In an interview with India CSR, Ramamoorthy Rajagopal, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Board Member of DSP Investment Managers (DSPIM) CSR Committee talks about women empowerment, child nutrition – education and DSP Mutual Fund’s support towards NGO.
Tell us about DSP Mutual Fund and the current CSR projects you are driving?
DSP Mutual Fund is one of the 10 largest asset management companies in India. Set up in 16 December, 1996, its current offering of mutual fund schemes includes equity, debt and balanced funds. DSP Mutual fund is managed by DSP Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. (DSPIM). DSPIM concentrates its CSR efforts around education, skill development and wildlife and environment conservation.
Tell us about the Women empowerment and adolescent girls development programs – Dasra.
DSP is one of the funders of the 10 to 19 Dasra Adolescents Collaborative (DAC) that unites funders, technical experts, the government and social organizations to drive collaborative action and ensure that adolescents are educated, healthy and empowered to make positive life choices.
DAC’s vision is a transformed India where millions of adolescents thrive with dignity and equity. The mission is to drive a collaborative action towards scalable impact to ensure that adolescents are educated, healthy and empowered to make positive life choices. Some of their key objectives are: Delay marriage age, Delay age at first pregnancy, Increase agency, and Complete secondary education.
Dasra will work closely with a cohort of 7 non-profits in specific states by providing significant funding to this core portfolio of high impact non-profits that have the relevant experience and expertise to grow through outcome-led comprehensive adolescent programming. Four non-profits have been selected for implementation in Jharkhand as part of the first phase of the initiative.
Share more details about Child Nutrition, education & welfare and protection & Safety programmes?
DSP focuses on the three core pillars of a holistic child development i.e. Safety, Nutrition, and education.
Under Child Protection & Safety, we support organisations who work tirelessly to protect children from the threats of human trafficking by defending their rights and dignity, providing a safe environment, supporting their education and health and leading major advocacy efforts.
On the Child Nutrition front, we work with organisations that build replicable, evidence-based solutions with communities, governments and public health systems to improve outcomes of vulnerable urban women and children. We also support an organisation that serves mid-day meals in municipal schools.
On Child education, we support schools that provide high quality and holistic learning to underprivileged children who cannot otherwise access it. These English medium schools open the door for rural children to prepare for higher studies.
Are any of your foundation’s goals aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals?
Our projects’ goals are aligned with at least five of the seventeen United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals viz. Zero Hunger, Good health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Life on Land.
What support do you offer to NGOs to drive their objective seamlessly?
At DSP, the CSR initiatives are run by a Core Committee which is actively supported by separate working committees for each goal i.e. Child Safety & Protection, Child Education & Welfare (Siksha), Child Protection & Safety (Suraksha), Child Nutrition (Poshan), Women Empowerment & adolescent girl development (Shakti), Environment & wildlife (Paryavaran), and Higher Education & Promotion of Sports (Disha). In addition to financial grants, each of the Core Committee members along with their respective Working Committee members work very closely with the NGOs to ensure that the desired levels of impact are achieved. DSP’s employee engagement programs provide a great platform to its employees to engage with these NGOs
DSP Mutual Fund has been supporting wildlife sanctuary for over a decade now. What is the progress there in terms of educating people about importance of green cover and generating employment for the people whose livelihood depends on forest resources?
Using the Tiger as a metaphor for all of nature, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) was envisioned to preserve and protect India’s rich natural heritage. Currently, WCT works in and around 160 Protected Areas across 23 states in the country covering 82% of India’s 50 tiger reserves, 21% of the 769 Protected Areas and impacting a population base of approximately 3.5 million people.
WCT helps impart quality education to over 82,000 children from 728 schools in and around the buffer areas of 11 tiger reserves.
The communities living in and around India’s forests depend heavily on forest produce to supplement their income. WCT helps impart vocational training to young people and co-ordinate with over 100 job providers to find them gainful employment, thereby reducing their dependency and negative impact on forests.
What is your opinion on corporate social responsibility programmes in India?
Regulation by the Government, and pressure from the society has forced several companies to set aside time, money and efforts towards CSR activities. Further, use of technology has enabled NGOs to administer programs based on evidence thereby significantly increasing the quantity and quality of outcome. According to a report, the total CSR spend since the applicability of mandatory CSR laws has crossed Rs. 50,000 crores till March 2019. The largest portion of the CSR in India is spent on education and skill development, followed by healthcare and rural sustainable projects. The focus needs to consciously shift to the country’s most backward districts which remain deprived of CSR funds.