We Need to Integrate Responsible Attitude and Social Obligation With Core Agenda of Business: Rakesh Khare, Head CSR, THDC


 INDIACSR News Network

DEHRADUN: Rakesh Khare is the President of SEWA- THDC and General Manager – CSR, Tehri Hydro Development Corporation,  Rishikesh (Uttarakhand). He heads SEWA-THDC, the social arm of Tehri Hydro Development Corporation.  Anil Jaggi, Executive Editor, INDIACSR  talked Rakesh Khare about corporate social  responsibility at Tehri Hydro Development Corporation.

Below is the edited transcript of the interview:

Welcome to INDIACSR, please do tell us  more about your organization and  your  involvement in CSR related activities?

THDC India Ltd.  is  a  Public Sector Company  under  Minister of Power, Govt. Of India and has considerable presence in Hydro Sector in the State of Uttarakhand—1,000 MW (4 x 250) Tehri Dam and Power Plant is operational since 2006-07, another 200 MW of  400 MW (4×100) Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project has been commissioned in March 2011 and 1,000 MW Tehri Pumped Storage Plant is under construction.  In addition, various Hydro Projects in Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and Sarda basins are under various stages of development. The Hydro potential in Uttarakhand is approximately 20178 MW out of which only 10-15% has been harnessed till now.

SEWA-THDC is  an  social offshoot of THDC India Ltd., which is  a registered  under  Indian Society Act 1860 and is  sponsored by THDC to carry out its CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities)  related activities  in Uttarakhand, UP  in general and  effected area in particular.

As it’s a very new  initiative  under SEWA-THDC, which  is officially started  its  efforts in 2009 with focus on improving the  livelihood status of  local community  specially  around  Tehri  Reservoir area  in its “cut-off areas” of  Gajna Patti of Pratapnagar.

Kindly brief us about THDC‘s  Vision, mission and objectives as well as historical backdrop? How much Corporate Responsibility is attached to the business and operations? Our readers are keen to know more about of it. Please explain.

Yes,  THDC has clear  vision to be partner with all stakeholders and like-minded organizations, professionals  and work  for the betterment  of their  Socio- Economic  status. We do have  clear vision that to accept CSR  including Rehabilitation and Resettlement  of project  affected persons with  human face.

To build  sustainable and value  based relationship with  all its stakeholders for mutual benefit and growth.

Recently  SEWA-THDC has  signed an MOU with PHD Chamber of Commerce to promote sustainable CSR related  activities in the project area and likewise we are moving ahead to have much  more stronger  working networking in the region with other grassroots  NGOs, SHGs  and professional bodies etc.

What do you think of Indian Govt emphasis on CSR, especially for PSUs?

Indian Govt. is  quite  serious  about  the  integration of CSR  activities with core business group of all business establishments  be  it  PSUs or private player, as without   such  endeavour  social and financial transformation is not possible in a large country like  India  where   approx  30 % population is still  living in extreme poverty.

THDC, being  leading PSU in  power sector has taken the CSR very holistically and are able to make tangible impact on its target regions.  As this is  just starting point, we  do expect more visible results in coming years.

On other part  our team has  also undergone extensive training of one  year to understand the intricacies on strategic and sustainable CSR  to get better  result and  work on community centric projects.

Being a CSR leader, According to you, What should be the CSR trends in India?

CSR initiatives is  not charity and therefore need a different vision to  work towards making CSR more  strategic and sustainable. I still  feel  that  it’s  a team work and development can’t  take place in isolation,  so joint working models need to be developed under proper supervision and a dedicated  team.  It would be too early  to define the CSR  trends and established it  impact at ground level but yes,  some PSUs  have taken this  very seriously and getting  good results.

CSR has positive impact on overall development of organization. Do you think of CSR need to be integrated into the heart of business policy and strategy?

Very True,  as an organization we need to integrate responsible attitude and social obligation with core  agenda of the organization and make every employee, suppliers, supply chain and other stakeholders  sensitive towards such attitude.

SEWA-THDC,  has taken such  steps and  in a process to educate  all employees of the organization   and is in process to sensitize all stakeholder  in phase manner.

How will you define the Corporate Responsibility in the competitive context ?

Strategic CSR  can bring  very encouraging results in terms of  motivation and morale boosting for  its employees. And  when Employee are motivated   company  can  do wonder  in very  competitive world. In the recent trends  when   there is lot of unrest in the country,  such activities   will  help  overall improvement in production, confidence building  among  all stakeholder.

You are in core management team of THDC, which is  your  focus  area  for  CSR  and  related  projects initiated by you at THDC?

Livelihood and sustainable  practices  which  can create  rural employment are always  encouraged     under our mission, few such projects are as  follows:

1.            Promotion of  Improved agriculture practices and capacity building of farmers

2.            Improved  Drinking water  program

3.            IT and Hotel Management  Training  to  local   youth  from BPL  families

4.            Promotion of  Women  and Rural Entrepreneurship to check  large scale migration

5.            Organizing Health Checkup and Awareness  camps

6.            Cutting, Tailoring and Knitting Training  programs

7.            Plantation Drive in the region

Likewise  we have  more activities, with clear  focus on empowering local  communities.  We  invite   interested  organization to come and visit  our projects site for any collaborative models.

How do you rate Indian business vs. global business on corporate responsibility?

We need to learn from  multinational organizations that  how they are able  and scale up their operations globally  successfully . When Indian companies are  now going global and they have to follow  international  standards  of various compliances be it  ISO26000, UN-Global Compact and GRI etc.

What are your success mantras and recommendations to combat the challenges in this  sector ?

We believe in micro level participatory interventions which are  workable, scalable  and self sustainable in nature and on the  top of it  if monitoring is done  properly , project  gets favourable results. This  is a very simple working model  for  all   ground level  interventions of  SEWA-THDC.

(Anil Jaggi is the Executive Editor at INDIACSR. He is an Independent Consultant and Social Entrepreneur working in the domain of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), ICT4D (Information & Communication Technology for Development) and Inclusive Education for the last two decades at regional and global levels.  Anil is heads and promote regional “Sustainable Development” platform under “Green Earth Alliance” http://www.greenearthalliance.in/ in South Asia for CSR related awareness, capacity building and lobbying with Govt., Corporate World, B-Schools and other stakeholders.He can be reached at anil@indiacsr.in )

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