Experts from the corporate world and civil society have urged both the stakeholders to explore CSR partnerships with mutual trust.

With the new Companies Act in India making it mandatory for companies to spend two per cent of their profits on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), both the corporates and the non-profits are looking forward to new partnerships for carrying out social work for sustainable and inclusive development. As both the stakeholders look forward to long term partnerships, experts have urged both the corporates and the NGOs to show mutual respect for a fruitful marriage.

Salil Singhal, Chairman and Managing Director, PI Industries, said that in the last sixty seven years India has failed to deliver to the poorest of the poor.

Singhal was talking at the CSO-CSR Bridge- 2013, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), in New Delhi.

“But, now given the communication channels, the radio channels, we as a country are in for a very serious social unrest which is not a good sign for our growth. Innovation must become part of the thought process related to the partnership between companies and NGOs,” Singhal said.

Keren Nazareth, Executive Director, Saath Charitable Trust, called for strong compliance checks about the projects carried out through CSR. “A long term vision for NGOs, corporate and mutual respect for each other is a must,” she said.

Yasashree Gurjar, CEO, Avantha Foudnation, said that partnerships were necessary because it was not the job of corporates to work for development. “There could also be a lot of cross learning through these partnerships,” she said.

“Partnerships are not just about funding but about a dialogue that should continue for a long time. CSR has to become a thought process and not just delivering on various projects. NGOs should not just ask for money but involve the corporates in the thought process related to CSR,” Gurjar said.

According to Yasmeen Riaz, Deputy National Director, SOS Children’s Villages of India, equity, transparency and mutual benefits should be the basic criteria for long term relationships between NGOs and the corporates.

Chhavi Rajawat, Sarpanch, Soda Village, Rajasthan, regretted that there was a great urban rural divide in India. “While on one side cities are growing and on the other grassroots people are devoid of basic facilities. People think corruption is the biggest problem but if you see at the ground level you see that funds are not even being disbursed,” she said.

Poonam Natarajan, Chairperson, National Trust and Chairperson, Credibility Alliance, said that the disabled people should be seen as assets by the corporate world and the latter should lend out a helping hand to them.

“Disability cuts across communities. CSR should be a tool help the disabled people in leading a meaningful life,” she said.

Talking about transparency she said, “In Delhi, I have found that people have a very negative feeling about the NGOs. Organisations like the Credibitlity Alliance are accrediting the civil society organizations, the nonprofits, the drivers of change on various parameters including transparency and governance”.

 

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