Social sector wizards meet at CSR Summit
By Lakshmi Singh
The Fifth edition of India CSR Summit 2018 highlighted upon the need for quality research and evidence in order to align CSR investments with developmental requirements. Recently held in New Delhi, the Summit involved 1,800 organizations, 3,000 + delegates and 500+ CSR heads and managers. CSR heads, policy makers and experts from various non-governmental and research organisations took onto the platform to brainstorm upon better implementation and execution of CSR.
The event opened with the launch of the India CSR Outlook Report 2018 in the presence of Anant Kumar Hedge, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. The Report showed a growth of 49 percent in CSR investments, showing a 25 percent increase in the number of projects and an increase in actual spend from six to eight percent over the FY 2017-18. The Summit focused on the role the private sector can play in catalysing development and the need for impact-driven CSR initiatives. The report provides an in-depth analysis of CSR spend of 359 big companies in the financial year 2017-2018. These companies account for almost 3/4th of total CSR spends in India.
Stress upon Skill development
Speaking at the event, the Union Minister, Anant Kumar Hedge, stressed upon the need of skill development. ”We need to be more honest and accountable as skill development is the need of the hour in every sector today,” he said. As Dr. K.G. Santhya, Senior Associate, Population Council highlighted in the panel on ‘Investing in Adolescents – Evidence from the Ground’, there is an urgent need to invest in comprehensive skilling programmes. According to the UDAYA study implemented by the Population Council, only around one in 10 unmarried adolescents aged 15-19 years have received any vocational training, despite over 80 percent of them aspiring for it. “We must believe that our youth are our future and accordingly, we should invest in them for a better skilled ecosystem. Later, they will become an asset and help in growing the economy,” added the minister at the summit. This is especially worrying, given that with over two hundred and fifty three million adolescents, India is host to every fifth adolescent in the world. These adolescents constitute India’s much-quoted ‘demographic dividend,’ but face many setbacks. Further, 25 percent of India’s adolescents live in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, States that face some of the biggest development challenges, yet receive some of the lowest investments through CSR.
Emphasis on Impactful programmes
Speaking on the occasion, Abhijeet Sinha, India Manager, USLP HUL, emphasised the need for an in-depth understanding of beneficiaries’ situation, based on rigorous research, to develop impactful programmes responsive to local geographies. Dipa Nag Chowdhury, Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation, stressed upon the importance of evidence-backed investments to ensure that interventions reach the most vulnerable groups. For effective interventions, donors and government bodies alike need to develop a thorough understanding of where to allocate scarce resources. Dr Niranjan Saggurti, India Country Director, Population Council, reinforced the significance of quality evidence for improving the impact of CSR programmes. He said, “CSR investments need to be more strategic, keeping in mind the larger developmental agenda, for which it is important to ask bold questions and generate quality evidence to offer effective solutions.
Awards for high impact
During the event, CSR Impact Awards were given away to CSR foundations and CSR implementing agencies which delivered high impact through CSR projects and adopted multi-stakeholder approach, leading to excellence in project outcomes. The initiative focused on identifying high impact CSR projects in 14 categories at Pan-India level. The Awards are to appreciate project specific impacts made by the organizations in particular thematic areas, to set benchmark in project planning, identification of partners and delivery of results.
The two-day summit concluded with an interactive session on Corporate-NGO partnerships, and the path to facilitate sustainable development through CSR spend.
India CSR Outlook Report 2018
Number of companies: 359
Number of Public Sector Companies:35
Number of projects implemented:5233
- Public Sector enterprise account for 1/4th of India’s total CSR spend
- Over 1/3rd of CSR spend s education and skill development projects while 1/4th account for WASH and healthcare projects
- The number of projects increased by 25%
- Oil Refinery and petrochemicals companies command almost 1/4th CSR fund
- CSR funding on education and skill development have increased by 50%
- Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka received over 25% of India’s total CSR fund
Jindal Steel & Power Ltd bags award in environment category
The ‘5th CSR Impact Award’ in Environment Category went to Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) for its natural resource management initiatives under the CSR programmes. Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Anant Kumar Hegde presented the award to JSPL’s Group Head (CSR & Education) Prashant Kumar Hota. The prestigious CSR award for the environment was delivered to JSPL in the presence of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal.