Nasscom Asks Firms To Use CSR Funds For Digital India

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NasscomIndiaCSR News Network

BENGALURU: Nasscom Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of information technology (IT) industry body Nasscom has suggested to its member companies to spend a higher portion of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds  towards the government’s  ‘Make in India’ and Digital India campaigns.

“A lot of companies are not imaginative enough on CSR activities” Ganesh Natarajan, chairman, Nasscom Foundation, said during an event here. “We have a group working towards this where large companies can give us money to spend towards CSR activities.”

Among the steps he suggested could be used by companies towards such initiatives, he said, was to spend on skill building of more hands than required. For instance, instead of training 500 persons that a company may need to recruit, he said, it can train 800 and still recruit only the required hands. Spending on skill building of the additional persons would help create a pool of skilled employees with higher opportunity of employability.

Other areas that Nasscom Foundation suggested for spending CSR funds were education, digital literacy and skill development. “This alternative pool is largely focused on under-served people” quipped in Shrikant Sinha, chief executive officer of Nasscom Foundation.

Natarajan also said that companies may look to leverage the strong startup ecosystem in the country to scale up such initiatives. According to the Companies Act (2013), at least two per cent of a company’s three-year average profits must be channeled towards CSR activities. The current financial year will be the first year for the implementation of this rule.

Natarajan added that Nasscom Foundation has also partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create digital libraries and improve the public library space in the country. A pilot programme towards this was rolled out in the past year with two libraries, one each in Patna and Ghaziabad.

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