Proceedings of Orientation Meet on CSR and MDGs held in Dehradun

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INDIACSR News Network

DEHRADUN: In order to bridge the gap between Corporate philosophy, Govt. policies, Academia and Social sector’s commitment to transform the communities and move towards achieving “Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” through their “Corporate Social Responsibility” strategic framework, Dehradun based CSO “Society For Inclusive Development” organised day long orientation meet on “CSR and MDGs” through its Social offshoot and open forum “Green Earth Alliance (GEA)”.

The conference brought over 100 delegates and CSR Champions from Corporate, PSUs, SMEs, Govt. Academia, Banks, INGOs/CSOs sector and discussed key issues like education, health, livelihood, climate change, governance etc.

Key Note speaker Manoj Chakravarti, Sr. Advicor –Titan and COO- Centre for Corporate Governance & Citizenship-IIM-Bangalore, provided  insights on responsible and sustainable business and  emphasised on  the need of  such initiatives and appreciated the move.

Understanding the seriousness of this growing divide/gap, GEA managed to get very encouraging and active participation from Corporate world, Govt. organisations, Public Sector Units (PSUs), Financial Institutions, Academia, INGOs and Grassroots NGOs in a thought provoking orientation meet held on 4 th November, 2011 at newly built campus of “Doon University” in the lap of Shivalik Foothills, Doon Valley.

Anil Jaggi, CEO of Green Earth Alliance, welcomed the delegates coming from all over India and briefed them about the mission and philosophy of the Green Earth Alliance. Why we need to discuss issues like “CSR & MDGs” social and financial inclusion, equitable and sustainable growth , why there is a need to sensitize business communities especially SMEs and Govt., what kind of motivation CSR framework can bring among employees and customers, what kind of working synergy needs to develop among NGOs and Corporate and business world are the major issues, which need the attentions of policy makers, emphasised Jaggi.

Action plan/way forward strategy was emphasised as there are many conferences taking places without clear cut action plans, which is otherwise waste of time and efforts.

But if future action plan is clearly defined with holistic commitments from domain experts and delegates, such initiative can become very visible and audible endeavours. So, it was decided that it is equally important to form respective sub-committees/groups after the session to take the mission further.

Inaugurating the session the chief-guest and keynote speaker, Mr. Manoj Chakravarty, Sr. Advisor Titan Industries and COO- Center for Corporate Governance and Citizenship IIM-Bangalore, spoke about various definitions and terms of CSR and informed that it is ultimately responsible business, which matters as defined by IIM-Bangalore.

CSR is investment for the bright future and business fraternity has to take it that way and has to be more kind hearted towards social issues and MDGs.

There is a need to develop a platform like “Green Earth Alliance” to bring Corporate, Government, SMEs, INGOs (Civil Society), Academia and other stakeholders together to work on defined CSR strategic framework and advocacy. Manoj showed his concern for growing inequalities and distribution of wealth and opportunities in Indian society and emphasised on raising such issues at policy level and business communities have to show their concern and adopt “No Harm” policy.

Speaking on the occasion Prof. Grijesh Pant, Vice-Chancellor, Doon University spoke on convergence for routine business to CSR activities and mentioned the need of linking Academic institutions with social responsibility issues.

Industry has to be more responsible and should share their resources and experience in order to bring tangible changes in the society, said Dr. S. Farooq, President – Himalayan Drugs and Head CII Uttarakhand Chapter. CII- Uttarakhand and its member organisations are already involved in CSR related activities but most of the work is in isolation, so it needs to develop such initiatives, which will be supported by CII and working synergy with GEA will be defined, offered Dr. Farooq.

Associate Professor Rajat Agarwal from IIT-Roorkee, shared the innovative initiatives of IIT-R undertaken as part of their social responsibility activities by transforming local rickshaw-pullers for their social and financial inclusion and project implemented with the help of their students. Such initiatives for marginalized communities are important as these informal manpower are not getting any structured support from Govt. in the form of social security, ration cards or bank loan, as they are not considered to be worth/reliable for bank loans etc. So, such initiatives need support from policy makers and corporate sectors to transform their lifestyle with little support in terms of intellectual capital, technical knowhow and micro-finance backup.

Mr Suresh Pramar Executive Director- Center for Training, Research in Responsible Business, raised his concerned of growing gap between rich and poor and with India and Indian becoming rich every day, this gap is still at alarming level, which is not good for country’s health. He also raised various issues and spoke about disconnect between grassroots and policy makers. There is a need to bridge such divides and need to strengthen such move has to be appreciated.

Corporate and PSUs should not confined their CSR activities just for the sake of their image building exercise and annual report writing, but they have to come out from that mindset, boardrooms and connect themselves with real grassroots champions.

Col. Vishwas Asolkar from Indian Military Academy (IMA) informed the delegates about the socially responsible and environmentally conscious activities, armed forces has been undertaking in the country, especially in disturbed areas. Such behaviour is inculcated among Gentlemen Cadets (GCs) at IMA during training period and to carry it forward throughout their career. There is a need to synergise with such programs to understand CSR better in structural and organised format said Col. Asolkar.

