Stakeholder engagement is key: Dr Manoj K Dash, CSR & Sustainability, OPGC

The CSR Committee of OPGC has been very proactive in providing necessary approvals quickly and provides inputs that truly support the field CSR team to deliver results.

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NEW DELHI: Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) is a joint venture of AES Corporation, USA (a Fortune 200 Company), and the Government of Odisha (GoO) – a very unique Company indeed. We are very proud to present to you today the CSR orientation of OPGC through this month’s CSR leader, Dr. Manoj K. Dash’s perspective. He spearheads the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Sustainability initiatives for OPGC.

Dr. Dash, You have been spearheading the CSR department of OPGC for many years now. How do you think it has evolved over the years?

Certainly! OPGC’s CSR interventions have evolved from sporadic to a strategic and structured response system towards meeting needs and aspirations of stakeholder communities.

Did the CSR mandate in the Companies Act, 2013 affect your CSR implementation, expenditure, reporting? If yes, how?

The transformation in the way OPGC optimizes CSR as a development instrument has been triggered by the provisions in the Companies Act, 2013. CSR expenditure has not only more than doubled in two years, OPGC feels proud too to report the same at various fora including the statutory reporting part.

What are the three main areas in which OPGC invests its CSR resource? What made you choose them?

OPGC follows a multi-stakeholder consultation process in deciding how and where to invest its CSR resources. We dwell on findings of a baseline survey recently conducted for this purpose. We constantly engage with our stakeholders to make sense of their priorities and how OPGC’s resources could be strategically invested to ensure a multiplier effect towards enriching lives! Three main intervention areas of OPGC are: Education, Preventive Health & Nutrition, Skills development & Livelihoods generation.

Please do elaborate on any one of the unique CSR projects of OPGC.

OPGC is currently implementing a five-year ‘sustainable livelihoods project’ which was rolled out in September 2015. Women, farmers and fishermen have been mobilised from existing and newly formed self help groups (SHGs) to form a Producer Company (PC) that is registered under the Companies Act, 2013 (section 465/1). At present, the PC known as Ib Shrushti Women’s Livelihoods Producer Company, has over 1000 members and 200 members have already initiated various livelihoods opportunities like backyard poultry. OPGC has provided Rs. 50 Lakhs as grant to the PC to support enterprise development and capacity building. The second instalment of additional Rs. 50 Lakhs is on its way. The idea is to start a financial services wing so that its members can get resource support from the PC at a much lower interest rate and flexible terms/ conditions in comparison to many Micro Finance companies that are active in this area. The aim is to ensure 100% increase in income over the base year 2015 by mid-2020. The PC is the first all-women led PC in Odisha, i.e. all its ten Directors being women.

OPGC is a very distinctive organisation – in terms of its organisation. Did this pose to be a challenge in CSR planning and/or implementation?

Rather the governance structure of OPGC has provided the much needed impetus to implement impactful and relevant CSR programmes that aim at improving lives of people.

Please enlighten us about the role of CSR leadership in OPGC.

The CSR Committee of OPGC has been very proactive in providing necessary approvals quickly and provides inputs that truly support the field CSR team to deliver results.

Last, but not the least, what are your future plans in taking CSR forward?

To invest in innovations at the community level towards enriching lives in the villages.

About Dr. Manoj K. Dash

Manoj K. Dash holds a Doctorate degree in Economics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. A social development practitioner with cross-cutting experience in national as well as international levels, Dr. Dash is presently the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Sustainability for Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), a thermal power Company of the Government of Odisha (GoO). OPGC is a joint venture of AES Corporation, USA (a Fortune 200 Company), and the GoO. In the past he has worked with the ESSAR Group Foundation, Mumbai; the Rehabilitation Council of India (Autonomous Body of Govt. of India); SOS Children’s Villages of India; SOS-Kinderdorf International and the All India Radio (Govt. of India).

He had been a member of the Steering Committee for ‘Development of Women and Children’ of the erstwhile Planning Commission of India during the 11th Five Year Plan and a member of the ‘Working Group on Female Foeticide and Infanticide’ of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in 2008.

He has authored two books, a few articles published in journals and newspapers apart from authoring/ guiding a number of research/evaluation reports on a range of development issues including CSR, education, disability, child labour and adult education.

About Nayan Mitra

Nayan Mitra comes with a rich mix of diverse professional experience of over sixteen years. She straddles seamlessly between academics, social and corporate sectors. As a Developmental Consultant and Researcher, she works closely with some of the eminent Corporations and not-for profits of India as well as being in their Advisory and Board level. She has conducted several social researches for multi-lateral agencies; the findings of which have become important bases for sustainable action. She has been a resource person in eminent Institutions of higher learning in the areas of CSR and Corporate Governance and has important peer reviewed research publications to her credit in double blind peer reviewed national and international Academic journals and books as well as delivered at key Conferences. Her book, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in India: Cases and Development after the Legal Mandate’ alongwith co-editor Dr. Rene Schmidpeter is a first book of its kind that charters the development of mandated Indian CSR from a multi-stakeholder perspective, that has recently received the coveted India CSR Author Award, 2017. She spearheads the India CSR Leadership Series by India CSR. She was a finalist of the prestigious Chevening Gurukul Scholarship for Leadership and Excellence – 2013, as conferred by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the British Deputy High Commission.

Interview was conducted by Nayan Mitra

Disclaimer: The thoughts captured in the interview is solely that of the interviewee. The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR.

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