Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 27:
Corporates should consider CSR activities part of their growth strategy instead of just complying with it out of compulsion or mandatory legal requirement, said Odisha Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati during a multi-stakeholder dialogue on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) held in Bhubaneswar today.
“People’s participation in CSR is important as they are the key stakeholders in the process. In addition to that, corporates, civil society organisations, state and central Government should join hands to take CSR to the last mile,” Pati added.
It may be noted that, Odisha has a strikingly high poverty ratio with 32.59% of people living below the poverty line, in comparison to the national average of 21.91%, as per the 2011-2012 estimates of the Planning Commission of India. Odisha continues to lag substantially in major economic and human development indicators published periodically by Central and International Agencies.
“Best Practices and standards should be followed in CSR. Despite Odisha having a stable political environment and a growth rate of more than 8.5% (above the National average) during the last decade, the economic growth of the State has not been matched by a commensurate positive transformation in the society at large,” said Jagadananda, Mentor of CYSD speaking on the occasion.
It is worth mentioning that, with the introduction of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013, giving legal weight and direction to CSR activities in India, the government has created an opportunity for collaboration between the corporate houses, civil society organisations and the government.
Sanitation and hygiene are major social illnesses plaguing Odisha. Open defecation is a major problem with 78% of the households lacking toilets and sanitation facilities. Only about 7% of tribal population use toilets. It is a regular feature of underdevelopment in this region that every year tribals die of unknown diseases.
“Nearly 88% of the global under five deaths are happening due to lack of access to water, sanitation & hygiene. 6.4% of India’s GDP is lost due to inadequate sanitation,” Ms Sunetra Lala of Unicef Odisha said.
The dialogue was jointly organised by Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt of India, Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) and National Foundation for India (NFI) with active participation of the Odisha Government and in collaboration with UNICEF.