CSR and Sustainable Development widely discussed at India CSR Leadership Summit

India CSR News Network

MUMBAI: At India CSR Leadership Summit, the third Leadership Talk panel headed by Ms Anupam Nidhi had three panel speakers – Prof. V. Reddappa Reddy (academician), Shri Ashis Mondal (Director, Action for Social Advancement, Bhopal) and Shri S.R. Mishra (General Manager-CSR & Environment, THDC Limited, Rishikesh). The panel discussion was confined to the sustainability of CSR initiatives. The Talk was initiated by Ms.Nidhi highlighting various facets of sustainability and the need for sustainable initiatives of CSR. Her initial remarks set the tone for the Leadership Talk – 3.

CSR and sustainability activities at THDC India Ltd

As a first speaker, Shri Mishra outlined the importance of sustainability of environment, and various initiatives undertaken by THDC Ltd. in that direction. He explained the effect of construction of a hydro power project on ecology, economy and socio cultural aspects in immediate surroundings leading to new relationships and opportunities for inhabitants, and how local communities have to bear costs in terms of socio-economic sacrifices. He narrated the need for and how the experts of external agencies like Delhi University and HNB Garhwal University have been engaged for the conduct of baseline survey, needs assessment, assessment of expectations and aspirations.

Thrust of THDCIL’s CSR and sustainability activities, as explained by him include capacity building, empowerment of communities, inclusive of socio-economic growth, environment protection, promotion of green and energy efficient technologies, development of backward regions and upliftment of the marginalized and under privileged sections of the society.

With regard to CSR implementation mechanism, he explained how the formation of  six separate NGOs Utthan (rural development), Niramaya (nutrition, health, sanitation and drinking water) Prakriti (environment protection initiatives), Jagriti (education initiatives), Daksh (livelihood generation and skill development initiatives), Samarth (empowerment initiatives) and Saksham (care of the aged and differently abled) have helped THDC in carrying out the CSR works faster and helped in ensuring benefit reaching the lowest level and desired progress achieved in a time bound /cost effective manner.

His talk provided a blueprint towards achieving socially responsible corporate human face enhancing value creation in community and promoting environment friendly sustainable development with transparency between key stakeholders through ongoing two way communication over a time resulting in enhancing the quality of life and economic well being of the populace, addressing inclusive growth and basic needs of the deprived, underprivileged, neglected and weaker sections of the society.

Black Hole of Poverty

Prof. Reddy initiated his presentation with a warning about possible involvement of derailed elements in cloning of ‘satisfaction’ and ‘dissatisfaction’ among communities against the industrial houses for blackmailing purposes. Reddy suggested identifying such elements and deal with them according to law. Further, Reddy suggested identifying Black Hole of Poverty and the need for fixing those holes by taking appropriate steps. Causes for Black Hole of Poverty, according to him are: 1) gaps in income earning of poor (ex: dry periods of milch animals); 2) gestation periods in converting support for poverty eradication into reliable household income (ex: gap between offering of a sheep unit to the poor households and time required for the next generation of rams growing into marketable size); 3) periods of financial distresses faced by the poor due to natural disasters (ex: health hazards, droughts, floods and earth quakes); and 4) financial distresses caused by man-made reasons (ex: borrowing beyond the means to meet the expenditure on marriages, death ceremonies and puberty functions). To overcome those problems, steps suggested by Reddy included: 1) identification of periods of gaps in income earning of poor; 2) identification of gestation periods in converting support for poverty eradication into income; 3) identification of periods of financial distresses faced by the poor due to natural disasters; 4) identification of financial distresses caused by man-made causes; and 5) development and use of appropriate instruments for enabling the poor to overcome the gaps in income generation and in meeting the distress situations.

Reacting positively to the issues raised by Reddy, Anupam Nidhi critically analyzed the financial implications of these suggestions and the need for comprehensive strategies both from State and CSR initiatives in identification and institutionalizing the instruments.

Agriculture and livelihoods promotion

Shri Ashis Mondal commenced his talk by thanking the Summit organizers for recognizing his services and for giving him CSR Lifetime Achievement Award. With regard to Leadership talk he narrated step by step initiatives undertaken by his organization in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and linking of smallholders with market. His talk also covered the theoretical and practical aspects of agriculture, agro-enterprises, social and sustainable development and livelihoods in India. He narrated the work undertaken by his organization in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chattishgarh and Jharkhand in 1300 villages with a coverage of about 140000 smallholders families for farm based livelihoods promotion through natural resources management – watershed, minor irrigation and sustainable agriculture – promotion of smallholders’ organization for agribusiness and financial inclusion. He also narrated steps undertaken in motivating, facilitating and training of 300 professionals and 450 para-professionals working among tribal and other marginalized groups. His speech proved him to be an acclaimed agricultural practitioner, theorist and a ground worker. It was also more like encyclopedia and guide to the participants in implementing similar sustainable activities in enhancing the farm livelihoods through CSR initiatives.

The panel discussion was closed by Ms. Anupam Nidhi by summing up of the major issues raised by the panel speakers with her comments on different aspects raised by the panel speakers.