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PUNE: Deputy mayor to place proposal in standing committee suggesting that civic body explore approaching corporates to fund various schemes, start separate bank account to accommodate such monetary aid
Inspired by the Mumbai Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s (MCGM) move since 2013 to introduce Corporate Social Responsibility funding (CSR) in different schemes to provide basic services, deputy mayor Aba Bagul will next week suggest to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Standing Committee that the civic administration attempt something on similar lines.
In fact, the CSR wing of Thermax has already been funding the running of two PMCrun school boards in Bopodi and Mangalwar Peth, since 2010. Additionally, the PMC school board has already started a CSR initiative to develop infrastructure and skill development programmes in their schools. Education officer Minakshi Raut said, “Within one-and-a-half months, almost eight different companies have approached school administrations to start surveys related to infrastructure,” revealing an active interest to perform social tasks in the corporate sector.
Last year, MCGM formed a CSR cell to use such funds used in different arenas, including health, education, livelihood, environment, etc. It is working with different corporates in employment-linked skill training, development for women’s micro-enterprises, nutrition support for TB patients, self defence training for girls, zero waste hospitals, and more.
Bagul told Mirror, “On the one hand, the city’s population is increasing and putting pressure on infrastructure; on the other, they have limited income sources. To tackle this, PMC should refer to the central government’s CSR 2013 Act and involve corporate houses in different schemes. If the civic body takes the initiative to approach companies for night shelters, old age homes, amusement parks, drinking water tanks, etc, they will definitely get funds.”
The civic administration provides basis infrastructure like water, roads, transport, etc. Bagul will also suggest that CSR funding be routed to the urban community development (UCD) department, which under 62 different schemes provides services like women’s empowerment in self help groups, training to SC/ST students, free passes to students, industrial training programmes, self defence training for girls, etc., for which around Rs 40 crore is spent overall.
Bagul added, “For implementing schemes through CSR, PMC should open a separate bank account, just like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Urban Mission (JNNRUM), much like MCGM. The mayor, deputy mayor, standing committee chairman, municipal commissioner and other senior officials should actively approach companies to convince them.”
Speaking positively about such a plan, prominent city-based industrialist and chairman of the Kinetic group, Arun Firodia, told Mirror, “If PMC approaches corporates individually and is ready to credit them with the aid, companies will be ready to help. PMC should firstly list out different projects or initiatives, and also engage corporates in these, while giving them a free hand with the work. For example, if PMC allows corporates to plant trees on hills, they would be happy to do so, if due credit were given to the company that did so.”
When Mirror attempted to contact municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar about his opinions on such a CSR initiative, he was unavailable for comment.
►►► PMC should firstly list out different projects or initiatives, and also engage corporates in these, while giving them a free hand with the work
– ARUN FIRODIA, CHAIRMAN, KINETIC GROUP