Government needs the help of corporates and the civil society in reaching out to the deprived sections in a large country like India, said Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Member, Planning Commission.

Actors from the civil society and the corporate India are feeling the need of cross pollination by NGOs and the corporates as both the stakeholders set out for carrying out sustainable development activities using the tool of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Dr Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, cautioned that the real challenge was to work for those people who are yet to be reached by the twenty-four hour news channels. Hameed was talking at the inaugural session of the CSO-CSR Bridge- 2013, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

“There is a lot of work which needs to be done in the deprived areas of the country. The civil society has been doing the yeomen service to the deprived sections of the society. Without the participation of civil society and the corporate sector, the government feels it is not easy to reach out to each and every corner of a large country like India. The sad thing about making plans is that unless people use those documents with love and care they become dead letters,” she said.

V Ravichandar, Chairman, Feedback Consulting, said that there was a tough road ahead for all the stakeholders who were keen to implement the CSR projects. “There are many questions, like, whether the CSR activities would be carried out in the nearby locations of the industrial units or take the shape of pan India projects,” he said.

While he cautioned the NGOs about expectations of transparency on the projects carried out by the civil society, he also reminded the corporates about the need of taking CSR task beyond the practice of cheque writing.

Ambika Khurana, Director, Corporate Affairs, HCL Infosystems, called for developing innovative models for building successful partnerships between the companies and the nonprofits. “The impact of the projects carried as part of CSR mandate should be for longer periods. Companies should strive to bridge the existing gap between them and the end beneficiaries,” she said.

Ravi Kumar, Head, Business Development, Envirofit India, said that there was a need for a knowledge sharing platform for both the donors and the workers on the ground. “NGOs need clarity on needs of the corporate world. Once the clarity is there, better strategies could be made for implementing the CSR projects,” he said.

Dr Shabnam Sinha, Senior Education and Institutional Development Specialist, The World Bank, said that with the CSR law, the NGOs should move from micro interventions to large scale strategies. She also called for working to arrest the existing trust deficit between NGOs and corporates.

“The issue of trust deficit could be taken care of by accrediting institutes like Credibility Alliance, which are doing a good work in that area. Now, the impact of the work done by NGOs need to be very sophisticated since they are dealing with the sophisticated partners like the corporate,” she said.

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