Rajeshwar Giri, CSR division THDC India Ltd. shared their sustainable development model, implemented in remote and effected villages of Tehri Garhwal (Dam Site) with the help from local NGOs and HNB Garhwal University. As they are in initial stage, so we are open for collaboration to take the mission ahead, said Giri.

How the “People with Disability (PwD)” are involved in productive employment to manufacture world class Titan Watches and the best of the jewellery under the brand of Tanishq was shared by Atul Kumar,  Advisor of Titan industries Ltd. co-organiser of this CSR and MDGs meet.

Project for “People with Disability” under taken by Bajaj Institute of Learning, was shared by Air Commodore A.K. Khanna with the help from various CSR funding with support from their Mumbai office. How UN Global Compact, world’s largest CSR initiative is helping Indian PSUs through its ten principles was shared by Krittikka Bhatt and Rubina Sen jointly. NGOs, PSUs and Govt. can also become member of UNGC in order to enhance their CSR skills, offered Krittika.

Pawan Kumar, CEO of Ajeevika project ( funded by IFAD and Govt. of Uttarakhand ) gave his presentation on how this project is able to generate rural livelihood in five districts of Uttarakhand and able to address extreme poverty issues in remote and isolated Himalayan villages.

How CSR and linkages with industry can help to scale-up the program was also discussed during the deliberation. Prof. K.K. Pande, Director TM University, Moradabad
shared his experience of linking industry with universities in holistic programs to generate livelihood for school dropouts. A case study of Tata Motors to train local school drop-outs for their units at Rudrapur District was shared by Pande.

There is a strong need to develop working synergy between multi-stakeholders to replicate such ventures, said Pande.

Sharon Weir, Head of 4 th Wheel from Ahmedabad shared her experience in Gujrat and how PPP model can be developed with state Govt. to take CSR mission ahead, shared Sharon. There are always positive and negative sides of human life, which need attention of business communities and Govt. under their CSR framework.

Utsav Joshi of CDC Jaipur, gave presentation of their solid waste management project implemented in 14 locations in India and providing urban livelihood to more than 10,000 urban poor.

How to channelize left over food for hungry country-men and how CDC is utilising their resources to bring this left- over food for needy people was also shared by Joshi. Kamla Pant, urged corporate India to help PAHAL , Pithoragarh based NGO in its mission to help them in popularising science temperament among school students for better and brighter India and Indians.

Hariraj Singh, Watershed Expert spoke about the views of NGOs towards CSR and its intricacies. How it can be simplified and bring NGO-Corporate alliance for inclusive growth of the region. As it is a good match making as NGOs need financial support and Corporate need reliable and experienced NGOs to implement their plans, said Hari Raj.

Justin Jebakumar of “Habitat For Humanity” raised his concern of shelter for poor community across the country, as this organisation feel there is urgent need to
provide shelter with toilet to poor community to avoid health related complications. Being an international organisations they have technical knowhow and resources to offer low cost and eco-friendly shelters for poor community and CSR initiative can add value to their endeavour. Last session was open forum and invited recommendations from all delegates to discuss action plan as a team/group under the banner of “Green Earth Alliance”, as discussed and decided in the inaugural session that sub-committees would be formed in various head e.g. education, health, livelihood, climate change, gender diversity and empowerment etc.

Delegates from various domains came with suggestions, feedback and comments and volunteers themselves to form sub-committees and work on respective committees. Mr. Manoj Chakravarty, Sr. Advisor Titan Industries and COO- Center for Corporate Governance and Citizenship IIM-Bangalore volunteers himself to be on advisory board of Green Earth Alliance, which was appreciated by all delegates. Brig. KG Behl, Mr. Atul Kumar, Prof. K.K. Dube, Mr. Babul Gogoi, Mrs. Kamla Pant, Dr. S. Ansari, Mr. Balendu Joshi, Dr. Geeta Rai, Prof. K.K. Pande, Dr. Onima Sharma, Shri Rakesh Khare, Dr. Vivek Agarwal, Mr. Hariraj Singh also offered their support by forming respective groups and take the mission ahead.

Technical and content support was provided by Babul Gogoi of Assam Times. Institute of Technology Management (ITM) gave their support to organise the event under the supervision of their Principal Dr. JM Agarwal. Sr. Journalist Raj Kanwar also spoke about the importance of such initiatives and extended his support for the mission .

Vote of thanks was given by Brig. KG Behl, Chairman of Society for Inclusive Development. Other dignitaries present there were Bhaskar Pant/NABARD, Dr. Ambika Sharma/IDRC, Khurram Naayab/Cairn India, Pankaj Gupta/Industry Association, Saswati Singh/INSPIRATION, Brig. AAS Sinha/Director Raphael Ryder Cheshire Home, Executive Director of Ajeevika project Jyotsana Siltling, Gaurav Mishra, Balendu Joshi/SPEED, Ketki Jaiswal/DPS, Babul Gogoi/Assam Times, Swaran Jaggi/ JUSWANT, Dr. S. Ansari/Arogya-365, Sumit Sabarwal, Varun and Akshay Madan, Shalini Dua and Gunjan Bhatnagar.

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