director, Cummins Generator Technologies said that “Inclusive growth means that we should shed our exclusivity”, i.e the strengths of the CSOs at the grassroots level and the focus and delivery of corporates could very effectively complement the goals of Government. He also spoke of CII’s new Industry –Civil Society Interface Committee that had been set up to facilitate dialogue between the stakeholders.
Mr Vijay Mahajan, Co-Chairman, CII Industry-Civil Society Interface Committee and Founder and Chief Executive Officer BASIX Social Enterprise Group spoke on the need for negative feedback for improving the functioning of any system. This is particularly important when stakeholders with diverse strengths work together. He opined that CSOs can play an important role in this.
After the Inaugural session, two important documents, a handbook on Corporate Social Responsibility in India, as also a catalogue of Development Projects by grassroots NGOs which had undergone due diligence were released. A CSO Haat which showcased the strengths of NGOs was inaugurated. This provided corporates an opportunity to interact with NGOs.
During the conference, Mr Salil Singhal, Chairman & Managing Director, PI Industries Ltd, said that today’s advanced communication networks enable people in the most deprived sectors to become aware of the progress that has taken place in other areas.
This means that their needs must be addressed with speed. Ms Yashashree Gurjar, CEO, Avantha Foundation said that Partnerships between corporates and NGOs lead to valuable cross learnings. Ms Chhavi Rajavat, Sarpanch, Soda village, Rajasthan emphasized that the problems regarding the disbursal of funds and of the mis -match between the policy, and the needs of the grass roots, needed to be addressed with urgency. She said Corporate sector and civil society organisations need to focus on the community as an important stakeholder in the developmental dialogue.
Ms Poonam Natarajan, Chairperson, National Trust and Chairperson, Credibility Alliance made a stirring appeal to include the concerns of the disabled under CSR programmes, Dr Shabnam Sinha, Senior Education and Institutional Development Specialist, The World Bank, stressed on the need for building the capacity of NGOs to build their professional skills to enable them to carry out their fiduciary responsibility while implementing projects. . Mr Ravichandar, Chairman, Feedback Consulting pointed out the need to cross-pollinate their expertise, the need for CSOs to communicate well and position themselves as ‘not for loss’ instead of ‘not for profit’.
Eminent thinker and administrator, Mr Gopalikrishna Gandhi, while delivering the valedictory address said that the new Companies Act, while personifying the integrated aspirations of various stakeholders, has some inherent and eloquent anamolies. The act in its Clause 135 on CSR , necessitates companies to spend 2% of profits on CSR vis-a –vis article 293 A 1A, which has created a provision for corporate contribution to political parties upto 5% of their profits.
Mr Gandhi also said CSR should not be about palliating industry’s conscience, but about activating it.
The CSR-CSO Bridge saw six leading companies presenting their CSR plans and NGOs presenting projects eligible for implementation. Through the programme, eminent speakers representing the Industry, Civil Society and Government, participated in the third edition of this unique platform, the CSR-CSO Bridge, which aims to channelize the capacities of change makers: individuals and organizations, by integrating them with the CSR aspiration of corporates, for attaining the goal of inclusive and sustainable development through collaborative arrangement.